Monday, September 8, 2014

New Horse and Musket rules from The League of Augsburg - Ireland test game Part 1

Having briefed Dave and Bob we took the plunge and got into the game. The new rules are card driven like Donnybrook for those familiar and Clarence's very popular English Civil War set Victory without Quarter.
As mentioned before, this test game is double the normal size of game but we wanted to give a good road test to some of the mechanisms.

Jacobites on the left atop their hill. This was the set up deployment.
Card driven wargames are unpredictable and because we were working with battalions and regiments, the decisions made by each player were fairly significant. Both players were very cautious. Bob as the Jacobites moved almost nothing in the first few turns apart from bringing the dragoon detachment out of its left wing redoubt and down towards the enemy. After an initial move their card did not show up for about 4 turns and so they were stuck in the middle of a cornfield!

FUNEN move off. 30 models, plug bayonets, Drilled with 4 characters
Dave moved off with Regiment Funen who were quickly under fire from the Jacobite field gun, Dongan's Dragoons and then the advancing infantry regiment of De Burgh. The Danes reeled from the casualties but held their nerve and advanced into the teeth of the fire.

Funen under fire from three opponents.
Bob moved his Guards from the village, an understandable decision which supported his forward defence strategy. It ultimately proved to be the Jacobites undoing but that could not be predicted within the first 10 moves.

In the shot above the Jacobite Foot Guards are out of the village and the Williamite grenadiers are advancing with Funen to storm the gun position. They did this successfully.

Grenadiers reach the gun position and storm it

Funen broken in melee with De Burgh's
The grenadiers flee back down the hill after Funen broke
They were ultimately forced to retire when Funen, having been cut up by heavy fire were charged by De Burgh's Regiment and broken in melee with about 35% casualties.By Turn 8 Dave's Williamites looked beaten.

I have adopted the character system from The March of Eagles for the new rules. We soon found out that having a significant number of characters per unit helps very much with morale!

To add period flavour orders chosen from the list can be very specific such as 'Fix Bayonets!' 'Remove Bayonets!'and 'Form Defence against Horse!'. Bayonets have become fairly significant under the rules as they obviously prevent firing.

Regiment Funen had two attempts at getting up the hill the second was successful
The use of  RELOAD and END OF TURN cards makes each turn very unpredictable. On several occasions each player was stymied from a killer action by the untimely arrival of the EoT card!

In the second part of the play test description we'll have a look at the result and focus on some of the other mechanisms of the rules.


  1. Excellent AAR. I find the use of cards interesting. It simulates the problems with command and control via voice, drum, and horn.

    1. That was certainly the case in a couple of the playtest games, one minute things looked as if it was going well then suddenly the run of cards goes against you but much fun all round.

  2. Looks excellent, can't wait to hear more about the rules!!!!

  3. We had a very busy day at Partizan yesterday Ray. Interest in the rules was very high and for the first time in many a show we actually got to play the game and show people the rules in action.

  4. My only concern is the total use of the card system to drive the play of the game. In a multi-player game you could have people sitting for a few turns doing nothing. I've had that happen to me and seen that happen to other gamers which is why I shy away from rules that are purely card driven. Is this system for multiple players per side or just one-on-one?

    Now saying that I wouldn't mind it if the cards 'influenced' play but were not the total driver.

    1. Well, I can only say that prejudging something is somewhat of a lost opportunity. A bit like saying ' The last Batman movie was crap, so I won't go and see another one because it is sure to be crap too'. The first Batman movie WAS pretty crap but the rest have improved immeasurably. Only you can make that decision and no amount of selling an idea or convincing by anyone here will help. If you're not convinced, you are not convinced.

    2. This seems to be a common fear about card driven games. While it is POSSIBLE to have such a run of cards, it is UNLIKELY. Check out the TMP renaissance page and note the number of people talking about Victory Without Quarter. It is a free set of ECW that has been around for about 10 years and it always comes up in the discussion when people ask for advice on a good set of rules - it is mentioned along published sets. Victory Without Quarter is the engine that both Donnybrook and the new LoA set are based on. There are new mechanics in the LoA rules that add a new twist, but the basic concept is similar.

      In the end, card driven systems are a love/hate proposition. I personally find YOUGO/IGO mechanics dull and a poor simulation of the action that occurs in a real battle, but yes, sometimes a necessary evil. For small games however, the number of cards in the turn deck will be quite small - for a standard game there are eight unit cards and 3-5 additional cards depending on the options you choose. For multi-player games there are some options you can employ to add another layer of control over the chaos, but for massive games we still recommend Beneath the Lily Banners (I've actually played small BLB games with the VWQ card mechanics bolted on in place of the standard command rules).

  5. Barry and Clarence,

    Please don't take my posting in the wrong way. I'm sure I'll purchase these rules just like I did with BLB & R2E (I'm still waiting on Four Empires!). All I was trying to share was that I'd had bad experiences with systems that are totally card driven. Those games were multi-player and some of us would sit for quite a while as everyone else got to move. As you can imagine that isn't much fun. I was also hoping that by sharing my experiences that input then might help you structure things so when there is a multi-player game people are not sitting with nothing to do. We all know that our time is limited and maximizing play time is important.

    I will continue to read your reports on the testing to see how things are proceeding and when we can expect them to be published. Thanks for the responses.

    Also, I'm sorry I didn't sign in before with my regular account so you could know who was posting.

  6. Greg, absolutely no issue with comments and challenges but of course if a comment is made which suggests that you have already made your mind up it is difficult to infer anything other than you've already made your mind up!
    There are several mitigating control mechanisms now built into the new rules one of which allows superior generalship to minimize the 'no show' eventuality for any given side. I think it also depends on your gaming circle. Ours generally have no issue with a bad run of luck or cards other than the odd expletive!

  7. These rules are basically for games of around 4 to a max of 8 units per side with a few colonels cards thrown in so you are unlikely to end up with a massive run of cards and I would suggest if you want to fight larger multi player games then you would be better off using BLB.

  8. I expect not to appear as an anonymous commentator!

    I like a lot the idea of a card driven game in this size of battle, with 4 to 8 units per side (another great idea) and I have liked a lot your AAR because this is the type og game I prefer, so it can be my ruleset for this period. Then, the force for a side is going to be around a Brigade with some characters/leaders?

    1. Reply myself.
      I have found the older entries about this topic and I´m sure I want this ruleset!
      Big units in small battles is perfect for me.
      Great idea!

  9. Barry,

    Thanks for the clarifications. Now I understand the scale/size/scope of the game system. I kept thinking in terms of large games versus more of the 1-on-1 or even 2-on-2. This helps a great deal and I think for those of us with precious little time for gaming this new system could be very helpful. Thanks again.

    p.s. Any thought about this turning into a tournament gaming system?

  10. A 2 on 1 or 2 on 2 game should still be ok in my view Greg but it depends what kind of atmosphere a group generates around their games.We have a lot of chat, jokes, discussion about history and consequences of what is happening on the table. This means time always passes quickly even if you are not throwing dice. If gamers approach it like a chess tournament then I think some people may experience some frustration.


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