Monday, September 26, 2016

Battle of Reunion August 1689 BLB3 play test Part 1

Looking from the Jacobite left the size differential in forces is clear - but what about quality?

It's been over a year since Dave, Bob and I gamed at home and we chose to play test BLB V3 a little more with a scenario set in the late summer of 1689 in Ireland.

A pro-Williamite Protestant Irish force meets Richard Hamilton commanding a Jacobite Irish force around Reunion Priory, a ruin set in Co Monaghan.

We used the newly created simple points system designed for pick up games and the first part of this short series introduces the scenario and the Jacobite Army.

Each side had 10 points. The values for each unit are shown in the army breakdown. Both commanders diced to assess their ability. Both threw a 'Skilful' rating.

We tried out many new rules such as; Enniskilleners, Ammunition supply, new FiBuA, dragoons and revised morale modifiers. The game played well, we found a couple of tweaks to text and a slightly ambiguous modifier which have all been fixed. A useful and enjoyable game running to 10 turns.


The Grand Prior's Brigade of Infantry - 2 points total

Grand Prior's Brigade under General Wauchope      2 points
1st Battalion The Lord Grand Prior's Regiment: Regulation/ Raw 0.5 points
The Earl of Antrim's Regiment: Pike & Shot/ Raw 0.5 points
Colonel McGillicuddy's Regiment: All pike/Raw 0.5 points
The Earl of Clanrickarde's Regiment: Pike & Shot/Raw 0.5 points

Berwick leading Sarsfield's Horse

Colonel Sarsfield's Horse under The Duke of Berwick        2 points
1 squadron of Sarsfield's Horse: Blade - Drilled/Elite  2 points

1st Battalion of the King's Foot Guards

The Guards under Justin McCarthy                                  2 points
1st Battalion of the King's Foot Guards: Regulation. flintlock muskets, Drilled-Elite 2 points
Significant character attached: Doctor Alexius Stafford Dean of Dublin - no cost

Lord Galmoy's Regiment on the Jacobite right wing
Lord Galmoy's Regiment under Piers Butler, Lord Galmoy              3 points
2 squadrons of Galmoy's Regiment of Horse: Blade, Drilled   3 points

Lord Dongan's Dragoons

Lord Dongan's Dragoons - independent command                                   1 point
Lord Dongan's Dragoon Regiment: flintlock muskets - Raw/ 1 point

Jacobite Force total 10 points

This force has some trained units in the form of the Guards and the Horse. It is significantly inferior in number to the Williamites and has two units with flintlock muskets and one with no muskets at all. Dave was in command.

In the next post you can read about Bob's larger but untrained Williamite force.


  1. Can't wait for the new rules, I feel like a kid in a sweetshop, waiting to pick my 10p mix-up!

  2. Oh this looks very interesting, but that single squadron of elite horse must be super human as they have the same points as a whole brigade.

  3. 1 pt for Drilled unit, 0.5 for upgrade from Bullet to Blade and 0.5 for Elite status = 2. They actually turned out to BE superhuman! (as will become obvious in the Batrep)

    1. That's because that idiot Sarsfield wasn't around. I don't know about superhuman, they all ended up exhuman by the end of the battle but at least the Duke of North Berwick lived to fight another day.

  4. Ok good! Or you could simply get 5 big brigades and win by sheer numbers.

    This will be very cool to watch!

    PS. I think my order from you have arrived today, did you send it in two packages?

    1. yes, otherwise the postage to Norway is £45!!!!

  5. Oh a cavalry regiment in shipping! No complaints from me, it saves me about £40 in VAT!

  6. Barry,

    looks like you had fun, and a interesting points based system.

    Mark S

  7. Taking out many of the negative modifiers made for a much better game as it allowed raw units to hang around much longer, until you go in with the pike. They don't like it up 'em you know! 8-)

  8. This piece will appear in 5 parts, one each for the two armies, 2 batrep pieces and finally a debrief piece. I hope Dave and Bob might chip in on that. Other parts finished already

  9. A very entertaining game,the new, although familiar, mechanisms work very well & the game is definitely still BLB.
    Truls, you'll see what happens to a larger untrained force as these reports appear, but the points system is nicely balanced if you need to use it.

  10. A comment on the points system - it is not a hugely complex affair but a very simple and somewhat arbitrary way of setting up a scratch game for club night. It allows players to make some choices and personalize their force with decisions on numbers and quality.

  11. Another comment on the point system - Can that one squadron take on four Raw battalions toe to toe? Probably not, but that's also probably not going to happen in a game. The horse will likely have support of its own and the foot would be unlikely to be able to bring more than two battalions into contact against the squadron in any given round. Often times point systems are compared as if units are in a vacuum, but that rarely happens on the table. As Barry mentioned, the points are a quick way to gather roughly even forces for pick up games, but we still recommend scenario based games as the default. If someone approaches the point system with the intention to 'break' it, I'm sure it can be done.

    The idea of taking five brigades of Raw troops also might seem like a good tactic, but how long will your battle line be? A cunning opponent (like, say, Mr Hilton) might simply engage part of the brittle force and defeat it detail, removing the advantage of overwhelming odds. The command and control rules sometimes make it difficult to simply react to your opponent and the Raw troops will have difficulty standing against a determined assault. An all Veteran army may have more staying power for morale purposes, but are every bit as vulnerable to shooting as untrained militia (and close combat often sees casualties incurred but the victor as well) and can quickly find their numbers dwindling once engaged.

    I've found it best to field mostly Drilled troops and scatter in a few Raw units, well supported by better troops, to bolster numbers in key positions and use Veteran troops to lead an attack or stand in reserve to reinforce the line at a critical point.

    I'll write more on this at some point as the game approaches, but this series is meant to introduce the concept for now.

  12. Endorsing all of Clarence's comments. A look at the GNW proves that hordes of troops does not automatically equate to victory - look at what the Swedes achieved.
    In our 'Reunion' game you will see that the numerically superior but raw quality Protestant army stood up quite well but, lack the punching power mainly due to its reliance on d6 with a 6 to hit. Lots of sizzle but little sausage! The Jacobite Foot were with one exception of the same quality as their opponents but seemed, well, luckier! :) Dave will put it down to generalship though haha

    1. Generalship! I was too busy trying to sort out your cocked up deployment, who else but an idiot would deploy their cavalry behind a marsh but stick their Dragoons out in the open facing four squadrons of cavalry and also stick their best infantry unit unsupported and facing a built up area.


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