Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Culloden - The Aftermath

Observations on the Culloden Wargame

As you can see from the last post, the outcome of our wargame reflected the outcome of the actual battle.  

The special Army Morale rule for the Jacobites made no difference to the final result (although it was close as far as Army Morale was concerned, they were still soundly whupped in military terms) but it did give the Jacobite player some chance of winning bragging rights and prolonged the game for several turns.

Working out the Maurice points values for the armies its comes out at 120 to 79 in favour of the Government - so it's hardly surprising that they won!

The striking thing about the game is how much success in the Combat Phase relies on success in the preceding Volley Phases as, realistically, the most damage that you will do to an opponent in Combat is 2 Disruption Points.  Both sides being able to re-roll dice in the Combat Phase favours the defender here as there is less chance that his score will be doubled (generally requiring a very high roll for one side combined with a very low one for the other).

The Jacobite advantage of using Massed formation does not offset the quality difference between Conscript and Trained  troops in Combat and also severely prejudices them in the Volley Phase (half as many potential shots as well as making them easier to hit).  Even if a Jacobite unit does win it's combat, it will suffer some disruption and must then fall back and survive the next Government Volley Phase.  As the game showed, they simply could not do this.  This stacks the chances of winning heavily in favour of the Government but this is not at all unrealistic for the scenario.

"Damn yer Lethal Volleys and better training!"  Painting by David Morier
As Steady Lads and a la Baionette! have the same effect in close combat (assuming that the Jacobites charge) you could probably dispense with them altogether in this scenario, which would favour the Jacobites marginally in the Combat Phase.  However, looking from a historical perspective, it was the Government troops who fought and reacted differently than in previous battles so it is probably appropriate to keep them both for the sake of consistency (Government troops at earlier battles certainly do not deserve either of the National Advantages they have at Culloden).

Using the historic terrain and setup pretty much forced the Jacobites to attack down the route that they did in the actual battle, recreating all the problems that they encountered by doing so.  It would be interesting to play again using setup zones instead as it's likely that the Jacobite player will choose a very different deployment given a free hand (perhaps what would have happened if Lord George Murray had more influence!).

The Jacobite player needs to hit the Government line with enough force to achieve local superiority and outnumber its opponents.  While stopping to Rally a disrupted force seems the smart thing to do, it proves fatal for an outnumbered army that must get into close combat to stand a chance of winning.  

So, all in all, Culloden proved to be an exciting and engaging battle, and was a resounding thumbs up for Maurice for being flexible enough to do a good job of representing the two armies without the need for a lot of fiddly house rules.  I'd highly recommend the rules system to any wargamer with an interest in 18th century warfare.  You can find out more, and download a free 'Lite' version of the rules to have a go yourself, here.

At some point we plan to playtest scenarios for Prestonpans and Falkirk (where the Government troops would not be of such high quality) and see if the highlanders stand a better chance.

No comments:

Post a Comment