Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sir Arthur takes one on the chin

I had the opportunity to try Commands & Colors: Napoleonics this morning with an old gaming opponent of mine, Chris (AKA BGG User Banjo666). Chris taught me how to play the miniatures rules DBM and it's probably been a good 8 or 9 years since we last saw each other or gamed together.

We played Chris' copy of the game and he had the first scenario set up for me when I arrived. It was the Rolica1 (French First Position) 17 August 1808 scenario which was historically part of the Peninsular War. I played the British/Portuguese army under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley (more famously known as The Duke of Wellington) versus the French under the command of General Henri Delaborde.

Historical Background

After landing unopposed at Mondego Bay, Sir Arthur Wellesley led a Portuguese/British army of some 15,000 men south towards Lisbon. Opposing him was General Henri Delaborde, with a force consisting only of some 5000 infantry, 500 cavalry and 5 field pieces. Delaborde resolved to fight a delaying action against Wellesley’s advance while awaiting reinforcements from Generals Junot and Loison.
Delaborde chose his first defensive position in the hills just northwest of the village of Rolica. Wellesley advanced in three columns against the French, ordering the Portuguese troops under Colonel Trant on the right and Fergusson’s column on the left to turn the enemy’s flanks, while the artillery and infantry in his center were to engage the enemy in the front and hold them in position.
The British attack was underway by seven o’clock in the morning on the 17th. Although the French were hotly engaged all morning, Delaborde’s outnumbered force still held onto the hill position. However, by early afternoon, the wary Delaborde could see that his position was being outflanked and quickly moved his forces back to a second defensive position to the south.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?

The field of battle at the end

It was to be an unhistorical result to the real battle of Rolica with my British/Portuguese force eventually losing 3 banners to 5 against the French.

I love the Commands & Colors series of games by Richard Borg. C&C Napoleonics is a fine new edition to this series and although similar in play to other games in the series, it does capture the feel of warfare in the Napoleonic period. I loved the rule for Infantry being able to form square when threatened by Cavalry, and also the rules for Combined Arms Combat and national differences to similar types of units.

I'm looking forward to further games.

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