Saturday, July 16, 2011

Irregular Wars - Regular Result

Last night I paid a Ducal visit to the HQ of the Southern Battle Gamers in Sylvania and met up with Nic, aka Harry Hotspur, the author of the 'Irregular Wars' rules. You can learn about the rules and read a highly tendentious account of our battles on Nic's blog here.

Game 1. Lowland Scots v. English

We fought two battles, me with my lowland Scots and Nic using first his Royal Sassenachs and then some Irish rabble. Irregular Wars is a fun system for fighting small actions from c.1519-1641, and I think Nic has captured something of the flavour of small confused melees, quite different to rules dealing with larger set-piece battles. I particularly like the way that the loss of a unit can have catastrophic effects on those around it. Once general melee is joined it feels like a slogging match, until the loss of a unit can result in a sudden collapse of your whole army.

Well, that was certainly my experience...

Nic has given his own reports on our engagements, and the Dux is not one to quibble or split hairs. He forbears, for example, to point out that his army may have been vanquished but remained entirely free of the pox. Nor does he point out that his morale was steadily eroded by the sardonic comments of Stu the Nameless One. But beaten I was. The first game surprised me - I was pretty confident for most of it, but the English demi lancers proved decisive.

Border horse try to hold the English demi-lancers, but are hit in the flank by pikes.

The border horse are swept away, followed soon after by my cannon.

Due to my poor recruitment die rolls in our second game I was heavily outnumbered (albeit pox free), so didn't hold out much hope. My plan was to put all my horse ont one flank and try to roll up Nic's army before he could envelop me on the other. This worked ok, and I managed to neutralise his superior numbers for a while, but my general in the pike block in my centre ended up practically surrounded, then dead, which made the rest of my force evaporate. All except the unit of border horse that went riding off, out of control after routing some Irish Kerns.

Game 2. My pitifully small force faces off against an all-infantry Irish army of kerns, bonnachts and gallowglasses.

My cavalry on the left flank fail to make the decisive breakthrough I need, while my general's pike block in the centre is assailed by gallowglasses and Spanish targeteers. Oh it's all so depressing...

Despite my customary drubbing, it was a great night, and thanks to Nic for meeting up for a game. Irregular Wars is well worth a look.