This week we were in 17th century France, or possibly one of the German States where the army of Louis XIV took on an Imperialist force. The rules we used were Lace Wars, by Partizan Press (Caliver Books). This was a step into the unknown, as we had not played these rules before, so it was a learning curve for all involved. This was a “stand alone” scenario, rather than a refight. I don’t have any toys for this period (yet), so Neil let me play with his French, while he refereed and concentrated on getting the rules right. Sandy provided the opposition with his Imperialists.This was quite a sacrifice for Neil, as this was the first time this army had been on the table!
Sandy lost the ‘scouting phase’ and had to deploy 4 units first, then I deployed 1, and so on until Sandy had fully deployed, then I deployed the rest of my army. This, in effect, meant that I got to see Sandy’s deployment and was able to deploy my forces accordingly.
Sandy went for a fairly balanced set up with his artillery in the centre and cavalry on his left flank, except one regiment that he put on his right. I had troops of mixed quality, so I deployed with my ‘experienced’ troops in the first line and the ‘inexperienced’ as a supporting, second line. I also placed my guns in the centre and had my cavalry on the right, to counter Sandy’s. I decided to make this my strongest flank by placing my 2 guards infantry regiments there.
The Imperial centre
It was decided that, as the French, I would attack (which I hate, I much prefer defending) but, due to the nature of the rules, we spent the first few turn collecting ‘command points’ and exchanging artillery fire. Eventually, Sandy began advancing on his right, through the village to attack the 2 isolated units on my left and started inflicting some damage.Sandy also occupied the village and began firing on the centre unit of my left flank division.
At this point, I decided that, as I was supposed to be attacking, I had better attack! I ordered my cavalry and centre division forward. The cavalry engaged and beat the leading Imperialist regiment, unsurprising as Sandy’s leading unit was dragoons and I was leading with my guard cavalry (the Garde Ecossaise). The Imperialist cavalry were quickly routed, and the second line were soon in retreat.
The Garde Ecossaise advance
Imperialist cavalry routs
In the centre, my leading infantry regiments charged, unsupported, into the opposition infantry, but were stopped short and disordered by defensive fire. Luckily, however, Sandy lacked the command points to exploit this set back. The next turn saw support arrive, the regiments rally, the charge completed and the Imperialists pushed back. Meanwhile, the French won the artillery battle by routing the Imperialist guns.
French centre advances
Imperialist artillery leaves the field
Over on the French left, it was a different story. Sandy’s “splendid Hungarians” had routed my ;experienced’ unit and were steadily whittling down the ‘inexperienced’ regiment. However, the rest of that division had advanced and were ready to strike!
The French left under pressure
But maintains its’ advance
The final action of the night came in the centre, where the 2 right hand units (the Garde Francaise and the Garde Suisse) pushed forward, defeating (routing) all in their path! With his left wing collapsing and his centre in retreat, Sandy decided he’d had enough and called a halt.
The French Garde advance…
…and keep on advancing
So, a victory for Louis XIV and my winning streak hits 6! I have a strong suspicion that will come to an abrupt halt next week (more about that later). The ‘new’ rules were not that complicated, we were able to pick up the basics very quickly. As a general rule, the best way to gauge how good a new system is, is to ask the losing player what he thought of them, The winner will almost always say they were a great set, but the loser will usually be hyper critical of them, The consensus of the ;post-match analysis’ was that these are a decent set of rules, with a couple of minor niggles that may require ‘house rules’ to satisfy all concerned.
This is a new period for most of us and I had already decided to get the required toys for it. I was originally thinking of getting a Dutch army of William III (and anybody who knows me will shocked by this revelation). However, after conversing with Messers Danskin and Gillespie, I have settled on my old favourites, the Swedes. I really must see someone about my obsession with Swedish armies! Although, I am not the only one, Neil has more French armies than can be healthy and Sandy does like his Turks….
Next week Sandy has a naval game arranged with German Michael (so called because his name’s Michael and he’s from Germany, we like to keep things simple!) and Neil is taking a week off. I have been challenged to a Dragon Rampant rematch by Alasdair, as part of George’s ‘Tears of the Desert’ campaign. This is where my ‘winning streak’ comes to a sudden end! Last time I faced Alasdair, I was not so much beaten, as totally crushed! I am not confident of a win, but we shall see.
If you want to come along to the club, we meet on Thursday nights from 7:30 at the Royal Navy and Royal Marine club in Broughton Street.
Thanks for reading,