We had arranged another Lace Wars encounter for tonight, mainly in order to become more familiar with the rules. Sandy brought along his Imperialist army, while Neil once again provided the French.The terrain was set up and a 600 point game was agreed. I thought I might join the French again this week but, while I was sitting next to Sandy discussing a possible game at an upcoming show, Mr. McBean arrived and joined Neil. So it was I took the left wing of the Imperial army.
Once again, the Imperial scouts proved incompetent and we had to deploy 3 units for every French one placed. This was not as bad as it could have been, as Sandy and I had predicted Neil’s deployment pretty accurately. We placed our guns on the left, along with our best cavalry units and 4 infantry regiments, 2 of which were skirmishers. In the centre, we put our best infantry in the front line, with skirmishers in the village and 2 not so good infantry in the second line. On the right, we had our not so good cavalry and infantry. Having learned just how fragile our cavalry is, we placed it behind our infantry on both flanks (cowering behind, as somebody unkindly commented).
Infantry protecting the cavalry
Neal and Al set up pretty much as we thought they would (not that they’re predictable…) with the cavalry on their right, the bulk of the infantry, including 2 guard regiments, in the centre. The French left consisted of their guns and a few infantry regiments.
The French right…
The first couple of turns were spent gathering ‘command points’, so there was very little action. The Imperial cannon inflicted some casualties on the French cavalry and continued to do minimal damage throughout the battle, but never enough to worry the French. On the opposite flank, the French infantry deployed in front of their guns, who, despite mine and Sandy’s assurance that it was definitely canister range, refused to fire.
Round 3 started with the French centre advancing, stopping at long range for muskets. They received a volley from the Imperial infantry and took some casualties, but, again, not enough to concern them. The next round, they charged home and that’s when things really started to go wrong for the Imperialists! The volley that could have prevented contact was pathetic, there’s no other word for it. I rolled 3 dice and scored 1, 1 and 2! It was so bad, I refused to roll anymore dice for the rest of the battle.
The French advance…
and charge home.
Heavy damage was done to the Imperialist line and it was pushed back, much of it disordered. The French then charged a second time, again inflicting heavy damage and the Imperialists started routing from the field. It was at this point that Sandy and myself surrendered, as there was no way back.
The Imperialists pushed back….
…and finally rout.
At the risk of this sounding like sour grapes, I’m going to give a small critique of the rules. First off, let me say I like these rules, there are a lot of good points. The ‘command and control’ system is very good and add another tactical level to the game. I also like the shooting phase. Instead of shooting at a specific unit, you shoot at the whole formation, with damage spread evenly among the units in the formation.
It’s the melee system that I don’t like. I suggested to Campbell that the rules favour the French in this area, and mentioned something similar to Neil last time we played. The French infantry is classed as ‘impact’ regardless of quality. Every other country’s infantry is classed as ‘rank’. This gives the French a huge advantage in melee combat. As an example, when Al charged his line into Sandy’s infantry, Al rolled 22 dice for his attack damage, whereas Sandy rolled 9. You can imagine the difference in scores. On top of this, whoever wins the melee suffers no casualties…none…not one. As well as not being very realistic (when has a melee ever resulted in no casualties for one side?) it is also not fair (cue inner petulant 13 year old, complete with stamping foot). It may be that some sort of ‘house rule’ is required to make this a bit better. Neil, of course, is delighted…his French are now 2 for 2!
Next week we are off to the Sudan for a colonial game, possibly as a precursor to a campaign that Sandy will be running. It should be fun….