Saturday, May 12, 2007

Quatre Bras 1815

Again with the 6mm Horse and musket (see Mayday: Part Three for a report of another game played within the last week using 6mm horse and musket figures)…. Don’t go thinking I’m a convert or anything.

This time I was playing Curt Campbell’s pretty, wee Napoleonic figures which he kindly brought up from Regina for us to play with. I wish I had gotten a picture of the Highland Brigade; they were amazing! He painted the bloody dicing on their bonnets!?

John Bertolini, Gary Chappel and Tim Miller also joined us for the evening. Gary and I played the Allied forces (which gave me an excuse to wear my Glengarry), and John and Mr. Miller played the foppish French. The battle Curt had prepared for us was Quatre Bras 1815. I looked at the wikipedia entry for it long enough to ascertain that it was a battle for a crossroads, and the French were trying to drive a wedge between two armies (The Prussians and the British and other allies, I think…). I didn’t bother reading far enough to find out who won…

I should point out here I’m not a big fan of the Napoleonic era and am completely ignorant of pretty much everything to do with it. My knowledge of the warfare of the period can be summed up in a few sentences; there was a short little fellow named Napoleon. He was French ( I think…). He took the French army and tried to invade Russia, which everyone knows is a mistake (as is messing with a Sicilian when death is on the line – but that’s another story). Then there was this other fellow named Wellington. He beat Napoleon at a place called Waterloo. That about sums up my knowledge of the Napoleonic era.

I am, however, a big fan of playing games with pretty toys and fun people. As both prerequisites were present for me to have a good time I had a go at it.

The rules we used were Fast Play Grande Armee. It seemed easy enough to pick up… well when there was a very experienced referee present. If I had to choose, however, I’d go with bob’s Two for Tea AWI rules. Maybe that’s because I played Bob’s game during the afternoon and I was actually awake.

Most of the gaming took place well past my bedtime so my memory seems a bit foggy. Gary and I started with William of Orange on the table along with a couple brigades of infantry and a battery of light guns. The French started with a couple dozen brigades of infantry and cavalry and almost as many batteries of guns. “Wild Willy”, as we came to call him by the end of the evening, gave them all a sound thrashing and sent them all whimpering home to their mothers in Paris (who would all be very busy for some time changing their nappies). But the French apparently wanted the crossroads so they sent more.

Then the Highland Brigade came on and when they heard the skirl of the pipes the rest of the French army crumbled and ran.

I swear that’s how I remember it all happening.

Here’s a couple of pictures of the action.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

The windmill at the crossroads is Quatre Bras. The Highlanders have occupied it and are getting right sloshed. In the immediate fore-ground are some Brunswickers all dressed in black (they are the original Goth-vampire-LARPers). Beyond them and their dapper-looking commanders is a command stand with a fellow in a top hat and and umbrella. I believe his name was Picton and he pretended to tell the Highlanders what to do.

These picture just don’t do Curt stands justice. Every last one of them is a beautiful little diorama. If you take a close look at those Brunswick Cavalry men you’ll see some Frenchmen being run down and hacked with sabers.

These are the French armies lining up to surrender before Quatre Bras.

Hmmmm… they look like Englishmen… but these might have been proxies for more dutchemen under Orange.

Like I said I swear that’s how I remember it all going down, but if I’m wrong maybe the lads will set me straight by posting some coments of their own below…

Thanks for the game Curt! Always a pleasure!

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