This weekend Harley and I continued our infrequent learning of the Black Powder Rules. Having played General de brigade for the better part of a decade and amassing a largish collection -( which I have plans to continue to grow mind you) Ive been looking for another set of rules to play games with people who may not be ready to sit down and spend a few solid weeks reading the rules before playing.
So far I'm starting to feel black powder is that set of rules - strip away to silly comments and the general tidbits of attempted humor (sorry guys I don't find it that funny) and at the core you have a set of elegant rules that for the most part is giving me the feel of the period- without to much of the reference material.
Don't get me wrong I love General De Briagde, and its brilliant for small action one on games, and at the other end the massive multi-player games - and I haven't picked up the most recent version, but it always felt that the games bogged down into a quagmire of rechecking and endless leafing through reference cards. Thats fine when you have a team of experianced players who all know the rules, understand the period and are working towards the same goal. Not so much when your slowly easing someone who has only a marginal view over the period and at times will look at certian circumstances and go thats balls!
So black powder for me is becoming the 2nd tier rules for a fun game/ evening. That being said there is a level of depth to these rules that takes getting use to, but if you strip all that away and just run with the bare bones, its simple enough and provide enough to keep the game going - so much that you play with a large number of models and not feel your overwhelmed in using them.
Today we messed around with a table top teaser from the Battlegames Magazine - the scenario called Gaining the Initiative by Charles Grant Junior (those who know the history of war-gaming will recognise that name and how awesome it is to continue to receive tidbits from that corner of the wargaming elite !).
Basically if played out with a small advance guards meeting the day before and attempting to secure an advantage and then the main bodies arriving the following day to duke it out.
We didn't keep a blow by blow but I plan to do that later down the track. Suffice to say the Austrians had a poor day in the field, the veteran unit got mauled on the 1st day, as it struck forward into french guns, while its supports failed to turn up. On the 2nd day the bulk of the cavalry reserve took off in the early morning and was not seen for the rest of the day. The french didn't have it all their own way, with their cavalry getting over excited and charging too soon and being broken, and their units being very sluggish in the morning phase, but by mid day they had gained the initiative, and had begun the methodically take the main town and hold thier flanks.
We called it at about 1.30 in the morning as we had started late in the evening, but it was a tactical victory to the french- though the Austrians had not been able to develop their main attack and we did have half of the 2nd day to play out.
Anyway it was fun and with firm commitments to play again soon.
Have a great week.
Cheers Black Bob