Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Saturday, 5 January 2013

First Game of the Year

I have got off to a good start, played my first game of the year last night. I had the choice of Field of Glory Ancients where I took along the figures or Volley & Bayonet (Napoleonic Set) where Matt supplied everything. I really could not loose as both are high on my play list for 2013 but the idea of skipping sorting out the figures tipped the balance as it allowed me to spend that bit extra time finishing off figures.
Matt I knew had a rather large Russian force as he was one of the brave soles who put on the excellent Borodino display game at Donnington this year. But he also had the Westphalian's who faced off against them. Great news, I get to play with some of the troops I intend to paint at some point in 2013, I even already have the flags. Now V&B are designed for BIG battles, not big battles I do mean BIG battles and as such perfect for the Borodino bash. However we were just playing a sliver of this as I was new to the rules. Matt reasoned we had enough to keep us occupied for the evening so after sorting a few other things out Matt ran me through the rules and supplied the QRS that was all you really need to get through most of what yo will come across during a game.
Even though we were playing with 6mm Matt was quick to point out that movement was rather long and that the range of the guns was a good distance as well. I even drew out the measure to the amounts mentioned and yes it is a lot of distance for guys with such short legs. Matt also went on to say that when things start to get involved these distances start to seem to shrink and often you really need more distance than you have.

Cavalry off to the right out of shot

I placed cavalry on both flanks whilst Matt placed all his on the one flank. I should ave reacted on the first turn and sent my cavalry to the opposite flank which would have allowed me to arrive in time to join the battle at a critical moment. However I hoped to do enough that both sides would put enough hurt on the other so as to make forward progress with the cavalry undesirable. Obviously I was also looking at how these rules compared to mine and what they did better and could I use some of the features. Most of all though I was there for a good game.

Scattered Cavalry
Matt held back his infantry and was moving his cavalry further forward. I decided to try my luck, charging his cavalry before he had the chance to charge mine. This had the advantage of keeping the action away from my infantry which would save them from being disordered if any of my cavalry were forced back or routed. On the negative side it allowed Matt to reinforce success and prop up failure. Of the original three charges I was disordered on the morale test of two of them (rolling ten+ on a D12, though one had a +2 mod). Matt did that bit better by disordering one of his regiments. As would be expected I won the melee where I was not disordered and lost the other two. The rules do not allow a draw which while a bit strange is just another mechanic for fast play.

Trapped between Russian Cavalry.
The next turn saw Matt charge a number of my cavalry including one from in front and behind. The protecting Hussars being tied up by a charge of their own. Then happened the strangest event of the game, I managed to defeat the two attacking units after passing a morale test (heavily weighted to fail) and then caused the single casualty of the melee. This forced both enemy units to route directly away from my unhurt Dragoons which caused a number of Russian regiments to become disordered. This in my mind was the only weak part to the rules from the whole game. I was at a disadvantage via the morale test and the actual combat so I did have to roll well whilst hoping my opponent would achieve less hits with more dice. I personally felt that the Russian should have had a minimum effect of a strength loss to my regiment. This would not be a difficult house rule to add.

Reforming after the charges and counter charges.
So from looking like all was lost to being in a fairly strong position, at least on the surface. Both cavalry formations by this time were not so far off formation tests and a few of the regiments were close to removal through casualties. This lead me to start to withdraw to a position supported by my infantry. Matt still had fresh regiments (and formations) available to bring into action. I was by this point moving my fresh formation across to help out and it was no surprise to see the Russian regiments that had already clashed with me now with a supporting role. Meanwhile our artillery had been trading shots and I had lost a couple of guns and also reduced the odd infantry regiment.

Guess what I did wrong.
Even though I had been playing for a few turns I still did not have the move distance fully in mind when I moved across the front of the Russian forces. I foolishly allowed one of my batteries to come within reach of the Russian infantry. They charged into it and removed the foot battery from the game, this counts towards formation exhaustion and this being my smallest formation meant that I was a third of my way there.  A big mistake indeed. The only bonus was that it led to Matt committing some of the infantry to continue the attack.

Attacking next to the village.
The Russian foot after taking fire from my guns then attacked my line. I counted as Stationary as I had not moved from their start of the game and as such had an advantage in melee. I won one of the battles though the other forced me to retire, though I then charged with a fresh unit overturning their win. Matt lost two or three infantry regiments in quick succession. If we were to have a protracted combat then I would be at a great advantage.

Russian Cavalry mass for the final face off.
Pushed all the way back into my Infantry but unable to hide behind them I charged with about half of my remaining cavalry. It was one of those do or die attacks. I came out of it about 50/50 but needed a lot better than that. I passed the formation check roll but with so little left and most of it close to removal we called the game there.

It had been fun and fast and did what it said on the can. Yes it felt Napoleonic and yes I want to play again. Quite a few things play different to my set of course but I was struck by how much was the same. Nothing felt wrong though the feel of the battle was different. No way could my rules handle as large a battle as these could though I felt mine had a bit more taste to them. V&B lump a lot of units together such as Lancers are more or less just the same as lights. Again all this is done for fast play and managing large battles. Both from watching the rules in action at the Borodino re-fight and playing this smaller battle it is clear that the rules do just this. I am keen to try them again, maybe with a slightly larger force. I don't feel the need to stop work on my rules though but these rules certainly have caught my eye.


  1. Nice to get a game in so early, our first will hopefully be the 20th, nice batrep Ian.

  2. Great game and after action report thanks for sharing and looking forward in more tabletop adventures!

  3. An excellent batrep and well done getting a game in this early in the year!

  4. Sounds good. I've often wondered about V&B.