Saturday, April 10, 2010

Not dead, just busy...

The Connaught Rangers turning to enfilade a mistimed charge by the Hussars of Conflans.
Official War Artist - Donogh O'McCarthy RA

What with settling in to the new posting, starting house hunting, mortgage application and organising a new bike, things have been rather busy of late. This has been complicated by a recent bereavement so time has been in rather sort supply.

I managed to make it to most of Leprecon which was great fun as always, despite Mrs. Kinch doing her back in a rather spectacular manner that involved night time ambulance rides and other assorted silliness. We played several games of En Avant which went very well.

The first game we played was Advance Guard from Steve's rather excellant site here.

The game was played on a four by six table with two battalions of foot, one of horse and one gun a side, the general idea being that both players are playing the advance guards of forces advancing to contact who discover that their inteligence about the situation is not all it could be. I will not go on further for risk of spoiling of the scenario, but it's cracking good fun and an excellant starter scenario for any ruleset. Highly recommended and my thanks to the Brigadier for writing it and Steve for republishing it.

The rules used were En Avant by Jim Wallman and can be found here. They're a diceless setthat rely heavily on an Umpire, but I rather enjoy umpiring so this is no burden.

The game played in about an hour and a jolly time was had by all, especially an old friend of mine, who isn't really a wargamer, but who managed to lead the British to victory.

Post Match Analyis

- inexperienced and gung ho players tend to use cavalry as shock troops, rather than allowing the infantry and artillery to pave the way for a devastating cavalry attack. This usually results in players "pushing the big red button" early on and frittering their cavalry away at the start of the battle.

- the idea of En Avant! as a Napoleonic roleplaying game is a good one and new players tend to find it easier to understand the mechanics of the situation when it is presented in this manner.

- for new players learning to manage the traffic jam of troops in a confined space is key.

Probably the key moment of the game happened rather early on when the French cavalry "balaklava'ed" and rashly charged the British guns. The British guns took to their heels, but the cavalry took a volley from the Connaught Rangers for their pains and lost the French General de Brigade to a stray round. This paralysed the French for a few key turns and probably cost them the game.

Our second game was "Hold the Pass" from Charles Stuart Grants "Scenarios for Wargames". This was a very tightly contested game and ended in a narrow British win after playing out the full twenty four turns.

Bizarrely enough the key moment of the battle occured when a British column crashed into a French line and routed it. Poor old Charlie Oman would have been horrified.

The day was also brightened by a very thoughtful birthday gift from Donogh of a copy of Phil Olley and the Brigadiers latest work - The Annexation of Chiraz.


  1. I do hope Mrs. Kinch's back is feeling better?

    And ah, the familiar faces of Airfix Washington's Army. :) I still have some 300 or so of those.

  2. Returning your comment, Conrad - Thanks for the kind words to this LibriVox reader! And I discover you are a kindred spirit, as I grew up with Featherstone, Grant and Young as my inspirations some decades ago.

    Give me a yell if you wish at

    Mark Smith