The Colours Advance of the Scots Guards at the Alma by Lady Butler
Young Du Gourmand and I have been discussing using Command & Colours Napoleonics to play games set during the Crimean War for years now. What changed last week was that I finally got off my backside and did something about it. I put together a draft scenario for the British sector of the Battle of the Alma. Du Gourmand and I played it three times and came to that classic conclusion that crops up in most research be it under graduate or otherwise.
"More research is needed."
I rated the British infantry as standard Napoleonic British infantry, albeit with three blocks and a three hex range because of their shiny new rifles. The reason for them being reduced to three stands is that the Russians seemed to operate in larger units, so any given acreage would contain more Russians than Britishers. The British plus one to shooting when stationary also remained.
The Light Division were treated as British Rifles from Command & Colours Napoleonics. British generals and horse artillery were also treated as they were in Command & Colours Napoleonics.
The Russian artillery, generals and cossacks were treated as written, but the Russian infantry began with five blocks and ignoring one flag. We did not use the Mother Russia rule.
The important thing to note here is that the British infantry have a range of three hexes and the Russian infantry have a range of two. This results in a sort of dance where the Russians struggled to get close to the British lines without getting shot to pieces and the British shied away from the Russian juggernaut. With only three stands, a British unit that was charged by a full strength Russian unit was in serious trouble.
After the first playthrough, we knocked the Russian infantry back to four stands because five stands was just too powerful. We might play around with the idea of four stand British infantry and five stand Russians, but the game seemed to work with three and four.
The Battle of the Alma by Horace Vernet
(note the size and extent of the slope)
Normally when designing a Command & Colours scenario, hill hexes are only used to indicate changes in elevation, but the problem with the Alma is that the Russian positions are on a slope, which calls for what is effectively a multi-level hill in Command & Colours terms. This led to the unusual situation that the Russian player was concealing troops uphill from the British player and then counter charging his men as they took the redoubt. The point is not that that shouldn't have happened, but that the British player should have been able to put those units under fire before hand.
This is going to prove to be a tricky circle to square - though Du Gourmand rather rashly promised that he would write me a scenario based on the French sector if I manage to get it right.