The Field of Battle
The French cavalry are caught in the town by British cavalry
to the right and the bottom left hand corner.
Over the weekend, we had the opportunity to play some of the new scenarios from the latest Command & Colours Napoleonics expansion Marshalls & Tacticians. I was aided in this by my old enemy, the soldier of destiny himself, Lochlainn McHibernia-McEireanneach. A wild eyed poetic soul, McHibernia-McEireanneach has recently returned from a book tour of Chicago, Vienna and the sub continent. His most recent publication, "The New Gluten Free Cookbook and My Fight for Irish Freedom," has been reasonably successful.
He joined me in playing the Sahagun scenario. I have been mildly obsessed with Sahagun for a while and I've struggled to make the scenario work. Command & Colours Napoleonics simply does not shine without combined arms, so I was very interested to see how Richard Borg would approach this particular problem.
The French player is presented with a choice - fight or run?
In brief, if you don't want to read my previous ramblings on Sahagun (click linky) - it was a battle where the British cavalry launched a surprise attack on some French horse in barracks. The French were almost surrounded and routed, but were prevented from being putting completely in the bag by some poor co-ordination on the part of the British.
Richard Borg's take on this scenario puts the French in a situation where they need to either defeat the British cavalry or flee the field. Because it's a cavalry engagement, it's essentially a demolition derby of charge and counter charge. Richard has adapted the victory conditions somewhat so the French can score by getting troops off the board. He also rates the French cavalry as 33% more effective than the British.
A troops of the Light Dragoons about to do for some Chasseurs.
We played this several times, three times in total I think and the French took it handily on each occasion. I had hoped that Richard might have cracked the pure cavalry engagement, but I don't think he has. There is very little the British can do to try and prevent the French getting off the field and unless they can bring superior numbers to bear, they can't go toe to toe with the French horse.
McHibernia-McEireanneach counting his victory points
I really wanted to like this scenario because I'm fascinated by the original battle and I love cavalry engagements, but to be honest, it's a bit of a lemon. CCN while it is my favourite Napoleonic rule set, does combined arms well, but it struggles to cope with scenarios that don't have at least two arms present.
French horse bolting for the river.
I don't think we'll be giving this one a go again, which is a pity, because it's a fascinating engagement. Fortunately we played some of the other scenarios from the new expansion and they were a different story.