Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Brother Against Brother & The gun that fired the shot that launched a hobby.

Can you get any more old school than playing on the floor?

I've learned several things in the last few days. Brother against Brother is a very pleasant man to man black powder skirmish game that hares along at a very acceptable rate and will probably (with some tweaking*) form a part of the Kinch arsenal for some time to come, handling as it does horse, foot and guns without recourse to sums.

Mrs. Kinch and I spent some quality time together as we'd not seen much of each other over the Christmas, including some very profitable moments spent doing damn all of use.

In the words of that great philosopher-hobo Mr. David Lister of Deep Space Mining Craft Red Dwarf.

"Even vultures need time to put their feet up and read "What Carcass?" Magazine."

With that advice for the ages ringing in our ears, Mrs. Kinch and I settled down to an evening spent watching Poirot mysteries, wargaming (Myself) and crotchet (Mrs. Kinch).

Pictured above you will see the fruits of the solo Brother Against Brother game played that evening. Four sections of Frenchers versus two of Redcoats, the result was a French victory (boo!) despite their having been hammered by lucky early volleys. Two sections marched up the Redcoat's position and engaged them in a desultory long range fire, while their compatriots flanked the position to attack with the arme blanche.

The British attempted to disengage after decimating the French covering party, only to be engaged by the flanking party in a close fought close combat, that resulted in both sides fleeing the field. The second British section fired and knocked a few of the foe on the head, only to be charged again by a French section that had not bothered to reload. The resulting kerfuffle left the French masters of the field.

All in all, including set up, consulting the rules and such, this little engagement took about an hour.

The refreshments did not include tea (sorry Steve), but took in a very palatable Chateauneuf du Pape and an amiable Grahams Tawny. Sadly, I did not finish the Tawny in one sitting, for which I shall have to port fine myself come the next Halberdier's game.

Which go to show that drinking and gaming are pass times that go very well together, though not so photography. My father would beat me if he saw the lamentable state of the shots above and he'd be right to do so.

Lessons learned.

* Brother Against Brother is a fast and pleasant game. The morale system shines.

* Firepower seems a little overpowering, even though I was using smoothbores most volleys told and told hard. I may be missing a trick here.

* Melee is a dicey business for all concerned, which is as it should be.

* Setting your camera up on a tripod and setting it to take pics at five minute intervals is a truly awful way to document a game.

Other Lessons learned (following some very kind clarification from members of the BAB list)

* Sections may not move if they do not have a company officer within six inches of their section leader. This means that these officers spend great deal of time running about chivying sections hither and thither.

* Company officers may move on any friendly sections card.

* The penalty for "Rested Weapons" in the rulebook is typo.


* There is also no bonus of reserving your first volley or account taken of gunsmoke. While this would introduce an element of record keeping, I think they would benefit the game. Further play will determine if such additions are warranted.

The Rolls Royce of miniature cannon, the Britain's 4.7 inch naval gun.

I was also given just after New Years this magnificent piece of work as a Chrismas gift by a friend of mine. A very thoughtful and wholly undeserved gift that works as well today as it did when it was made. Actually handling one of these made a great many points made by Wells in "Little Wars" much clearer. The firepower of the guns is not as overpowering in the rules as written, because the range is not as great as I thought it was and the projectiles provided are smaller than I imagined.

Fitz and myself spent a pleasant afternoon taking pot shots with match and cocktail sticks. I think the natural progression is to soak the match sticks in paraffin and set them on fire...

*It is the mark of the war-gamer that no shop bought set of rules is ever...quite right. I have sworn to play at least another five games of Brother Against Brother before doing anything to the ruleset. Too often I find, gamers alter some aspect of a game before they play it and end up complaining of things that the game designer was aware of and had accounted for in play-testing, his simple and elegant fix to the problem having been crushed beneath of the chariot wheels of indiscriminate tinkering.


  1. Conrad,

    A 'Happy New Year' wish for both yourself and Mrs. Kinch.

    Some interesting thoughts here. Please do continue to share.

    -- Jeff

  2. Excellent - my first "outright chuckle at a blog" of the year goes to......... yourself, sir!

  3. Thank you very much for your kind comments gentlemen, though I'm dying with curiousity to find out what hit your funny bone Steve.

  4. Well first of all it was the mention of the tea - but the clincher was the mention of the camera on tripod set at 5 minute automatic... would lvoe to see the entire set... :o))))