The table was 8' x 6' and the game was an ACW encounter using the obligatory Airfix figures. I have no record of the forces or the scenario, but the layout still looked pretty good to me even after all these years. Therefore I decided to make this the basis of the scenario for my next SYW bash. I thought I'd show you how the scenario subsequently developed in my head.
I can just about squeeze an 8' x 6' table in my dining room, but it means moving furniture and dealing with a lot of other hassle. 6' x 4' is so much easier. The clincher for the smaller table was that I fancied a more crowded battlefield. I wanted all the toys out, and a 6' x 4' table would mean I could have a good dense layout of troops with second lines and reserves, giving a feeling of depth to each side's deployment. At least that was the plan.
I guess those are the two basic options for a table top battle. I decided to choose both - have one side attacking in one area of the battlefield (or at one stage of the battle), and the other side attacking in a different area, or at a different stage. This kind of thing is ideal to keep both sides really involved.
I don't have the right hills for an identical terrain, so a little re-jigging would be needed. The Turnpike could go, making room for a ridge where North Hill is. South Hill also became a ridge. A reduced road network also made sense to me for the 18th century in central Europe as opposed to the 19th century in the USA. And of course the names on the map would need to change, or just be left out.
Like a lot of wargamers, time can be tight for my home games. One way to save time is to have both sides (or most of both sides) already deployed and ready to go. This does mean less generalship can be used in deciding initial deployment and tactics, but it really can save a lot of time in deciding where those figures will go and actually putting them out. Another plus is that your visitor is presented with a table resplendent with toy soldiers all ready to go, which I feel is often a welcoming and tempting sight.
With all this in mind I set up the game as shown below (the map was botched up using Microsoft Office). The Austrians are preparing to attack the Prussians, who they believe they significantly outnumber. The Prussians are expecting a reinforcing grenadier brigade to arrive on their left flank.
|Striped units are cavalry, triangles are artillery.|
3.Left Flank Cavalry
I was quite pleased with the way the table looked after I'd set it up. With just about all the toys out on a smallish table it had the dense feel I was looking for.
|Ready for action.|
|With the armies set up in close proximity, fighting commenced straight away. |
Here the Prussian cavalry gets stuck in, brushing aside the Austrian light troops then
charging 2 artillery batteries in flank.The grenadiers arrive in the background.
A most enjoyable, all-action game with intense fighting from the start. 5 moves had taken 2.5 hours to play out, which I'm happy with. The Austrians never recovered from their blasting at the start of the game when their centre attacked. The Prussians did have a bit of dice luck here - I'm going to try average dice for firing and melee to see if that reduces the role of chance a bit. Armies in my rules move by alternate brigades from each side, and I'm also thinking about introducing that system for firing rather than the simultaneous fire I use at the moment.
On the subject of scenarios, this blog recommends the article on scenario design available on Bob Mackenzie's Web Page.