Summary: After losing a general in the preliminary bombardment, Parliament fought well but could not break the Royalists within the game limit. Royalist victory at the “Battle of Chalgrove Field”.
Phase 1: Game Set up
The mechanics of Populous, Rich and Rebellious influenced most of the game set up.
1.1. Agree game size
With two players we played a small game, with small armies on a small table.
1.2. Recruit armies
In Populous, Rich and Rebellious, campaign cards influence the orders of battle.
Adam drew four campaign cards. All of them were Parliament cards, so Adam’s Royalists could not benefit from them and they were discarded.
- [Parliament] Arthur Haselrig – Shot proof armour: Once during the battle one Commander ignores the result of shooting
- [Parliament] A rousing sermon: Once during the battle restore the resolve of one unit to its original total during the rally phase
- [Parliament] The Assessment” – Parliament’s excise tax: Before the battle add one Horse unit to the order of battle
- [Parliament] New Model Army: Before the battle add one Horse unit to the order of battle
Chris got five campaign cards, three of which were Parliament/Beneficial, one detrimental, and one ignored because it was a Royalist card.
- [Parliament] Wealthy Cavalryman declares for Parliament: Before the battle add one Horse unit to the order of battle
- [Parliament] The ‘Dog-witch’ must die: Negate Royalist card ‘Sergeant-Major-General Boy’ – Retain until used
- [Beneficial] Experienced officer: For the entire battle increase one chosen commander’s to hit in melee from 4-6 to 3-6
- [Detrimental] Dragoons away foraging: Before the battle remove one Dragoon unit from the order of battle
- [Royalist] “The Contribution” – King’s excise tax: Before the battle add one Horse unit to the order of battle
“The ‘Dog-witch’ must die” card was retained and didn’t have an effect in the game. The Parliamentarians lost their dragoon unit and gained a horse unit.
Orders of Battle
For a small game with a player a side, we started with the small order of battle.
After applying the campaign cards, the Royalists had the standard 14 unit army. Parliament also had 14 units but swapped out their dragoons for more horse.
Royalist Order of Battle
Parliament Order of Battle
1.3.A. Determine attacker
With the sides balanced in terms of numbers, the strategic attacker (Parliament) was the tactical attacker.
We give the tactical attacker the initiative in Tilly’s Very Bad Day.
1.3.B. Game duration
As the first game in 1643 the battle was fought in Spring, on an overcast day, and started at noon, making a game limit of 8 game turns. The Royalist attackers had to win in 8 turns.
1.4. Place Terrain
Adam drew four Terrain Cards and got a difficult hill on his left but in the Parliamentary deployment zone, a gentle hill near the centre of the battlefield, and rough ground on the right.
Adam opted to rotate the bottom right card so the rough ground was in the centre of his own deployment zone. That sparked some panicked Royalist conversations as I (Steven) asked “Are you sure?” Adam was sure. That was the first time during the game he pointed out that, “I don’t have to defeat the Parliamentarians. All I have to do is, not lose.” He had a defensive strategy.
We still didn’t do scouting. Next time as it gives dragoons more value.
Chris spread his Parliamentarians across the table. In contrast, Adam concentrated from the rough ground to the left. Adam was intending to play a defensive game and left the Chris’s army come to him.
The big event of the game happened during the bombardment.
Adam scored a hit with his cannon, then killed the general of the Parliamentary left wing.
That both virtually immobilised the wing and also reduced all of the units by a further one Resolve. Without a general to rally them, they were unlikely to recover.
Despite that blow, Chris bravely fought on.
Despite rolling a command check to move each unit in his left wing, Chris managed to get all three horse units moving in game turn one.
Chris also advanced in the centre, across the gentle hill, and on his right.
Seeing the disorder in the Parliamentary left wing, Adam changed his plan and advanced.
Chris continued to advance in game turn 2. But this time his left wing refused to move.
Adam also continued to advance. He pushed his left wing far forward to engage with the Parliamentary wing opposing.
The Parliament centre also moved, but at an infantry pace. This created an echeloned front.
The horse on the left slammed together.
The result of melee was balanced, with both sides getting a rally back.
Chris gamely continued to advance on his right and in the centre. One of his horse units from the left wing also advanced.
Adam pulled back his left wing while advancing his centre.
The infantry lines were now getting pretty close.
Again Chris advanced everywhere, including on his left wing. That horse unit really wanted to get revenge for the loss of the general.
Adam also advanced everywhere. In particular he brought his extreme right wing horse out to play.
Gunpowder smoke started to roll across the battlefield.
The charges commenced on the left, with Adam throwing a unit of horse at the Parliamentarian shot.
The shot were driven back.
In the centre Chris’s infantry charged.
And drove back their Royalist opponents.
Finally on the right, the opposing horse charged each other. This, again, required a successful command check by Chris’s commander-less horse.
This seemly unbalanced melee resulted in a deadlock.
Here is a shot of the battlefield at the end of turn 4.
On the left Chris continued his advance.
Ditto for the centre. That included turning a unit of pike+shot towards the threat facing the rather immobile left wing.
Now the infantry were blazing away at each other in the centre.
In melee on the left, the Royalists drove a Parliamentary horse back.
Parliament also went back in the centre.
But it was the Royalists who went back on the right.
The only Parliamentary movement in turn 6 was on the cent-right and right. Again his left wing horse had to make a command check to move.
Royalist musketry routed a Parliamentary pike+shot unit. And that killed another general
Adam really lurched into gear now with a lot of movement. He did some clever line replacement in his left wing cavalry, pulling a weakened unit right back to bring a fresh unit forward. He also attacked out of the rough ground in the right-centre.
There were lots of charges on the right-centre.
But the only effect was to bounce the charging Royalist infantry.
To the left of the road, however, Royalist horse broke their Parliamentary opponents.
Another wide battlefield shot.
Turn 7 saw Chris still advancing.
Again there were lots of charges, but this time on the left and in the centre.
The Royalists broke the surrounded Parliamentary pike+shot unit.
Shooting saw another Parliamentary rout.
But the staunch Parliamentary shot bounced charging Royalist horse.
And round heads bounced more cavaliers near the road.
And on the right the supposedly “demoralised” Parliamentary horse was still fighting gamely and pushed their opponents back.
But that was 8 turns and the game limit. Chris, as the attacker, hadn’t defeated the Royalists so lost. And counting the casualties, Parliament had probably lost in turn 7 by reaching their army breakpoint.
Conclusions and Observations
A great little game. The result was determined in the initial bombardment which immobilised Parliament’s left wing. But Chris fought all and made a good game of it.
Chris suggested that perhaps the attackers should get more troops to make it easier to win in the time limit. Although correct, I hope the choice of where to attack in Populous, Rich and Rebellious, which influences the number of campaign cards, means the balance is likely to lie in favour of the attacker. But I’ll watch this and see whether they need more.
|Game||Year + Round||Location||Game Size||Royalist||Parliament|
|1||1642 Early||East Midlands||Small||Adam
|4||1642 Late||East Anglia||Large||Steven
|5||1643 Early||Upper Thames Valley||Small||Adam
Where to get Tilly’s Very Bad Day and Populous, Rich and Rebellious
Both are available for download as PDFs: