Small Herbsthausen – A Tillys Very Bad Day Battle Report

In our first game since Covid-19 lockdown, Jamie and I played my Small Herbsthausen – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Scenario. In Tilly’s Very Bad Day terms this is a small game on a small table with small armies (in numbers of units). The Bavarians (Jamie) heavily outnumber the French (Steven) so I was going to find this a struggle.

Summary: A quick game resulting in an rather spectacular draw. That is pretty much the best result the French could expect from the scenario.


Version of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

We played version 2 of Tilly’s Very Bad Day (version 2.0).

While we are setting up I realised I’d forgotten how to play. Weird I know since I wrote the rules. Jamie suggested a we needed QRS. I have one – Quick Reference Sheet for Tilly’s Very Bad Day – but hadn’t printed it.


Deployment

The table just had a wood, hill and a road. Jamie lined his Bavarians close to the centre.

Tilly-30 Herbsthausen Table

Tilly-30 Herbsthausen Table

My only hope was to win quickly on the left. So I also deployed close to the centre with my horse.

Tilly-32 French looking thin on the left

Tilly-32 French looking thin on the left

I was thin on the left but even more thin on the right. So I hid in the woods. This wouldn’t protect me from Jamie’s infantry but it would make his horse a bit shy.

Tilly-31 French looking thin on the right

Tilly-31 French looking thin on the right


Turn 1

Jamie kicked off game turn 1. I got a shot on my right. But it has been a while and I forgot how many dice to roll. I rolled 4d6 (full resolve) rather than 1d6 (flank). I got two hits but later when I remembered the rule I took them back.

Tilly-34 Firing out of the wood

Tilly-34 Firing out of the wood
[Ooops, we forgot to take off the white crosses showing deployment]

Not surprising the close combat started on the left with lots of cavalry charges. I had a slight advantage of 5 to 4.

Tilly-35 Turn 1 charges on left

Tilly-35 Turn 1 charges on left

Jamie had forgotten about support so I had a slight advantage. Unfortunately, for me, we got two draws and I got a rally back.

Tilly-36 Mixed results

Tilly-36 Mixed results


Turn 2

In game turn 2 we went in again on the left. Jamie brought up his reserve cavalry so we ere back to 5 to 5.

Tilly-38 Turn 2 charges on left

Tilly-38 Turn 2 charges on left

Another mixed bag – a rout on each side – and a rally back for Jamie.

Tilly-40 Another mixed bag

Tilly-40 Another mixed bag

Tilly-42 Battered cavalry on left

Tilly-42 Battered cavalry on left

We also had charges on the right. It wasn’t going to be pretty over here as Jamie outnumbered me 5 to 1 as Jamie had left one unit behind.

Tilly-39 Turn 2 charges on right

Tilly-39 Turn 2 charges on right

By some miracle my horse survived. Just barely.

Tilly-41 Mon Dieu we survived

Tilly-41 Mon Dieu we survived


Turn 3

I forgot to take the photo with the charge markers. But trust me, there were charges. It still looked depressingly balanced in the cavalry melee.

Tilly-44 Once more into the breach

Tilly-44 Once more into the breach

Elsewhere the Bavarian horde was also surrounding my wood.

Tilly-45 oh man charges all around the wood

Tilly-45 oh man charges all around the wood

Tilly-46 another view of wood

Tilly-46 another view of wood

But the action was with the horse on my left.

Tilly-47 Before melee on left

Tilly-47 Before melee on left

Boom!!!! We both had a unit routed and we both had our generals killed. With the morale fall out from that, not much was left intact. I had two horse units and he had one.

Tilly-48 After melee on left

Tilly-48 After melee on left

Those losses were enough to take both of us passed the army breakpoint. A draw.

Tilly-49 End game

Tilly-49 End game


Conclusion

It was small. It was short (3 turns; 1 hour). It was fierce. It resulted in a (rather surprising) draw. It was quite fun. We both enjoyed it.

The scenario is unbalanced. The Bavarians have a massive numbers advantage. I decided to follow French tactics. Charge impetuously with the horse on the left and anchor my right with infantry in the wood. Kind of worked.

I have to say I was lucky taking Jamie over the army breakpoint and hence pushing him to a draw. A much more likely outcome was a clear Bavarian victory. If you want to balance the scenario up you might make the French horse superior. But I think it is fine as it is.

We quite liked the exploding wings at the end of the game. Both of our wings were depleted after several rounds of melee. So losing a unit routed and general was enough to decimate the remaining troops. It seemed fair enough. The only unusual thing was it happened to both of us at the same time.

The not-quite-woods were the only special rules. My foot took advantage of the woods to hide from Jamie’s horse. That was reasonable but it wasn’t going to protect me from his foot. I do wonder whether I would have bene better off getting my infantry to defend the hill behind the wood. Hard to say. It would have provided a good defensive position against the Bavarian horse and foot, but it quite removed so my foot would not have supported my horse.

We were very rusty. I was terribly slow getting my kit out because I just haven’t done it for six months. And I had to keep the Sequence of Play open in the Tilly’s Very Bad Day rules to remind us what to do when. By the end of the game we had remembered everything we needed but it took us a while to get into the zone.

Jamie flogged we needed a Quick Reference Sheet for Tilly’s Very Bad Day. Of course, we had one, but I hadn’t printed it. Now I have.

Tillys Very Bad Day - We need a QRS

Tilly’s Very Bad Day – We need a QRS

All in all, a good game.

4 comments to Small Herbsthausen – A Tillys Very Bad Day Battle Report

  • Joseph

    Glad you can game face to face again. Another interesting AAR.

  • Roger Calderbank

    Thank you for this report. I want to try this scenario when I can resume face-to-face games.

    For a scenario like this, where the number of units is close to the minimum number for a small game, I wonder whether it would be preferable to use the ‘advanced’ command morale rules. Otherwise, as here, the game is likely to be decided by the initial clash, and the game not last long enough for many of units to get into action. If the command morale rules had been used here, both sides would have lost a command, and the game would continue until one or other lost another command.

    By the way, I assume Jamie’s reserve cavalry passed its command check. It looks to me as if it was deployed out of command!

    RogerC

    • Steven Thomas

      Or increase the break point.

      Jamie’s right flank horse was part of the right wing. So separate from the other horse and in command.

    • Steven Thomas

      Ooops, that comment was about my right flank horse.

      Jamie’s reserve horse was from the centre, helped out on his right, while centre commander drifted left. Hmm, didn’t spot that at the time. Might have made a difference as it would have put the odds in my favour in the cavalry battle.

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