Thursday, 1 August 2013

Great Northern War

There must be something in the air at the moment.  As I was settling down to compile this post I noticed that Phil Olley had updated his blog, including a new page featuring his homecast 40mm Prince August  figures.  After a couple of weeks away from gaming, Steve and I got together on Tuesday to try out the Ga Pa rules for the Great Northern War and used the Prince August figures that were formerly in Alasdair Jamison's collection. (more photos on this earlier post)

We set up a small scale scenario, 8 units of Swedes, (4 each of horse and foot) and  11 Russians (6 and 5 respectively).  The Russians had two batteries of guns to the Swedes one and also had an advantage of heavier guns.  Although outnumbered almost 3:2 the Swedish force was approx 10% bigger in terms of points, would the quality advantage help them overcome superior numbers?

The Swedish left wing cavalry

Steve commanded the Swedes and not surprisingly moved forward at speed, hoping to get into melee before my artillery did any damage.  His right wing cavalry charged my dragoons, who held their ground and fired at their attackers.  To my surprise, the Russian volley stopped the Swedes in their tracks, inflicting a step loss as well.  A second charge was also beaten back by a volley from the dragoons.  At this point, we were beginning to question if we were interpreting the rules correctly, surely the Swedish cavalry should have made more impression than this?  We then realised that I had managed to roll 3 on 2xd6 twice, ensuring that the dragoons fire had been as effective as it could possibly have been.  Normal service was resumed on the third Swedish charge when, although the dragoons managed to stand again, this time their volley was ineffective.  In the ensuing melee, class told and my dragoons were soon heading for the baseline.

The Russian infantry hoping their artillery will win the day
 The cavalry on the Swedish left also attacked and had an easier ride due to the inability of my wing commander to issue an order to get them moving. (I needed to roll a 1 or 2 and of course could not stop rolling 6's).  My first line of dragoons was soon moving towards the baseline at speed and my wing commander managed to evade the advancing Swedes, but this left the second line without his support and they also fled.

The Russian right wing dragoons prepare to advance

 Whilst this carnage was taking place on my flanks the infantry were preparing themselves for the clash with the Swedish infantry.  My artillery was doing its best to help, inflicting step losses on both front line battalions (the guards and a battalion comprising elements of the Dal and Bjornberg regiments).  Undaunted, the Swedes continued to advance, fired a volley and then closed to contact. The Tobolsk regiment didn't even wait for the Guards to contact them, fleeing before the impact.  This left the Narva regiment with Swedish horse to their front and the Guards on their flank.  In the centre the Smolensk regiment stood their ground, fired a volley and meleed the Swedish infantry.  Even with their losses to the Russian artillery, the Swedes pushed the Russians back.  Disordered, the Russians broke when pushed again.     Behind them, the Volgodski regiment unnerved by the retreating first line, didn't wait for the Swedish charge, they also fled.

The unstoppable Swedish infantry break the Russian centre
 At this point we called a halt to the action and had a quick review of the rules.  We liked the way in which the quality of the troops determined their ability to carry out orders/actions.  In this action all the Russian infantry were rated as 'Green', for actions like Poltava they could be upgraded to reflect better training and also experience gained on campaign.  Similarly the Swedish infantry were 'veteran', later war scenarios could reduce this as raw recruits were incorporated into units to replace losses.

The Russian dragoons decide that it is just not their day

One thing we struggled with was the 'order' mechanism for the generals; this has been amended in version 2 of the rules (we were using the 1st edition). There is also a mechanism for visibility, reflecting the increasing difficulty of commanding troops as the amount of smoke and noise increased during a battle, but we didn't include this in our first trial.

The army lists included in the rulebook say that the Swedish army is powerful, 'but brittle'.  I was quite lucky in my rolls for inflicting step losses against the infantry; the cavalry have only one step, so one loss would have eliminated the unit.  Steve was unlucky not to inflict any step losses, even though he had at least as many opportunities.  The fortunes of war!


  1. A glorious spectacle! PA figures are appealing in the extreme.

    Best Regards,


  2. Always great to see the PA's in action. Love the Russian flags too.


  3. Thanks for the comments. The Prince August figures don't come out often enough. If Steve and I can master the Ga Pa rules perhaps that will change. The flags are actually made from Russian stamps with painted surrounds. Alasdair created them many years ago. The majority are 'loose' so that they can be used by any unit.



  4. Great looking units, beautiful lines of troops and flags!