Friday, 9 January 2015

Ripple Field mark 2

2015 gaming began with a re-run of Ripple Field, but using the "Pike and Shotte" rules.  This was our first outing with this particular set and if they prove successful they could be used for Italian Wars, Poles and Muscovites (plus Ottomans if Steve and I can base up the figures we have acquired in the last 12 months) and Grand Alliance.

This photo (apologies for the quality) gives an idea of the layout and the deployment of the Parliamentarian forces (those nearest the camera).  The horses in the bottom left corner belong to a dragoon regiment which is deployed in the wood covering the lane,  There are only a few narrow gaps in the hedges which line the lanes and this hampers the Royalist outflanking manoeuvres.

The dice decided that Steve would command the Royalists and so I awaited the onslaught.  Die rolls against command ratings decide on the speed of advance (or not) and so coordinating attacks can be tricky,as Steve discovered.  One feature of the rules which we soon discovered was that a hit by artillery at long range was an automatically disrupted the target, whereas at medium and short range hits can be achieved but do not affect the target as badly.

With a 12" move for the Royalist cavalry melees soon occurred. The Parliamentarian horse attempted caracole tactics with little effect but at least they held their own in the first clashes.

Waller's regiment advance
The cavalry melees tend to be short, decisive affairs; even if the result is a draw, poor morale can mean both sides fall back to rally.  Units which are shaken are likely to fare poorly if caught by a fresh enemy unit and this is what happened on my left flank.  Steve's supports charged forward, benefiting from a low die roll which gave them three actions.  My supports, unable to counter-charge, attempted to stand and fire and achieved nothing.  They suffered heavy casualties in the melee, failed the break test and routed from the field. Steve's unit followed up and hit my rallying unit.  This lost the melee and had to retire again; but disaster was averted when Steve's unit also failed it's test (due to heavy casualties) and became shaken.

In the lane on my right more Royalist cavalry were looking to outflank the ridge, but Haselrig's small unit of 'lobsters' was trotting forward to meet them.  The rules prevent columns from charging, but we decided that as combat in lanes did take place, a 'house rule' would allow charges in this particular circumstance.

The Royalist horse advance
  At first the 'lobsters' were pushed back, but their superior morale and stamina saved them.  Eventually the Royalists broke, but by then affairs in the centre had taken a turn for the worse.  The firelocks supporting the light artillery had re-deployed to meet the threat to their flank as the Parliamentary horse were driven from the ridge.  Their volley, as the Royalist horse closed, inflicted heavy casualties, but did not stop the cavalry.  However, against the odds the infantry managed to survive the first impact.  They were not so successful in the second round, losing heavily and routing.

The firelocks break
The Royalists swept forward and hit Waller's own regiment which had been rallying.  The Parliamentarians had enough time to turn to face the charge, but it did not save them and they also routed.

At this point a Royalist victory was declared.  Both of the Parliamentarian 'battalia' had suffered such heavy losses that they were unable to rally.

For a first run through it was quite a successful game.  We liked the variable moves and the benefits gained from supports in melee. Also, the melee system avoided the situation which can arise in '1644' when two small units are locked in melee and are unable to inflict casualties.  It will be interesting to see what happens in more open terrain with room on the flanks.


  1. "This lost the melee and had to retire again; but disaster was averted when Steve's unit also failed it's test (due to heavy casualties) and became shaken."

    Doesn't sound quite right - only one unit, the loser, tests after melee, unless it's a draw when any shaken units test.

    We've found using a different move sequence removes a few of the anomalies.

    The caracole rule for parliamentary horse is just silly as it has no chance of stopping anything and disorder just brings the melee odds back to even.

    Overall it gives a good fun game

    1. Thanks for the feedback Will. Steve and I will probably get a better 'handle' on the rules after a few more battles.

  2. Nice battle report, sir. This is one of the rule sets we are planning to try once the painting of our forces (okay, MY forces) are finished . . . so I do appreciate your thoughts on how well (or not) these rules work for you.

    Thanks for the report.

    -- Jeff