Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Battle of Bedford Beetfield: 1644 ECW Hypothetical [5]

Subtitle: Trying to get an answer to the question of WHY we play wargames and reasoning to find out when it is best not to play ones that disagree with digestion: 

After his recent run-in with the almighty (they were very God fearing folk in the days of 1644) the Royalist General leaves a "be back later note at the pearly gates" and decides to fight his way out of trouble (see below). The battle is confused and hectic and many more dice are rolled:

However despite numbers and terrain (where the Royalist cavalry were forced back onto the rough of the "Beetfield") were on Parliamentarian side the DBR "dice" go in the way of the Royalists and it was Parliamentarian stands that started disappearing (see below) urk!

The Royalists sense an opportunity to roll it up but somehow lose their "luck of the devil" General in a freak 'I read it in the rules' moment of DBR history - an odd/even roll on a troop type in an enemy/friendly bound that results in a push back being turned into a kill (or something) when 'the moon hangs over yonder tree'. To his great and ever lasting credit it was the Royalist player pointed this out to a bemused group of DBR players who were lost in the complexity of DBR arcane law. Reading the various sets of DBx rules is sometimes more "legalese" than common wargaming sense but the upshot was that the Royalists were suddenly within a hair's breath of going demoralised (see below, the Royalist General had been in the top left corner bit is now 'gone' to Parliaments amazement).  

If the previous picture showed the noble side of the DBR sporting player explaining 'how he died' the next picture shows the fictional "billimeter" nonsense that DBR (or any) rules can degenerate into. Any loss from the Rolyalist command now means "the end of their right wing", so when the little red horsemen (see below bottom left quarter) suffered a recoil from the shooting from Parliamentarian pistol and light artillery it should have been "Goodnight Vienna" as it recoiled into friends/enemies facing the wrong way, but the Royalist player invoked the "blind billimeter DBR defense". Groan ... my head started swimming.

(For those interested in the plain inanity of it all: The stacked up combat behind the Royalist stand in question was a recoil result of a base depth and the thing to remember is that a base depth is always shorter than a base width - as in "you can'na change the laws of Physics captain". The gap is therefore a 'base depth' wide and the recoiling larger 'base width' is trying to fit into it - impossible sire BUT the table and stands had been shuffled and knocked slightly in the course of play and the 'physical bases' weren't uniform size SO the very same "sportsman of the highest noble order" is turned into a HEELS IN THE MUD OVER MY DEAD BODY so after a long debate Parliament gave way [sigh] - this despite showing him the photographs above - we let it pass, but their and then I vowed to burn my copy of DBR and make this the last game I play argh it brings out the worst of a gamer, myself included. It is Impetus for now on for me!)

Did it matter? Nope, because next turn my mounted troops from the right flank swarmed over a Royalist hanger on was dispatched and the Royalist right wing command was now demoralised and broken (see below):

Thus ended a tiring wargaming night. For the record "no quarter" was taken over this last stand but the owning player of the figures stopped me short and said I was not allowed to break the figures off the base despite the urge, only kidding. 



Phil said...

Nice batrep, and nice period too!

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Thanks Phil,

The figures are sweet a mixture of old lead and new plastics but as you may have guessed I have great reservations regarding the DBR rule set

The good news is that there are many specific ECW alternatives from Warhammer Historical, Wargames Foundry, Impetus, 1644 and many others

Whisperin' Al said...

Some rules do tend to encourage this sort of thing and I think the DBx series style doesn't help. These days I'm more interested in having a fun game but sometimes other people's behaviour can lead one astray!

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

I completely concur with you Al, you won't find me at the DBM, DBMM, DBR, DBA or DBx "World Champions"

Although I still have a soft spot for DBA, but if ever there was a warning to have heeded, just the fact than 10 DBA pages of rules spawned a ninety page unofficial clarification document