The Napoleonic War, Over the Hills, 28mm
This game was based on an excellent Stuart Asquith scenario, called “Seizing the Initiative”. In it, “Red force” has to cross two rivers and establish a bridgehead beyond them, while “Blue force” tries to stop them. The trouble is, only a few troops begin the game on the table, and reinforcements arrive at an unpredictable pace. In our game, Red” was a British force, while the “Blue” one was composed of Wurttembergers in French service.The game was set in Spain, between the rivers Rioja in the west and Sangria to the east, and the two villages of Las Dos Equis – Equis Pequeno (A) being a hamlet situated between the two rivers, and Equis Gran (B) on the eastern table edge. We played the game on an 8×6 foot table. In the map below, north is obviously at the top. The Wurttemburg garrison consisted of a jaeger battalion in Equi Pequeno, and an infantry battalion, a chasseur a cheval regiment and a brigade commander in Equi Gran. The British advanced column began on the western table edge, and consisted of a hussar regiment, an infantry battalion, a battery of guns and a brigadier. Everyone else came on as reinforcements. Both sides were given cards, with a turn number on them (3, 5, 7 9 etc) – four for Red, three for Blue. Then they were given shuffled cards listing the reinforcement column that would appear on that turn. So, nobody really knew who would appear – just when and where. Fiendish. Well, the British (played by Donald and Peter) crossed over the first bridge in fine style, but then things began to clog up. While the KGL hussars took some hits from the jaegers as they bypassed the village, they were able to form up near the southern bridge over the Sangria, and rally off their “fatigue hits”.Meanwhile the guns unlimbered on the western side of the Rioja bridge, and began slamming roundshot into Equi Pequeno. They were soon joined by the 3rd Foot, which did the same with musket balls. Meanwhile the Wurttemburg chasseurs a cheval trotted over the northern Sangria bridge, and positioned themselves for a charge against the KGL hussars. When it came the cavalry battle was short and sweet – at least at the start. The initial round of melees were inconclusive, and both sides retired after three rounds of fighting. By then though, reinforcements had arrived, and another Wurttemburg cavalry regiment was riding for the southern Sangria bridge, while British infantry and cavalry were crossing the bridge over the Rioja.When the two cavalry regiments clashed again the Wurttemburgers benefited from support, and this time the KGL were driven back … so far in fact that they were pushed off the southern edge of the table. By now it seemed as if half the British Army was besieging Equi Pequeno. No fewer than three battalions were firing into it, as well as the gun battery, while the 12th Light Dragoons cut off the village from reinforcements. Amazingly the hard-pressed jaegers hung on, and were still there at the end of the game. In the final turn they even managed to repulse a British attempt to storm the place. While they wouldn’t last out forever, at least they saw out the end of the game! Back in the open field to the west of the Sangria the cavalrymen were at it again. First the Wurttemberg chasseurs-a-cheval were busy reforming when they were hit in the front by the British 16th Light Dragoons, and then in the flank by the 3rd Dragoon Guards. Needless to say they were eviscerated. By that time a second Wurttemburg light cavalry regiment had reached the bridge, and was poised to cross it. However, remembering his victory conditions, the wily Bart pulled them back, and moved up an infantry battalion instead. So, on the final turn, the British had to get a foothold on the eastern bank of the Sangria. this meant that the only unit capable of doing so – the Dragoon Guards – would have to charge over the bridge. This they did, watched in fascination by all players and an umpire. However, the Wurttemberg infantry on the eastern end of the bridge managed to form emergency square, and the gallant dragoons were thrown back in disorder. it was a fittingly dramatic end to what had been a really great little game.Part of the fun was down to the excellent scenario, and the nice-looking table, but the rest was down to the rules. Over the Hills continues to impress, and they remain both fun and challenging. A newcomer to wargaming – John – managed to pick up the gist of them in a couple of turns, and they really worked a treat for this game. So, they remain our club’s current Napoleonic set of choice. Incidentally, the Wurttemburgers were from Campbell Hardie’s collection, while the Anglo-Portuguese were mine.