Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Black Powder for First Carlist War

So I promised at the weekend to add more photos and let you know how I thought the rules played.

Carlist General

 First thing to say is that I do like Black Powder and in particular think they suit the First Carlist War with the mix of troops and generals concerned. Some of the guys I game with have had less happy things to sy about the rules but have persevered non the less. The most recent game has allowed me to see where we might make small changes to improve the flow of the game. 

 Isabelino Grenadiers of the Guard
The first thing we discussed was the potential for units to march up to an enemy volley them and with a good first round simply destroy before they can do anything at all, the defender remaining passively standing by whilst they are marched upon and destroyed. This didn't actual happen in the game (except to a Carlist gun that was wiped out before it could fire) but is none the less a concern.

Provincial Guard Grenadiers

 Our simple answer to this problem is to ensure units fire before they move. It will be interesting to see how this pans out, it will allow units to march up to close range, taking casualties along the way and follow a close range volley with a charge. A tactic often used by the Carlists, the British in the AWI and the Swedes in the Great Northern War. I will let you know how we get on with this one in particular.

Foreign Legion Mountain Gun
The next question was the orders section. Most Generals have a rating of 8. Needing an 8 or 7 to get one move, a 6 to get 2 moves then  5-1 gets 3 moves whilst a 9-12 gets none at all or a blunder. This feels dramatic at both ends you are far more likely to get no moves or 3 than to just get one or two moves. I don't have all the answers but there are a couple of things we will try. Firstly making it more likely to move once or twice so 8-7-6 move once and 5-4 move twice. Then considering higher staff ratings so no moves is slightly less often. I have also introduced the rule that if in attack column a unit always gets one order.

Carlist Grenadiers Courtesy Chris Charlton

Isabelino Guards Brigade

Navarese Guides above and Below 

The last thought then was around Brigade moral. Currently this kicks in at 50%. This is fine if a brigade is 3 battalions as 2 will have gone before the third follows. But with two battalion brigades or a brigade with a small cavalry contingent these could become very brittle. This is more about how I approach a scenario. So for future I may use two battalion brigades but only where I want them to be particularly brittle. For attached small cavalry units these will mostly not count towards brigade morale.
Legion Lancers in front of provincial Militia 

The Legion Advances with Elan 
 Legion Lancers charge the flank of the Carlists
Madrid Volunteers from Chris Charlton Collection 
Marinos lancers clash with Isabelino Line cavalry 
The Navarese brigade sees off the guard cavalry

Other than that we all agreed the rules played very well indeed. We will play again in early June where we can test the amendments and share with you on the blog.

Carlist Mountain gun 
The Navarese Brigade 
 Alavese marching out of the town.

The table at the start of the game 
Alavese holding the town
 British Legion from Mark Stimpson's collection
Urban Militia
That's it for now, hopefully back onto the Great Northern War next. Nearly completed my next unit of Swedes and a unit of Cossacks so watch this space.


  1. Good report Roj. As mentioned, another thought on the brigade break would be to make them take a break test at 50% rather than it be automatic. Look forward to the next game even though my forces routed to a man.

  2. Cheers Andy, will give that some thought before the next game. I blame those skirmishers for the defeat of your legion!

  3. Fantastic photos and a great write-up. This is a battle I've always wanted to see on the table - you've done it proud.

    Best wishes


  4. I appreciate it Giles thank you. In the end the result was not too dissimilar despite me fudging the forces a bit to make more a game of it.

  5. Lovely figures and a very colourful period. I was once tempted but resisted. The changes you suggest to BP make sense and I have tried them , except in my experience, for the change in firing/moving sequence. It's better to limit shooting and moving in some way, either by reducing the number of dice or limiting moving and shooting to one move.

    1. Cheers Colin, yes we are talking about limiting movement once you have fired and putting a minus one to the dice on firing if you intend to move. That said it all needs play testing to see how it works.