Recently I played my first wargame at Discover Games in Fayetteville, Georgia.

Seven players showed up for an English Civil War scenario using Victory Without Quarter rules. I ended up commanding the outnumbered Royalists  (15 units to 20) against the Parliamentarian Army.

We, the Royalists, had a couple factors in our favor: our opponents forgot to bring cannon (we had 2 heavy, 2 light guns), and they had to cross some rough terrain and obstacles to get to us.

The Royalist Left-Center, facing the Parliamentarian pike-and-shot.

We also had three small regiments of cavalry off the table, held in reserve. From a tactical standpoint, the Royalist has the upper hand. But playing Victory Without Quarter does not guarantee a victory in scenarios like this because of:

  • Random initiative: You never know which unit will get to activate. And there’s always a regiment or two which march all over the table. While a couple might only get activated once or twice in the entire game. Turns can end before all units get activated.
  • Random Events: I’ve lost games because half a brigade was sick from drinking the night before, or a regiment decided to desert.

Yet this is what makes the game exciting (though at times frustrating).

In the first half of the game, the Parliamentarians advanced toward our positions. We laid down cannon fire with minimal effect at long range until they came in closer.

Their advance toward our center was merely a feint, to distract us from attacks on our flanks. In the end, it may have been too costly, since they lost all five regiments in the center.

Still, their attacks on our flanks started to overwhelm us.

In the second half of the game, our side started losing regiments on each flank. The Parliamentarians kept pressing their attack (they kept getting the right regiments called on initiative).

Yet their attack was costly. They lost troops, too, as they got within close range of our canon and our reserves began to arrive on the field. By this time their center had also collapsed and I ordered our center forward to counter-attack.

The Parliamentarians, however, were close running us off the hill and capturing our gun batteries.

Our reserves saved us. Some Royalist cavalry charged down that hill strange into a battered and disordered regiment of Parliamentarian infantry and drove them from the field.

The rest of the Roundheads took heed, and began an orderly withdrawal back to London…

The Royalist cavalry reserve comes to the rescue!