On Saturday, August 20, Steve Miller and I hauled in our troops to The Game Closet in Waco, TX to run a Victory Without Quarter (VWQ) demo using the scenario of the Battle of Beacon Hill, April 23, 1643.
Steve Miller commanded the Royalist, and I took the Parliamentarians. Vince Oradesky from the Austin group drove up to join us, and played on the Royalist side for the 1st of two games played. We did have many others dropping by to watch the action and get a look at the “deck pull” system that is the heart of VWQ.
The scenario has the Royalist deploying quickly on Beacon Hill, to prevent the advancing Parliamentarians from marching into Cornwall, depriving King Charles II of the muster of Cornwall.
Unfortunately for the Royalist, their forces are scattered, so the initial forces of just 2 regiments and an oncoming Lord Mohun’s regiment of foote must hold the ground of Beacon Hill until the more numerous royalist forces can gather.
But the situation is dire.
The Parliamentarians, lead by the ‘notorious’ firebrand, Sgt-Maj. General James Chudleigh, are in battle formation and approaching quickly. Their objective is to take Beacon Hill, and if possible, exit a unit of foote off the road to Lauceston (where royalist forces are trying to get to the battle). If they do, it is a decisive victory for them.
The Royalist, under command of Sir Ralph Hopton, do have the benefit of some hedges, which is slowing the Roundhead (Parliament) advance. With a forlorn hope of detached musketeers in the hedges below Beacon Hill, they must fight for time until help arrives.
Back to the game mechanics of VWQ, the rules and card draw system is specifically designed to imitate actions that actually happened during the English Civil War (ECW). These were amateur armies, lead by amateur generals at the beginning. ALL sorts of crazy things happened on the battlefield: Generals running off for no reason, troops changing sides, artillery exploding (oh yeah, that happened) by stupid gunners, weather!
The card draw system is a deck of cards (created by the players) with a card for every unit, every commander, with 2 reload cards, 2 artillery cards (they can fire or move), an event card, and an end of turn card. Additional cards can be added/subtracted based on the scenario you want to fight. Turns go until the End of Turn card is drawn.
Yes – I hear the screaming – YOU MEAN I MIGHT NOT MOVE MY TROOPS!
That is correct. As VERY often happened, generals had to deal with their troops just not moving or engaging the enemy, even when in a perfect position to do so! Or – they may charge out of their well fortified positions to engage troops in the open! There are times you can actually move/fight multiple times a turn with the same unit!
Your job in this game is to manage the chaos your troops, and the enemy, create for you while still getting the job done.
Another mechanic I do like is that combat is simultaneous. None of this “panzerbush” stuff where you move, fight and make the other guy suffer without retaliation. Here if you are shoot at, you get to shoot back at them (if your antagonist is in arc). If engaged in melee, you both fight and can inflict damage – again if in frontal combat.
OK – to back to the battle….
The Parliamentarians stepped out smartly, with all their units being able to advance. Unfortunately, the artillery was JUST out of range. And for some reason, the Parliamentarian officers, seemed to just stand around watching their troops move out without them! Fortunately the trotters moved right up in support.
As Parliament pushed forward, a well aimed volley from Col. Wear’s veterans (center below) shook Goldolphin’s forlorn hope and sent them reeling back toward the rest of their regiment on Beacon Hill.
But the area this happened, must have been haunted. Every single unit that fought on that small rise were shaken or routed. We started calling it, the Well of Souls.
The Parliamentarian push was on in earnest, with Col. Rosewell’s Parliamentarians routing Sir Greenvile’s regiment and dispersing them. The Royalist were all pushed backed onto to Beacon Hill. Godolphin’s regiment was shaken and trying in vain rally. Victory was in their grasp!
But then …
Disaster for the Parliamentarians! Hordes of Royalist horse all show up at the first opportunity!
The Parliamentarians were in shock as their assault faltered. Perhaps if they only had some time so recover and reform ….
MORE DISHEARTENING NEWS FOR PARLIAMENT! Royalist foote also arrives en-mass on the Parliamentarian left. With all this going on, Col. Wear’s veterans get shaken by the fire from Goldolphin’s rallied regiment and retreat back over the rise. They try to rally, but fail and rout.
At this point the bloody evil Well of Souls makes it’s appearance from the the cleared brush at the base of Beacon hill.
It was a true rout of Parliament. Royalists swept the field, routing all 3 initial foote regiments, 1 squadron of trotters, and capturing a light artillery piece that was moved up to support the assault.
Kudos to Steve Miller, who brought all the terrain with him. Thanks to the many who stopped by for a few, even pushed some lead for a bit. And BIG thanks to Rich, owner of The Game Closet, who was VERY accommodating!
Look for us again September 10th at The Game Closet.
Here are also some pictures of the cards made for this:
A complete carousel of all the pictures we took is here: