Sunday, August 6, 2017

On Retreats in Wargames

    If you check in here on occasion, you will have noticed that I haven't posted much in a while. Personal problems and lack of time is part of it; also I just can't get motivated to do any gaming.  I still check several wargames blogs daily; it has been a couple of weeks since I checked out my own, if only to see the activity it is producing.  I don't know if that's a bad sign. I do hope to maybe have some news on some figures in the near future.

     I mainly go to Facebook to visit groups that I belong to. One is a Command & Colors Napoleonic group. On it someone mentioned that the much anticipated C & C Tricorne is about to be released. They also provided a picture from Compass Games website, showing a page from the rules. What caught my eye was that the dice will only have one "infantry" side, but two "retreat" sides.
This has me thinking of trying games with two retreat sides to it.

     As I have mentioned before, as a solo gamer I believe rules used should have some kind of automatic retreats beyond the gamers control. Before finding rules with retreats factored into them, I had the "Hitler Complex", troops cannot retreat; they must hold the ground at all costs.  When I first started playing games with automatic retreats, I found myself ready to give up on them. Eventually I convinced myself that I was playing the roll of general, not the individual unit commanders, and that units will break and run, no matter what the general wants. The first retreat rules I used were Donald Featherstone morale rules, along with Junior General morale rules. I remember a time  having an AWI wargame using the Junior General rules. The American general spent the entire game racing back and forth across the battlefield, rallying his different regiments that broke at the littlest losses.

    When I found Chris Salander's Horse & Musket 2.0 rules in MWAN # 102, it changed my gaming forever. Although not the perfect set of rules (they were designed as a starter set), the automatic retreat in the rules simplified retreats in my games. In the game each figure has a dice roll, and a 'retreat' roll affects an individual piece, not the entire unit. One good thing about H&M 2.0 is that you could convert the rules for other periods. With the avant of Richard Borg's Command & Colors system, for me his retreat rules and dice have rekindled a flagging interest in wargames.

Extreme results from dice rolls; a unit pushed to the edge of the board. Rolls like this can prove disastrous to one's battle plan.

A successful cavalry charge.

The retreating cavalry outruns their pursuers. 


  1. Always good to see Peter Laing figures on the board.
    Sometimes the Donald Featherstone rules on morale can be a little disastrous, I know Stuart Asquith in his Comfortable Wargaming Article scraps morale rules, which I sometimes do for speed, the same with casualty savings throws in some circumstances. Failing that, I bring in a simple d6 dice roll when I think it is required and that unit or figure keeps rolling that until they have retreated off the board as routed or have recovered and rejoined the game.

    1. I agree with your comments on Featherstones morale rules. That is why when I found a simpler rule, I switched to it. The same with saving throws. Also, in the old MWAN magazine, in Monks Corner, his rules usually would have on a dice roll, if you had to react you could either remove one figure and hold, or retreat. Once again, I would only remove figures and hold the ground. With rules that involve a rally roll, I will roll to see if it rallies each turn. I just see it as that unit may rally right away and still be in good position to return to the battle. Of course, sometimes I forget to test for a rally and the unit sits useless until I remember it. I will continue to roll when it involves a militia unit, as I imagine the militia doesn't retreat in an orderly way, but breaks and runs. I think that's why I love the Richard Borg handling of retreats.