Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Battle of Hopton Heath - 1643 - ENDEX and AAR

Hopton Heath came to an end at Turn 7 with a decisive Parliamentarian victory.

Frustrated by the delays in the Dragoons clearing the enclosures Turns 3 and 4 saw the Royalists send one Regiment of Horse against the Royalist cavalry, and another against the infantry - straight over the poor bunnies! The Royalists caught the Roundheads in column, so the defenders only got 1D (cf 8D for the attackers), so it was a bit of a blood bath. Interestingly though there are no rules  for victors to get drawn off the board when in pursuit, and the attackers suffered no damage or disorder at all - so just reformed back off the ridge. The cavalry attacking the infantry had a tougher time. The rough ground caused no negatives at all (just relates to movement), and the receiving shot delivered a punishing closing fire. They elected not to go into hedgehog in order to get the shots off, so it became 1 Cav unit vs 1 Pike and 1 Shot - but there didn't seem to be rules for such mixed melee i.e. apply the +'ve DMS for one and -'ve for the other. I took what I think was a sensible course and the cavalry was soon routed.

Turn 5 and 6 still saw no progress on the Dragoons, but each Parliamentary unit was now Shaken, but the Roundheads only had 2 damage each. Roaring Meg continued to punish the Parliamentary line, eventually routing the right shot unit. In return the Roundhead gun put some more damage on one of the two remaining Royalist cavalry units, and put it into disorder. This was crucial as it then couldn't change into line, so Parliament was able to do a double move with its remaining cavalry unit and rout the Royalists (again with the 8D:1D ration but advantages switched). To put the final nail in the Royalist coffin their right flank Dragoons were finally routed by the stiff fire from their Parliamentary opponents. The Shot reinforcement has also just arrived on the Parliamentary side - but too late to join the battle.

Chasing off the Royalist cavalry

The Royalist dragoons break

The final positions

So, not a bad game, and Pike & Shotte certainly plays quickly and simply. However I do have a few reservations about them in terms of how I like to play:

  • Musket fire is far too long
  • There is no progressive degradation
  • There is no danger or chasing off, always a key ECW feature, and victor has complete control post-melee (not even Quarrie had that!)
  • Pike and Shot as separate units
  • Artillery seems too effective
The bucket-of-dice works fine, and will be interesting to see how the  BOD version of my own rule stacks up which I'll use to replay this scenario over the next week.

Looking at Hail Caesar and Black Powder (thanks to the recent free PDF deal) all three sets are pretty much the same mechanics throughout, and musket has a range of 18" in BP (against move of 12" for Inf, 18" for Cav, 9-12" line frontage, and Horse Arty range of 36") - so it gives me a good idea of how that must play. So not my ideal, but I can certainly see it as being pretty playable.

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