Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Neil Thomas: Simplicity in Practice PART II Fighting Retreat at El Perez

The second installment over as many days in my "Fighting Retreat at El Perez" scenario played out using Neil Thomas' "Simplicity in Practice" rules which I enjoyed very much.

We left off yesterday with the Portuguese forming to assault the Petitos Garrison and the French columns massing to assault the British line.  The Cavalry battle on the British left was pretty much decided with the British Dragoons sent reeling in defeat.

The Portuguese assault on Petitos fails to gain a foothold and they are sent back across the river.

On the British right, the loss of the Cavalry battle forces one of the Portuguese battalions on the right to turn around and form a rearguard within a rearguard as they are assailed by French cavalry.

WOW that did NOT turn out the way the French intended.  The Dragoon Regiment is annihilated by the Portuguese Infantry!
 I have to say one thing, Cavalry is intended to go after weakened units in this game.  That much is obvious.  Charging headlong into fresh, formed infantry doesn't typically end well in any of my Neil Thomas games.
British deployed with the French deploying in battle line.  Lead French unit already has 2 DPs on it.

El Perez is "difficult terrain" and so the French only get 5cms moving through.  The wall affords a saving throw from fire but the French dont have time to trade shots!

The French deployment is still underway and slow but the lead battalions are taking a beating from the firing.  2 British Batteries are hammering the French as they emerge from the village.  At this point, a wasted opportunity as I should have the Cavalry to attack the British battle line.  Instead they indulged in a fool's errand by chasing down a British column and mixing it up with a fresh, solid Portuguese infantry battalion.

Portuguese Battalion starts backing off after winning that Melee.  At this point, the French light cavalry start taking pot-shots at them but it's ineffective.

Meanwhile the French deployment is riddled with problems.  Traffic management problems!

Battle lines so far.  The French chances on their right are now slim but the center infantry brigades have a better chance of taking down the right side of the British line.

 Almost forgot there's a French artillery brigade moving through El Perez also.  Too little, too late!  The French could not bring enough firepower to bear to inflict enough damage on the British line and Battalion after worn Battalion broke themselves against the "thin, red line."

Looks like the French are calling it quits!
Lovely little game and a great set of rules well worth the price (only $ 3.75 US).  My observations after "finishing" this game?  Well it's frustrating to try and attack but the French really didn't have an easy time coordinating their force to attack.  The British enjoyed interior lines with massed firepower pretty much guaranteeing 2 or 3 battalions were shooting at the lead French units when they crossed the stone wall.

The French "should" have swung that powerful cavalry brigade around and hit the British flank.  This game features NO modifiers which is also extremely appealing.  Instead you add dice to your original throw, adding 2D6 per advantage.  That's huge in some circumstances when you have supports, less DPs than your target (already +4 dice on your throw) and the fan produced variant allows +2 more D6 for having a general officer within 10cms of the combat!

I enjoyed this game very much.  "Simplicity in Practice" would be literally perfect for a refight of Borodino, Austerlitz, or Waterloo where you have huge forces on the table.  I believe it can handle the units and there isn't alot of "mental gymnastics" involved during play.  In fact just enough to make me happy.

I believe, far more than Neil's Intro 2 Wargaming or One Hour Wargames, THESE rules would be the best possible rules to introduce folks to the hobby. They are both challenging and easy to learn.
 Mission Accomplished!


  1. How did you find the melee system worked out? It seems to be that if a unit has a mere one factor advantage then it's chances of winning are very high indeed, and that flank and rear attacks are very much under-rated. I've tried fiddling with the way melees are resolved, but haven't got anything firm in mind yet.

    1. Some initial confusion that you appear to have cleared up :) I had no idea that you TALLIED the dice rolls. I assumed you tallied hits and thought to myself "well this certainly favors the defense doesn't it" Well done sir and thank you.

      If you look on the AMW group, the fan produced variant simply has "more modifiers" like including a general officer within 10cms of the melee and a couple others. I didn't try it yet but he also has some period modifications.

  2. How did you find the melee system worked out? It seems to be that if a unit has a mere one factor advantage then it's chances of winning are very high indeed, and that flank and rear attacks are very much under-rated. I've tried fiddling with the way melees are resolved, but haven't got anything firm in mind yet.

  3. These do sound really good and great commentary. I'm ordering a copy of the magazine. I agree, they sound perfect for large battles.

    1. Cheers Darren. This was a big one, too. French had 21 Battalions, 5 batteries of artillery. The Brits had a similar number including allies. Both had full complements of cavalry and it gave a very satisfying and enjoyable game. As you like to say, it's also "infinitely hackable!" Enjoy!

    2. Reading the article now - really interesting set of rules there. He's right - complexity doesn't necessarily mean realism - some great points.

      Also, I think 'Home Depot' in the US does the artificial grass samples that I found - at least I found this link for the larger pieces...so I'm sure they do samples. It looks exactly like the smaller pieces I got. If no luck, I can send you some.


    3. I thought he gave some great points as to why he picked the mechanisms he did. The rules worked well but I think if you're playing with someone else, you'll have to cover a few things first prior to setting off (terrain, flanks, etc).

      Wow thanks, Darren. I'll let you know how the quest goes for the grass! :)

  4. Your minis and layout are fantastic! I not recall seeing these guys before, they're gorgeous! On the rules, you write that they don't differentiate formations. Can you describe how that manifests a bit more?

    1. Thank you sir! These are my Old Glory and GHQ 10mm guys. Im going to start doing all my Naps in 10mm from now on.

      So the SIP rules by Neil Thomas dont have formations, everyone is just perpetually in line. I had to put the french in columns to get them through the terrain. Think of it like a house rule. That "rock paper scissors" aspect of napoleonic gaming isnt there but you really have to plan your attacks in terms of supports and what resources you can bring to bear that make your attack effective. I really enjoyed them!