if you read one of my previous posts (it’s here) you’ll know I’ve been looking for a good set of Napoleonic rules that will allow me to use my 15mm figures, well after interviewing Adrian McWalters on the Meeples and Miniatures show I decided to pick up a copy of Over the Hills a rule set that Adrian wrote with Quinton Dalton.
Today I managed to try out the rules with my good mate Mark.
we played a small game on a 4×4 table with each us commanding a Brigade of infantry with some Divisional artillery and a Brigade of light cavalry each. we wanted to keep things simple so we just set up a table and deployed our troops, all we wanted to do was test out the basic rules and to try and get an idea of the mechanics.
here’s a few pictures of the initial set up, with the British defending against a French attack
Mark who was commanding the French was being sneaky and had a battalion of infantry on his right hand flank in march column to try and flank me.
Over the Hills has an interesting turn sequence (it’s one of the things that attracted me to them) which breaks the IGO-UGO mechanic and has players involved through the turn. basically it works like this
- Side A moves
- Side A rallies
- Side B fires defensive fire (against an enemy engaging in close combat)
- Side A fights close combat
- Side B fires remaining units
- Side B moves
- Side B rallies
- Side A fires defensive fire
- Side B fights close combat
- Side A fires remaining units
this turn sequence really works well and keeps both player involved in the game and able to respond to what their opponent is doing.
so in the first turn the French moved forward with there flanking column steaming up the flank, the British countered this moving a reserve Battalion to the flank whilst the other lines redressed to face the inbound French infantry. on the other flank the Cavalry moved into striking range but neither commander wanted to commit this early
Movement in the game really simple, each type of unit has a number of movement segments it can make per turn, which depends on the formation its in at the beginning of the move
e.g an infantry unit in attack column can move 3 times (each of 6″) but if it moves the third time it take a fatigue point. NOTE as we were playing with 15mm figs the moves were in 3″ segments for infantry.
if a unit is more than 6″ away from an enemy this move can be in any direction, but if a unit wants to change formation this costs movement segments.
all in all its really simple and does away with the micro management you see in other rules
In turn 3 the French continued their march across the table whilst my Artillery fired at them, Marks Artillery was out of range so he limbered them up and moved forward. then my light Dragoons decided to charge into contact with Mark’s French Chasseurs This Cavalry move wasn’t brilliant and I was forced back after 2 rounds of combat
Combat in the rules is also nice and simple, each unit has a fatigue score and this is used as a measure of its overall effectiveness. when you fire you take a units fatigue score add or remove some modifiers and then try and roll equal to or less than the total on a d10 and the lower you roll the more hits your opponent takes, these hits are removed from the fatigue score and once the units fatigue is reduced to 0 it routs from the table.
e.g if the total roll to hit is 8, you cause 1 fatigue point drop on the enemy if you roll 8, 7, 6, or 5, 2 fatigue points if you roll 4,3 or 2 and 3 fatigue points if you roll a 1
if you score 3 fatigue points in one round of shooting the enemy is forced back 1 movement segment.
Close combat follows a similar method but each side rolls dice and damage effects are simultaneous, also in close combat you can fight up to 3 rounds after which you both fall back 1 movement segment. although you compare the fatigue points generated in each round of combat and that decides if a further round of combat takes place.
so in my attack on the Chasseurs my Dragoons drew on fatigue points in the first round of combat but lost by 2 fatigue points in the second round so I fell back and Mark rallied off some of his fatigue that he lost.
commanders can rally off hits on units during the turn by rolling equal to or less then the current fatigue level of the unit on a d10, some commanders have a modifier they can add to this to this roll
Commanders have a couple of stats that they use during the game, they are
- command radius – all units must remain in this range to receive an order
- rally points – the number of times per turn they can attempt to rally units
- the modifier to the rally roll
so in the photo above you can see my Cavalry brigade commander has a 12″ command radius and can attempt to rally a unit 3 time with each roll at +1. so for my Dragoons that got mauled in combat and only have a fatigue level of 2, he would have to roll 3 or less to rally off a fatigue point.
these rolls are cumulative so they get easier as the fatigue level goes back up.
as the game continued Marks French infantry moved ever further forward to my center whilst my infantry kept their powder dry. on my left flank Marks flank attack had resulted in an exchange of fire between the infantry and on the right hand side my second Cavalry unit charged into Marks Chasseurs, this time routing them off the table
finally Mark had a unit within charge range, it would take 3 movement segments to reach me which meant he would take a fatigue but he charged never the less
Mark’s unit only had 2 fatigue points left so I followed up and reengaged him in combat (this is something you can do if you win a close combat) and in the last round of combat I did enough to rout his infantry off the table
although this did leave me very close to another French Battalion which quickly formed line in front of me
on the right flank the British Cavalry had broken through the French line and were threatening to overrun them
back in the center the British commander joined the infantry that had just broken a french column and they charged into combat against another battalion and somehow managed to rout them after 3 hard rounds of combat
but unfortunately the British Cavalry didn’t fair so well and were forced to fallback into a friendly unit which caused them to rout off the table as well (if you interpenetrate a friendly unit you each take a fatigue point and my cavalry only had one left)
at that point we called it a day as the french were badly mauled and had lost 3 units to the British 1
so what do I think of the rules? well if you haven’t already guessed I love them, they have simple mechanics that just work so well. I can see us playing a lot more of this game as we’ve only just scratched the surface of them. the rules are broken down into basic rules (what we played) and optional rules that extend the game and offer more options for play, also the army lists include national characteristics that further change the dynamics of the game.
you know I think I might have found the game I’ve been looking for
if you are interested in the rules you can get them from Caliver Books (here)
and if you want to hear our interview with Adrian its here