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Musings of the Welsh Wizzard

What happens when dilution of the hobby becomes homeopathic

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April 22, 2021

Another Game of Over the Hills

After our first game of Over the Hills last week we quickly decided to play another game and try out some of the optional rules included in the book

for this second game we extended the forces a bit and used one of the scenarios ‘hold until relieved’

this scenario is fairly straightforward with an objective placed in the center of the table and 50% of one force is set up around the objective and the rest is left off table. the attacker then sets up their entire army within 12″ of one of the short edges and has to take the objective before reinforcements arrive. each turn after the first the defender has to roll a dice for each unit to see if they arrive that turn, with the game played lengthways along the table.

I was the defender and had a brigade of 3 infantry battalions and a battery of medium guns defending the objective, and my reserves consisted of the Divisional commander plus a small brigade of 2 light infantry battalions and a regiment of Heavy Cavalry.

Mark had the French attackers, with 2 Brigades of Infantry, 1 of 2 battalions and the second with 4, supporting this was a battery of Foot artillery and a Cavalry brigade of 1 regiment of Light Cavalry and some Horse Artillery.

With only 3 infantry battalions and some artillery holding out against this lot my job was going to be tough.

Getting back to the optional rules we decided to use the rules for morale to see how this works. in the basic game a unit remains on the table until it’s fatigue score is reduced to 0 and the optional rules extend that a bit, where a unit becomes ‘Wavering’ when it’s fatigue score hits 2 and becomes ‘Routed’ when it goes to 1.

Wavering units cant move towards the enemy, support in combat and have reduced firing capabilities. Routing units can not fire and have to move directly away from the enemy or to its rear until its rallied or it leaves the table. these are nice simple rules that just add to the game and I was impressed by the way it affected the game and made it flow in a more realistic manner.

I won’t go too much into the game itself but it was a thrilling game with neither side knowing the outcome until the end.

Marks French charged across the table in double quick time trying to force my thin red line back before reinforcements arrived. as my Divisional commander was off the table my Brigade commander counted as out of command range which meant I couldn’t move any troops at more then half speed, so I was pretty much forced to stand my ground.

slowly my reinforcements started to arrive on the table (with the heavy Cavalry arriving obviously last) by this time the French had made contact and were pushing my troops back across the whole front. I was also in danger of being outflanked by the superior numbers of French infantry. my artillery was forced to limber up and withdraw to a new position as the French were just getting a little to close for comfort, on the other side Marks foot artillery was forced to do the same as it had no clear targets, although the faster moving Horse artillery had found a good position on the battlefield to punish my now weary troops.

both sides fought themselves into a standstill and several French battalions started to waver and then fall back, but not before the French light cavalry caught a British infantry unit in line and charged in.

This allowed us to look at the rules for forming squares in a bit more detail

Infantry battalions can form square as part of normal movement and once in square they can not be charged by cavalry, however they are very vulnerable to artillery fire and attacks from other infantry units. alternatively Infantry units can attempt to form an emergency square if they are in line or column and charged by cavalry (this is what happened in our game)

to form an emergency square the unit has to roll equal to or less than it’s current fatigue score, if it does make the roll the unit is moved into a square and the cavalry carry out a round of close combat. there are modifiers that affect the close combat and its difficult for the cavalry to do much damage to the emergency square and unless the square breaks (i.e. the units Fatigue goes to 0) the cavalry bounce off the square.

however if the unit fails to form an emergency square then all bets are off and its highly likely the cavalry will win the combat and do some heavy damage to the infantry unit.

all in all its very realistic and means that a well drilled infantry unit (i.e. one with a high Fatigue score) will be able to form an emergency square and beat off the cavalry attack whilst one that has a lower fatigue score is unlikely to react in time and even if they do, they could break due to the cavalry charge.

our game finished with the French retreating back due to losses but it was a hard thought game and the British line was very thin at the end, it was only the sight of the British Heavy Cavalry appearing on the French flank that persuaded Mark to throw in the towel

here’s some pictures of the game

British and French starting positions

French move up to attack

Slowly the KGL Light infantry move up to support the line

French Cavalry force the British to form an emergency square, whilst the French infantry attack continues

finally with their boots polished and probably after a snifter of fine wine, the British Heavy Cavalry turn up to save the day

just in time for tea and medals all round

in our next game we are going to try out the racial characteristics included in the optional rules and see how they change the dynamics of the game


2 Responses “Another Game of Over the Hills”

  1. Avatar
    Jon Palmer
    March 28, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Hi Mike,

    So which Nap game do you prefer, “Napoleon at war” – which has new owners, check their website or “Over the hills”?

    I played a lot of “Nap at war” in the past and only recently read through “Over the hills” with a short trial run on my own, with two inf and one cav per side.

    I feel that “over the hills” seems a little bit less intuitive than “Nap at war”, but maybe it’s just me.


    • MikeH
      March 29, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      Hi Jon

      I actually think I prefer Over the Hills, I played a few games of Napoleon at War and I do like it, but if I had to choose then I’d go for Over the Hills

      although if you ask me next week I might of changed my mind 🙂

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