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Fighting in the streets

Started by Erpingham, November 13, 2023, 05:04:27 PM

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No, not the EDL v Police but a little internal security issue in Northern France. Anglo-Burgundians v. French.

A French company had seized a key village.  Neighbouring garrisons (English and Burgundian) had sent troops to drive them off.

In truth, this little skirmish was a test of recent ideas I'd been mulling over in how to successfully fight in the streets without being too knit-picky about angles, moves, sight lines and so on.  The idea was to envisage the village as an irregular grid.  Troops faced a grid edge and could fight anywhere on that edge.  The edges counted as defensible. Fighting inside the grid followed usual rough terrain rules. Buildings had aesthetic value only. Roads counted as clear terrain.

I deliberately set the French up to fail in that they were outnumbered by the combined Anglo-Burgundians 25 morale points to 15.  The allied forces attacked down the axis of two roads at right angles with their dismounted men-at-arms and the French held the entrances against them.  I should have given the French barriers to even things as the allies had bonuses for attacking in depth.  The French shooters (gens de trait) held the built up grid squares. The allied shooters managed to keep them engaged to prevent shooting at the assault columns. After a short sharp fight the French MAA were eliminated in the same move (it is very difficult to eliminate MAA, so bit of a surprise ).  The only other combats were a heroic assault by some militia against one grid and by English archers against another, neither decisive. Given 7 of the 15 French points were tied up in their MAA, it only took one lot of shooters to fall to English archery for the remaining French to be on the slippery slope to nowhere.

So, key thing.  Did it work. Yes, though there were more questions. Should I, for example, allow troops to move inside the grid without having deductions for turns?  Only allow flank and rear attacks when units are pinned by another combat?  I.e. have fluid combat representing a scrambling fight among lanes, gardens and outhouses?  I decided in play to allow units to move along the perimeter of a grid to the next face, again to represent a more ad hoc defence.  I do have some other mods I may come back to try, like banning mounted troops from the built up grids and only allowing them to roam roads and civic open areas (like a market square). But, for now, I shall consider what tinkering to do with the infantry fight.

Jon Freitag

Anthony, having made one step toward playing on a grid system, why not move all of the way?  Grids simplify many things and your BUA fighting is one of them.  From your description, it sounds like each grid offers more than one position (edges and interior).  Why not refine the grid so that each grid may only contain on BMU (if combat is defined between grids) or two BMUs if fighting is within grid?  Then, position does not matter and the design is simplified. 


Quote from: Jon Freitag on November 13, 2023, 07:32:06 PMAnthony, having made one step toward playing on a grid system, why not move all of the way? 

Because I prefer the gridless tabletop I am familiar with?  I do actually find the recent rivival of grids interesting but I think they work better in different circumstances than mine.  I am looking increasingly toward a looser form of fight - large scale skirmish /small battle.  A lot of medieval warfare was like this.  Grids for me suit more a larger scale of battle, with bigger basic manoeuver units.  Or an abstraction like a boardgame with figures.

So what I'm trying to do here is use a different way of subdividing a terrain area (the urban area) and being a bit more abstract how fighting took place there.  I also need to think of a better term than grids or squares, because they are a bit misleading - what we are talking is the inhabited bits between the roads, or features like walls or defences, so they won't necessarily be regular or equal sized.

Incidentally, I've toyed for years with the idea of a town fighting game with the simplicity of something like Risk, where forces just fight abstract combat into the next zone.  But that would be a different game.


I returned for another go at this.  I made some slight changes to explore further.

The village had expanded somewhat and now had six zones rather than four.  I gave the French their town barriers and a couple of units of brigans/pillars, partly to compensate the bigger village, partly to try them out as defenders.  The Burgundians brought a cannon this time, just for fun.

The battle was tighter this time but the result was the same. The missile duel between the Burgundian and French was extensive this time and the cannon managed a couple of hits, though foolishly the gunners had set it up within crossbow range, so (a first for me in these rules) a few gun crew were skewered.  Fortunately for the gunners, by this time some English archers had crossed a couple of zones and soon attack the crossbows from behind.

The brigans, as expected, were pretty good in this terrain, particularly against archers who can't shoot within the zones.  At one point they beat off an attack by English MAA (who get a terrain penalty).

Fierce fighting up and down the streets took place and ultimately the last unit standing was the French commander, being attacked by a combination of English archers and Burgundian MAA.  Just the sort of ending the chroniclers love  :) 

Tactically, I made it harder for the French by making them have one unit in each zone to begin with, which challenged them to concentrate their forces.  This meant that there was an obvious weak point (one zone could be attacked by both English and Burgundians from different sides but only had one defender) which the English exploited.

Anyway, an enjoyable little skirmish which confirmed I'm happy with the direction of travel for this sort of fight.  Just have to make a note of conclusions for the rules now  :)

Jon Freitag

How about some game photos to see your armies in action?

Imperial Dave

Slingshot Editor


Ignoring the grid-obsessed, here is a shot of the end point.You cannot view this attachment.

Here we see the gallant last stand of the Boarshead Company (note they have already taken damage), English archers lending a hand, some Greenhoods militia and some crossbowmen.  In the far background, just a glimpse of a cannon on a hill.

Will that do? :)

For Dave, here we see two zones, one marked by fences, the other with a house.  Between them runs the street, which counts as open terrain.

Jon Freitag

That'll do, Anthony, that'll do.

Thank you! 

Imperial Dave

Slingshot Editor