Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Song of Drums and Shakos with General Ballroom

Our gaming chum General Ballroom has recently been most unwell. A "routine" heart operation (Steve says it was broken) resulted in some complications that he's still recovering from. However he gets better and better each time I've seen him. So today Steve and I decided that he needed to climb back on the wargaming horse - lest whatever skill and enthusiasm he has for our hobby be lost to him forever. Having first received confirmation from Lady Ballroom that he'd be up to the job we ventured over to the Ilko Gaming Shed with an assortment of Naps and some scenery for a quick game of Peninsular Napoleonic action.
Steve has started painting up some Voltigeurs (with massive headgear) but has since been distracted by Scotsmen (he loves a man in a kilt) but fancied tying out SDS and I figured that a small 300 point a side skirmish would be over quickly enough for the tired Gen. B to cope with.

The scenario saw a French sergeant and two infantrymen defending a village where their Commanding Officer had been caught all unnecessary whilst visiting his Spanish mistress in no-mans land. A small British force was on its way to capture the French General whilst reinforcements raced to his aid.

 Dawn breaks over the peaceful hamlet of Patatas Bravas

The British began by advancing en mass from behind a small wood.

Drumer Bonham keeps time

The French began to fire on the advancing redcoats but with little impact. The Frenchman behind the grey wall subsequently lost all interest in the battle and returned to his gauloises and vin rouge instead of reloading.

The first redcoat falls. But it's just a flesh wound 

Fortunately the Sergeant was made of sterner stuff and kept up a hail of fire on the British, even bouncing back to his feet and immediately reloading when taken down by a musket ball.
His closest soldat however caught an unlucky shot between the eyes and was out of the game

Gauche, driote, gauche, droite...

The French reserves finally arrived and advance rapidly on the village.

A sudden bout of accurate French musketry saw two British soldiers killed in a single round, suddenly their advance faltered and guns refused to reload.

Form up on the wall!

As the British attempted to consolidate their position behind the wall one of the newly arrived Frenchmen took aim at the British Captain and killed him with a single shot. British morale faltered and several men fled the safety of the wall. At this point the Frenchman behind the far wall finally put out his fag, picked up his musket and shot down another redcoat.

Drummer Bonham steadies the men's wavering resolve

All was not going the French way however and several attempts at ordering volley fire were met with a bewildered response from the grognards.

Le Sergeant hits the dirt again.

Finally however weight of numbers began to tell. Another musketeer was killed and the British realised the game was up. In a final act of perfidy one sneaky Frenchman circled behind a building and took aim at the young drummer boy. Fortunately his shot went wide, but at this point Sergeant Spitoon ordered the retreat - the French General had slipped through his fingers.

Drummer Bonham has a narrow escape.

This was a good fun game. The rules are simple and straightforward but with enough clever variations to keep it interesting. I'm not sure I'd want to play it every week, but it was just what we all needed I think and we'll probably revisit either the Peninsular or Waterloo in the not too distant future.


  1. Great looking skirmish game, beautiful pictures...

  2. Great looking terrain and figs; never played the rules before, but reminds me a bit of Sharp Practice.

    1. Thanks Dean. I've never played Sharp Practice, but I think that's for a bit bigger games than this. SDS isusually around 10-12 figures per side i think SP is more like 30+ per side.
      One day I may have enough models to give it a go.

  3. Ah just what I was after to scratch that Napoleonics itch without breaking the bank!

  4. Great looking game - SDS provides a lot of amusement :)

    1. I like the Song of... engine.
      As I said, wouldn't want to play it ALL the time, but it makes a great change of pace.