Previously on The Land Of Counterpane Invaded Part 1: Making The Bed
Now in part 2 , The Battle.
The Opening Scenario:
The main aim is to rescue the men and women of the Thyer Brigadia (FMS) troops, whose supply waggon cannot cross the missing or destroyed river bridge.
Has the bridge been deliberately destroyed?
The only remaining crossing is a small foot bridge to the south, too small for the waggon to safely cross. This crossing is below an old ruined trading post, burnt out long ago, along with the ruined windmill and distant village in the hills, all in ruins like much of this troubled and desolate frontier valley.
Fearing an ambush in this lawless and disputed border region, the stranded waggon party have sent back a rider to bring help. As evening approaches they have unloaded the waggon and taken refuge with their stores in this burnt out hilltop ruin of an old crossing post.
The old lady in their party is sick. The two feisty young Kontraupan sisters ‘Hetty’ and ‘Harriet’ have stayed with the troops in order to nurse her.
The Thyer Brigadia sentry on the opposite ridge sounds the alarm as a small patrol of red enemy Rugasian troops comes storming over the hillside.
Back of Postcard Rules (similar to the 30mm Flats game, loosely based on Featherstone rules) – see link end of this 30mm Flats post here . Adapted to work on a square grid. 1 inch from the Flats rules becomes one square (which is just over 2 inches).
Four figures or two horses can occupy one blanket square.
Sketch Map of The Land of Counterpane
Compass points have been drawn across it to help determine point of entry and exit of various troops.
Bird’s eye view of the opening scenario before the first Rugasian Redcoats arrive from the SW.
This game was played solo in one evening, over 16 turns as darkness fell outside.
D6 dice were thrown to determine the game turn (2d6) and compass entry points (2d6) of diffrent Rugasian (Red or RM) and Bluan (Blue – B ) and Thyer Brigadian (TB) troops.
Compass points – 2d6 – 1 North, 2 Northeast, 3 Northwest, 4 South, 5 SE, 6 SW, E 7, W 8+
Chronology of the arrival of different units
This was written out for clarity before Turn 1 started.
Turn 1 – first Rugasian infantry patrol appear on board at SW
Turn 5 – first Rugasian cavalry / horse artillery unit at S. – Single cannon.
Turn 6 – first Bluan infantry patrol arrives N (on NE side of river)
Turn 7 – Second Rugasian infantry patrol appear W.
Turn 8 – Blue cavalry rider returns from raising the alarm – NW
Turn 11 – Second Bluan infantry patrol arrives – N
2 coloured D6 dice thrown to see which side has highest score and moves first – IGO YUGO – see rules at end of post. Winner moves first (any melee?), loser moves second (any melee?), winner fires first, loser fires second.
Turn 1 – The first Rugasian (RM or Red) troops move first, fast up the valley slopes from the West towards the lone Thyer Brigadia (TB or Blue) sentry Kverko who is keeping watch beside the dead tree on Wounded Tree- Knee ridge. Can they surprise and overpower him before he raises the alarm?
D6 thrown to see if the Thyer Brigadia (TB or Blue) sentry notices the RM troops – 1,2, 3 Yes, 4,5,6 N0.
The sentry Kverko fails to spot them on the first turn. No firing takes place as they are both / all out of range.
He spots them on the first move of second turn and sounds the alarm, letting off a warning shot at the Rugasian infantry, only to be shot down, easily silhouetted against the sky by the Reds.
In Turns 3 and 4 as the Rugasian infantry line the brow of the ridge opposite the trading post, the remaining Thyer Brigadian sentries start heading back towards the cover of the hilltop ruin. They are few in number, so were spread out on watch. They are all still out of firing range of the enemy.
By Turn 5, the jingling rumble of the Rugasian horse artillery is heard and they arrive in the river valley to the South along the Rugasian troop side of the valley.
By Turn 6 the first Rugasian infantry have crossing the foot bridge and are heading up the steep slopes of the hilltop ruin, within rifle range of the Thyer Brigadian troops. The first TB shots miss, although Hetty Kontraupan gets a pistol hit through a loophole in the wall on the first Rugasian trooper to reach the boardwalk outside the ruin, this is then deflected in a savings throw. Nice shot all the same, Hetty!
Her sister Harriet has drawn a wicked looking sabre and whirls this around menacingly over the rough old gate used to block the doorway.
By Turn 7, the first glimpse of Bluan infantry border patrol from the North’s distant Counterpane hills. A spirited “huzzah!” from the besieged blue coated Thyer Brigadians is heartily echoed by the Bluan troops racing to the rescue. The Rugasians turn their eyes briefly to the North, then push on.
The Thyer Brigadian troops and sentries, mostly safe behind the walls of the ruin, fire on the Rugasian infantry appearing in front of the ruin. One Rugasian Redcoat is hit outside the ruin window.
The last Thyer Brigadian sentry Vagono, still to return to the ruin, is using the abandoned waggon as cover; he fires on the Rugasian Cavalry and horse artillery riders opposite as they pass up the valley to deploy in flat ground by the destroyed Bedford river bridge. Vagono misses, and curses, knowing that once the gun is unhitched and deployed in Turn 9, it will be ready to fire at the hilltop ruin in Turn Ten.
If the sentry Vagano could only pick off some of the 3 horse artillery crew needed to man the gun, even if they replace them with willing volunteers from the Rugasian infantry, this will force the gun crew to delay firing and dice for readiness.
When it is the Rugasian turn to fire, they hit two of the Thyer Brigadian infantry in the ruined house window. Despite being behind cover, they fail their savings throw and both are killed. This leaves few defenders in the ruin.
Meanwhile, whatever alarm the arrival of the distant Bluan patrol might cause, off to the west shielded from view behind the Wounded Tree-Knee ridge, the second Rugasian infantry patrol enters the board.
Turn 8 – Tarantara! The Thyer Brigadian / Bluan cavalry rider sent for help appears to the Northwest. he heads towards the waggon in the hop to hitch it up and be able to evacuate the women and other defenders from the ruin.
Things are looking bad for the thinning number of defenders in the hilltop ruin as more of the Rugasian infantry patrol head down hill from the cover of an old stone wall. Before, they were in cover but just a bit too far away to get a good shot at the ruined house.
The Rugasian infantry outside the ruin now fire at Hetty, Harriet and the Thyer Brigadian soldiers. One Rugasian scores a hit – but who is the casualty?
A quick d6 throw resolves the issue – red, blue and white dice are thrown , 1 for each character. Both women are safe as the third Thyer Brigadian infantry man collapses to the ground, dead. As the defenders return fire, Hetty aims another pistol shot but misses.
The lone Thyer Brigadian sentry Vagono sheltering by the waggon is more successful – he fires at the Rugasian Horse artillery riders and scores a hit.
Which is killed though, rider or horse? d6 – 1,2,3 rider killed or 4,5,6 horse killed, rider dismounts.
Not only does the lone sentry Vagono manage to kill one rider, the Bluan Infantry patrol from the North are now close in range enough to bring down two more horses. Their Rugasian riders dismount from their fatlly wounded horses and begin unhitching the single gun.
At this point, whilst most casualties have been left where they fell, I removed the mounted figures and replaced them with some handy dismounted Herald plastic lifeguard figures.
With several defenders of the ruin fallen, three Rugasian infantrymen on the board walk outside the ruin try to climb inside through the barricaded door and ruined window.
Are they successful? Quick d6 throw 1,2, 3,4 – remain outside, 5, 6 climb inside.
Only one Rugasian makes it into through the barricaded doorway. He is then close enough to instantly melee with the sabre wielding Harriet Kontraupan.
Sadly despite inflicting two wounds on the Rugasian attacker with her sabre, Harriet is fatally wounded three times and collapses to the ground, only yards from her sister Hetty.
The 3 wound or life points tally system used in Melee can be seen here in my gaming notebook alongside Kaptain Kobold’s very tidy dice version of the Gerald De Gre origin / Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming ‘Parry and Lunge’ duelling or melee rules.
In the Bluan / Thyer Brigadian turn to fire, Hetty aims her pistol at point blank range at the Rugasian infantryman who slew her sister. However, tears in her eyes, she again misses her target. Bad luck, Hetty!
More successfully the flag-carrying Thyer Brigadian Ensign Flago puts down his sword and flag to pick up an abandoned rifle. He shoots the Rugasian attacker – Harriet is swiftly avenged!
Ensign Flago dodges another bullet (savings throw) from two Rugasian infantry at the window.
The Rugasian cannon is now deployed ready to fire.
Rugasian infantry move first, crossing the bridge , they turn to meet the first Bluan patrol closing in on them. Above them up the slope at the ruin, two more Rugasian infantry try to scramble in through the window frame. As one succeeds (d6 throw), he confronts the Ensign Flago in Melee – and the Rugasian loses!
The Bluan infantry patrol led by Capitano ‘Harry’ Counterpane / Kontraupan split as he heads towards the red troops at the bridge, whilst others aim for the Rugasian cannon.
As the Bluan / TB cavalryman hitches up the waggon, the lone Thyer Brigadian sentry Vagano heads up the hill to the ruin to join the remaining defenders.
Boom! The Rugasian Horse artillery cannon fires – at Close Range up to 6 squares needing a 5 or 6 to hit, then roll d6 for number of casualties. Up to 5 characters in and around the ruin are hit. 5 d6 savings throws are thrown including for those under cover. Two characters under cover roll successful savings throws – that means the casualties are one Rugasian infantryman hit by his own side, the lone sentry Vagono and one defender under cover.
But which defender?
Three coloured d6 are thrown – the old sick lady (red), Hetty Kontraupan (blue) and Ensign Flago (white). Sadly Ensign Flago takes their hit for the team, the last of the Thyer Brigadian escort troops.
With just the old sick lady and Hetty left in the ruin, they both consider what to do?
d6 1,2 – retreat via window towards the hitched waggon, 3-4 freeze, 5,6 stay put. They roll 5 and so stay put.
The Bluan patrol fire at the cannon and second unit of Rugasian infantry arriving from the west, knocking out more of the cannon crew.
Turn 11 – Huzzah! Waving their flag, the second Bluan infantry border patrol appears to the North.
Meanwhile back in the ‘valley of death’, as red and blue bodies pile up, Capitano ‘Harry’ Kontraupan of the Bluan infantry loses his second Melee with a Rugasian redcoat at the footbridge, becoming one of several more Bluan and Rugasian melee casualties.
Thankfully the Rugasian cannon remains unable to fire.
By Turn 12, the second Redcoat infantry group which has arrived from the West now fires on the second Bluan infantry platoon.
By Turn 13, several Bluan infantry reach the hilltop ruin to join Hetty and the sick old lady who are sheltering there. The Bluan waggon is hitched and now heads for shelter behind the ruin but Hetty stays put.
During Turn 14, the Rugasian horse artillery cannon is hitched up and led off. (d6 Saddle up cannon? 1-4 yes, 5-6 no). In exchanges of rifle fire across the river, the Rugasian redcoats fire poorly and the Bluan forces fire well. More redcoats fall.
A repaired Britain’s household cavalryman takes away the sole Rugasian horse artillery gun.
By Turn 15, after desultory firing by the last remaining Rugasian soldiers, they throw a d6 deciding roll (1,3,5 retreat or 2,4,6 attack) and retreat.
By Turn 16, the Bluan flag flies over the hilltop ruin. Huzzah!
In the aftermath, Hetty and the Blue Cavalaryman escort the sick old lady home in the waggon, returning with the stores and bodies of Harriet and Harry Kontraupan back to the safety of Thyer Brigadia.
The Bluan troops quickly bury the dead. Keeping some spare stores from the waggon, they leave a three man patrol in the ruins to watch for further enemy activity.
Verdict: An exciting solo game, worthy of the finest pound store figures and vintage hollowcasts alike. Only 5 slow years since the sketch of the terrain and the playing.
Playing using the blanket squares as movement and firing range did lead to some oddities of measuring that hexes normally don’t present for me. I think that Bob Cordery in the Portable Wargame book / blog and Phil Dutre in his blog have explored the grid square reasons for this.
The red and blue infantry were mostly cheap pound store plastic warrior ‘shiny toy soldier style’ paint conversions of cloned WW2 figures, roughly about 42mm. https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/pound-store-42mm-infantry-army-red-army-blue/
Thyer Brigadia hollowcast repairs https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/09/12/repairing-broken-britains-thyer-brigadia-colour-party-finished-in-54mm/
A few old hollowcasts and other plastic figures were mixed in for good measure, along with some suitable wooden scenery blocks, building and gun to match that older Land of Counterpane vintage feeling.
The main hilltop ruin is built out of terracotta self drying clay and parts of an old digital radio wooden case https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/from-old-digital-radio-to-54mm-houses-and-coastal-gun-emplacement/
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 6 April 2021
radio conversion to
9 thoughts on “The Land of Counterpane Invaded – Part 2 The Battle”
Yikes! Quite a surprise to see my name in there – I’d forgotten I’d written those dueling rules!
Great report – so delightfully retro.
Haha – Surprised you! The Kaptain Kobold duelling d6 melee rules are simple, brilliant and frequently in use in my games, unless I want to mess around with Gerard de Gre / Featherstone duelling cards. If only I had the brain to think these things through and simplify them myself!
The battle at last! Well worth the wait and what a splendid game. I am typing this in bed with the usual morning coffee . The duvet has blue, gray and white squares…
The photos have come out really well. I think this has potential as a wargames show participant game or demo one. A chance to reacquaint people with the poem or a whole new generation. Would be fun to do in a children’s library situation too and easily rigged up for both. Perhaps in public display a life sized card 2d boy or girl in Victorian night attire could be drawn and sat poking out from the covers against the headboard. In a Library children could be encouraged to draw and write imagining themselves in such a situation home.
I particularly like the first picture with troops ascending the hill with a tree and solitary figure away in the distance. As ever I am impressed by your meticulous record keeping for future use and posterity. Well played Mark on all fronts!
The squares give it that gridded harking back to “chess with a thousand pieces” feel, although the ‘squares’ of stretchy fabric (wool?)curiously distend into ‘rectangles’. There is that whole diagonal / orthogonal thing about firing and moving through / across / around squares but I don’t quite understand all that …
I see your classroom head still on – Interesting to see what Jen Burdoo and the other gaming librarians think of your Counterpane exhibition idea. Houses, trees, harbours, boats, troops … or a space landscape … etc.
The record keeping and photos are in case of gaming (interrupted). I should take more Close in, point of view photos.
I vaguely recall reading that one of the Forbes toy soldier collections open to the public recreated this bed scene as a 3D room with a stick your head into a bubble window to view. Hanging airplanes etc. Maybe I just dreamt it …
Phew, that was a close-run thing! Naming the main characters makes it so much more enjoyable – I instantly cared about them. Poor Harriet! How did you come up with the sentry names – are Vagano & Kverko Esperanto words? I also like the way you diced where decisions were required. I imagine this works without a hitch when playing solo, it may be a tad more challenging to agree the odds if playing two-handed.
Anyway, you mark my words, those Ragusian blaggards will have to pay for this!
PS: I don’t suppose you could source a cloth with green squares? Just saying…
Thanks. Naming the characters is one of Featherstone’s Solo or Skirmish Wargaming clever tricks in his Personalised Wargaming chapter.
I try when playing solo to be fair and neutral to each side but to me the ‘Rugasian’ reds this time were just nameless faceless Mittel Mittel European FMS hordes rather than the plucky redcoats of previous games.
You are right, the names are Esperanto (translation website) names, some added as the game goes on. It easily adds an exotic foreign ImagINations feel.
The d6 decisions are one of the few ways of randomising decisions and ‘ironing out the creases’ of playing solo.
Now as you say, a green and brown agricultural squared / tartan rug / throw / blanket would be interesting, of challenging colourwise with the rest of the house decor.
Big Polka dots on oilcloth table covers work as well.
This ‘found terrain everywhere’ reminds me of playing marbles or cars on the patterns of solid manhole covers in the infant school playground.
Fantastic stuff! I always find your battle reports so inspiring.
Thank you – likewise!