Basic Baroque - A Brutal Affair

After my last couple of game reports several people have asked me for a better overall view of the mechanisms of Basic Baroque.  So
here are a few of my thoughts.  

Well, Impetus/Basic Baroque is all about maintaining order, whilst disrupting your enemy.  Also trying to keep your own troops fresh, and
therefore potentially being able to add your bonus Impetus factor, whilst ensuring that the enemy units are worn and cannot use theirs.  
Also vital is your ability to pass simple cohesion tests, minimising potential casualties and becoming disordered.  The system engenders
lots of 'friction' and as our group are huge fans of Lard this is always going to sit comfortably.  Players need to roll low for cohesion tests,
and yet high for combat and firing.  This means players who tend to roll consistently high (me, for example) will cause lots of potential
casualties, but then will fail to pass cohesion tests the enemy inflicts on their own units who will become worn and eventually rout all the
more easier.  Think of it as a s**t, or bust, concept folks.  These players tend to find their armies brittle and games end quickly.  Players
that roll low will inflict few casualties on the enemy, but if they continue to do roll low will tend to pass all their cohesion tests the enemy
force on them so will appear steadfast, and the battle will be a grinding match.  You never know which way its going to go.  It takes a very
lucky man to roll high when he needs to, and low when he needs to, plus it makes for some useful 'sledging' if that's what your group
likes (...and like many, we do).  There are no killer troop types. All units have their good points and bad points.  Generally if you try to use
historical tactics it will work better as a rule set.  

Anyhow, I invited Derek, the chap who's ECW commission to my painting service started this all off, over for a game.  The missus had
taken the kids to see the Mother-in-Law for a couple of days, so I was able to host.  Ninth wargame of the year for me.  

To set up, first both sides roll 2D6 and add a + modifier for the number of mounted units in their force.  Both of us went with little cavalry,
the Royalists choosing Veteran infantry instead.  So, Royalists add +5, Parliamentarians also add +5.  Parliamentarians score higher.
Thus they are the attacker.  Derek's Royalists are defending.  They choose 3-5 terrain pieces, but no more than two of one type.  Terrain
pieces must be 5cm - 20cm in size, or in the case of a hedge 20cm - 80cm long.  Derek chose one low hill, one smallish wood (difficult
ground) and a boggy ploughed field (broken ground).  The majority of the terrain must be outside of the armies deployment zones.  The
deployment zone is 15cm back fro the centre line and 12cm from each short table edge.  The defender can move, or remove, one terrain
piece.  I moved the hill from the centre to a position adjacent to the hill.  This anchored the flanks and also took the hill out of the action by
ensuring any Royalist guns placed on it couldn't see over the wood.  Sneaky that.










































After my last couple of game reports several people have asked me for a better overall view of the mechanisms of Basic Baroque.
So here are a few of my thoughts.  Well, Impetus/Basic Baroque is all about maintaining order, whilst disrupting your enemy. Also trying
to keep your own troops fresh, and therefore potentially being able to add your bonus Impetus factor, whilst ensuring that the enemy
units are worn and cannot use theirs.  Also vital is your ability to pass simple cohesion tests, minimising potential casualties and
becoming disordered. The system engenders lots of 'friction' and as our group are huge fans of Lard this is always going to sit
comfortably.  Players need to roll low for cohesion tests, and yet high for combat and firing. This means players who tend to roll
consistently high (me, for example) will cause lots of potential casualties, but then will fail to pass cohesion tests the enemy inflicts on
their own units who will become worn and eventually rout all the more easier. Think of it as a shit, or bust, concept folks. These players
tend to find their armies brittle and games end quickly.  Players that roll low will inflict few casualties on the enemy, but if they continue to
do roll low will tend to pass all their cohesion tests the enemy force on them so will appear steadfast, and the battle will be a grinding
match.  You never know which way its going to go. It takes a very lucky man to roll high when he needs to, and low when he needs to,
plus it makes for some useful 'sledging' if that's what your group likes (...and like many, we do)There are no killer troop types. All units
have their good points and bad points. Generally if you try to use historical tactics it will work better as a rule set.  

Anyhow, I invited Derek, the chap who's ECW commission to my painting service started this all off, over for a game.  The missus had
taken the kids to see the Mother-in-Law for a couple of days, so I was able to host.  Ninth wargame of the year for me.  

To set up, first both sides roll 2D6 and add a + modifier for the number of mounted units in their force. Both of us went with little cavalry,
the Royalists choosing Veteran infantry instead. So, Royalists add +5, Parliamentarians also add +5.  Parliamentarians score higher. Thus
they are the attacker.  Derek's Royalists are defending.  They choose 3-5 terrain pieces, but no more than two of one type. Terrain pieces
must be 5cm - 20cm in size, or in the case of a hedge 20cm - 80cm long. Derek chose one low hill, one smallish wood (difficult ground)
and a boggy ploughed field (broken ground). The majority of the terrain must be outside of the armies deployment zones. The
deployment zone is 15cm back fro the centre line and 12cm from each short table edge.  The defender can move, or remove, one terrain
piece. I moved the hill from the centre to a position adjacent to the hill. This anchored the flanks and also took the hill out of the action by
ensuring any Royalist guns placed on it couldn't see over the wood.  Sneaky that.



Derek's Royalist Ladyboys are on the right in the pic above. Derek had two commands.  One almost entirely of horse on the Royalist
right. The second of infantry on the Royalist left. No Dragoons or light troops. The Parliamentarians had only one command.  I deployed
my infantry between the ploughed field and woods, supported by Pistoleers to the rear. Parliamentarian right consisted of the Lobsters,
backed up by more Pistoleers. Due to the army list choices I ended up with three units of Forlorn Hope musketeers. One held the left with
my Dragoons in the wood. The remaining two acted as a link between the cavalry on the right and infantry of the centre. These troops are
minimal in size and scope being pretty useless in Basic Baroque apart from occupying awkward terrain.


































The two blue coated regiments of Ladyboy foot were designated as Veterans with enhanced combat and impetus values, but at the cost
of a demoralisation value of three points each. Derek deployed them on the Royalist right, with foot deployed in depth.  




































Derek had his four compulsory Galloper units and a unit of Trotters. For ease in this game predominantly red cornets = Gallopers, blue =
Trotters.  





































With the Parliamentarians advancing their Forlorn Hope into the ploughed field but standing their ground elsewhere for two moves,
Derek made a decision that if he didn't deal with the musketeers they would cause a lot of problems. Lacking light troops and with his
light gun too far away to do any damage Derek took the bit between his teeth and advanced his horse into the broken terrain of the
ploughed field.  




































A ploughed field is no safe bastion for a Forlorn Hope however. Derek, winning initiative, contacts the skirmishers thereby dispersing
them, before they could run away.

However, the horse are now trapped and begin to take hits from the Roundhead greencoats firing into their exposed flank.  





































The Parliamentarian Dragoons are in the wood, with skirmishers taking the adjacent low ground, shown in the rearground of the pic
above.

These are actually Nigel's Covenanter skirmishers as I didn't have enough units to field three. Derek, lacking any light troops, wisely
simply ignored the Dragoons. Though was this as wise as it might seem?

I advanced my Light Gun to threaten the Royalist Veteran foot and hopefully encourage them to advance to take it out. This worked. As
they advanced the veteran Royalist foot became Worn by the gunfire. The Roundhead Dragoons advanced to the edge of the wood and
inflicted further casualties. When they took the gun by close combat they were almost spent, and further firing from the Dragoons soon
routed them.  


































Having ridden down the enemy Forlorn Hope, the Royalist cavalry, now disordered due to the broken terrain, can't withdraw so plough
on....get it? Plough on...(Gets coat. I must get out more).

With the Parliamentarian cavalry advancing, headed by the infamous Lobsters, Derek's horse slappers engage Roundhead foot.  Is this
wise Derek I ask?  





































In answer to my question, Derek's horse slappers get away with it. Ok they were forced to retreat but with Derek rolling well for Cohesion
tests, they proved incredibly steadfast. That wasn't part of my 'plan'.   The Lobsters are now in position to take out their opposite
numbers....or will they?  








































The Lobsters and Royalist Trotters charge one another. Firing pistols and rolling 2D6 before contact, the Lobsters fail to score hits but
are disordered by enemy pistol fire. In the combat phase the Lobsters are, amazingly, thrown back into their supports, disordering them.
Buoyed by the success of their horse the Royalist horse decide to have another go at the Roundhead foot. Not as daft as it sounds. Were
they to stand in the field the Roundhead greencoats would simply shoot them to bits. As they are disordered by the broken terrain, they
cannot withdraw. Also the Roundhead foot have taken 50% hits and so can't fire point blank opportunity fire at chargers any more. With
minimal numbers of combat dice for both sides, the melee is stagnated and locked.






























OK action shifts to the centre. The Royalist foot decide to take it to the rebels. Roundhead Commanded Shot open fire but with little effect.
In returning fire their fire the Cavalier foot watches as their enemy flee in headlong rout.

Derek sends in another unit of weakened Gallopers into fresh Roundhead Foot. Brave, very, very brave.  Fortune favours the brave.









































Yet again Derek's Ladyboy horse slappers get away with it again as both sides are locked.  However, a fresh Royalist foot unit now starts
the melee again and counts half (one extra die) of their supporting horse. OUCH. Merrick's greycoats rush support their failing frontline.  






































Back on the Royalist left, after several rounds of combat the Royalist horse rout the Roundhead foot and are free, but very worn.  




































Continuing his 'use them, or lose them' approach, Derek charges the Lobsters, but this time his luck is out. The Lobsters rout the enemy
horse and their General flees the field with them. The General had been rated 'Poor' from early on in the game and had won his initiative
almost every time. Now however, the command is throwing -2 each turn for initiative. Not good.  



































The Roundhead yellowcoats are forced back but are somehow hanging on, whilst being very worn.  








































With the Ladyboy horse in danger of actually besting their right the Parliamentarian C-in-C leads forward his reserve Pistoleers to support
the Lobsters. Damage limitation time. The extreme right Pistoleers advance to fire at point blank range at the Cavalier Trotters, but score
no hits. The worn Trotters charged the fresh Pistoleers, but defeat them forcing them back. I had used all my re-rolls by now and the
Pistoleers had to suffer the dreaded effect of me rolling high for Cohesion tests. The Pistoleers now have a strength of 1.





































It’s getting really nasty in the centre. The Roundhead second line moves up expectant at the rout of their front line.  



































A timely intervention by the greycoats as the Parliamentarian yellowcoats finally rout. Unfortunately Merrick's greycoats are within 5cm of
the yellowcoats when they do so, and become disordered taking 1 casualty. On the extreme right of the picture the Roundhead
greencoats push forward and fire at close range at enemy horse, emptying plenty of saddles.  



























With one unit routed accompanied by their General, worn Gallopers wheel in the ploughed field. Worn Trotters to their flank.






































Action has really moved on here in the centre. The second veteran Royalist bluecoat foot unit, led by their C-in-C are threatening the
Roundhead redcoats. The greycoats have been forced back and the Parliamentarian Pistoleers have to advance in case the centre
collapses.  








































The greencoats, still Fresh, push on against really worn Royalist Gallopers. However the Royalist Light Gun is now in range and begins
to hit the foot five turns in a row, causing disorder after disorder stemming their advance, and blunting their musketry onto the horse. The
greencoats can't withdraw as they continually become disordered preventing movement to the rear. So, they hang on grimly. Little did we
know it at the time, the greencoats would win the battle for the Parliamentarians.  


































As the Veteran bluecoats engage the Roundhead redcoats, the Royalist redcoats begin a steady advance, encouraged by the
Roundhead Dragoons unwisely leaving their wood.  
































Parliamentarian horse continue to hold their right flank....just. The Pistoleer unit with a strength on 1 have been withdrawn to protect their
3 demoralisation value being collected by Derek.  


































The Lobsters are bested again [AGAIN?....!] by the Royalist Trotters and have a single strength point left [Doh]. Two units of Roundhead
horse are now on a single strength point, but Derek's horse is also very, very worn. Both sides have punched each other out.  






































The veteran bluecoats stick it to the Roundhead redcoats...or do they? I manage to roll a one on a Cohesion test after taking four hits and
survive. The game is balanced on a knife edge.

Across the table the opposing front lines are incredibly worn. Both sides seem to lack the ability to land a killer blow and have fought
each other to a standstill. In his turn Derek winning the initiative launches first one, then a second unit of worn Gallopers into the now
worn Roundhead greencoats in an attempt to finish the enemy. The two units of Ladyboy horse slappers are both routed in successive
combats pushing the, almost all cavalry, command over its breakpoint, it routs.

This pushes the Royalist army over its breakpoint. The entire Royalist army routs.

A real blood bath. The Royalist have lost three units of Gallopers (9 VD) and a veteran foot unit (3 VD) = 12 VD. The Parliamentarians lost
four foot units (8), two skirmishing Forlorn Hope (2) and a Light Gun (1) = 11 VD. A very brutal affair.

Derek admitted his biggest error was choosing a wood when he had no light troops and keeping the majority of his foot too far away. Had
he deployed in two lines and supported the centre I fear a Royalist victory would have resulted. All throughout Derek showed real grit and
bravery, though forced into making difficult choices, but almost always getting away with it. Fortune favours the brave. Well not quite this
time perhaps but there will be other days.

Two units deserve citations. The Royalist Trotters in particular bested the Lobsters (no mean feat) AND a unit of Pistoleers. The
Parliamentarian greencoats of Colonel Samuel Jones's Regiment proved an erstwhile foe causing two enemy Galloper units to become
worn via their musketry, and then finally routing two others in combat clinching final victory.  

Nigel discovered, mid-game last time, that we have been playing Basic Baroque slightly wrong all along. All mounted units that fail to win
in combat retreat 5cm + D6 and NOT just D6.

Derek and me mostly played it properly on Saturday. It means that cavalry that don't win may move 6cm to 11cm in retreat not 1cm to 6cm.

This has a massive effect. If retreating from winning infantry it puts cavalry out of point blank musket range, or possibly even any range of
them. It also means that for pursuing cavalry to hit a retreated cavalry unit it has beaten initially requires the beaten unit to roll a 1 (thereby
6cm recoil) and pursuers to score a 6 (6cm pursue). It also stops long protracted (locked) melees between cavalry where a draw is
achieved.  

Another error I discovered was that a disordered unit may actually move backwards still. We had played that it couldn't as in Full Fat
Impetus. If it is disordered already, and wishes to retreat it takes one casualty and is still disordered. This also has a massive effect as it
allows all units to retreat from woods/ploughed fields even if disordered.  


All figures are 15mm Peter Pig, owned and painted by yours truly who took all the pics too.  

You can see more of my ECW collection
HERE



Read some more of our Basic Baroque game reports:

Three Games In One Day

Foot Fest

Don't forget, I offer a (UK only) 15mm painting service with very
reasonable rates.