Saturday, August 3, 2019

Historicon 2019, #5: Tim's Jacobite Rebellion games

    As has been the case for most of the past ten Historicons, my freind Tim Couper arrived from the (perhaps barely still) United Kingdom of Great Brexit, and we shared an room at the convention games, as well running wargames with Field of Battle, 2nd edition, by Brent Oman. Tim manages to very efficiently pack all of the (28 mm Front Rank) figures he needs for all three games and bring them in his carry on allowance! Typically, I supply the table cloths, dice, and some other game related items. This year, Tim  again ran three games, one each day.

Battle of Glen Shiel - 10 June 1719 Thursday, 2:00 PM, 3 hrs, Players: 4, Location: Commonwealth: CW-12 GM: Tim Couper Sponsor: None, Prize: None Period: Jacobite, Scale: 28mm, Rules: Piquet Field of Battle 2 Description: My common theme is "the final battles in the Jacobite uprisings". Glen Shiel was the only pitched battle of "the '19", a brief and ill-fated uprising, fought between (mostly Scots) Government troops and an alliance of Jacobites and Spanish. These 'rebels' advanced from their base at Eilean Donan castle, taking up a strong defensive position, preparing fortifications to meet General Wightman's Government troops advancing from Inverness ... Is the Hanoverian leader the Wight-man for the job in hand?

I will let Tim's Blog tell the story:

With limited space to bring items from the UK, Tim derived a clever method of making the high sides of the Glen; the caper is caught here in blurry footage from the hotel security cameras. We lefgt a note for the maids..  "We have your pillows, but do not be alarmed. They will be returned to you safe and unharmed by this evening. No ransom payment is necessary."

Battle of Sheriffmuir - 13 November 1715 Friday, 2:00 PM, 4 hrs, Players: 8, Location: Commonwealth: CW-11 GM: Tim Couper Sponsor: None, Prize: None Period: Jacobite, Scale: 28mm, Rules: Piquet Field of Battle 2 Description: The final battle of "the '15". John Erskine, Earl of Mar, commanding the Jacobites, now controlled much of the Highlands and had just taken Perth. He then moved his 12,000 men towards Stirling, where Government troops under John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll, were based. Argyll chose to fight on a moor east of Dunblane, where the Jacobite forces were somewhat surprised to find them. Will Campbell prove to be soup-erior?

Her's a link to Tim's blog post about Sheriffmuir:

In addition, here's an excellent narrative from the standpoint of the Jacobite C-in-C, Erik Engling, a thoroughly delightful fellow:

Tim was very kind allowing me to play as the Jacobite “army commander” as my ability to move and pick up figs at the moment is very limited. Rather confused the other Jacobite commanders on our side of the table a bit but we adjusted. Thanks as always Tim!

Hope the description of the game is not too long and is of interest as I do believe it reveals a number of items I learned from and took for granted in the game.

Army Commander for the Jacobite is a D8 and the Government is a D10. During the game, the government commander was having a hot die rolling and my effort was off on many occasions, but it did swing as it always seems to do in FOB2.

Unfortunately, I did not quite understand that the folks to my left had not played the rules before and the nice gents to my right had played FOB2 with ACW armies. Ooopps! The battle plan for the Jacobites? Naturally, have the lowlanders on the left move forward and hold off the government foot and dragoons while the remainder of the army of Highlanders moves as fast as possible and charge the center left of the Hanovarians and hope the fighting ability wins out before musket fire takes over (the game the government muskets were firing at 6” range).

I do believe all Jacobite commanders were certain the army commander was completely mad.

And…the first few turns did look that way. What I had failed to explain is the Jacobite deck is feast or famine. There are either five or six Lull cards and a sprinkling of movement, melee and uncontrolled charges. Chalk up that up as one thing I learned to explain the next time to new team mates. I had completely forgot to explain how the army worked! 

As the early parts of the game reveal in Tim’s photos, the government troops did well with movement (frequently 2 or 3 forward) and timely reload cards while Lull cards for the Jacobites came up with disturbing regularity and the government commander continued his winning ways… but…Tim kept reminder the Jacobite players that rallying was key with the highlanders and the leadership cards were keeping our units in the game….if we could just get just win a convincing initiative roll!

As Tim’s photos also show, the government’s left hand cavalry charge met with a poor fate after an initial success and was very similar to Historicon 2019 result while the charges on the government’s right side showed such promise but untimely dice rolling allowed the lowlanders to hold on and actually rout one of the Hanoverian units (as an aside, the Jacobite group commander at the far end of the table had rolled, I believe, five “1”s in a row for movement …..never, ever moved as far as I recall in the game until the last final drive). 

At this point, two events occurred that FOB2 players may be familiar with all too often. The first, I completely forgot to talk to the lowlanders on the left being totally focused on getting the Highlanders to move forward and use any Tactical Advantage cards we held to break the line and I had no idea we were out of command chips! Had I known, I likely would have suggested a different course of action that the next charges as the lowlanders, tired of waiting for the army commander to give them any direction, took their own chances and charged a fully loaded government regiment while two Highlander units did the same on the right. It should not have worked… 

All three cases, the government forces had that FOB2 moment where the dice just went the other direction. No IU losses. The charges went forward and broke all three units. What were the chances?

As the next few initiative rolls and cards came forward, the tide started that turn and more government troops started to rout and one could sense the shift had started. Then I drew the Army Morale Card. Oh Heck! 

To my shock and delight I was told “Oh, we have six chips”… …”Excuse me”.. So we find out that the government forces were out and we were now gaining chips as the Hanoverians were losing more IUs. Another moment to learn from that the game is not over unless the swing is so severe….

Finally, we had the one initiative round. The one where you win and it is 8 cards. You get the melee, infantry firepower, movement, uncontrolled charge, you know…the ones where you might as well figure out how much the opposing army loses units off the board type of turn. IT was the same here. At the end of that turn, the Jacobite had 26 morale chips and we decided that this really was insurmountable.

I do believe the Lowlander Jacobites would have liked to finish their combat (honestly, they really had deserved it, but there was nothing there for the government player to do but just lose more IU and give away more chips).

I hope this was not too much detail and too over the top but it really reminded me that there was many instances of rules, events and moments that I had actually forgotten as we started to play. It had been a year even though I had read the rules multiple times before coming to the convention. 

Now…if this recap was interesting at all….just wait for Culloden….

That was an epic story…

Thanks for indulging me,

Erik ENgling

Battle of Culloden Moor - 16 April 1746 Saturday, 11:00 AM, 4 hrs, Players: 8, Location: Commonwealth: CW-12 GM: Tim Couper Sponsor: None, Prize: None Period: Jacobite, Scale: 28mm, Rules: Piquet Field of Battle 2 Description: The final battle of "the '45". The Duke of Cumberland, pursuing the retreating Jacobite forces under Charles Stuart, had advanced to the Moray coast, east of Inverness. The Jacobites, reinforced by French regulars, awaited the arrival of the Hanoverian force on the now famous Culloden moor.

When Tim runs a game, you'd best be prepared for a steady stream of bad puns and other witticisms!
Here's the report of Culloden In Tim's words on his own blog:

One clever innovation Tim introduced this year was the use of these unit ID markers with mini dice caddy . Tim painted them an olive green shade that matches his bases, and prints out unit labels for each unit in the game, showing the unit name, a color for their Command Group, their Defense Die and Combat die rating, and their range bands. Officers have their name, command color, and Leadership Die on the label. The mini die shows UI losses for the unit, if any. The IT holder can also be a resting place for a "First Fire" marker where needed. Very neat, and I plan on copying him on this idea myself! They come from Lancashire Games, who happen to have a sale on right now at 15% off. Combined with a historically favorable exchange rate for the Pound due to Brexit worries, I think I will order myself some this weekend! 


  1. Great report of some excellent looking games. Well done to you and, of course, Tim.
    Most amazing: getting the figures across the 'ocean' *and* in one piece. Caesar would be impressed!

    1. I am constantly amazed at how many trops Tim can safely transport with the space and weight limitations. When I head to Historicon, my car is chock full!

  2. A lot of super looking games. I like the unit markers. Didn’t know Lancashire made anything like that. Thanks the heads-up!

    1. The key is painting them to match the table or bases. I just ordered a boatload of them myself! :-)

      My idea is to paint the frame of the dice holder in the command color. I probably won't use micro dice, but the well will still work to hold a first fire or other marker.

      Tim uses blu tack to attach the ID marker to the bottom of the stand, and the labels to the holder.

  3. Looks great! Love the use of borrowed pillows. I hope you tipped the maids well.

  4. Nice looking games,I like Ericks write up and smart idea about the pillows!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks, Ian. The pillows were definitely thinking outside the box (springs)!

  5. Lovely figures and game. That carry-on luggage must have weighed a fair bit. Those unit markers/dice holders look great.

    1. Thanks, Lawrence. Tim has mastered the art of transcontinental wargames transport for sure! :-)

  6. Having play tested the games with Tim it is nice to see them at Historicon looking great and being so well recived. One day I will make it over the pond, perhaps to play some of the other FOB games on offer which also looked fantastic