Monday, 9 February 2015

La Haye Sainte - Not Quite Muskets and Tomahawks

I wanted to do a game to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. When the lovely people at 4Ground asked me to put a game on at Salute 2015 I thought about La Haye Sainte (LHS) as they do an excellent model of it in 15mm.
The problem is that I don't game the Napoleonic Wars so I don't have any Napoleonic rules and I don't have any Napoleonic figures. Therefore I started looking round for both figures and rules.
I'd seen Jonathan Jones' blog and liked the look of Campaign Game Miniatures figures. The range has multiple poses for most troop types - for instance the French Fusiliers have Fusiliers Advancing Low Port, Fusiliers Advancing High Port, Fusiliers Skirmishing Pack 1 and Fusiliers Skirmishing Pack 2. Each pack has 8 figures in 4 poses giving a total of 16 different poses.

Not Quite Muskets and Tomahawks
I've been playing Muskets and Tomahawks (M&T) covering the French Indian Wars and the American War of Independence for a few years and put on participation games at various shows in the UK. FWI, AWI and Napoleonics = Horse & Musket so I started fiddling about with M&T to see if it would work.
Figure Ratio
M&T figure ratio is is 1 figure is 1 man. For LHS I had to represent 400 Germans and several thousand French so M&T wasn't going to work out straight out of the box. I wanted the basic unit to be a Company of roughly 80 men so I up'ed the scale so 1 figure became 5 men giving a company of 16 figures. 16 individually based figures was going to be a pain to move around. In M&T a regular unit has between 8 and 12 figures so I put 2 figures on a 20mm square base giving a company of 8 bases.
I reduced the weapons so Muskets dropped to 12" and Rifles dropped to 24" with long range being over half the range and point blank dropping to 2"
Action Points
Activation Cards give regulars 2 action points per card which wouldn't give much variety as every one would be regular. Therefore I added a morale class of Green, Average or Veteran and replaced the Regular 2 AP card with 1 card with Green 1AP, Average 1 AP and Veteran 2 AP and 1 card with Green 1AP, Average 2 AP and Veteran 2 AP. This gives Green 2 AP per turn, Average 3 AP and Veteran 4 AP. Veterans get +1 in the Reaction Test whilst Green troops suffer a -1 penalty
Formations & Movement
M&T has 2 formations, Skirmish (the default) and Firing Line. I added a third formation Column and made Firing Line the default formation. With 3 formations I had to change the movement from being a Troop Type value to being a Formation value. So Skirmish and Officers move 6", Column 5" and Line 4". Columns get a +1 modifier as a Target, add half of the bases in the second rank in Melee and get a +1 for Reaction tests. Skirmishers now get a -1 modifier in the open. All troops can adopt any formation but troops not trained to skirmish suffer a -1 in the Reaction Test - do not put green troops into Skirmish order
M&T has a very brutal melee system which I felt wouldn't work in this game. Therefore I replaced Melee with a Charge/Fight Action. In order to charge the enemy a unit must pass a Reaction test unless they are already in hand to hand combat. If they pass the Reaction test then they move into contact and carry out 1 attack. The defender does not attack back. If the defender wishes to attack then they must spend an action point on a Charge/Fight Action. Bases in contact are not limited to the Charge/Fight Action, they can do any action they wish - move, fire, reload etc
Officers, Traits,Events & Side Plots
Officers can not shoot, they can be shot at as though they were skirmishers and get a -1 modifier to the To Kill roll. Troops trained to skirmish get the Scout trait. Everyone gets the Firing line trait. Many of the Events and Side plots can be used straight from the list. An event was added to represent the Kings German Legion running short of ammunition for their rifles which gave them a -1 to shooting for the remainder of the game
The Forces
LHS was defended by 6 companies of 2nd Light Battalion, the Kings German Legion (KGL) armed with rifles, 2 companies of  1st Light Battalion KGL  armed with rifles and 1 company of 5th Line Battalion KGL armed with muskets. Several companies of the 95th Rifles were stationed in the Sandpit
I scaled this down to 2 companies of 2nd Light Battalion and 1 company of 5th Line Battalion with a chance of reinforcement by 2 half companies of  Line troops as random events. The light troops were Veteran Scouts with rifles. The Line troops were Average with Muskets
The 95th Rifles were represented by  2 half companies that fired 1D3 shots per British Regular card. They would pull back off the table if approached by French troops but would return when the threat receded.
For the French I had a Line Battalion of 6 companies - 1 Grenadier (Veterans), 1 Voltigeur (Veteran Scouts) and 4 Fusilier (3 Average and 1 Green). All were armed with muskets.
I will add a company of Sappeurs and a company of Légère and possibly an artillery piece to the French forces to make it a bit more difficult for the defenders
The Building
LHS could be entered at several points
- the western entrance to the barn because the doors had been used as firewood (doh!)
- the Garden walls and hedges
- the Main gate by spending 6 Action Points to break it down
- the Pigery and south-east wall - only if not defended by troops
The game starts with the 3 KGL companies deployed anywhere in the farm buildings or at the barricade on the road. The French start off-table.
The Game
As in the real battle most of the game action revolves around the Main Gate and the the western entrance to the barn with forays to the garden. As long as the KGL have ammunition they get a To Hit of 2 for French troops milling around these entrances - Base of 4 to hit plus Rifles +1 plus Point Blank +1 but once they start to lose officers and go low on ammunition things turn nasty as the French start to pour in and the numbers start to tell.
The Toys
The figures are all from Campaign Game Miniatures and were painted by Shaun
The buildings were very kindly donated by 4Ground
The cloth is by Gaveno Cavailia and is available on eBay
I am pleased with this variant of M&T. I really like being able to field companies of Voltigeurs and Grenadiers. I've had a few thoughts about getting a Russian Jaeger battalion or maybe some Prussians and a battalion of Young Guard to fight the Prussian advance on Waterloo.
For the variant I'm looking at including cavalry with their own Activation card to do actions between a French Dragoon regiment Russian Uhlans and Irregulars to allow for guerrillas in Spain

I put the game on at Plymouth and I will be doing it at WMMS, Salute and possibly Exeter.

The playsheet for this variant can be found here

More photos can be found on Photobucket


  1. Hi Shedman,
    Great looking game and well done coming up with a Napoleonic variation. I have M&T and am keen to give your ideas a whirl. I put some pictures up on JJ's Wargames.

  2. Thanks - I imagine it would work with any number of figures per base. shame i missed you at the show - I was running it on my own and occasionally I had to go outside to warm up

  3. I love this blog. This lot seem to enjoy doing the things that I can never find the time to indulge in. Frustrating for me - but, vicariously, delightful to witness how others participate.