Friday 8 July 2016

FPW S Range Black Powder game

Having more or less finished my Prussians and allies and a couple of true S range Franco Prussian War French units, Bob and I decided to try the figures out using the Black Powder rules.  These are a mix of the original figures and a lot of the Recast 25mm S Range figures which are available from John Cunningham.

The French consisted of 4 Infantry Brigades each of 2 regiments (they are a mix of Crimean and Franco Prussian French figures).

  1. Guard (elite) and Zouave regiment (skirmishers/sharpshooters)
  2. Marine and Chasseur regiment (elite/sharpshooters)
  3. 2 Line regiments
  4. 2 Line regiments
1 Brigade of Light cavalry, 
2 light guns and one Mitrailleuse

The Prussians had 3 Infantry Brigades 

  1. 3 regiments of Prussian Infantry
  2. 1 regiment of Bavarians and one of Silesian Rifles (skirmishers/sharpshooters)
  3. 2 regiments of Wurttemberghers
1 Brigade of 3 units of Light Cavalry
1 Brigade of 2 units of Heavy Cavalry 

2 guns ( 1 Heavy and 1 light).

The Prussian front lines at the start of the game.

Heavy cavalry of the left flank and Light cavalry on the right

Looking from the French Lines

The terrain was broken by fields and hedges (bits of carpet and moss!)

Since neither of us had much affinity for either of the protagonists, Bob choose the French leaving me with the Prussians.  I had anticipated that Bob would wait for me to come onto his forces given the extra range of his rifles but no, the French 'elan' came to the fore and he advanced his units (where possible).  I came forward to close the gap.

My guns made ready to open fire having a longer range than their French counterparts.  All the guns on both sides either missed or the casualties were saved!

The Guards and Zouaves took up position on the crest of the hill facing the Wurttemberghers.

The French settled in the hedgerows and proceeded to take shots at the Prussian (not very successfully) before the range closed. The French Chasseurs crossed the stream to add their firepower to the French Line Infantry, taking advantage of the re-roll on a missed shot to inflict casualties of the Prussians.

In response, the Prussian brigade formed a firing line and were, eventually after a couple of failed commands, supported by the Light Cavalry Brigade which threatened the French left flank.

The Wurttenberghers meanwhile climbed the slope to confront the Zouaves.  They were supported by a Bavarian light gun which might have well have stayed in the melting pot.

After much standing around the Bavarians and Silesians decided to advance towards the flank of the Zouaves. The French gun brought up to support the Guards and Zouaves and it was as equally useless as the Bavarian one!

The Guards watched on.

The Mitrailleuse, support by 3 ladies, also watched and waited for the enemy to come within range, which an unfortunate Wurttembergh regiment eventually did!  In these rules, you roll one dice and keep going until you miss.  4 casualties later and the Mitrailleuse finally stopped.  This forced a command test which the Wurttembergers passed only to get a halt order.

Bob sensing the opportunity presented by the stalling of the Wurttembergers brought up his light cavalry brigade to support the Guards.

With all the 'elan' they could muster, and to my surprise the French Infantry charged into my Prussian regiment. The Prussians failed to stop the charge with their volley and a melee ensued.  The French already had a couple of casualties from earlier rounds of firing and lost the melee, breaking and leaving the table.

The Marines on the French left flank in response to the advance of my Light Cavalry reversed their flank and brought up another light gun.  The first casualty of the Bavarian Light horse toppled over! 

The Mitrailleuse opened fire again not as successful but still enough to see off one Wurttembergh regiment. It wasn't enough as by now the Zouaves had come under fire from 2 regiments and broke.  Their place was taken by the Guards who also found themselves out gunned and retired, covered by their cavalry. 

What are hear you ask of my Heavy Cavalry Brigade?  What indeed!  Having failed order after order they finally advanced on the last but one move.  It was enough to put off the French Light cavalry, but not enough to stop a final round from the Mitrailleuse taking down one of the lancers!

The Prussian held the field at the end of the game with the French withdrawing. 

 One French Brigade didn't move for the entire game as they failed their command orders repeatedly.  I know this is in line with the rules but it is a waste of time, paint and lead.  I think that in future we may limit the number of times a unit can continuously fail to move, to perhaps twice or three times? After which it can make a single move before retesting again in the following turn?

It was great fun seeing all these S range figures on the table (over 300 infantry and cavalry) they do not match up to current figures, but as I have said before they have a charm all of their own.  


  1. Thanks, I am interested in BP games of this size - that was a nice colourful presentation.

  2. Hi Norm
    Glad you enjoyed it. Still more figures to paint so maybe another bigger game in the making

  3. A very entertaining report! A love the riot of colour, too. If I ever finish with the First Empire I think the Second Empire could well be my next project!

  4. Hi Wellington Man
    Thanks for the comments. Those Hinton Hunt figures you have are brilliant. I had hundreds of castings I bought off of Terry Wise many years ago and after 15 years sold them on without painting any! Looking at what you can do and the charm they have, it was a big mistake!

  5. I love the look of the old figures especially painted so well in that fashion. The look of the whole game was just right for me.

    As for Black Powder, I played about a dozen games when it came out. Quite enjoyed one of them.

  6. Hi Ross
    Thanks for your comments, glad you liked the figures

  7. Great looking figures! I love the S range figures. Keep up the great work. Kindest regards!