Sunday, 8 March 2020

Rebels and Patriots 1798 game: Capture the plans

This was a first outing for my part-painted 1798 Irish Rebellion forces. I improvised a variant of Scenario A: First Clash At Lament Ridge which I called Capture the Plans:

An informer has alerted Government forces that secret plans for a French invasion are buried under a cottage floor. Players gain 3 Honour if they are occupying the cottage with an infantry unit at game end. Game is at least 10 turns. Thereafter throw D6 at beginning of each turn. If D6 >= 4, that is the last turn. Use character traits for Captains. Deploy in 9" zones one unit at a time starting with the Defender. Attacker activates first in each game turn.

The scenery needed careful definition:
  • The road is aesthetic only.
  • The cottage is Hard Cover and cannot be targeted by long-range cannon fire. It is enterable only by the door and has a capacity of one foot unit. To enter a unit moves up to door with one move and takes another to go inside. Shooting only via long faces with a 45 degree arc of fire. Attacking only via the door side.
  • Stone walls are Hard Cover but do not obscure LoS.
  • Hedges are Cover and block LoS. Units next to them can see and be seen through them.
  • The Wood is Cover. Units can see into or out of them but units outside them cannot see through them, i.e. they block LOS to units outside them.
I positioned the cottage nearer to the Rebel start line because I feared they would be shot to pieces. Things turned out rather differently.

The Companies were as follows:

12 Pike/Shot Line Infantry Aggressive Poor Shots Green 3
12 Pike/Shot Line Infantry Aggressive Poor Shots Green 3
12 Pike/Shot Line Infantry Aggressive Poor Shots Green 3
12 Pike/Shot Line Infantry Aggressive Poor Shots Green 3
12 Pike/Shot Line Infantry Aggressive Poor Shots Green 3
12 Pike/Shot Line Infantry Aggressive Poor Shots Green 3
6 Shelmaliers Skirmishers Sharpshooters 6

12 Militia Line Infantry Green 3
12 Militia Line Infantry Green 3
6 Light Infantry Small 5
6 Grenadiers Shock Infantry Small 5
6 Yeomanry Light Cavalry 4
1 6pdr +4 crew Light Gun 4

I commanded the Government forces while Bernard and Chris took control of the United Irishmen. Sometimes it’s an advantage not to have a collective command, but in the event my combined opponents played much better than I did. The Rebel Captain was with one of the pike units. I placed mine with the Yeomanry.

Crown Forces: Line, Lights, Grenadiers, Gun, Line and Yeomen Cavalry. The cannon had little potential for fields of fire that would not be blocked by my own advance so I placed it on the road. Rebels: Pike-and-shot units as shown. Shelmaliers initially on road.

Very early in the game I suffered a friendly fire incident (double 1 on Activation) when my left-hand Line unit fired on my Lights inflicting a casualty (above). My opponents found this very amusing! Worse was to come...

The Rebel Sharpshooters took up position behind the wall next to the cottage. With a 24" range, and hitting on 4-6 they began an intimidating fire on my Grenadiers and Lights. Cotton-wool denotes a unit that has had its First Fire.

Galled by the Rebel sharpshooters I decided to move around the other side of the cottage. It would be a long way round but seemed the best option. On my right the Line unit lining the hedge began to take its toll of the Rebel unit lining the hedge directly opposite it.

The Light Infantry and Grenadiers, both weakened, moved into the shelter of the dead ground provided by the end wall of the cottage.

The cannon proved completely ineffective though this was partly due to forgetting that artillery reduces Hard Cover to Cover.

On seeing a friendly unit rout, the Rebel General's unit, which was occupying the objective, retreated out of it! Result! This would give the Rebels a draw rather than a win.

View from the flank. I was bringing quite a lot of fire to bear but it was a bit of a sideshow. The Rebel sharpshooters had also moved round to the flank.

Aware of the Rebel unit crossing the field to my right, I moved the gun up to the hedge to get a crack at it but the pikes charged me causing a rout! We were unsure how to resolve this. We decided to move the crew away leaving the gun in place. I'm not sure that is correct and have not been able to find any further explanation in the rules.

While the Rebel General's unit remained exposed outside the cottage I decided to commit the Yeomanry but they declined to charge three times despite being accompanied by the Captain.

Even more significantly, the Rebel Captain's unit reoccupied the cottage at which point I gave up though the game was almost over anyway and a clear win for Bernard and Chris.

I didn’t play at all well. I think the mixture of infantry, cavalry and artillery confused my options, the large amount of cover shielded the Rebels and prevented me from bringing my superior firepower to bear, and the Rebel sharpshooters were particularly decisive.

I lost the game but I was pleased with how the 1798 project looked and played. It captured period flavour and made the game sufficiently different  from other R&P games (AWI and ACW) to make the project worthwhile. I had feared the Rebels would be shot to pieces before closing but this didn't happen so indications are that the game is reasonably balanced. I had always wanted to do this war. Rampant games sizes made it possible.

Painting Pledge

All of my current projects involve basing-before-painting and playing with unfinished figures, but I have pledged myself to do more painting before a given army puts in another public appearance. However, this is the first time these 1798 forces have been used so there is no additional painting to draw your attention to. I will be adding a 'Painting Pledge' note to all battle reports until figures are finished.


  1. Replies
    1. I think modern mats (like this one from really transform the look of a game and I am gradually replacing my old felt mats and bed sheets. The rest is just loose wargame scenery, not the dioramic tiles you see at shows.

  2. Good to see the 98 being gamed. We've forgotten more about the period than we ever knew, and, in Ireland at least, it's more politically incorrect (in wargaming terms) than most periods (if that's still possible); that's certainly more than enough to pique my interest.
    I must try these rules. I've been put off by the fact that they seemed a little like Black Powder, but I'm slowly coming round to them.

    1. The affiliations of '98 are of course rather different from modern times and a surprise to some. I have armies for several periods of Irish history, all fascinating and, I guess, all controversial.

      Rampant games are proving remarkably popular in my local club.