Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Pont du Bois

Capture that bridge!
This game was the battle that we used in our nostalgic re-test of the Bruce Quarrie rules. Unlike our usual historically-based scenarios, 'Pont du Bois' is a fictitious battle that has been Julian's 'standard' play-test scenario for many years. As the name implies, the game involves a bridge (over a river that divides the battlefield) with nearby woods on either side (Photo 1).
Photo 1: View of the battlefield showing central river and the crucial bridge. The Prussians were allowed an extra move initially to ensure the distances were equal.
The game began with the race for the bridge, which the Prussians 'won' by a slim margin, placing hussars to cover the road, sheltered by the farmhouse and with infantry able to provide fire down the road from the bridge (Photo 2). In an attempt to prevent them from establishing their defensive line in depth, the French immediately sent their chasseurs à cheval in a desperate charge over the bridge (Photo 3). The chasseurs were met with a devastating volley and then charged in the flank by the Prussian hussars and sent back reeling from whence they came (Photo 4).
Photo 2: Prussians form a position in defence of the bridge
Photo 3: French chasseurs à cheval charge across the bridge...
Photo 4: ... only to be met by an infantry volley and flank charge.
The French had brought their infantry in support of the chasseurs and these now formed up to attack across the bridge and to hopefully succeed where the cavalry had failed (Photo 5). The légère lead the charge, but suffered the same fate as the cavalry and were forced to retreat (Photo 6). These were followed by the lead battalion of line infantry, which reached the end of the bridge (Photo 7).
Photo 5: View of the French infantry attack lead by the légère...

Photo 6:...which went the way of the chasseurs

Photo 7: High point of the French attack as the line infantry reach the far end of the bridge
After those failed attempts and some ineffectual firing across the river, the French called off the attack. That, combined with our fatigue from struggling with the rules, lead to the end of the game, which was deemed a Prussian victory.
We decided that we had moved on from the old Quarrie rules and they were best left as a fond memory of how we began in the hobby all those years ago. We also concluded that Julian was “evil” for having devised such a horrible scenario!


  1. There *was* a reason we (almost) all moved on from those old rules that we started with way back when! :-)

    The first 10 years or so of my Napoleonic gaming was with house rules derived from Ray Johnson's Frappe, published circa 1970. Quite a good set, but I wouldn't play them now days - way too many morale checks of various kinds - really, most of those can be incorporated into the combat procedures themselves rather than having to exist as separately identifiable elements - at least IMHO!


  2. Absolutment, Pierre! Nostalgia is such a great driver though, isn't it?!

    Seriously though, we concluded the same; the hobby and we, have moved on from these rules (and those of their ilk) that do not have the historical feel that we are seeking, are not enjoyable to play and struggle to work for a small, fictitious scenario, let alone a corps-level game! It's good to go back to know that we have progressed. Just as well really, given all of the rule-writers and individual wargamers who spend a lot of time thinking about, writing and criticising such things!

    Bruce Quarrie's Napoleonic Wargaming is still a treasured part of my "library". I clearly recall, as a teenager, leafing through the pages and imagining doing an actual wargame once I had the figures painted. Ah, that nostalgia again...! :-)