Saturday, 15 October 2016

Another game past: a dream realised

Battle of the Düna (Riga), 9th July* 1701
(by Swedish calendar; 8th July Julian calendar, 19th July Gregorian calendar)

The fourth game from our June wargames splurge was a special treat for me as it enabled the realisation of a long-held wargame dream; doing a game from the Great Northern War (and using the Gå På rules).
(Reports of the first and second games already posted. I've jumped over the third, another game of ancients, which I'll report on later)

The scenario for this game was based largely on the one used by David S (Wargame Amateur blog, Battle of Riga). I encourage any interested readers to read this post on his blog which has photos from his game using wonderful Prinz August figures and also provides the background to the battle.

For background to the rules, you may wish to look at the read-review of the rules that I wrote a couple of years ago.

So much for the intro.!

The game began with Charles XII and the first of the Swedes (four infantry regiments/battalions) having crossed the Düna, advancing to meet Steinau's Saxon defenders, a brigade of infantry and a light gun in a redoubt.The waterway bi-secting the table is a channel from the Spilwen River.

Both sides advanced, the Saxon gun firing ineffectively.

Having forgotten to bring some cotton wool, I tried using tissue to represent smoke. It failed dismally, so was soon discarded!

The first exchanged of inflicted disorder effects on both sides' front-line units (note markers).

Reinforcements arrived for both sides (determined by die roll).

The firefight continued.

A two to one exchange at the left of the Swedish line caused the guards to fall back, breaking the frontline.

The Saxon cavalry lined up the Swedish flank.

Undeterred, Charles ordered the Västerböttens regiment to attack, while the Guards were caught in cross-fire.

Failing to contact, the Västerböttens were caught in the flank by the Saxon dragoons.

They failed the reaction test, broke, losing a 'step' in the process and the Saxon cavalry continued on, just stopping short of their friends.

Meanwhile, in the far corner of the battlefield, the Russians approached.

Caught in a deadly cross-fire, the Swedish Guards were broken (dice indicate two light casualties and one heavy casualty).

The Russians began to appear en-masse.

Gå På! The Närke-Värmlands regiment, still fresh, does what the Swedes do best (and get best factors for), going in what pike and musket!

The Saxon defenders did not stand a chance.

The Russians approach the channel of the Spilwen River.

We called the game to a halt at this stage. The Swedes had not made sufficient headway to establish the bridgehead and, with the Russians well on their way, would struggle to survive, let alone win the day.

The Swedish reinforcements would be too little, too late.

For me it had been a most successful and enjoyable first use of the Gå På rules. There are a few tests required—generally each side does a TQ test and then consults the appropriate result table for what is being tested (e.g. fire effects, close combat, out of command)—but they are not to onerous to do and we began to remember them even in this short game.

Mark was not as enamoured as I, but he did not reject them outright. I'll be able to bring him around, I am sure! :)

I reckon that we'll settle on having three sets for C18th wargaming: these for Great Northern War, Zimmermann with our minor edits and additions for Seven Year's War and Age of Reason for War of Spanish Succession.

I hope soon to be ready for us to do a second game in this period with these rules; the Battle of Kliszow (Klezow or Klissow), 9th July 1702.


  1. Definite Old School look to your GNW game. Having Gå På in hand but never read, I am off to read your review. Looking forward to seeing your latest tweaks to Zimmermann. Planning to make room in the winter schedule to put your version of Zimmermann to the test.

    1. If you get to trying them I'd be really interested to hear how you go with them Jonathan. They are 'classical' in many ways, but have the more modern command and control rules (90s at least) whereby not every unit does as the player might like. This does not mean having half of your army sitting around twiddling its thumbs though.
      Having been written specifically for the period they have the essential elements of the different troops types and combat styles for the nations involved.
      (The version of our Zimmermann that you have is our latest--Mark has not committed the rules for commanders into writing yet!)

    2. James! It appears I already read your review two years ago! How time flies and memory fades.

  2. Certainly getting plenty gaming in James! I was a little surprised to see so many Russians turn up! I've seen other reports with Ga Pa and they seem to have some nice period flavour. Excited to see you've done a review. Will go read.

    1. The Russians did not feature in the battle as Charles had defeated the Saxons and established the bridgehead before they arrived. Sadly I ain't no Charles XII!!

  3. I too find that I had read your review and forgotten about it. I enjoyed re reading it, and this report. Thanks for both!

  4. Hello James, glad you realised your dream, and thanks for the link to your blog. Looks a very interesting game and nicely painted figures too!

  5. Two years is a fair time between review and game!
    Pleased that you found them of some interest, Peter.

  6. Thanks for looking David. Your blog is an inspiration!

  7. Very sorry I missed this and extremely keen to get an opportunity to try out the rules with such lovely figures, especially by comparison with my beloved AoR. It does seem to have been a perfectly splendid day's wargaming, especially with the Russians on their way!

    1. Plenty of improvisation in this first game of the Great Northern War. Those Russians should be in the pre-reform streets-style uniforms. Some of Mark's Prussians stood in for Swedes!

  8. Nice looking game. Great to see those versatile chaps, Airfix Washington's Army gracing the field with their presence!

    1. Thank Ion. We always like using the Airfix figures and Mark and Julian especially like the Washington's Army for C18th wargaming

  9. Nice looking game. Will have to pick up the Ga pa rules sometime

    1. Thanks Neil. I'm happy to continue with Ga Pa, but I reckon if you have rules that you are happy with and are working for you, then stick with them!