The game has begun strangely. Although the Royalists have a significant advantage in their initiative and Activation rolls (thanks to Montrose, MacColla and several capable regimental officers), the dice gods do not favor them at all! I am playing the Covenanter side and keep winning the initiative! It was my plan however to hold on the Burghmuir hillside and have the Royalists come to me, but I am sorely tempted to immediately attack with my cavalry. I gritted my teeth and refused to move until their foot is more deeply committed to the advance. It is as if I am being baited! Finally on turn three the Royalists not only won the initiative but got most of their forces moving including a rapid advance by their Irish Brigade under MacColla.
Since the Irish Brigade is now aimed straight at my center and their wings uncovered I finally launch Drummond’s horse against their left-most (and largest) regiment. The intent is to blunt the coming attack on my center.
As the engagement with Laghtnan’s proceeds on the right the Royalists now begin to advance rapidly elsewhere.
I deployed Scott’s horse slightly forward as the Irish begin their advance with the intent of taking O’Cahan’s foot in the flank. Unfortunately Inchbrakie has managed to quickly bring up his highlanders which will pose a significant threat to my left flank if they achieve Lamberkine Wood. My concern is that the Covenant second line units are very weak and if they are turned the battle is lost. This may prove to be the most critical decision of the game. In the end I decide to commit the cavalry against Inchbrackie and Montrose (as was done historically). At this point, with Laghtnan’s foot held up and the remainder of the Irish having to attack up hill, I like my chances of holding the center.
Scott of Rossie’s horse is trained in the old school and trots forward to deliver all their pistol fire before engaging. In my rules system this is called “Pistols First” meaning they MUST fire all their pistols before contact (which is what they are doing in the picture above). There seems, however, to be something wrong with their bloody pistols today! Every dang shot is a miss (the dice gods making up for their earlier hampering of the Royalists no doubt!) This does not bode well! They first receive a volley of assorted muskets, pistols, and bows then, having lost their forward moment, are attacked by the highlanders under both Montrose and Inchbrackie. This is starting to look like what actually happened.
In the center the Irish Brigade over-runs one of the frame guns and pushes back the other. They are now faced with an uphill attack and without Laghtnan’s, which is still delayed by Drummond, the weight of their attack is severely diminished. They do, however, have experienced musketeers who hurl volley after volley as they begin their slow ascent of Burghmuir Hill.
So far my center stands fast, firing reasonably well, while the Irish begin to give away their piece by piece combat advantage due to the uphill attack. My pike pieces also have an initial advantage against both MacDonnell’s and O’Cahan’s pikeless infantry. Near the end of the of the fourth turn (about twenty minutes in game time) the overall situation is shown below with the Covenanter’s game phase about to begin:
As I had hoped the Irish assault on the center is continuing to lose it’s force. Even better both the Badenoch levy and Lord Kilpont’s command are hanging back. There are several new concerns developing, however. Drummond has already taken two of the three casualties that his horse is allowed and, worse, Scott’s horse is sufficiently disrupted to require a morale check to see if his unit stands! If both horse units become unit casualties, another lost unit will give the victory to the Royalists. If the Irish manage to drive even a portion of their forces though my center they will engage the City of Perth militia which will almost certainly break! If this happens it is likely game over!