Wargaming Tippermuir – Final Thoughts

So – Lord Elcho’s foot broke after the final volleys from Laghtnan’s resulting in a government army route – just as happened to the Covenanters in 1644.

Looking down the west slope of Burghmuir Hill the Covenant rout has begun.

Looking down the west slope of Burghmuir Hill the Covenant rout has begun.

The casualties ended up being close to the LIKELY historic total for the government forces – 980, but much higher than the reported totals for the Royalists – 400.
The detailed loses were:
Drummond’s horse – 120, including Lord Drummond
Scott’s horse – 60
Lord Elcho’s foot – 400, including the senior captain
Tullibardine’s foot – 300
Perth City Militia – 100

Laghtnan’s foot – 200
MacDonnell’s foot – 200

I use a simple mechanism (1d6) to place the casualties in three categories, KIA, WIA (return in eight weeks), and return to immediate duty. I keep these should I want to come back and replay a campaign scenario but I shan’t bore the reader with those details at this point.

Playing solo is always a particular challenge since you have to be quite literally of two minds (although friends would say I would have little trouble with this since my conversations are usually discursive and given to contradictory opinion). Still we have all had the experience of turning a map up-side-down and suddenly seeing geographic relationships in wholly new ways, and so it is with solo wargaming. I simply react to the “here-and-now” situation for each unit as I come to it but with an awareness of what the goals are for each side. The goals are fixed – the means of achieving them are highly fluid. I should add here that there is a move toward some excellent solo game systems, my favorites being the work done by Victory Point Games. Yes these are boardgames but the mechanics are very interesting and adaptable to the rules system I am developing for miniatures. The problem remains that these solo systems are VERY specific to a single battle and difficult to make generic. I don’t pretend to know all the solo gaming approaches available and there are likely some (or many?) I don’t know about.

Fire power won the game for the royalists. Had I continued to push them forward in a piecemeal manner they likely would have lost. The fact that I had rated the three regiments of the Irish Brigade as the only veterans in the game allowed them to successfully complete more actions per turn than their opponents. This included, on a couple of occasions, firing rapid volleys ( two fire combats per turn) which, coupled with better than average die rolls, inflicted game ending casualties on the Covenanter front line units. Some scenarios I have seen for Tippermuir place emphasis on Wishart’s indication that the Royalists had only a round of powder per man and therefore are limited in the number of times they can fire. If I had used that rule I may very well have won as the Covenanter player, particularly maintaining the up-slope position. Still in re-reading Wishart yet again I’m not altogether sure that he wasn’t speaking only about the Atholl highlanders directly under Montrose’s command. Ruthven is certainly clear that the Irish at least were delivering continual and devastating fire!  At any rate I am reasonably happy with the way the fire combat rules are working.

This whole exercise of blogging the details of wargaming Tippermuir has been very instructive. I’m not sure I’ll do as much detail on the historic aspects of each battle going forward but concentrate more on just the actual wargaming. The more I research the more I find that the Celtic Fringe (as I define it) offers a huge and diverse scope for wargaming and, with the exception of Montrose’s “Miracle Year” and a few other well-known battles, is not often done.

Addendum 12-08-2015
After including the 3W (by Bob Markham) set-up for the Battle of Justice Mills, I decided to also add the one for Tippermuir (since I’ll continue to use them for several battles that Bob has done in my area of interest):

Tippermuir - 3W map

The Royalist force appear at the top of the picture – Gd’G