First Contact at the Drover’s Rest

In the header picture the Duke of Grafton and the Guards Brigade is on the move somewhere south of Bath.

To immediately follow up on the last post I wanted to give some idea about what flipping between grand tactical and tactical looks like as it plays out in the Barley Valley.

Monmouth’s lead element, Grey’s brigade of horse, enters the board and all the opposition cards are flipped to show their orders but not their make-up <as usual, all pictures can be enlarged by clicking>:


Monmouth has two immediate objectives: take the closest bridge over the River Barley and secure the Drover’s Rest so he can gather intelligence. The hope is that the Wessexshire milita don’t actual have forces on his side of the Barley. His horse should quickly be able to determine if this hope is realized.

The enemy cards supply the orders that the formations they represent use for movement in the grand tactical phase. What is not yet known is the make-up of each force (with a possibility that they represent only a rumor).


At the Bath Road exit a possible force of militia horse is already moving toward the reports of Monmouth’s army coming up the Glastonbury road. It is also possible that the main body (Churchill’s regulars) will enter at this point on turn eight.

Meanwhile a possible force of militia infantry is moving toward Cruelton, the principal town of Wessexshire. It is possible that Churchill’s main body may actually enter here on turn seven. Either way, Monmouth will know where the regulars are coming from on turn seven.


There is a card representing a possible civilian force (Rabble) in one of the two boxes of Cruelton. If the Militia enter Cruelton they will not be exposed, this can only happen if the regulars (or Monmouth’s forces) approach.

Meanwhile at the Drover’s Rest:


With Monmouth’s army advancing, the militia mustered at the Drover’s are preparing to cross the Barley and defend the bridge from the Barleybridge side.

They are, however, caught my Grey’s cavalry and turn out to be a full brigade of Wessexshire militia!


With the militia now uncovered this portion of the board enters regular FK&P tactical mode.

The rest of the grand tactical move has first to be completed, however, and Monmouth himself appears with his infantry brigade. This brigade includes the Lyme Independent Company which is told off as a forlorn Hope and sent quickly forward to support Grey’s cavalry. Monmouth advances with his two strongest regiments which have been up-gunned since the victory at Westonzoyland:


Another problem has arisen on Monmouth’s right flank, a body of horse are seen to be coming up the ridge from the Yeovil Road side. The Lifeguards are detached to investigate and protect the flank.

Lord Grey, not wishing a head-on engagement with muskets and pikes, particularly this early in the contest, attempts to disengage so that the foot can come up. He fails – tries again – and fails again, leaving him in a very vulnerable spot:


The usual procedure is now in play which uses random activation attempt cards for all brigades in tactical mode (one on each side in this case). A card to trigger a grand tactical move is also added to the deck and this appears next. The Lyme forlorn has veered to their right to begin flanking the militia, while Monmouth’s foot continues to advance up the road. On the hillside, the Lifeguard discover that the “enemy cavalry” was merely a herd of bewildered red deer and prepare to wheel about. The militia now attempts to activate to fire at the horse but spectacularly fail. Apparently no one thought to see that the matches were lit!

As long as opposing forces are in contact the random activation deck is used to decide play sequence, and as it happens, the first card drawn is the grand tactical move:


The grand tactical move allows Monmouth’s army to maneuver further forward. Moving from the top, in  clockwise order, the forlorn is crossing the Short Gap road to get behind the Drover’s, and the Lifeguard are beginning to rejoin. Wade’s infantry brigade is now moving up the road as well, and Monmouth’s brigade is deploying into line.

Grey’s cavalry were the next to attempt activation and this time managed to maneuver out of contact and out of the way of their approaching infantry. While the militia did get their matches lit, they now have nothing to shoot at!


The militia officers, after some argument about having specific orders, decide they will be better off defending the crossing from this side rather than breaking formation to cross and getting cut to pieces by Monmouth’s forces.

Since everything is again out of contact, the single pieces can be substituted in and grand tactical mode only used.


The tactical situation around the Drover’s is shown above with the red line showing the government position and the blue, Monmouth’s.

The picture below shows the grand tactical situation at the beginning of turn four:

BV-1-Grand Tactical at start turn 4

Beginning in the upper right hand corner (the Northeast) and moving clockwise: the main body may enter here in three more turns (turn 7), or enter at Cruelton on turn 8. Militia infantry is moving into position in Cruelton and will be joined by more militia preparing to cross the river at Linnetsbridge. The latter have just been passed by some militia cavalry going in the opposite direction with orders to shadow the enemy. In the upper left corner are the deployments around the Drover’s Rest and another force of militia horse has just forded the Linnet and is racing to support the infantry holding the bridge. A final force of Militia foot has been ordered to hold their position at the junction of the Bath-Glastonbury Road and the Coney Hill Road.

At this early stage the tactical and grand tactical system overlay seem to integrate pretty well. If one normalizes to a time base of fifteen minutes per move things even seem pretty rational. We will see how the rest plays out.

Incidentally, having shown in this post the mechanics I’ll switch to a more narrative approach in describing the rest of the battle(s).


4 thoughts on “First Contact at the Drover’s Rest

  1. This has worked out really well with some nice ‘friction’ in not knowing what and whom will arrive when and where.


  2. I love your village! Did you build the bridge? I showed Cole some of your pics and he thought they were “cool.” Enjoy the game!


  3. Hi Bonnie – glad to see you are back as yourself.
    When Cole is a bit older maybe I can convert him to become a gamer? I found the bridges in the garden ornament section of Amazon. They are fairy bridges. Garden and Aquarium ornaments are a staple in my world.😀

    Incidently, you had a double posting so I deleted one copy (or where you trying to recover your lost comment count? 😁


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