Saturday, 18 May 2013

New Table - The First Game

Tomorrow is a day of firsts. First play test of the Ventosa game using the Carnage & Glory scenario, and the first time a game will be played on the new table that Tom and I put together over Easter, which I posted about back in March.

I really enjoy the process of game construction and pulling together the components of a scenario. One of the key components is interpreting the terrain and scaling it to the level of play the game is set up to model.

With this game I was fortunate in having some great maps of the battlefield as a whole. This enabled a scale down to the area we will be playing over, namely the little hamlet of Ventosa at the end of the Eastern Ridge of Vimeiro

The whole position occupied by Wellesley's troops at Vimeiro 

The Ventosa position

My interpretation of the original map

Below are pictures of the table set up to play the scenario. The look is a little squarer than the map because my table is a nine foot by five foot layout and the map was planned for a six by four foot game. So the compromise below has a six by five foot table.

The table top interpretation of the map, with Ventosa top right
This is the first time I have laid out tiles underneath the mat to give a contour variation to the table. The ground level shots, hopefully show the sight line variations that were present on top of the Eastern Ridge that allowed the British to use their reverse slope tactics.

In the briefing tomorrow pointing out where the "military crest" is will be an important point, and I have positioned my terrain to make it easier for the players to identify where best to position their troops.

The view from the ground occupied by Colonel Trant and his Portuguese contingent

The ridge was characterised by having areas of disruptive terrain such as dried up stream courses and small groves of olive and cork trees.

The road from Vimiero to Ventosa

The route as Ferguson's brigades would view it, with the ridge at Ventosa just to the left of the village. Again note how the road past Ventosa drops out of sight

General Solignac's view of the road into Ventosa as it climbs the ridge to the right

The road into Ventosa that General Brennier was attempting to follow, note the sight is blocked beyond the Ventosa hill to the right.

With the terrain laid out I have put down "blind markers" to indicate the approximate set up positions for the troops when we play tomorrow.

The initial positions indicated with blinds

The nice thing about playing on a reduced area is I have room at the top of the table to put the troops out and set up the laptop and other play aids (note the range sticks).

The French troops under Brennier are flank marching and will appear on this table edge "eventually"!

The small hamlet of Ventosa Farm

The forces for tomorrows game

The French eager to follow up their success at the Legionary show

The 32nd "Cornwall" Foot representing the South West in this game
So with everything set up I can do some other stuff with the family on my Saturday, and look forward to welcoming Steve and Jack to game with Tom and myself tomorrow. A full report on the game will follow together with an updated scenario briefing with any lessons learned from our game.


  1. Great table; great map; very good looking scenario. Looking forward to the replay.

    1. Thanks Jon, yeah I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. There's nothing quite like the anticipation of looking forward to playing a game once all the preparation is done.