Here's a list of potential encounters for the Retreat game. Not certain how best to work these out - we could have a table and roll every time there an encounter is triggered (shades of D&D!) or maybe write an encounter description on the back of a card, and flip the card when the event occurs.
Some of these can be ambushers. When the encounter is triggered, the French squad will get to make a test to see if they are surprised. If surprised, then the ambushers are allowed to deploy to take advantage of the situation. If the squad is not surprised, they can redeploy up to one move after the ambushers deploy.
1. Cossacks! d6 (or d8 or d10) cossacks! Will attack from ambush, but will break off the attack if there is strong resistance. Each cossack has d4-1 rations and is armed as the model (typically, lance, sabre and pistol)
2. Angry peasants! 6+d6 peasants armed with improvised weapons will immediately attack the party. Each peasant will have d3-1 rations.
3. Stragglers. d6 stragglers. Armed as model - possibly no weapons, or may have a musket or pistol. d3-1 rations per model. May be attacked and robbed or recruited to join player's squad.
4. Wolves! Pack of 4+d4 wolves will shadow the squad and will attack any model that moves more than 6" from another model.
5. Bear. Not sure about this one - suggestions?
6. Civilian stragglers. Improvised weapons & pistols, may have a wagon or cart. May be robbed or recruited (bonus points for rescuing?).
7. Grisly remains of another party. The squad finds frozen corpses of men and horses. May be a chance to upgrade weapons. May be able to scrounge rations (frozen horse meat).
If things aren't challenging enough for the French, we could add Russian regulars into the mix, in the form of hussars and/or jaegers.
Please suggest other encounter ideas in the comments box!