Saturday, 8 February 2020

Paper Prestonpans

I'm a big fan of the Helion Paperboys series of paper soldier books, along with their creator, artist Peter Dennis.  The paper soldiers, buildings and ships are fun and easy to assemble and they look great.  And, finally, last night I even managed to get in a game using them!

I took the forces I'd assembled from the Jacobite '45 book, and a scenario based on the Battle of Prestonpans.  All the paper models used were from this book, including the buildings and the trees, with the exception of the running redcoats, which I downloaded from Helion's website (although I just checked the link, and I was not able to access the Jacobite extras, although other files on that page are still available).  

As you can see, I experimented with different levels of detail with these models.  For some, I took some shortcuts, just folding and gluing the sheets, without cutting out all the detail.  These are still serviceable, but don't look as nice as when the full model is properly cut out.

The houses look just fine, they could likely fit on a game table with metal or plastic figures.

Kevin and Colin joined to take on the roles of Sir John Cope and Lord George Murray.  The rules used were Rebels and Patriots, from Osprey's Lion Rampant series of games, by Dan Mersey and Michael Leck.  Doug joined at the start, with a mini-tactical game where each general was asked to choose from a selection of deployment options.  By cross-referencing the selections, the initial deployment was determined.

Kevin, Colin and I have each played several of the Lion Rampant games, including Lion Rampant, Dragon Rampant, The Men Who Would Be Kings and Pikeman's Lament as well as Rebels and Patriots (RaP).  Each game represents an evolution of the game, with some differences being subtle.  We did our best to keep with the RaP version, although we quite deliberately disregarded the role of the officer (even though each army had a suitable chap on a horse to represent the army leadership).  I initially rated the highlanders as 'aggressive natives' and the Government troops as 'green' line, light cav and artillery.

Using Doug's deployment rules, the two armies started out deployed in neat lines facing each other.

The Jacobite strategy was to charge into contact, and the Government forces tried to shoot them down before they made contact.  The idea was that the green Government troops would be hard pressed to lay down enough fire to suppress the charging Jacobites.  The way things turned out was a bit different.

The Jacobite deployment, after taking some fire from the Government forces.  Paper figures don't look quite so fancy from the side!

Government forces rolled quite well for activation.  They quickly formed close order so that they could pour fire on the approaching Jacobites.

Jacobites, on the other hand, were plagued by rolls like this for their activation, leaving them under Government fire for extended periods of fire.

Eventually some of the depleted Jacobites made contact with the Government line.

Even in their reduced state, the Jacobites were able to put a pounding on the Government line, but it turned out to be too little, too late.

As the first game went quickly, we did a quick assessment, and tried again!  Jacobites were given +1 discipline to reflect their enthusiasm to get stuck in, and the Government troops, being poorly trained, were not allowed to form close order. Kevin and Colin changed sides.  This time, Doug's deployment resulted in the Government forces lined up facing west to the expected arrival of the Jacobite army, while the Jacobites (as in the real battle) managed to sneak around Johnnie Cope's flank to launch their attack.

The Jacobites advanced through the marshy ground, while the Cope's army hurried to redeploy.

This time, Cope's Government forces were overwhelmed by the Jacobites.  The cannon, which was so devastating in the first game, barely got off a shot before being overrun.  

A couple of thoughts on Rebels and Patriots:  each iteration of the Lion Rampant engine develops the system a bit further.  I'm quite pleased with the way RaP works, keeps things simple and moving quickly.  It avoids some of the fussiness of TMWWBK.  I like that commands are likely to be followed early in the battle (even though a bit of confusion would have been historically accurate for Cope's green army!), but then things get harder as the battle progresses and units start to get worn down.


  1. Lovely units Willima, never played with paper but very tempting!

  2. Paper figures are quick and easy to assemble. We just treated each base of figures as two actual figures for RaP purposes. Great way to get an army on the table quickly and cheaply 8^)