A day after my historic walking tour of Toronto (see Part 1 and Part 2) I attended an open house at the Napoleonic Miniatures Wargame Society of Toronto. I was pleased to play my first tabletop wargame with such a distinguished –and patiently helpful– crew.
The game was The Battle of Quebec 1759, using the new ruleset Ruse de Guerre authored by our host, Glenn Pearce. What struck me right away was how small 6mm miniatures are. They are really tiny! For the regular units, there are 24 figures on a base measuring 30 x 60mm. Yet Glenn had his painted so that even the facings on the tiny uniforms were painted in colours appropriate to the regiment.
I was also surprised at how much happens at once during play. We had seven players and two referees. I suppose I imagined that two people would play Wolfe and Montcalm, as in chess, while the rest of us… moved the figures and fetched coffee? No: We had three player-commanders under Wolfe, and two under Montcalm. I was Brigadier-General George Townshend. I had to quickly get used to taking the initiative and making decisions, while Wolfe, Murray, and Mockton were all busy with tactical decisions of their own.
Our starting position was just as diagrammed at top. Townsend is defending the British left flank from skirmishing Indians and habitants. Unlike in recorded history, the French forces did not charge down the hill into the maw of the British army, waiting with their double-charged muskets. Instead, the British charged up the hill at the French and were largely decimated by the time I’d wheeled my three battalions, forded a brook, and was engaging the leery militiamen. By lunchtime, Montcalm had pretty securely preserved Canada as a French possession for all time.
Townshend’s forces, making their historic wade across some brook:
And here we get a sense of the epic battle just before the climactic engagement:
From Glenn’s battle report: “Since Townshend was not deployed for his attack, it took some time for him to adjust his alignment and push forward. Harassed by Indians he finally came to grips with two battalions of French militia. The militia put up a good fight but were finally swept away by his steady regulars.” Well now, all I can say is, I’m no hero. I just did what any 18th century Marquess would have done, under the circumstances…
I’m also pleased to report that I have passed muster with the Society, and been admitted as a veteran member. I can now look forward to sharpening my martial prowess at wargames yet to come!
I want to dedicate this weekend’s activities to my lovely and talented wife, the world’s newest ‘wargaming widow.’ Thanks, Love!