Thursday, 30 September 2021

Graspan – The Game

As solo games go this one was good fun to play and I was quite disappointed when it abruptly finished on turn 6, this is how it went:

The game started with two turns of counter-battery fire which fell slightly in favour of the Boers although both sides lost some guns.
On turn one proper, 9th Brigade began a steady advance towards the Boer positions.

Captain Prothero RN is one of the first to fall - ironically not as the result of a Boer sharpshooter but to the random fall of a pom-pom shell.

The 9th Brigade line begins to falter as it closes with the Boer line. The red counters are 'Pin' markers, the unit can still fire but movement is reduced and no charge can be made.

Lord Methuen orders the 9th Lancers forward in support but there is little help that these mounted men can give and they soon pull back out of rifle range.

With Captain Prothero down, Featherstonehaugh rides forward to give the Naval Brigade the benefit of his +1 to morale but even his presence could not shift those Pin markers.

The North Lancs. are taking heavy casualties too but strangely their Officers were to escape the battle unscathed.

The Boers are now pouring a terrific fire down onto the British line.

Turn 3 and the Scots Guards arrive and start to hurry forward as quickly as they can. Meanwhile 9th Brigade have been ordered to lie down and return fire (the blue markers denote that a unit is prone).

Finally a bit of luck for the British as the Ross Commando takes some hits including one on Commandant Ross himself.

This is followed by signs that the Boer right flank is getting a bit shaky as two Boers from the Jacklex Commando decide it's time to go home.
But most of the Jacklex men are still willing to fight it out.

The Scots Guards continue to advance. To their front the KOYLI have three Pins which means they can neither move or fire until they can rally one off.

The North Lancs. put up a brave fight and almost rallied off all their Pin markers which would have given them a chance to charge the Boers, but it was not to be and with just 9 figures left they were removed from play.

Turn 5 and the Grenadier Guards arrive in the nick of time.

The Naval Brigade are worn out too - there will be no VC's for them.

The Scots Guards keep pushing forward while the KOYLI hang grimly on to their front.

The Jacklex Commando rolls low for morale and the whole lot take off.

Meanwhile the Royal Artillery finally silence the last of the Boer guns.

More and more Boers are taking to their ponies hoping to fight another day.

And finally, the Ross Commando breaks as the result of fire from the Maxim Gun. With two Commando's broken a British victory is declared at the end of turn 6.

Methuen is very pleased with the result believing that his decision to order an artillery bombardment prior to the attack has been a resounding tactical success.

The Maxim crew who fired the lucky winning shots. For some reason I forgot that the Boer rifle fire could reach this far and should have flattened the crew early on - no I'm not biased, not much anyway.

The tweaks that I’d made to the morale rules worked perfectly (even if I do say so myself) and gave me exactly the type of game I’ve been wanting from this project. If anything, the balance has been tipped very slightly in favour of the British, but I think this can be addressed by painting up a rather long overdue fourth Commando for the Boers.

I’ll be having a go at Modder River next once the Boers have received their reinforcements.


  1. A bit of long butcher's bill...
    I do like the way the rules are playing out to give quite a balanced game, and the Boers deciding to fight another day felt right.
    Did you ever post the rules, I forget?

    1. Actually this was one of the smallest butcher's bills so far - 31 infantry and 3 Officers lost but I have a feeling Modder River may be a different kettle of fish.

  2. A spiffing affair…
    British pluck and lucky dice won the day

    All the best. Aly

    1. Yes, the Boers had two very low morale die rolls but Methuen prefers to think it was superior tactics that won the day!

  3. Commanders always feel that they are responsible for a victory! Defeat, not so much! Very exciting battle Ian, well done!

    1. The game was a lot of fun and it's a shame that the Boers didn't hold out for a turn or two longer!

  4. I'd like to suggest that the 2 commandos that fell back were not panicking but merely showing their experience and avoiding unnecessary casualties so that they could continue to punish the Redneks later. or something like that.....

    Excellent battle report and pics!

  5. Excellent report!

    Storm in a teacup Carruthers as I've always said!

  6. Nicely photographed action here IAN- well done. I do admire the quality of your Army collections for the Boer War- superb. We are still in Lock Down here - hoping it will end soon...Spring warm days and cool nights. Stay well there. Cheers. KEV.

    1. Thanks Kev, at least you have the summer to look forward to!