Sunday, January 1, 2012

SDS Scenario Idea

So, I was hanging out surfing various wargame blogs and I saw a post somewhere or another (actually, here) about an old bridge in England that had an awesome center building. And that sparked a fond memory of intense games of America's Army (a first-person shooter we used to play a lot of) on the "Bridge" map...

So, I began to think of a terrain board for Song of Drums and Shakos, set in Napoleonic Spain, of a bridge. The bridge would be the main focus of the board of course, and would be nice and wide and have a "castle" on the bridge too (like the one from the blog post I referenced).

But, the bridge would be set to the left of the center of the terrain board and allow me to build some town buildings and would create a firefight that takes place across the river. But, of course, we'd have to allow for a couple of small rowboats should one side or another wish to force a crossing on the water.

So, I sketched out the terrain board...

In order for a firefight to ensue with the SDS rules, the musket-shooters must be within about 22 inches, so from building to building going across the river is 20 inches. This makes the board itself only 24" deep. The board would be 36" wide.

This means that there are only 2" on either side of the board for the riverside buildings. OK, this presents a modelling opportunity - the backside of the buildings need not be modeled. They'll be open to allow players to place miniatures within them. This also means that I don't need to build removable roofs and detachable floors. See the lower left corner of the sketch for an example.

The height of the bridge means that I have two levels of terrain to work with...street level and water level. The water level has a stone "dock/walkway" along its entire course...with a post anchored semi-regularly to which to tie one's boat. This walkway would be about 2" wide on either side, leaving a 16" wide river. Access to the dock would be through stairways down from the street level and through the occasional doorway from the water-level buildings. The dock goes under the arches of the bridge too, providing some cover and access to the small portion of the board on the other side of the bridge.

The street-level buildings would be various constructions of the period, with windows overlooking the river. Perfect to shoot from onto the bridge or across the river at the enemy - be they in the houses or on the dock or rowing across the river boats.

The bridge would be 10" wide about 20" long, the last few inches on either side giving street-level access to the bridge. 2" wide stone pedestrian paths line each side of the bridgeway leaving a 6" wide stone wagon path down the center of the bridge.

The stone castle, in the exact center of the bridge, would stand three storeys high. The first level would be dominated by the main center archway and the two smaller pedestrian archways. Access to the second level would be by ladder - found in each of the two pedestrian archways.

The second and third levels would feature arrow-slits (presumably the bridge would have been built in medieval times) to fire through onto the decks of the bridge itself.

So, the question is, would this provide an interesting scenario? 

There would not be a lot of maneuvering, except for the race to get to the castle. That could be interesting given the unpredictable movement mechanism in the SDS rules. Better troops are more likely to get there before inferior troops, but there are no guarantees!

The fight for the bridge would involve some musketry until the sides closed in and then a lot of bayonet work. This would make for a lot of tension. A few barrels and hay wagons could be strewn about for cover at the ends of the bridge...maybe someone will get the wild idea of using the troops to push forward a hay wagon for cover on the advance!

The firefight across the river would probably be a little dull. Reload, shoot, repeat. But some interesting tactics could be used, like one solider shoots as another reloads then steps out of the way to reload while the other shoots.

To mitigate some lack of movement, one side could be given extra points and must make a push across the river in rowboats. This wold provide some tension as some troops stay behind to provide covering fire while others move onto the docks and row across to land on the opposing dock.

So...I don't know, something to think about. It looks fun to build...but why build it if the battle would suck. I'd appreciate any thoughts that readers may have. Leave a comment if you would please...


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  2. Very Interesting Tony. It reminds me of a diorama of a Raid by the Royal Marinsamd their long boats on a small French held Spanish village port. It had stone walkways like you mention and small craft docks with steps to the waterline...lets talk...Dan