For the fourth year I made my way to the excellent Wargames Holiday centre in Basingstoke. It is a little more bijou than last year but actually it means that you use all the table space and the second six foot wide table isn't just a place for storing dead troops.
The battle this year was Blenheim using Black Powder. As they are designed to be the rules were amended slightly. This meant that firing came before movement, but actually this encouraged you to shoot in charges, as well as rotating troops to ensure the least disrupted made the attack. It made more sense than using brigades till they were slaughtered to a man.
We played the battle through twice over the weekend. The first time I had a purely cavalry command of French line and Guard cavalry. Opposite me was Henry Hyde with an Anglo-Hanovarian command. This proceeded to do its best Pacman impression and munched it's way through my command. Both my brigades were broken by just after lunch on Saturday. Given a similar fate had been suffered by the rest of the Franco-Bavarian army, we called it a day and set up again with the two teams swapping commands. Although we aimed to ensure that no-one was directly opposite their previous adversary, I ended up facing Henry again, but this time attacking Blenheim with 3 infantry brigades. Sadly the result was the same, and by the end of the game on Sunday afternoon, all 3 Brigades had broken.
Steve Thompson had taken over from Henry who had to go and deal with real life issues, and I was very pleased when he won "most gentlemanly gamer".
This was the second time I'd played Black Powder, but the first against someone other than my son. I think if you are looking for a ultradetailed set of rules that are period exclusive, then look elsewhere. If on the other hand you want a set of rules that don't burn your brain, give results that feel right, and can be played whilst having a laugh with your opponent, then these are the ones. I came back with all kinds of ideas, but have decided to finish the 15mm Persians first. After that I'm going to look at the 10mm Crimeans I got at Crusade. I'm thinking of going with a 100x40 base per regiment with 30 castings on it. With Black powder not needing base removal, they can be little dioramas. The reality of course may be quite different.