We did fairly well at the start - my left flank got laid into the British (who'd adopted their customary spot atop a hill), while Andy's right advanced to face off against Dewi's cavalry... unfortunately (for him) Dewi's Portuguese decided their nice spot in the back of the British lines was right where they wanted to stay, thank you very much.
As I've said before, my one problem with Black Powder and its relatives is that it is possible to wind up not doing anything with a unit for several turns if your dice suck. (Before you ask, I love the rest of the system!) The counter-argument, of course, that gets trotted out is that with the Lardies' 'Tea Break' mechanic, it's equally possible not to move. But:
- It happens on a neutral draw of a card, not your own dice roll. To me, this makes it better (and yes, some people I know disagree). Part of it is that it feels less your fault, and part of it is that activation in IABSM and similar games is a positive act: you draw a card to see who activates, rather than rolling a dice for every commander to see if they fail to activate;
- Messing up a command roll in BP basically kills any more actions from that command, or (if you louse up with your general) the whole army;
- The density of Big Men in games like IABSM is considerably greater, so the odds on getting someone to give key orders is higher.
Anyway. By the time Dewi's Portuguese eventually got off their duffs and activated, it was all looking a bit close: and then, as they say, it wasn't. One British turn saw Andy and I lose about five battalions to failed morale checks (for entirely good reasons), and that was pretty much all she wrote. We even managed to rout one of Dewi's cavalry, get stuck in with a follow through charge and get routed.... Gary says he's never actually seen one succeed. Pity he didn't mention that beforehand!
My views on the activation aside, though? I love Black Powder, just for the sheer scale and feel of it, and the fact that we got through a complete and fun battle in 4 turns on an 8'x'6' table with about 15 units a side in 2 1/2 hours (a fair bit of which was us being rusty with the rules).
Thanks (as ever) to Andy, Dewi and Gary for the game, especially the latter for his awesome collection of figures. Next month? An all day refight of Quatre Bras.