Tippermuir: A HOTT Battle Report

After playing through several pieces of a HOTT battle in order to get my head around the rules, I finally (with a few fits and starts) completed an entire game. I am well pleased with the way things work and particularly like the building of any type of army you want.

I now plan to use HOTT for a couple (and likely more) of my fantasy endeavors. But since I had quickly put together 1644 armies for Montrose’s campaign in Scotland, I set up HOTT terrain (following it’s terrain rules), making it somewhat like the setting of Montrose’s first victory a Tippermuir. (For those wanting more on Montrose and Tippermuir, here are series of posts that I did on my main blog: Battle of Tippermuir – press “Older Post” to follow the sequence).

I used historic-like grouping for the Covenanters, creating two musket&pike groups (spears in center, shooters to both flanks). Montrose’s Royalists have a more HOTT-like organization with the same element types grouped together:

Deployment at Tippermuir, Montrose to the right and the defending Covenanters to the left

By the second turn the Royalists (red) made a general advance toward Perth (stronghold) while the Covenanters (blue) had positioned most of their force to the lower slope of a gentle hill in front of Perth and launched their horse (riders) toward the Royalist left flank:

At the end of turn three, the Covenanters had moved their two musket&pike groups down to the plain to cover both flanks. The  Covenanter artillery destroyed the lead pike element of Montrose’s group on the road. The Covenanter horse swung left and took out Kilpont’s archers, while Alasdair MacColla ignored them and led his warband group forward:

The red “X’s” indicate Royalist elements that have been destroyed. Yellow stars indicate shooting.

On the Covenanter right both they and the Royalists reorganized their groups while their horse prepared to swing around the steep hill in the foreground. Montrose, stunned by the loss of his lead pike element, waits for his right flank to come up:

By the end of turn five both side were hotly engaged with the Royalists continuing to get the worst of it. While MacColla had managed to push back and fragment the Covenanter’s right flank musket&pike group, he lost one of his warband elements AND his group is now out of Montrose’s command range. On the Royalist right there was a good deal of shooting with a Royalist horde being destroyed and the other then attempting an end run along the steep slope to their right. While part of the Covenanter right flank musket&pike group was forced back it still remained a coherent group:

The Royalist’s finally gained a victory on their left when MacColla’s diminished group eliminated an isolated Covenanter musket element. In the center Montrose moved forward but was driven back by Covenanter artillery fire. Much shooting continued on his right but with no result. With the Covenanter horse now positioning in his rear, Montrose recalled his horde element from the steep slope and, finding himself with an extra pip (for once!),  brought on another horde in the vain hope of helping MacColla turn the Covenanter left:

The blue “X” indicates the lose of a Covenanter element.

The Covenanter line continued to reposition and hold while sending off another Royalist musket element on their left. Now short on pips, Montrose hoped MacColla could break through while his own pike element stood and received more fire from the Covenanter artillery. MacColla, however, was stymied on the Royalist left (the blue “X” is an artifact from the previous picture). Things became increasingly desperate for Montrose as the Covenanter horse prepared to charge his remaining musket element in the rear:

In turn eight of the game, MacColla’s group  managed to destroy a Covenanter pike element but he himself was driven back by musket fire. On the opposite flank, the last Royalist musket element was devastated by the Covenanter horse charging their rear and a musket and pike group their front. Montrose, with all hope nearly gone, swung his pikes toward the Covenanter artillery and attacked the Covenanter rider-general! In a hail of sardonic laughter from the dice gods, Montrose was killed:

If a general is killed AND his side has more casualty points the game ends in the opposition’s victory. The Royalists lost 14 of their 24 points to the Covenanter’s 4! A decisive victory for the government in Edinburgh. I picked the header picture since, had this been the result at Tippermuir (and he was merely wounded), it would have happened six years earlier (and likely without the romantic painting).

In the next post I’ll put up several details of the battle to look at the way I interpreted the rules and get some advice from my HOTT mentor Terry (and any one else who cares to offers it!).