Sunday, 25 February 2018

First Carlist War Game

Today’s regular Sunday game was a Carlist War game. Unlike a number we have had of late which were just straight fight’s I built a bit of a story behind this one. I decided that all the figures I have in the collection would be on the table, but some would only be available if certain triggers were tripped.


General Background

The village of Nalgas, some 50 miles northwest of Zaragosa, is a known hotbed for Carlist activity. Madrid ordered two battalions of Zaragosa National Militia to occupy the place and to arrest or disperse any subversive elements.


When the militia arrived at Nalgas they found the locals hostile and they were ambushed in the streets by men and women of all ages hurling rocks and wood from the windows and roofs at them. They fired a few ineffective shots before the timid militia commander decided that sticks and stones did break bones and was unwilling to press the issue. He marched his men out of the village and took refuge in the nearby monastery of Saint Emmanuelle the Less than Innocent, barricaded the doors and sent for help.

General map of the area

Isabellino Briefing

On the afternoon of 24 May, the militia commander heard rumours of a significant Carlist force approaching from the south. At almost the same time of a messenger slipped past the villagers and announced that a force of regulars was marching from the west and would finish the job that the militia had been sent to do.


That night campfires were seen along the banks of the El Tintineo River, North of the monastery and less than a mile distant. This caused concern among the militia but when dawn broke a Union Jack could be seen floating above one of the tents indicating that friends, in the form of the British Auxiliary Legion, were close at hand.


There were also rumours that the French Foreign Legion is hot on the heels of the Carlists.

When our game begins a column of Carlist troops is spotted approaching from the south while a cloud of dust to the southwest indicated that the promised reinforcements were nearby.

The Forces

British Auxiliary Legion

  • 2 infantry- Raw
  • 1 marines - Trained
  • 1 cavalry - Raw
  • 1 gun - Raw
  • 1 rocket set Raw

Deployment limitations: In camp at far end of table. Under the control of the umpire and will not move until the enemy is sighted.

French Foreign Legion

  • 4 infantry - Trained
  • 1 cavalry - Trained
  • 1 mountain gun

Deployment limitations: Two turns after the last unit of Carlist 2nd Brigade arrives, roll 1 x D6

  • 6 = Cavalry arrives behind the Carlists, if fail;
  • Next turn,  5 or 6 cavalry arrives behind the Carlists, if fail;
  • Next turn cavalry arrives behind the Carlists
  • Infantry and artillery arrives the turn after the cavalry

1st Spanish Regular Brigade

  • 2 Guard infantry -Trained
  • 4 Line infantry - Raw
  • 1 light cavalry - Trained
  • 1 field gun -Trained

Deployment limitations:Arrive on die roll:

  • Turn 1, roll 1xD6 - 5 or 6 arrive at point 1, if fail;
  • Turn 2, roll 1xD6 - 4,5 or 6 arrive at point 1, if fail;
  • Turn 3, roll 1xD6 - 2,3,4,5 or 6 arrive at point 1, if fail;
  • Turn 4 Automatic arrival at point1

2nd Spanish Regular Brigade

  • 2 Guard  infantry - Trained
  • 3 line infantry - Raw
  • 1 light infantry - Trained
  • 2 line cavalry - Trained
  • 1 horse gun - Trained

Deployment limitations: Arrive turn after 1st Regular Brigade 


  • 2 National militia - Raw
  • 1 mountain gun - Raw

Deployment limitations: Begin the game in the monastery atop the big hill. Will not get involved unless they see an Isabellino unit win a combat. Will defend if attacked


Carlists Briefing


Father Joachim, brother to the friend of a cousin of the bearer of the chamber pot in Don Carlos’ household is incensed at the occupation of his monastery by the militia (more so the fact that all of his speciality – the famous “Emmauellino” liqueur – has been consumed by the militiamen) and has called for the militia be evicted. Don Carlos, anxious not to upset the clergy, and especially clergy with an association with his household, has gathered a force to not only evict the militia, but also to develop a stronghold there that can be used as a base of operations.


En-route to Nalgas Carlos met a large body of fresh recruits on their way to Nalgas where weapons are said to await them. Organising them into companies Carlos found enough men to build four battalions and he incorporated these un-uniformed and unarmed troops into his command.


As he approaches the village Carlos has heard that the Isabellino troops are converging on the place. The British Auxiliary Legion are encamped north of the monastery, but seem to be in no hurry to push beyond their camp. Two brigades of regulars are said to be approaching from the west and the French Foreign Legion are said to be coming from the south, behind him.


Clearly the first priority is to arm the new recruits and then the monastery must be retaken and defended.

The Forces



  • Ontorio Hussars – Trained, but count as higher grade in any close combat
  • 3 squadrons of lancers - Trained

Deployment: On the table at the start of the game – each unit rolls 1 x D6, score x 300 = distance in mm down the road from the Carlist Start Point.

1st Brigade

  • 3 Line infantry - Trained
  • 2 un-uniformed line infantry - Raw
  •  Navarese Guides - Trained, but count as higher grade in any close combat
  • 1 field gun - Trained

Deployment: Marches on the table on turn 1, up to two battalions side by side on the road


2nd Brigade

  • 3 Line infantry - Trained
  • 2 un-uniformed line infantry - Raw
  • 2 Valencian volunteers - Trained
  • 1 mountain gun - Trained

Deployment: Follows 1st Brigade onto the table


Note: None of the un-uniformed units have weapons and cannot be armed until they enter the main square of the village. It takes one full turn to arm them. If attacked will count as shaken in combat and cannot shoot.

How the Game Ran

The militia holed up in the monastery

In line with the deployment rules the Carlist cavalry were scattered up the road. One squadron was 1800mm up the road, another one was 900mm and the other two were. The first task of the cavalry was to consolidate and so they did while the main Carlist force marched behind them. The Isabelino forces failed to arrive on the first turn, so the Carlist cavalry rode on to occupy Nalgas.

On turn two the Isabellino troops again failed to turn up and the French Foreign Legion also failed to show. The Carlist continued to move on Nalgas. But next turn the Isabellino troops arrived.

The Carlist cavalry faced off against the Isabellino line cavalry.


But the Carlist cavalry were sighted by the BAL who formed up and crossed the river. The Carlist cavalry backed away from the Isabellino cavalry and headed to face the BAL.

Meanwhile the Carlist occupied Nalgas, secured the arms, allowing the new recruits to be armed, while the main Isabelino force advanced on the village.

As the BAL began to form, the Carlist cavalry charged, but the BAL infantry formed squares and repulsed the attack.

But the Carlist cavalry were persistent and came back again. 

Surprisingly a raw BAL square broke. Then the Marines broke and the Carlist cavalry smashed into a battery and the BAL lancers, driving them off too.

Meanwhile the Monastery fell to a Carlist attack. The Carlists were then able to turn thier attention to the growing threat from the Isabellino infantry, supported by the French Foreign Legion.

The Isabellino line cavalry tried to form, but came under fire and were driven off.

Finally the Isabellino forces managed to form up and attacked. The end seemed nigh for the Carlists.

But the Carlists were not done yet. The Foreign Legion were cut to pieces by musktery and the Isabellino centre was driven back.

Elsewhere the Isabelino line held and the Carlist force began to fail. Finally the Isabellino troops got the upper hand and the Carlists gave way.

It was a close fought game that built in intensity, keeping all five of us engrossed all day.


  1. Replies
    1. Yes it is a wonderfully colourful war to game.

  2. Great looking Game Mark.
    Did you produce the map yourself?

    1. Thanks Stu. The map was rather quickly sketched in Photoshop, with th e hills created with the bevel and emboss tools.

  3. Mark, your Carlist War collection is simply stunning. I wager this grand spectacle was well-received by your comrades. Are the buildings all scratchbuilt by yourself? Terrific buildings.

    A visual treat, for sure!

    1. Thanks Jonathan. It is always a pleasure to get these figures out of the trays. And always a fun game because half the armies are raw, which makes them so difficult to predict. I need to expand the Carlists though, just another three or four units, to balance up the forces.

      Yes the buildings are all of my making. They were done exactly ten years ago for a game set in Italy in 1866, but the general Mediterranean style means that they can be used in Spain as well. I suspect with a planned Napoleonic expansion into the Iberian Peninsula that they will have more table time soon.

    2. Splendid work on the buildings. Did you make a tutorial at the time? I could use some!

    3. No there was no tutorial because these pre-dated the blog start by several years. There is, however, a tutorial for a Roman Villa (in about ten parts commencing here that used the same techniques...although if I was making these today I would use the styrene sheets of Spanish tiles rather than make the hundreds (if not thousands) of individual tiles as I did on this series!

  4. Love these awesome uniforms, very impressive cavalry!

    1. Yes the uniforms are the best, aren't they? And that cavalry in yellow coats look justvthe part!

  5. Great scenario and game report. I enjoyed reading it. Very clever! 😀

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing it. It's amazing what your mind can invent when you are sitting in rush hour traffic, isn't it?

  6. A great-looking game collection, and it seems there is a fair bit of variety in the Carlist Wars forces. It is especially nice to see the yellow-coated cavalry still charging about in this period.

    1. In some ways this may have been the last of the truly coloutful wars. It is a great period to play with a wide variety of troops and troop quality.

  7. Lovely looking game, fabulous figures and splendid scenery, love the tiles, every one of them!
    Best Iain

    1. Thank you Iain. Looking back now, I don't know how I had the patience to make all those tiles - but then again I did make 1200 individual tiles for a Russian church spire a couple of years ago!