001 Roliça (French First Position) (17 August 1808)

Written by GMT Games on . Posted in Peninsular War (1808-1814)

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 3.90 (21 Votes)
 48 %
Record a victory for BOTTOM ARMY  52 %
Total plays 319 - Last reported by NicolasLL on 2022-04-27 10:48:05

Historical Background
After landing unopposed at Mondego Bay, Sir Arthur Wellesley led a Portuguese/British army of some 15,000 men south towards Lisbon. Opposing him was General Henri Delaborde, with a force consisting only of some 5000 infantry, 500 cavalry and 5 field pieces. Delaborde resolved to fight a delaying action against Wellesley’s advance while awaiting reinforcements from Generals Junot and Loison.
Delaborde chose his first defensive position in the hills just northwest of the village of Rolica. Wellesley advanced in three columns against the French, ordering the Portuguese troops under Colonel Trant on the right and Fergusson’s column on the left to turn the enemy’s flanks, while the artillery and infantry in his center were to engage the enemy in the front and hold them in position.
The British attack was underway by seven o’clock in the morning on the 17th. Although the French were hotly engaged all morning, Delaborde’s outnumbered force still held onto the hill position. However, by early afternoon, the wary Delaborde could see that his position was being outflanked and quickly moved his forces back to a second defensive position to the south.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?


Set-Up Order

Forest 7
Hill 17
River 7
RiverBend 5
Town 2


Battle Notes

British Army
• Commander: Wellesley
• 6 Command Cards
• Optional 5 Tactician Cards
• Move First

Line Infantry Light Infantry Heavy Cavalry Foot Artillery Horse Artillery Leader   Line Infantry Light Infantry Light Cavalry Leader
5 1 1 2 1 2   2 1 1 1

French Army
• Commander: Delaborde
• 5 Command Cards
• Optional 4 Tactician Cards

Line Infantry Light Infantry Light Cavalry Foot Artillery Leader
4 2 2 1 2


5 Banners

Special Rules
• The two hill hexes on the French baseline are Victory Banner objective hexes for the British player. If a British unit occupies an objective hex at the start of the British player’s turn, the British player gains a Victory Banner. As long as the unit remains on the objective hex it will count as a British Victory Banner (the French position has been outflanked). If it moves off or is eliminated, it no longer counts (Temporary Victory Banner Turn Start).
• The entire river is fordable.

Tags: Base Game, Banners: 5, Army: British, Army: French, Army: Portuguese, Special Rule: Temporary VB (Turn Start)


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Bayernkini's Avatar
Bayernkini replied the topic: #7273 1 year 1 week ago

How do the French win this?

Similar questions come up already a couple of times in different similar scenarios.
So the only and best answer is,
play against a few "expert" players. There are some around here (playing on Vassal).

One of the main reasons, i noticed in my active time, many unexperienced players "must do anyhow" if they played a command card.
E.g. If they play "Bayonet Charge", they MUST do a charge and they are surprised, if any other player use such a card to regroup his units only.
If you understand what i want to say. But maybe any expert player with better english speaking, can this explain a little bit more
NightOwl3 replied the topic: #7268 1 year 1 week ago
I don't know how the French win 54% either. But I have not played this scenario before. Perhaps the French have to crush the Portuguese first which would give them 3-4 of the 5 needed. I don't know.

I pulled up just out of range and started hitting his light INF. I held a Cav Charge and a CAV leader card, which meant I needed to set the CAV up for a breakthrough. After his CAV attack failed due to my tactics cards, I played Cav Charge for good results. At that point I started working my way down the French left with my Portuguese units. I left the square that I was beside and took the left red hex. On the next turn I used the Cav leader tactics card to roll four dice on his leader. I got him to win the game. I had really good tactics cards yet again. British win 5-0. How do the French win this?
LARS's Avatar
LARS replied the topic: #6897 1 year 5 months ago
An excellent and exciting scenario, British win 5-2. It would have been closer had not Wellesley drawn two Unit Reforms to rally Crawford and Nightengale. Fane’s British lights were devastating.
Pevans's Avatar
Pevans replied the topic: #6784 1 year 7 months ago
My gaming buddy Evert knows several CnC games, but not Napoleonics. o introduce him, I thought we'd start at the beginning. I drew the British and felt quietly confident, looking at the relative sizes of the forces.
As I manoeuvred the British left flank across the river, Evert got a good half of the French forces onto their left flank and attacked the Portuguese units.
A continuing sequence of tactic and left flank cards, plus some good dice rolls, saw Evert punish the Portuguese as my lack of right flank cards stopped me responding effectively. The one British line infantry that got into the fray was promptly obliterated by a lucky roll.
My one success was finishing off one French light cavalry as Evert won 5:1. Ouch!
Mark-McG's Avatar
Mark-McG replied the topic: #5689 3 years 3 months ago
Scenario Special Rule
• The entire river is fordable.

Alexander Konovaltsev replied the topic: #5688 3 years 3 months ago
Could anyone help with the following question. In the rulebook it is clearly desribed that units can not move through the river without a bridge or passing. Does it mean that in Rolica scenario left flank of the British forces should stay behind the river? Thanks in advance.
MayorJim's Avatar
MayorJim replied the topic: #5642 3 years 4 months ago
I think you are missing a leader, (Trant) with the Portuguese cavalry in your initial set up?
Stanislav27's Avatar
Stanislav27 replied the topic: #4963 4 years 8 months ago
I have written a lengthy, dramatized account of the battle here: boardgamegeek.com/thread/1826321/bapteme-du-feu-rolica-1808

Final Result:

First Battle of Roliça: Stanislav (FRANCE) 5 Victory Banners vs. 2 Victory Banners Mikkel (BRITAIN)

Second Battle of Roliça: Stanislav (BRITAIN) 2 Victory banners vs. 5 Victory banners Mikkel (FRANCE)

Overall result: 7-7 draw

It was two very exciting iterations of the first scenario of C&C: Napoleonics (though only the one above has been immortalized so far), and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Somehow, it was also fitting that two seasoned C&C: Ancients generals would end their first conflict in the Napoleonic wars in a draw. Interestingly, both battles featured very different ideas and execution. Whereas the key to my own victory as the French was to exploit the mobility and shock value of my cavalry against the weaker Portuguese elements, Mikkel focused on the Frenchmen’s superior melee capabilities by charging the British centre. In the end of our second battle, I only snatched the necessary 2nd banner for the draw by using my Portuguese troops to seize one of the objective tiles.

All in all, this game is amazing, and the tactical choices and possibilities are incredibly fun and engaging, capturing the historic period in thrilling manner without being overly complex. Needless to say, I can’t wait for more!
Napoleons Triumph's Avatar
Napoleons Triumph replied the topic: #4851 4 years 11 months ago
A Battle Report for Rolica (French First Position)
Freeloading-Phill's Avatar
Freeloading-Phill replied the topic: #366 11 years 3 months ago
Played this last night against Badger.

As the French I, of course left the hill and attacked. :blink:

I had 2 Counter Attackes to start and figured that as he responded to my attack I could counterattack and keep driving forward.

Alas he had very little centre response.

The battle probably turned early when my Light Cav on the flank attacked the Portuguese Line only to have them first strike and get 4 cav hits!!:ohmy:

After that there was a bit of back and forth with the Brits edging ahead 5 to 3.

I did get Wellesley though.:P