EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A smaller report of a bigger game

On Saturday we played through the scenario based loosely on the battle of Hubbarton using 40mm  figures and Hearts of Tin.  Unfortunately I still didn't have my camera and my cellphone doesn't handle low lighting very well. On top of that, having been behind the 8 ball on producing a Quick Reference Sheet, I had to serve as a Human QRS for the 7 of us. Being tired to boot, I only have rather  superficial recollection of how the game played out. The table ended up slightly different from the map but the key features were there. While laying out the terrain, it suddenly occured to me that I hadn't decided on how fordable the river was and made the decision to dice for each section. With hindsight, since both sides contained local men, the location of fords etc would have been known in advance and might have altered battle plans but it worked well enough. If I ran it again, I would have liked to have given the Loyalist the extra unit he was supposed to have and added a few more troops to the redoubt rather than having that force split.

Jeff commanded the Rebel  forces and chose to send the riflemen to harass the entrenched Loyalist forces to the east while the bulk   of the Rebel infantry under himself and Lawrence entered from the west, bypassing the redoubt on the hill with the aim of over running the Loyalists from behind. Gary who commanded the on table British regulars, partly on the hill and partly camped behind the town, sortied out to hold off the attack. The attack on the flank of the column resulted in a prolonged fire fight where weight of numbers and some atrocious British artillery dice eventually told against Gary and he was forced back towards the redoubt. The attempt to block the attack from the front looked promising but a switch of initiative and some hot shooting dice resulted in the Umpteenth Foot falling into disorder and then being sent reeling from a charge.

The death march of the Umpteenth Foot.
Luckily for the British fortunes, Ed, at the head of the Indian warriors, had occupied the cattle corral and with blood curdling warcries and promises to cut out the enemy's heart, handily repulsed an attack by Lawrence's militia.   Following up, the warriors carried on a ding-dong fight with a couple of militia units for several turns before falling back for a breather.

Meanwhile, George at the head of the grenadiers had rolled a 1 for arrival, and was advancing quickly to  plug the gap left by the retreat of the Umpteenth Foot. One turn later, the remainder of the Rebel forces arrived. Quickly they stormed the Stone House on their side of the river and then looked for a way to advance around the Loyalist redoubt, driving back the skirmishers that Martin threw out to delay and distract them. Just as an opening appeared, it was filled, first by George's Jaegers and then by a battalion of Brunswick Grenadiers. A prolonged and indecisive fire fight across the river followed until darkness closed in.

The Grenadiers arrive. 

In the center of the field, the rebels pressed forward over running a British field piece but were then thrown back by the Grenadiers. At this point, several players had to leave. Casualties slightly favoured the Americans and the British had 1 shaken brigade but the British still held all of their fortifications and the corral and supplies and had put up one of their best efforts of the pseudo-campaign to date. Given a few more turns the Rebels might have been able to wear them down by sheer weight of numbers but it was far from certain that they could shake them all which was their objective and no one squawked too loudly when I awarded the British their first win.  
The Jaegers deploy (artist's conception)

Once again I was pleased with how the game ran. There were one or 2 bits that gave me pause (like the melee weakness of unsupported artillery) but nothing that made me want to change any rules. (Nothing fast and simple is ever going to be perfect in every situation.) However, there were a couple of things that seemed to confuse people when I tried to explain how they worked and 1 or 2 things which I thought I had included but hadn't so I may reword some of the explanations and will have to add the important non-verbalized bits (for example the explanation about moving and facing and what happens when a unit is attacked in the rear). More diagrams and examples will definitely help.

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