Instead of dicing for arrivals, I reduced the on board force and allowed the Americans to plan their own order of march with 1 unit arriving per turn. I started with 1/2 the British deployed on table and the rest able to enter as desired. Random selection left Les defending and me attacking. The airship still isn't ready so the HMS Reuse came out again.
The first shot is from around Turn 5. All of the British are on table and about 1/2 the Americans. The Observation balloon has gone up on the table edge which was silly of me. The General spent the next few turns too far away to benefit from it. The Reuse has dropped off the landing party and withdrawn and work is about to start on the pontoon bridge. In the background, the Lafayette County Rifles have fallen back from the first fence line with the British hot on their heels.
While the infantry fought over the fields, the opposing cavalry dueled. The Hussars won the first round but declined to pursue as they were beyond their supports. Once that support was up, they charged in turn and again won but this time they pursued, hit the 2nd Squadron of US Dragoons and were destroyed and their brigadier captured. Oops.
The British Dragoon Guards made way for the guns and a combination of rifle and artillery fire started taking it toll. When the Lafayette boys finally broke the Dragoons headed for the bridge but not fast enough. A parting volley from the Fencibles dispersed the 2nd Squadron.
Across the river, American reserves had been rushed forward to deal with the pontoon bridge. The landing party, thinking more of self preservation than of screening the sappers, had advanced and occupied a small farm. A company of Volunteer Rifles slipped through a gap and opened fire on the sappers as the 2nd pontoon was launched. The Sailors fell back and started working around to drive off the riflemen but it was too late. The Sappers needed 3 more work points to finish the bridge, they rolled 2 and then the riflemen let loose with boxcars. There would be no pontoon bridge.
By now the last American units were arriving.
As you can see, the Steam battery has been upgraded closer to my original vision.
At this point both armies had suffered heavy losses and time was running on. Only one way across the river remained, the original bridge. As a fierce cross river firefight raged between the Victoria Rifles and some local Volunteers, the Royals formed up ready to charge over the bridge. Just before they went forward, the steam battery pulled up at the foot of the bridge. The Royals stormed forward, taking horrible losses due to their being a Dense target. They persevered though and at the last moment the crew of the battery flinched and they were over run. Before the Royals could rally, the first foot moved up, blasted them and then charged dispersing the remains of the regiment.
Once again the British brought up their guns and riflemen, then, forming a Squadron column, the Dragoon Guards charged forward into the battered 2nd Infantry line. These steady veterans stood form, shot the cavalry out of the saddle and sent them to the right about. At this point the American Army Morale had fallen to 1 while the British were at 7 but night was coming on (i.e. time was up). The bridge had been held.
There were some interesting points raised by this play test but I'm quite satisfied that this will provide a good convention game for up to 6 players. If the table is no bigger than mine, I may need to make the edging hills even narrower and there needs to be just a little more room on the US side between the bridge and the table edge. I might also hurry up the American reinforcements to make sure all players have enough to do.
Just out of interest we played about 13 turns in about 3 1/2 hours which is about the amount of time I'll have at the convention. Since each turn theoretically represents an average of 15 minutes, this means we played in close to real time.
Having the sappers shot down was interesting. That's what the landing party was supposed to prevent but they were too weak. Once again though the bridge took a long time to build. I need to decide if the bridge building is a main part of the game with a successful bridge conveying victory, in which case this all works fine or if the bridge laying is just a preliminary and capturing the road exit is the only victory in which case I should either deploy 2 sapper companies or drop the bridge from being 3 sections down to 2 sections.
We found one or 2 situations that were not well defined in the rules but that's what a GM is for. The change to allow any troops to benefit from enfilading a target etc made a big difference tactically. Anyway, no rule changes!!
Tomorrow I go back to casting and painting and also start thinking about the two 16C Rough Wooing games that Rob and I will be hosting.