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

Monday, February 3, 2014

Old Macfarlane's Farm A convention game in the making.

When my local gaming group decided to do some 40mm AWI gaming a few years back, I already had 1/72nd and 54mm armies, both aimed primarily at the Saratoga campaign.  While I didn't want to recreate them again and have very little interest in the campaigns further south (as in New Jersey or Pennsylvania let alone the Carolinas) I  did want to participate.  I  had some suitable Indians from my 40mm 1812 collection and some  F&IW Canadiens. I decided to build on these and look at the Oriskany campaign as a starting point.

The scene is set and the American militia have begun their advance.
Once I had a sufficient contribution to the group effort I slid it to the back burner but kept finding small numbers of the excellent Trident  AWI figures following me home from conventions. When I was looking for a game to run at Huzzah last year I didn't have enough AWI done so settled for a War of 1812 game based on Ft Meigs, Indians ambushing American militia on their way to relieve a fort beseiged by British troops.  This year I decided that if I put a push on and borrowed a few figures, I could have enough for Oriskany.  Lets see, American fort beseiged by British, relieving force of militia is ambushed by Indians ok, I could reuse the fort...oh.... ok, 2 historical scenarios from 2 separate wars but just variations on a theme. Maybe not 2 years in a row, even if there would be wagons and no river.
Gratuitous shot of elements of the 84th Foot or Royal Highland Emmigrants and the King's Royal Regiment of New York.

There are some interesting little fights on the Nova Scotia and Maine coasts including bombardments, shore landings and cutting out expeditions not to mention Nova Scotia rebels besieging Fort Cumberland but I don't  have the right figure mix, ships or terrain......... yet. So the search for a scenario began again. For a game rather than a test I like to use historical actions as inspiration rather than worry about precise numbers,  unifoms and terrain so having found a suitable action I set to work.

So it is that a force of Indians and Tories have camped at Macfarlane's Farm on their way home after a successful raid in the Mohawk Valley. Come morning, scouts bring news that a small force of Rebel militia is hot on their heels. They decide to wait and give them a drubbing.
Morgan's Riflemen lead the Belmont Blues and other Continental units along a forest path to cut the Loyalists retreat.

For the first game I decided to give  each "player" a commander and 3 x 8 man "companies" in the  old style. Since I removed both multi-company battalions and the replacement battleline rule, the companies were on their own for morale and to maintain dressing using variable length moves. At first the attacking militia showed admirable restraint, not taking advantage of long rolls, using commanders to chivy along lagging units. Then the shooting started and discipline crumbled. The more excited the player became the easier it was to let units get scattered and isolated on the attack.


 The attack by a single company on the gun didn't go too well and the right hand commander apparently forgot about the possibility of indians emerging from the woods behind his flank. Oddly so had the indians for several turns but they woke up to the possibility first, or maybe they just got bored.
Realistic enough but I'm running a game not a training session for would be battalion commanders. I've been down that route before with these rules. Since most of the militia companies were already shaken as well as being surrounded, I decided to play the next turn   and then reset.

5 or 6 turns after I decided  to quit an attack by the regulars looked like it might reverse the decision.
At least I was having fun.

So, 7 or 8 turns later when the flank attack by continental units which had almost turned the tide was finally repulsed,  and after the indians who were being shot to pieces  by the riflemen made a desperate charge with warclubs, unexpectedly scattering their tormentors,  I finally did  manage to reset.

OK I guess not. Shortly after this shot the Highlanders fired a devastating volley before charging with the bayonet and sweeping the field.


So, I shifted the terrain a bit, added more troops, reorganized the units and  so on then played a bigger, better, more exciting,  closer game, but that's another post.

8 comments:

  1. Both the miniatures and terrain look wonderful (as always)
    Have the rules worked as you expected?

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    1. The short answer is yes, finally. More detailed comment later.

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  2. Oh, this is a fine game and report. There is something about this period that attracts - emigrant Highlanders, Loyalists, Rebels and woodland Indians/natives. Aaaah, I'll have to look my chaps out too now.

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    1. Oddly it has never attracted me, it was personal, political and violent and left bad feelings on both sides for genetations afterwards and I have no personal or local connection to either side which is why I have always leaned towards the Quebec campaign since it was home turf. All of which makes it hard to understand how I have backed into it none the less.

      I'll be much happier when I get better set up for the Atlantic Coast where at least the motivation tended to be financial more than ideological and it is now homw ground.

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    2. Oh, sorry, Ross, I now appear like some kind of historico-psycho! I meant 'attract' in relation to the little tin men - which is why I have an inordinate number of Loyalists, for example. Yours, a peaceable sort of chap, a Quaker of the wargames table.

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    3. Dont forget you're talking to the man who converted an Indian warrior into a scalp waving 'fiend' and then posts close up shots of him. This stuff didn't bother me even 30 years ago, big fan of Fenmore Cooper and used to have thing for Butler's Rangers after reading a kid's history book about how noble and hard done they were and how nasty those americans were.

      I was looking at the history of the 2nd Battalion of the 84th most of which spent most of the war in Nova Scotia, a company of them stationed at Ft Edward, just across the river from me, rowed out and captured a Yankee privateer. Highlanders vs ship, that has to get on my table somehow.

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  3. I can not judge the pro and contra of your discussion, but I marvel at the intensive and well photographed scenery, full with details - very atmospheric!
    _Peter

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  4. Peter, I have to say that after the diorama like pictures you have shown, to me my setup looks like a hastily thrown together collection of mass produced children's toys, christmas decorations and kits, which is what it is . Practical, portable and sturdy but hopefully suggestive and with its own attraction. So thank you for your kind comment.

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