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, December 14, 2015

Searching Out The Weak Points

On Saturday I managed to squeeze a quick run through of Crysler's Farm using the apparently not yet written War of 1812 module of The Tin Army. Luckily it was just me since it was a bit of a shambles. I had rather overdone the scenario specific troop and commander penalties and bonuses and forgot to reduce the firepower of the smoothbore muskets and 6pdr batteries so essentially the troops were treated as having rifled muskets and 12pdr guns. I was also quickly confused by the recent change in how I handled casualty reduction for cover etc. and discovered a few more errors and ommissions in the summary.

Didn't quit though, or change rules 1/2 way, just dropped the special scenario rules and pushed on. The resulting game was quick, bloody and a bit exciting in a nerve wracking way but the Yanks liked it well enough, especially as only 2 chance cards popped up out of 15, both in their favour and both right near the end when they were most useful. Their first win at Crysler's Farm, ever (well on my table anyway).

Yesterday I reset and played it again. There are still some niggling rules issues and the pictures are particularly fuzzy again all but overall the game was an enjoyable nail biter/roller coaster down to the last card but with a slightly more appropriate feel for the period.
Game 2, end of Turn 2. The Yankees are slowly clearing the wood and are bringing artillery up to support the attack in the middle.


Game 2, Turn 5. The Gun boat has wrecked the American battery with 4 turns of fire while the battery only managed to drive the British back from the first gully to the second. The main battlelines are engaged and I was thinking the game only had 1 or 2 more turns to play.


Game 2, c Turn 10 or 11. The Dragoons have risked all and over run the isolated British battery.  Meanwhile the British regulars have been hit hard and driven back. Col. Morrison is down and only their Elite status is holding the regulars on the field. The US  have also lost heavily and since the next effective hit on any 1 of 3 units on each side would break the morale of that army I figured the game had one maybe two turns left. 

Game 2, end of Turn 15. The only chance card of the game reduced game length by 1 turn and a series of low command roles (with a -1 penalty for the loss of their commander the Brits rolled three 1's in a row!) was matched by ineffective but dangerous shooting by both sides, forcing units back but not destroying them,  the last phase had the feeling of two exhausted armies standing off. When the last turn was played, despite the forward position of the American line, it was the closest I have yet come to an historical result, both armies bloodied but still on the field. The Americans have failed to disperse or destroy the smaller British force nipping on their heels on the way to Montreal.

In the end there are 3 things with the rules that I need to attend to.

  • The first was a simple transcription error  when I made the quick summary. Infantry that moves 1 and fires is supposed to roll 1 die instead of the 2 rolled by stationary units. That was pure typing error not decision. I played it as written in the summary but like it better the way it is in the main rules which is how I usually play it.
  • The second was the last minute reintroduction of the 1/2 caualties for cover rounded up or down depending on the cover. This works well enough for units that roll more dice and can take more hits but I already rejected the method for this game last year and went with the cancel 1 hit for cover method. Thats what I used in tbe last game and I have no idea why I switched when typing the summary but that will be put right. 
  • The third item has to do with the recent (in terms of games played) removal of a win/lose/tie melee resolution rule. I can't remember exactly why I decided to drop it but I miss it and am inclined to restore it as taking the decision to stand in a losing melee out of the General's (ie player's) hands.
Lastly, the sharp eyed, nothing better to do sorts, might notice that the recent clarification in my mind about where this is all headed, has finally pushed me to carry out a long contemplated touch up the facings and trim on my "started as Cristinos, became Mexicans and then the San Carlos Grenadiers" unit so that they match the 1820's US style of the Lafeyette County Volunteer Rifles and those old, not quite accurate Victorian era prints of the War of 1812.

That clatification of plans will be covered ere long in a more comprehensive look at the year ahead.

1 comment:

  1. Great wargame table! I had thought to do something like, set in the 1807 campaign in the Rio de la Plata, but I can not yet. Your ability to design and carry out games is admirable! Greetings from the distant Argentine Republic, and Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. Carlos

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