Saturday, March 17, 2012

Back Up The Neverwaussie

I was fortunate enough to have Lentullus drop by today  and play the revised Neverwaussie scenario that I'm planning to take to Huzzah. As mentioned after the game with George I decided to turn the layout sideways. I decided not to reduce my unit sizes like I did that time though. Doing so made the frontages more correct for typically understrength  North American units and gave them more elbow room but I like the look of the larger units, its how I'm painting them and having fewer units seems to make it easier for new players to identify with them and "get into" the game and makes the units more resilient. It also makes the loss of a unit more dramatic.

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 The Reuse has dropped off the landing party and withdrawn and work is about to start on the pontoon bridge.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.


  1. Sounds like it was a very interesting playtest, Ross.

    I must reiterate that I really do look forward to your posts . . . they are always one of the highlights of my day.

    Enjoy your Saint Patrick's Day, sir. You've earned it.

    -- Jeff

    1. Solo games are well and good but they don't hold a candle to matching wits and dice with a friend.

      Take care of yourself Jeff

  2. I would love to play this game, it sounds terrific, well balanced, tested and thought out. The steam wagon with the swivel guns looks even more terrifying now. Congrats on that.
    Was the distinguished gent in the photo Lentulus? A most erudite blog, he has.
    Thanks for this, I am, with Jeff, always entertained by your posts.

    1. Thanks Padre,

      That is indeed Lentulus. I need erudite friends to add balance to my life :)

      Its too bad (from my POV) that you aren't still in Greenwood, just down the road.

  3. Ross Mac,

    This sounds like it was an exciting battle from start to finish ... and it should go down well at Huzzah.

    The steam wagon looks even more 'interesting' now that it has acquired some swivel guns.

    All the best,


    1. It was.."interesting!" The Steam battery was feeling quite chuffed about itself, right up until it got over run. It wil lsee action again.

  4. Thanks for another gripping report. Good to see the steam battery in action. Tantalising glimpses of toy-filled shelves in the background of the first two pics!

    1. Not to mention the messy bookshelves, One day I'll get it all straightened and organized and hold a guided tour.

  5. Thank you very much for sharing this battle report.
    Your cloth terrain is my favourite, the resulting tabletops are allways very inspiring.
    The light troops that chased the pontoneers are new to me. Could yuo please post a close up photo of them?
    Regards, Cesar.

    1. Thanks Cesar, I find both the cloth and the Classic Old School look appealing in different ways but they each need to be consistent to be at their best. The single toy soldier look needs the flat surface but since I am back to flocked bases, the cloth will predominate again for now.

      Those troops are part of one of my Ohio militia regiments from my War of 1812 collection. They normally fight as close order infantry. I will post some pictures later.

  6. Hi Ross

    A most entertaining report. It was a shock when "There would be no pontoon bridge." registered. Interesting to think what the loss of these specialists could mean in a campaign.

    Thanks for sharing

  7. Dave, I will confess to a momentary temptation to argue that since there was only 1 point of work needed that the Engineer could teach some infantry to finish it but its not good to modify rules in your favour in the middle of a game!

    In theory, the hits mostly represent pioneers hiding behind the wagon or in the wood as well as a portion of wounded and killed. I'm not sure how many of them would have been real specialists (especially when I think of how long it took them!) A good question to look into but in any event even if there were just a few specialists backed by strong backs, a loss of just a few of the real specialist would be enough to make the company useless so the point remains about a campaign.

  8. Ross:

    Greenwood was a good go. Actually, my wife and I were talking about retirement the other day, which is still a decade off if I go the distance in the CF, and the Valley is high on our list of places to go to, possibly somewhere between Berwick and Wolfville.
    It would be nice to drop by for a game.