Friday, 28 September 2012

AWI play test (part 2)

Ian remembered this rule set as being great fun, but on reading it after more than 15 years I was bit underwhelmed and didn't really 'get' it. However, as soon as we started playing I realised it was a little work of art, capturing as it did the spirit of our very first wargames back in the er,....sixties ! And the figures look great - check out  these Hessian Grenadiers outflanking the American left . . . . .

Notice the 'scorched earth' policy in the background !
As always, the best painting jobs have been done by Ian !

The essence of these rules is fine tactical detail. Reloading takes two game phases, first volleys are worth witholding because they are the most deadly, Redcoats simply fixing bayonets will cause a morale test for nervous Continentals and so on . . . . .

Minutemen defy Hessian Musketeers - they'll be gone in a minute !
  French Line vs Hessian Line - what country are we in again ?

'Command Options' (secretly diced for and allocated before the game) allow players to gain small advantages at critical moments - like extra movement, additional morale points and faster loading rates. To represent their better training, the European units are allowed slightly more control over the initial acquisition of these options.

The view from Washington's left flank
Fully deployed British regiments, seven companies each

Loss of officers during combat gradually reduces a regiments available Command Options. Colonels, Majors and Captains are thus very likely to be targeted by eager light infantry and skirmishers - I lost Colonel Warwick of the 3rd Foot almost as soon as the shooting started !

Note casualty figure - passing through these has a morale effect 

The 4th New York regiment exchange volleys with the British
Major Parkes dragoons retreat before advancing Loyalists

The core concept of  this rule set is excellent -  tactical minutiae representing the absolutely opposite experience to our army level 6mm ACW rules. When some of the peripheral ideas are tidied up, I think it's a winner !

Friday, 21 September 2012

AWI play test (part 1)

Our first session of the game saw us put out every piece of 15mm scenery we could find in an attempt to cover the full 8’ x 4’ table. We were actually quite surprised at how much stuff we had; some of it (including Dave’s matchstick snake fences and Merit trees) is nearly 30 years old!

 The terrain - British on the left, Americans on the right

Next we took the troops out of their boxes and set them all up in column of march along the opposing table edges. It’s been quite a few years since these armies faced each other and it was great to see them all deployed for battle once again. In preparation for the game we had both carried out a bit of refitting and I had painted a regiment of Hessian Musketeers for Dave, giving us two balanced forces.

 Loyalist foot advance supported by Tarleton's troopers

 The Kings Royal Regiment of New York - simply known as The Traitors to us Continentals!

After admiring the troops we turned our attention to filling in order sheets and getting to grips with the rules. As I’ve already mentioned, we hadn’t played this set for 15 years and (even though we had written them ourselves) it took us a while to pick up the gist again.

The 23rd Regiment of Foot begin their deployment

The Grenadier companies of the 15th, 17th and 44th Foot under the watchful eye of Colonel Spencer

The French Soissonois Regiment of Foot advances

Our rules, called The King’s Shilling (no relation to the commercial rules of the same name) are for small-scale regimental level actions where the emphasis is on deploying and handling units on a figure scale of 1:10. Each turn is broken down into 3 phases and orders are written in advance for each phase. We also have a “Command Option” system (which is just like a card based system) which gives each unit unique characteristics for the battle. Examples of the Command Options are “Quick march” (take one extra move), “Load with haste” (take one phase less to reload) and “Charge” (if you don’t have one you can’t do it!). There is also a “The Kings Shilling” option that plays as a joker.

American Continentals from Delaware deploy into line

 General Washington looks on as his forces deploy

Anyway after setting up the table, writing orders, discussing the rules, making tea etc we managed to play precisely one whole 3 phase turn! Not much action except for Dave’s sneaky Indian party led by Chief Little Bear making a very unsporting “rush to contact” against one on of my Minutemen companies and all but wiping them out. Elsewhere we have both started the fairly long procedure of deploying our regiments from column into line.

Injun's lads, loads of em' - err lads?

The next playing session should see things hot up a bit…

Monday, 10 September 2012

The British assemble . . . .

                  As the 3rd Foot Regiment stirs in it's dust-filled storage tray, there is mutinous talk . . .

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Rebellion in the Colonies

General Washington has received reports that the British are moving on his position and he has ordered a concentration of the Continental Army in response.

The reports suggest that Cornwallis has received substantial reinforcements by way of a Regiment of Hessian Musketeers and a squadron of Loyalist cavalry led by Banastre "Bloody" Tarleton.

Tarleton's Legion - the figures are converted Frei Korps ones painted specially for the coming game.

Our next game will feature our old 15mm American War of Independence armies and our own rules "The Kings Shilling". Neither the figures nor the rules have seen action for fifteen years, should be interesting!