Sunday, May 10, 2020

AWI Quick Dustup: Neil Thomas 18th Century Modified Rules

I've certainly been on an AWI kick of late.  Perhaps finishing the Guards battalion last week put me in the AWI spirit or maybe I'm getting excited thinking about a big Germantown MEGAGAME for this year?  Either way, I've definitely caught an AWI bug again.

Anyways as with any talk of a MEGA GAME coming up, I'm keen to try out several rules that I feel will try to meet the following requirements:


  1. Period feel for the engagements.
  2. Conducive to multi player
  3. Plays quickly


New Jersey and Pennsylvania troops face off against the dreaded "Hessians" in the fall of 1777
I've also been reading Joseph Plumb Martin's book for some extra "period flavor" of which the defining characteristic of Continental troops seems to be....hunger.

Anyways, I left the terrain setup basically the same from some of my previous games, save for the addition of some fields for close in work.  The British and their German allies are pushing to break through and the American generals have found a constricting spot where to hold them.

British forces form for the attack.

American artillery sections prepare themselves and their pieces for action!

Yet-unflocked Guards will have their baptism by fire this day!
I decided to put my money where my mouth is and try out the Neil Thomas 4 x stand "napoleonic" rules, with my modifications for the Seven Years War, but with further modifications for the AWI.  Those mods include all of the mods from last week and also:

British drill & discipline - British troops never roll a morale check after losing the first stand

Continental Maneuvers - American troops do not get "free" turns or pivots.  Those count as movement.

Morale Checks - prior to charging and receiving a charge.  Charger must beat a morale score and the defender must also.  I wanted to play this like "Hold the Line" where failing means you simply retreat after the melee, however I went more "old school" and felt it was in the spirit of the AWI for troops to possible run like hell with a wall of angry British redcoats coming for you with glistening bayonets.

Light Artillery - all artillery only hits on a 5 or 6.

Rally - Troops in cover may rally and recover 1 stand loss (red dice) by having the commander present and also passing a check.  units may never rally their first hit.

Royal Artillery gunners handling their light guns while the Guards prepare to enter the woods in a march column
 The keen eyed among you will notice the units have 6 stands.  That is purely decorative.  These are all 4 x stand units.  I'm NOT removing stands but simply tracking "hits" with a green die, and "stand loss" with a red die.  this is the same way I play single-stand games with the Neil Thomas 4 x Stand Rules.

Eager Hessian troops anxious to close with the enemy.
 The Hessians have the easiest route to the enemy.  They have the famed "Jersey Blues" in front of them, anchoring the American right.  All of the American infantry are behind a fence, so watch out!  Saving throws!

Vorwarts!  Eins!  Zwei!  Drei!  Eins!  Zwei!  Drei!

The Americans have met the Hessians before and are ready to dole out some payback.
 In the center, the Guard battalion takes a good 2 turns to emerge from the woods and form line.  The Americans fire on them the entire time and their first volley is just awful, earning only 1 hit and even that is saved by the presence of the fenceline.  Not an auspicious beginning!

Jersey Blues!  Present!  FIRE!!!!
 After multiple turns indulging in a murderous firefight, the Hessians start to close.  The Guards are getting chewed up in the woodline and a runner requests from the general that they apply more pressure on the rebels.


The Pennsylvania troops, with artillery support, are faring better.
 The Guards give it a go and charge in.  They pass their morale check and so do the Pennsylvania troops, however, as has become characteristic of these men, their energetic charge is checked at the fenceline and the Guards limp back to the woodline to reform.

1 stand loss (the red die) and 3 hits (green die).  1 more hit and they'll take another stand loss (red die goes up to 2)  In the Neil Thomas rules, 4 x hits from fire or melee remove a stand.  Every unit is 4 stands.  So basically a unit takes 16 hits and it's gone.  Instead of removing stands, I track stand loss with a red die and individual hits with the green die.

Guards have 2 stands lost (red 2) and 2 new hits (green 2).  Is this too confusing?
 Meanwhile the Hessians close the distance to the Jersey troops, preparing to charge!  The Royal artillery makes its presence known and fires solid shot into the ranks of the Americans.


The Hessian charge is remarkable and they seize the fenceline from the Americans.  The Jersey troops fall back 10cm into the field.


 The American commander rides over to make a fiery, Mel Gibson styled appearance in order to rally the men...

An extra ration of ships biscuit and salt pork if you lose 1 hit on that red dice!
 The Jersey troops lose their hit, but suffer far worse after the Hessians cross the fenceline.  The Hessians choose to shoot and the Americans take a fierce volley.  The Jersey troops make their morale roll and lose their final stand.  They head for the rear.

Meanwhile the Pennsylvania troops refuse the flank and this battle must now end as the American position is flanked.


The Guards rally with their "elite" status they easily pass the check and advance again!

Final dispositions.


So that's it.  It was a fun game and as always, a quick one with the Neil Thomas rules.  I feel as though they need a bit more modification to capture the large disparity in unit type and quality from the AWI, or perhaps I just need to add more unit types on the field in a game? (light detachments?  Militia?  Grenadiers?)    Definitely need more experimentation but I'm also keen to try out "Black Powder" with period modifications as well.

I do think the 6 stand units is a nice touch and makes the table look good with so many colorful troops to adorn it.  I'm going to keep the 6 stand units for sure.

29 comments:

  1. Being a proponent of the single BMU and no incremental figure/stand removal approach, I completely agree with your decision to track hits and stand losses via markers. Since painting and fielding large armies is a serious effort, I want my handsome regiments out on the table in all of their glory for as long as possible. Gaming table looks much more interesting with this approach. Much better than having a number of small, depleted units on the table.

    Nice battle report!

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    1. Thank you, Jonathan! I tried this with 4 x stand units and it does NOT do the figures or the scale of the battle any justice. In 15mm I need "big" battalions and the 24 figure, 6 x stand units achieve that nicely. they also look respectable in march column as well.

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  2. Superb Steve. Great to see those mods. I tried NT rules with AWI a few years back and loved elements like extra Hit Points at rail fences etc. - losing advantage when moving from cover - seemed very AWI.
    I've a couple of AWI sets that I can email you too for reference.

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    1. Cheers, Darren! Yes these rules worked well and I'm going to try them with more units when I get some more time for a sort of test game. Germantown is tough with so many factors that influence the fighting like the Chew House, the fog, the multiple roads, the weird terrain, and the Continentals attacking!

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    2. saw your email, sir, many thanks!

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    3. It just occurs to me reading these again - units not being able to rally first hit, removes the need to have a first fire bonus and is very period centred. That really works well.

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    4. Darren, that's exactly what i was thinking! :)

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    5. If you want more AWI rules grist for the mill, I have a number sets (some electronic) I could send too.

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    6. Jonathan you know I will never turn rules sets or recommendations down, especially from you!

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    7. Steve, I can't seem to find your email address...

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  3. Great posting. Your figures and terrain are beautifully done. The rules look very interesting. Enjoyed this very much. Thank you for posting it.

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  4. Great fight, Steve, looked like lots of fun and that the rules worked out well.

    I recently picked up some 10mm AWI troops; just basic stuff to do some 'Rebels and Patriots,' but haven't started on them yet, too many other things going on. I've completed my 6mm Soviets, West Germans, and Americans, starting the Brits ;)

    V/R,
    Jack

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    1. Hey Jack! Good to hear from you. Yeah it's high time I got started with finishing the AWI project once and for all!
      I liked R and P it was a fun game and lots of potential to scale it up.

      Yeah yeah I hear you, big WW3 game coming up soon! I have a demob date approved at work so I'm hoping that will free me up considerably for some WW3 action.

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    2. Sounds good on all accounts, and don't sweat it man, no pressure!

      V/R,
      Jack

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    3. Cheers Jack. I'm working on it! I literally only need time now. I have to finish the map and campaign rules.

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  5. Hi Steve
    My wiki page has some variants of Loose Files. You might find something of use there:
    http://jefslittlewinki.pbworks.com/w/page/67177326/AWI
    I’m also an NT fan and have tinkered with them for the AWI; not sure what to do with my 25mm project yet!
    Kind Regards, Jef

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    1. Thanks Jef! I will go and check out now! Thank you for commmenting!

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  6. Steve, nice looking game and splendid figures and I would agree that the extra bases look more 'line like'! the only thing is and it must purely be a mindset thing, I have a difficulty in readily translating the two dice thing into bases lost / casualties, I mean I have to really think about it rather than visually it readily coming to me.

    However, I don't like the base removal idea at all, even though it is the most intuitive way to calculate losses, but it is not as easy on the eye. I have seen someone use a small length of coloured pipe cleaner placed between stands, so say all stands to the left of the pipe cleaner can't be counted and that would probably work for me, with a dice doing the individual casualties.

    I really like the Neil Thomas posts.

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    1. Cheers, Norm and thanks for your thoughts on the dice. I hadn't thought about pipe cleaner or matchsticks for markings and that's an awesome idea! (Also very old school! Johnny Reb rules recommended a pipe cleaner I think).

      I'm going to tinker around with it and see what works best.

      Germantown awaits!

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    2. I think Napoleon’s Battles suggested using pipe cleaners too.

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    3. I have to look at them again. I have napoleons battles but never played them.

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  7. Great looking game and interesting rules tweaks!

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  8. Looks like the right direction to me. I think NT's 4-base rules provide enough mechanics to make almost anything work with slight tweaks and good feel. They aren't revolutionary, but revolutions are over-rated.

    As for a mega-game...not in 2020 in this county unless there's a real revolution in PA!

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    1. Cheers Alex! I'm going to cobble together these AWI NT rules eventually and would love your feedback and participation.
      It's going to be down to either these rules, or "slack chowder" as Darren likes to say for the Germantown megagame.

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  9. Steve - just a thought. Have a look at the ACW rules in NT’s Introduction book. The morale is different, in that you don’t lose a base for failure you retreat instead. You can also rally lost bases and have to test to charge. It feels more AWI to me than the Nappy rules.

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    1. Brilliant, Jef! I hadn't even thought about the ACW rules in the book. I'll try them out next in the queue in a proper battle.

      I had liked the Nap rules more for the various unit types and the interactions of the various arms for SYW (light and heavy cavalry, light infantry, regular infantry, etc). Thanks for commenting and keep the ideas coming!!

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