Monday, November 11, 2013

Playtesting Freeman's Farm II: A Volley & Bayonet "Wing Scale" Adventure

That's more like it!  I playtested Freeman's Farm once more prior to "going live" and hosting it as a game.  Some of the adjustments I mentioned in my last post were great - this time the reinforcement schedule worked, the terrain was more conducive to breaking the battle down into smaller engagements, and the better firepower and discipline of the British were offset by sheer numbers of Continentals and militia.

While this was a narrow American victory, the ultimate outcome hung in the balance throughout the game.  Division exhaustion really killed this battle though, as I think the Brits would have won if the center division hadn't reached exhaustion and broke with an unlucky die roll.  "Oh fatal ambition!" (last words of General Fraser)

British Foot Regiments and skirmishers deploy through the woods at the Farm

Morgan's Riflemen and skirmish teams await them

Royal Artillery deploys.  They would cover themselves in glory during the real battle, and lose most of their gunners.
 A great tactic I learned with Wing Scale as opposed to regular Volley & Bayonet is keeping skirmishers around Artillery to protect it.  You get to roll counterattacks when you're attacked so this is a great thing to have a cloud of shooters around your most powerful weapon.
Fraser's Brigade deploys.  

Heavy fire in the British center against Morgan's riflemen.
 Another great tactic is the use of cover.  Woods enable saving throws from fire as do works and maybe some stone walls.
Brigadier Enoch Poor's brigade deploys against Fraser.
Poor's Brigade moving up to meet Fraser.  This wasn't even the entire unit!

Meanwhile Dearborn's infantry assist Morgan on the American Right, facing a reduced British line.  White dice are casualties.

More heavy firing.  Morgan's Rifles would eventually evaporate from casualties.  (in the real battle they were forced off)

British adjusting their lines

Fraser deploying.  As in the real battle, his right barely connected with the left wing.

RA and lights under Fraser

My 2nd New Hampshire unit (with the die) gets into a protracted firefight with the Loyalist/Canadian/Light Sharpshooter/Ranger type unit.

hordes of Continentals!

Learned's Brigade moving up

And the Germans arrive
The arrival of the German units under Von Riedesel were a result of a die roll for when they would arrive.  I got turn 4 and it seems all of the really important stuff happened on turn 4 anyways.  Morgan's unit and teh Artillery in the center disappeared, Poor and Fraser began their fight in earnest and Fraser administered the King's justice via bayonet.  (which devastated Poor's Brigade, unlike in the real battle where the British assaults were beaten back)

At this point, Poor's Brigade broke and fled.  The next turn the British left wing broke after a sustained and very successful volley from Learned's Brigade who was fresh.  The game ended with the British center collapsing.

Von Riedesel arrives to the tune of marching hymns, a brass band and of course drums.

British left wing (center) shooting it out with Learned's Brigade and the right most units from Poor's Brigade right before the latter broke.

British leaving the field.  Burgoyne naturally is over dramatizing the event already thinking of what to write about his harrowing escape in his journal...

The state of things at the end of turn 8.

Fraser's Brigade is ready to turn left and finish off Learned when the retreat is sounded.

All in all, a great game.  My only recommendation prior to hosting this game is to track casualties on paper rather than "in my head."  Wing scale is terrific and gives a great feel where lines of sight and visibility become more important.  (musket long range is 8" as opposed to the standard game where units of this period must be touching to engage).  Combat is much more sustained and longer lasting unlike "real" Volley & Bayonet.  I will continue to play wing scale V&B for future AWI games, although for my SYW and possibly Napoleonics, I'll stick with the standard rules.  huzzah!


  1. Very nice looking game. I'm sure your live players will enjoy it.

    1. Thanks, Sean. I'm hoping so! I have put alot of work into organizing it!

  2. Great looking game and pictures!

    1. Thanks Phil! I like to put alot of eye candy in the batreps now!

  3. Good looking game. I like wing scale for the smaller battles. You're right, it is a different game.

    1. Thanks, Mike. This was my first time trying it out and I liked it. It makes combat last alot longer.