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:
- Period feel for the engagements.
- Conducive to multi player
- 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
- American troops do not get "free" turns or pivots. Those count as movement.
- 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.
- all artillery only hits on a 5 or 6.
- 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 appearanc
e 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!|
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.