Speaking of wargaming table, Jon's setup did not disappoint! I find myself privileged to have been invited, but more on that later!
Jon emailed a detailed briefing with Orders of Battle and some perspective of the bigger picture of what is going on in the Battle of Long Island. I played the American commander and Le Duc played the British commander.
|Looking at the American side with the hill and Shoemaker's Farm in the center. The British must cross the stream and their units are just entering the table. Heard's Militia Brigade is on the table, as well as the Riflemen and Continental Artillery.|
I looked at the victory point conditions (not closely enough as it turns out!) and determined that this battle would be all about the hilltop, Shoemaker's Farm, and the Bridge. Rather than deploy to cover a wide frontage, Heard's Brigade had ultimate responsibility for the hill initially, and to slow the British down by forcing them to deploy. THe Riflemen would cover the bridge as best they could to also slow down the British and force them into line. My Artillery, heroes to a man in this game, would initially attempt to cover the crossing with fire.
It's worth mentioning here the outstanding pre-game briefing which Jon had provided to us which was very clear, unambiguous, and left no question as to what our victory conditions were. Jon also opened the virtual session with a Q&A to see if we had any additional questions or concerns prior to diving in.
And dive in we did! Darren's Brigades rushed the bridge in column and took to the field in a spirited fashion, making good speed for the hill. Artillery opens fire the first turn and the rifles are shocked to see a foot battalion crossing the bridge in front of them and deploying into line. This is all made that much more impressive with the fact that Jonathan is in Washington State and Darren is across the Atlantic Ocean!
|Contact! British forces deploy and fight on the American side of the stream.|
I was snapping screen shots when I could and here you have Heard's Milita Brigade on the hill looking at Battalion after Battalion of British regulars forming to their front. Nixon's and Parson's Brigades are moving at the double-quickstep coming up the road but it's a lengthy process.
My "plan" was for Nixon to eventually "swap out" positions on the hill but Darren arrived at our doorstep so fast that they ended up shoring up the American position to prevent us being flanked on my right. Parson was initially my "reserve" element and was to guard against Darren trying any sneaky flanking attacks against the hill from the left of the picture. Parson's men were actually fed into the hilltop fight from the left and thank goodness they were there or this battle only would have lasted 4 turns!
My milita units give an excellent accounting of themselves (as best militia can) at the lead edge of the hill next to the stream while Darren deploys to push them out. Meanwhile his initial brigade storms the bridge and deploys to assault the artillery and face the new threat of Nixon's Brigade who are coming down the road.
Darren eventually surrounds the hilltop and while Heard's Militia are pushed back the Continental artillery detachment survive volley after volley and even repeated ground assault, each time holding their ground and forcing the British back! It's the stuff of legends as a detachment of guns holds off some of the best units of the British Army! Also, worth mentioning here, Darren's dice saving him time and again when it counted! Numerous units with only 1 hit remaining are able to weather the fire and stay in the game. (proposed new nickname is "Dice Demon Darren" 😊)
Returning to the action, the British eventually seize a toe-hold on the hilltop and push the militia back. I feed in Continental troops and push 1 British unit off but Darren skillfully puts in fresh units and makes short work of the remainder of Heard's Brigade and elements of Parson's Brigade. I'm making him pay dearly for every hex he seizes, and at the same time, completely forgetting the victory conditions to exit units from the table! The Americans are putting up a tough fight, and losing their entire force in the process!
|Note the fresh British units coming from the top of the screen. True to form, the British are gaining the upper hand in the battle, but it's a tough slog!|
|British storming the creek now and the Guards are pushing their way into my right flank. Note the Artillery is STILL alive! Eventually they'd be surrounded in 3 or 4 hexes!|
I think I conceded on turn 9 of 10, realizing my entire force would be trapped. That said, if it was a campaign, both Darren and I would be up the creek with severely weakened forces so I feel like I gave as good as I got. Le Duc is a tough opponent and this was a fun, hard-fought engagement. A seriously great time.
Kudos to Jonathan for crafting an engaging and challenging scenario, and for hosting. There was much prep work that had to go into developing this scenario and ensuring play went smoothly and I have to say that it did. Jon's miniatures looked terrific (you all know my penchant for single-based units!) and I have to admit I was really lost in the game. This had the feel that I was there and I think we owe that in no small part to Jon's hosting skills and preparatory work. I cannot wait for a re-fight!
Also, we used the "Fields of Honor" AWI rules which I enjoyed immensely and really need to give another shot. There were no issues, questions, or finicky problems and the rules played smoothly and in my opinion really brought out the character of the AWI and through the D10s were able to showcase the large variety of units that fought in the AWI.
All in all, an awesome game for a Saturday morning/afternoon/evening [depending on your timezone] and thanks to both Jonathan and Darren! I cannot wait to play again!
You can read Darren's account and thoughts on the FoH rules from his "the dice rolled 'round the world" [see what he did there?] post here.