Wednesday 30 November 2016

AWI Campaign - Battle of Rosston -September 28th, 1776

The next battle in the AWI campaign saw British forces continue to push on to Philadelphia from their newly acquired base of New Brunswick. On September, 28th as they marched they were confronted by a slightly larger America force near the town of Rosston.

British Force
2 light infantry units
2 artillery units
3 line infantry units
3 Hessian line infantry units
1 loyalist militia unit

American Force
2 frontiersmen (skirmish) units
2 artillery units
2 militia units
2 continental line infantry units

Turns 1 and 2
American forces pushed quickly forward into the fields. This was important for the militia who could then take advantage of the field for cover, increasing the number of hits they can absorb before being eliminated. The occupation of the farm buildings and nearby hill boosted the commander resolve from it's starting point of 4 to 6.
The British forces also moved forward to engage the Americans. British commander resolve was boosted from 4 to 5 for the occupation of Rosston Town.

Opening Moves
Turns 3 and 4
With both sides becoming heavily engaged in and around the fields in the centre. British light infantry moved up on their left flank to harass American forces located on the hill.

A view from the American herald hill
Turns 5 and 6
In the fight for the fields American forces were holding their own with the support of their artillery. While British artillery were focusing their fire on their American counterparts.

Turns 7 and 8
Casualties were staring to mount and both commanders were busy trying to rally units. In each turn both commanders had units eliminated and their resolve score dipped. British resolve was 3 and American resolve 4.

British units failed to dislodge American units from the fields

Turns 9 and 10
The tide of the battle was starting to turn in the American favour. They had seen off the British light infantry and the first line of British units attacking the fields. Their frontiersman were ready on the flank to advance towards Rosston.

American forces well positioned

Turns 11 and 12
Both sides had pretty much fought themselves to a standstill in the centre and with some more units eliminated. While American frontiersmen advanced on Rosston and were engaged by the defending forces. Command resolve was reduced to 1 for both sides.

Add caption

Turns 13
The final turn saw the loss of a loyalist militia unit defending the town and with that British resolve was zero. So a marginal victory went to the Americans.

Sunday 27 November 2016

AWI Campaign - August 16th, 1776, continued...

With the new shooting and elimination rules in place (jotted down on a note pad) and with a few final tweaks based on comments received from my last post, it was time to test the rules out.

British line up for battle
A very quick recap of the rules with their modifications.

When shooting units roll a number of dice (D6) depending the unit type and hitting on 4+ regardless of whether the target unit is in cover.

Artillery and Light Infantry and Frontiersmen roll 1D6
Line Infantry, Grenadiers and Militia roll 2D6
Cavalry roll 3D6 when charging

Once a unit has exceeded the limit of hits allowed they are eliminated. However, a unit's staying power is increased by 2 when they are in cover.

Militia - 4 hits in open and 6 hits in cover (Militia get cover when in fenced fields and buildings)
Artillery - 4 hits and 6 hits in cover (fortifications only)
Frontiersmen - 4 hits in the open and 6 hits in any cover
Cavalry - 5 hits
Light Infantry - 5 hits in open and 7 hits in any cover
Line Infantry - 6 hits in open and 8 in cover (buildings only)
Grenadiers - 7 hits in open and 9 hits in cover (buildings only)

Having decided hills would not increase a units staying power. Any unit shooting down from a hill is allowed to re-roll one failed to hit dice. This deliberately helps artillery and skirmish type units more so than line infantry.

So on to the game - the battle of Reynold's Farm...

Turns 1 and 2
The American commander started the game with a resolve of 6 having gained 2 resolve points with holding the farm and one on the hills. American forces decided to hold the farm and nearby fields placing their militia units in fields to benefit with an increase staying power (6). Their other forces made a flanking move on the British left flank.

The British for their part quickly raced to hold the two hills to their centre and left flank. Gaining 2 commander resolve points (resolve = 6).

Note - hills and building squares when occupied increase a commanders resolve being key terrain features.

American forces deployed and in the background they start their flank move
Turns 3 and 4
The British force was surprised by the speed of the American flanking move and came under some ineffective fire from their artillery. The hill on their left flank was shaping up to be the crucible of the coming battle.

American forces can be seen moving up on the British left flank
Turns 5 and 6
British and American forces had deployed a good portion of their forces around the hill and were exchanging volleys of fire. While the British artillery were finally deployed.

Volleys being exchanged between sides
Turns 7 and 8
Units on both sides were suffering hits, but neither side had yet lost any units. While American artillery was focused on the hill, British artillery was firing upon their counterparts with a good level of accuracy delivering a number of hits.

The view of the battle from Reynold's farm
Turns 9 and 10
Both sides started to suffer unit casualties. The British losing a line infantry unit and the light infantry on their left flank. This quickly drew the cavalry reserve into the battle to shore up the left flank. The American forces lost an artillery unit and line infantry.

The commander resolve of both sides was reduced to 4 a piece. Note - commander resolve is reduced by one whenever one or more units are lost during a turn.

British cavalry move in to shore up their left flank
Turns 11 and 12
While American forces continued to be lost in the attack upon the hill, the British grenadiers were lost in its defence. Meanwhile on the left flank the remaining British forces had started to advance upon the farm buildings.

The American attack starts to wane as casualties take their toll
Turns 13 and 14
With the attack losing momentum and British advancing upon Reynold's farm, addition loses saw American command resolve reduced to 1. British resolve was only fractionally better sitting at 2, but their remaining units in better condition the tide of battle was now definitely in their favour.

The American attack finally crumbles
Turns 15
The American commander concedes and the remaining units retire.

The rule changes appear to work ok and need some more games to be tested, but they will remain for the present and will need to be written up. My next task in the coming weeks.

Friday 25 November 2016

AWI Campaign - August 16th, 1776

As I work my way through a number of the battles in my American War of Independence campaign. I am making adjustments to various areas of the rules. The latest adjustment is to combat, shooting to be more precise, and the number of hits a unit can absorb before it is eliminated.
Getting ready for another game
When shooting units roll a number of dice (D6) depending the unit type and hitting on 4+.

Artillery, Light Infantry and Frontiersmen roll 1D6
Line Infantry and Militia roll 2D6
Grenadiers roll 3D6

Previously when a unit was in cover a 5+ was required instead of a 4+ to hit. The rule change will try the approach of always hitting on a 4+ regardless of cover and instead increase the number of hits a unit can take (absorb) when they are in cover. Once a unit has taken their limit of hits they are eliminated.

Militia - 4 hits in open and 6 hits in cover (Militia get cover when in fenced fields and buildings)
Artillery - 4 hits and 6 hits in cover (fortifications only)
Frontiersmen - 4 hits in the open and 6 hits in any cover
Cavalry - 5 hits
Light Infantry - 5 hits in open and 7 hits in any cover
Line Infantry - 6 hits in open and 7 in cover (buildings only)
Grenadiers - 7 hits in open and 8 hits in cover (buildings only)

This does mean units are required to remain in cover once they exceed the number of hits allowed outside of cover.

The intent of these rule modifications is to even up Militia and Line Infantry when there is cover available, and limit the effectiveness of skirmishing units (Light Infantry and Frontiersmen) out of cover to a role of harassment and delaying tactics.

Next game in the AWI campaign with Militia convieniently placed in fields
So I have the next campaign battle game lined up to try out this shooting rule approach.

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Hundred Years War Game

While I still have a six units to finish painting of my Hundred Years War armies (two units of mounted knights, a men-at-arms unit, pikeman and two units to represent camps using any remaining figures). I thought a quick game using One-Hour Wargaming (OHW) rules would help encourage me to complete these remaining units before Christmas and the ensuing madness arrives.

Game set up
I chose to play with 9 units aside rather than the normal 6 units suggested with OHW. To compensate the playing area was increased to 4' x 4'. Here are some pictures from the game and for those interested all the figures are Minifigs HYW 25mm.

The English advanced and after a salvo of arrows the French line moved forward
The first line of both sides are soon engaged in a slogging match (melee)
Mid game - a ruthless set of 6's were rolled by the English
The French cavalry are eliminated and units lost in the large melee
The English cavalry exhausted after their fight were quickly eliminated by French reserve cavalry
The French infantry were losing the main fight and after one more turn it was game over.
Leaving some space at the back of the stands for casualty dice worked well, no dice toppled off as they moved with the unit. A fun game as always with OHW rules - as one sweats on the dice rolls hoping to get one more attack out of a unit before it is eliminated.

I plan to have a game using Lion Rampant rules and a gridded tabletop at some point in the future. I will use dice to track hits.

Sunday 20 November 2016

AWI Campaign - 12th August 1776

The next battle in my AWI campaign occurs on the 12th August at the previously unknown Lightman's Wood. The British side rolled highest to go to deploy their forces first. The layout of the terrain was to their advantage with a well located hill and buildings on either flank.

The battle game is played on a gridded table. There are small dots for the corners of the squares which don't show up vary well in the pictures.

British deployment
American forces deployed second so would get the advantage of the first move. They split their forces on either side of Lightman's wood positioned in the centre of the tabletop.

American forces line up
Turns 1 and 2
The American forces got the jump on the advancing Hessian's on the British right flank with their skirmishers rapidly advancing and occupying the farm buildings. The British had placed all their light infantry on the other flank and the single square movement of the Hessian line infantry were outpaced by the two square movement of the skirmishing frontiersmen.

Americans occupy the farm buildings
Turns 3 and 4
On the British right flank the buildings were occupied and their light infantry pushed up to block the American skirmishers. While on the other flank with their forces were able to inflict a number of hits on the American forces, which had pushed up along supported by their second line with the exception of the cavalry who remained in reserve.

British right flank where Americans occupy the hill
British assault the farm buildings and engage advancing American forces
At this stage both side's commanders have 6 resolve points after gaining points for occupying a hill  and a building square apiece.

Turns 5 and 6
The Hessian forces finally took the farm buildings (not without taking substantial casualties) and their line continued to deliver some punishing volleys into the American units.

American units were lost on both turns the commander's resolve dropped from 6 to 4 and the British increased to 7 for occupying the farm buildings.

While holding the line the American commander moved the cavalry held in reserve around the left flank to place pressure on the weaker British forces there.

British take farm buildings
American cavalry move up
Turns 7 and 8
As the American cavalry move around to create a treat for the British line. Their light infantry moved to delay the treat. While the American line was starting to buckle with another two units lost to the combined British volleys and artillery. Although the British line was also suffering losses.

British light infantry move to help counter the American cavalry treat

The American line starts to buckle
Turns 9 and 10
The American cavalry forced to deal with the light infantry were delaying any opportunity to weaken the main British line, which in turn 10 had eliminated another two units and was about the set about the stranded American artillery.

The American line collapses and victory goes to the Britsh
End of Game
With the American commanders resolve at zero and the British resolve at 4. This was a major British victory at the battle of Lightman's wood.

In hindsight if the America forces had put some skirmishers into the centre woods they could have created more trouble for the British line. The split of forces turned out to be to the British advantage and they were able to easily defend their right flank and attack on the left.
Mid game as both lines exchange volleys

Thursday 17 November 2016

AWI Campaign - in a bit more detail

The AWI campaign is now moving into August and the British forces are making a second push on New Brunswick after suffereing a marginal defeat. From the rules perspective the first dice roll was for the weather. This produced a 6 - Rain!

April - June 1-4 clear, 5-6 rain
July - September 1-5 clear, 6 rain
October - December 1-4 clear 5-6 rain
January - March 1-2 clear, 3-4 rain, 5-6 snow

The impacts of weather are.

Clear - no impact
Rain - Remove one artillery unit and two other units of the players choice from the marching columns.
Snow - battle on 5+

The British Commander observes the gathering American troops

The next dice roll was to determine if there will be a battle in the first half of August. A 5 was rolled and so a battle there will be as a 4+ is required. A quick roll on a D20 provided the date, 12th August 1776.

The next step is to line up the forces into three columns and roll the dice for each column. The lowest scoring column does not make it to the battle. Any ties and the player chooses. The British go first as they are advancing and are followed by the American's.
British have 3 balanced columns. The centre column with the lowest score does not make it to the battle
The Americans take a slight gamble and stack their centre column. With the tied result they are able to choose the centre column.
Then the tabletop terrain was randomly generated and produced an interesting setup with one or two challenges. Whichever side wins the roll to layout their forces first, would get the advantage of quickly securing three terrain objectives (which are always hills and buildings). Taking objectives adds to the Commander's resolve score which during the game is whittled down by 1 each time they lose 1 or more units in a turn. I use this determine the winning side.

Dice generated terrain

The British score highest in the dice roll to pick the tabletop side and get to choose the side and layout their forces. This will possible compensate the advantage the Americans with having cavalry. In the next post I plan to do more of a battle report - I just need to play the game.

British forces march into place

Saturday 12 November 2016

AWI campaign continues into July 1776

Following on from their victory at Barwon Hill, British forces marched on and secured West Point, resting up for a few weeks. From a campaign gaming point they failed to roll a 4+ for the first two weeks of July 1776 meaning no battle. They did successfully roll a 4+ for the second half of July as they marched on New Brunswick and were met by a defending American force on July 29th. Where the battle game of Blake's farm was fought out.

The A4 sized campaign map

The area of campaigning
Here are the only pictures I took of the game (a phone recharge was required) which saw an American victory.

British forces advance
The presence of American cavalry, while not that active in the battle itself they were able to tie down 2 British units to cover their flank. This along with a good defendable position allowed the defending American forces to weather the initial British attack and later successfully counter attack with their line infantry.

American forces meet the advancing British
The British command resolve at the end of the game was lower than the American commander so they retired from the field of battle. The commander resolve rule was introduced in the previous game. A commander loses a resolve point for each turn they have one or more units eliminated, and they gain one point when a terrain objective (hills or towns) is first occupied. The army with the better command control at game's end wins. From a campaign narrative point of view a one point difference is a marginal victory, two points a victory, and three points a major victory.

I may well introduce some campaign implications for the level of victory, but as this is a new rule mechanism I am still in a wait and see situation.

American forces quickly with draw and were to successfully defend their position
In this game I had made two changes to the house rules I use. The first was not all units are eliminated on the same number of hits. Now for example, militia can take up to 4 hits before elimination, regular troops 5 hits and grenadiers 6 hits.

The second change is in relation to the commander who, providing they are in an adjacent square, can attempt to rally one eliminated unit per turn. This is done by rolling one dice and scoring greater or equal to their maximum number of hits for the unit quality. So a militia unit having taken more than four hits would normally be eliminated, but if next to a commander can be rallied by the commander rolling 4+. If rallied they remain with 4 hits with the other hits being ignored.

I am using this approach to represent the different quality of troops and the ability for militia in particular, who fought in less rigid formations, to withdraw and reform.

Monday 7 November 2016

AWI Campaign - June 1776

The Battle of Barwon Hill, 16th June 1776, occurred while British forces were making another attempt to cease West Point and encountered American forces. This battle turned out to be a marginal victory to the combined British and Hessian force.
The British assault on Barwon Hill begins
The British victory was mainly due to their cavalry who were able to successfully defend their flank, with the support of some light infantry, and defeat their counterparts before moving to support the centre attack on the hill.

After a series of hard fought actions the American defenders were forced to retire and let the hill fall into the hands of the British forces. While on the British right flank the American defenders were more successful and made the attacking British units to retire before they took unnecessary losses.

Heavy fighting for control of the hill
The start of the unsuccessful attack by the British right flank. Matchsticks are used to track hits
As I am progressing with this campaign I am taking the opportunity to fiddle around with areas of the rules the house rules I use (based on One Hour Wargame rules). One area of change, fiddling, or meddling is the combat phase. Originally, I had

  • Units in the open are hit on a 3+.
  • Units in cover (woods, towns or entrenched) are hit on a 5+.
  • When shooting at Cavalry a 5+ is required to hit.

The number or dice rolled depended on the type of unit. For example, skirmishers rolled 1 dice, line infantry 2 dice, artillery 1 dice, etc. The number of dice is rolled is doubled when attacking the rear or flank of a unit.

I have made two changes to: 1) slow down the effects of hits on units in the open, and 2) reduce the effectiveness of artillery at long range. Units now hit on a 4+ with the following modifiers:

  • -1 if in cover
  • -1 if target unit not in adjacent square (or more than 6 inches away).
The number of dice rolled by a unit remains unchanged. 

After more that six hits a unit is eliminated. Although I am now modifying this ever so slightly for the next game.

Saturday 5 November 2016

Back to HYW painting

After a quick painting diversion last week to finish some late WW2 units I had purchased. I am now back trying to finish off my old Minifig 25mm Hundred Years War figures. There are about eight more units to paint. The final number will depend upon how well I can effect repairs on some of the miniatures. During the week I managed to complete two more cavalry units.

Latest units painted
As I was putting away the recently painted units I took the opportunity to view the collection as it stands - mostly as motivation to myself to complete the few remaining models. It is very tempting to play a game using one-hour wargame rules. Although the next battle game of my AWI campaign beckons, so maybe not.

Units competed so far

Wednesday 2 November 2016

AWI campaign second game

Following their first victory of the campaign, 12th May 1776, British forces consolidated their New York base and started their move on to West Point. On the march they encountered an American force near Smith's creek.

Both forces had three columns which were diced for and the two highest scoring columns were available to deploy for battle. The terrain was then setup (all dice generated) and included a river due to the proximately of West Point to a river on the map. I made sure the river was fordable in a number of locations, otherwise the game would be over rather too quickly.

Opening moves of the game
The British quickly advanced on both flanks. A limited attack was made on Smith's farm to hold American forces there, while on the other flank their remaining forces crossed the river at various fordable places.
British forces push across the river
British forces were able to successfully cross the river and attempt to out flank American defenders. American second line reserves were quickly repositioned and used their cavalry to block the flanking move.

With American reserves committed to defending the attack on their left flank. British forces made a second attempt to take Smith's farm. While the Hessians successfully dislodged the defenders the last American reserve unit of skirmishers moved in to hold the farm.

Final moves of the game
The failure to occupy the farm and overall losses sustained meant the British commander's resolve failed and their forces retired. An American victory, they held a strong position by quickly moving on the two terrain objectives (the hill and farm) and then played a good defensive game.

Campaign map
The battle was duly noted on the campaign map. British forces are now regrouping before making their next march. Will they continue to push on West Point or redirect their march to New Brunswick?

For this game I used amended rules for combat, and also introducing a commander resolve factor which will be the determining factor for who wins the battle game. The resolve mechanism is adapted from the ruleset "The Age of Gunpowder" by Chipco which had a moral clock for an army.

The resolve factor is set at the beginning of the game, at present I am going with 5 which over the course of the game generally goes down, but on occasion can be increased with the capture of terrain objectives. At the end of each turn the player who has lost the most units during the turn loses one resolve point. Where both sides have lost the same number of units neither lose any points. When a commander has zero resolve points the game is lost.

A commander can gain 1 resolve point if during a turn their forces occupy any terrain objective. However, they may never exceed 6 resolve points, so a quick occupation of terrain objectives early in the game, while useful to deny the enemy will only get them 1 point (assuming there are no unit losses).