One of four games held at this month's meeting of the DWG featured Steve M's AWI collection being played using Stand to Games, 'Rise and Fight Again' (RAFA) in a Guilford Courthouse style scenario that sees General Cornwallis try and batter his way through serried lines of American militia before having to tackle the American Continental battalions awaiting them on a hill at the back of the battle lines.
Last month Steve and I ran a play test of our newly acquired rule sets to acquaint ourselves with the differences this set offers versus the Napoleonic 'Over the Hills' set (OTH) and as you will see from the post covering our test game, both came away enthused with the changes.
JJ Wargames - Rise & Fight Again
So with a first run through under our belts it was time to take the new set of rules to the Devon Wargames Group and 'road test' them properly under club conditions, managing a full afternoon club game with two players aside all very unfamiliar with OTH or RAFA.
|View from the American rear with four battalions of Continentals on the hill|
The table above and below shows both forces arrayed for battle with Cornwallis' Redcoats arrayed in a single line either side of the road facing off three lines of militia and continentals, that is until the British decided to shift their attack focus to the British left rather unbalancing the American set up, however the Americans seemed content so off we went.
As in our test game we were using the Napoleonic brigade and army moral cards with dice to overall record fatigue loss and micro dice on the table to capture unit fatigue loss.
|The British line set up and ready to go|
As per most games of Guilford Courthouse I have played both sides contented themselves plying each others forward units with roundshot as the two lines closed and seeing the occasional gun run short of ammunition and much fun had testing penetration as ball shot found its way into rear ranks.
|Just give me two good volleys|
Feeling the discomfort of the British refusing their right flank the American militia and left flank riflemen attempted to reposition their lines amid the field fence rails to try and flank the British approach only to discover the joys of attempting to manoeuvre militia which only got more complicated as the enemy got closer.
To bolster the militia move a few mounted dragoons joined the turning attempt only to find the British gunners supported by some Guard Grenadiers reposition and greet the American advance with some well laid roundshot
|The lines close as the gunners cause early losses|
All the messing about on the British right flank was only a warm up for the start of our battle as the British left closed in on the first line of militia and received the first of about three volleys to greet their arrival; with most of the militiamen resting their muskets on the fence rails to try and make as many of their shots count, as possible.
|Highland infantry taking American roundshot and an early FS loss signified by the red micro-dice|
However with morale ratings of a Fatigue Score (FS) of 4 it didn't take long for one militia unit to go 'wavering' on FS 2 and one to rout on FS 1.
The British line seemed to savour the prospect of an easy win with the 71st Highlanders ignoring the FS 3 lost on their approach as they charged in against the militia to their front on the fence railings.
|British redcoats advancing in open order supported by Tarleton's cavalry|
To their credit the militia stood the charge and managed to get off one more loose volley before being hit by the vengeful Scots who were forced to fight two rounds of melee having only won the first round by one extra casualty.
The militia lacking bayonets were beaten soundly on the second round of combat and their casualty count took their brigade over the FS total causing all their remaining units to be removed from the table.
|In go the Highlanders|
The British line surged forward through the trees as the second American line started to step back with snarling highlanders crashing forward to their front and Tarleton's Legionary cavalry feeling out the right flank of the American line.
|The charge proved to much for the militia and the ground was taken|
As the middle line started to grapple with the British we stopped our game. We ended up playing later than normal, as the day included our Annual General Meeting but we must have played about ten or twelve moves in the game with all the players clearly getting the play sequence and methods for resolving firing, combat and morale tests with less input from either Steve or myself.
In addition the rules only reinforced our first impression seemingly to really capture the feel of an AWI game which was very encouraging.
It would have been nice to have seen the Guards going up against the four battalions of continentals but that little contest will have to await future games, but the interesting aspect was that both sides army morale states were closely tracking the other with a slight advantage resting with the Americans by about five FS in their favour but with both armies fatigued down from scores of about FS 45 to about FS 25 at the close of play.
This close score suggests a really tight outcome with the result still favouring the American force but still causing them to vacate the field of battle, with history repeated.
For a couple of our players this was the first run through of the Stand to Games, game engine of Fatigue that is common to their three rule sets covering Napoleonics, AWI and ACW and with ACW in mind they were keen to see how FS was used to moderate the game.
By common consent all the players had a good time playing RAFA and as game moderators running the rules for the first time we both found them pretty straight forward giving lots of flavour with little complication all be it we had to keep ourselves occasionally from interpreting a situation with OTH in mind.
Thank you to Steve M for pulling the scenario together and bringing the toys along and to Steve L, Mr Steve, John and Si for providing a very entertaining days gaming.