Saturday, January 16, 2016

Guns of Liberty: AWI gaming (pt 1)

I've managed to make contact with some local gamers in my new town. Conveniently they like historicals AND game in 15mm, what a great piece of luck! Right in the beginning of the year Nate busted out his American War of Independence forces to allow Joel and myself to attempt to evict his rebel scum from some no named hamlet in the 13 colonies.We played at the friendly local game store of dropzone games.
The Hessians advance via the road

vonJoel, leader of the Hessians, and myself (leader of the red coats) descended in two columns on the town of red gate (named for the strange red roofed gate house on the road). Rebel forces scrambled to seize and hold the town and prevent us from achieving our terribly abstract strategic goals.

Guns of Liberty, published by Eric Burgess many moons ago, plays quite quickly (we played for about 3 hours), and has a fairly low model count. I wouldn't be surprised if all the figs on the table totalled less than a 100 per side.

It uses d20's per stand to resolve fighting and firing. It's relatively difficult to kill stands, but morale effects will shatter units quickly once they do lose some figs (penalties mount very, very quickly). 

We see above that the British from the South are advancing in a block of close ordered troops (on the left) as well as a line of open order troops (on the right). Closed order troops fight and shoot a bit better, but move slower and are easier to hit. Poorly trained forces (like my Tory/loyalist militia) are unable to form close order.

You get a bonus to your first musketry volley (as was historically the case, you'd spend some time properly loading before battle, and after that all bets were off). You definitely end up hemming and hawing a bit about whether to use that bonus, or close one more round to deliver a crushing volley in the hopes of routing an enemy.

 In the East, von Joel took up position on the strangely located field works, and his Indian allies moved into the forest (top left).

The Americans, descending from the North, moved via the forest to hide their advance. Woods slow movement (a d4 decrease), but also limit sight/fire range (to a random roll). Natives (and rangers perhaps?) have decreased penalties.

The allies should have done well in the forest, but were present in small amounts and, as irregulars were historically, have pretty shakey morale. A single fusilade by the continental army, and a terrible roll by vonJoel sent them packing. 

The battle lines are forming up in the East.

In the West, the British lines are closing rapidly. The cannon has taken position on a hill to support the advance. Training becomes relevant for a variety of morale tests. Poorly trainined and irregular units need to test when they are fired all. Regulars take a test if they actually lose troops. Cannons force tests on anything they fire at.

Upon failure of a test (d20), you roll a d6 and consult a table, depending on your morale level. They vary from steady, shaken, disordered and one or two others I forget. These states of morale affect your morale rolls (penalties), but also have modifiers to shooting, fighting, and the worse ones limit your ability to advance towards, or even fire at, the enemy.

 The Brits are challenged by the wrapping around of their flank. Definitely some deadly ground opening up in front of their advance.

They (I!) decide that a quick close and crushing volley of musketry should see off these disagreeable colonists, and should that fail, some bayonets will teach them the error of their ways.  You can see in the centre that large blocks of white coated fellows are pushing forward. These are the despicable french allies (boo hiss!). They were quite strong due to their slightly larger unit size.

In the field in the top right, a single british general bellows orders. There are command ranges, which are dependent on the quality of the commander (diced at the beginning of the game, and when you lose your commanders and have new ones elected). The British/Hessian battle plan was challenged by the large gap between forces. Luckily we had a very talented supreme general. The rebels on the other hand were challenged by a bunch of ineffectual commanders with short command ranges.

A riveting close up of the battle to end the 1st post. Note that bases have 2 guys on them. Lovely to have a low model count game in 15mm. Ratios are 1:25 men historically (?). The red bead marks a kill on the unit, once 2 kills are struck a whole base is removed. Black and Yellow (seen in the next post) indicate disordered and shaken units.

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