AJ's splendid AWI figures marching across the table.
Well, dear readers, I am happy to finally be able to post a game report. Last Friday, my friend AJ (of AJ's Wargaming Blog) hosted a playtest of his upcoming Huzzah! convention game: The Battle of Freeman's Farm (American War of Independence). He has also posted a report on the game on his blog. First, a few words about the cutting edge system AJ has created, something he calls eBrigadier. This utilizes connected tablet computers to input moves, track unit morale, losses, exhaustion, and resolve combat and track army attrition. And it's dead simple to use (for users).
(Above) Players recording the moves and actions of their counterparts across the table.
Briefly stated, each player has a tablet that is pre-loaded with unit information. During the turn, the moving player simply dictates the actions of his units to his counterpart, who enters them into the system. The turn then gets resolved and the tablets then go to the other side of the table. For a more complete explanation, you might want to check out AJ's Youtube Channel or by following this link to the topic on his blog. Unfortunately, with the demise of Google Plus, his dedicated eBrigadier page has gone "poof" so the above will have to do for now. Enough with the details. On to the report. As usual, you may clix pix for Big Pix.
Pre-game festivities. I was on the American side, and my fellow patriots were Bob (red jacket at left) and Ralph (seated at right). Also pictured are our convivial host, AJ (red t shirt), and Rob.
The British: Rob (British right), AJ (British center), and (Von) George (Commanding the Hessians on the British left).
Lola: Patriot and my faithful adjutant for the evening, seen here providing both inspiration and sound advice.
The three American commands at the bottom of the picture. Bob was on the left in a command that included Morgan's Rifles and the Dearborn Light Infantry. Ralph was on the right with the New Hampshire Continentals and some militia, and I was in the center with the 2nd and 4th New York Continentals, a unit of Vermont Militia, and the 2nd Massachusetts Continentals plus a section of 6lb guns (the latter two transferred from the left wing). The British were in three columns (their right hand column is out of frame). The fields in the upper right/center of the picture represent Freeman's Farm. This would be the focus of much action.
(Left) Ralph pushes his Granite Staters (that's New Hampshire) into the field on the right while my New Yorkers take up positions in the right/center. (Right) On our left, Bob takes up the line to face the Rob's advancing British right. On this wing, there would be some far flung action as the British pushed their Native Americans around the end of the American line and Bob pushed Dearborn's Light Infantry around the edge of the British line.
In the center, I spotted our only guns and brilliantly advanced the Vermont Militia to slow down the British, intending to attrit them with cannon and musket fire. Neither happened. The Vermonters took to their heels and the guns lasted but one turn longer before they were overrun......a long shot showing the early British Advance--you can see the Vermont militia getting engaged in the top center of the picture: AJ aggressively pushed the 21st Foot out in advance to engage the Vermonters (and then take the guns, which they did...so much for the American science of war!).
On the right, Ralph shakes out some infantry into open order and covers the woods while his New Hampshire Continentals brace for the arrival of the Hessians.
An illustration of the eBrigadier system at work: Hessian commander Von George (left) moving and communicating instructions for his units to Ralph, his American counterpart, who is entering them into the tablet.
The British, with a slight numerical and qualitative advantage, aggressively pushed ahead engaging the entire American line, each side standing and trading volleys...will the Americans hold?
In the center the 2nd Massachusetts took up the decisive spot after the guns had been overrun and the Vermont Militia had run (the Vermonters can be seen in the above rallying behind the 2nd MA). The British 21st Foot had dispatched the guns and the Vermonters and was now going toe to toe with the 2nd MA. To add to their achievements, the 21st Foot would pick-off Gen Gates, too.
Meanwhile on the right, Von George's Hessians press Ralph's New Hampshire Continentals, each side standing and trading volleys.
Back in the center, the 2nd New York begins to show signs of wear...
...and and AJ sends the 9th Foot to close with the New Yorkers.
The 2nd NY holds, but the 4th NY wilts under the volleys from the Hessian Grenadiers and the 62nd Foot, leaving only the 2nd the line. To its left, the 2nd MA is heavily engaged with the 21st Foot. The American center is in crisis....
...(Above Left) but the 2nd MA holds its ground. The Vermont Militia (who are in this story after all) having finished their ice cream, wheel to the edge of the field and volley into the advancing 9th Foot. (Above Right) Meanwhile, the 4th New York (amazingly) rallies and is in position to firm up the center...
...after a hard pounding, the units of the British center and left finally begin to crack, leaving the field to the exhausted Americans. (Above) Rob, commander of the British right, takes the loss philosophically, befitting of a Professional English officer and gentleman of the era.
Apologies to Bob (commander of the US left); I did not get many pictures of the action there, but the fighting was equally touch and go. It was a near run thing--given a few different decisions by General Dice it could have been the Americans who were leaving the table. Well played all around, and a fine way to end the week: playing with toy soldiers on a rainy Friday night!
Thanks to AJ for hosting!