Not a very catchy title I know, but following our recent playtest we decided to go ahead with using d20s to resolve firing, melee and morale. Another innovation of Steve's was to attach labels to the units so that permanent markers could be indicated and unit morale levels tracked (these can be seen in some of the photos).
Another fictitious scenario was set up, utilising a fairly cluttered battlefield. The terrain favoured the American troops slightly and required the British to attack. The same brigade commanders were present and again were of variable quality. A roll of the dice decreed that I commanded the British and had three brigades; Archer, (rated good) on the left, Bannister in the centre (competent) and Cowman on the right (poor). Archer had the only British cavalry unit and the best terrain to manoeuvre them. I decided that Archer would attack towards the meeting house on the American right, supported by Bannister's artillery and grenadiers. Bannister would hold the central hill and the adjacent wood,contesting any American advance. Cowman was to hold his position, allow the Americans to occupy the farm and field before him, but resist any further advance. If circumstances allowed, a flank attack against an American advance was permitted.
Archer began his advance moving forward swiftly in column, however, this made a tempting target for the American artillery and one British battalion was forced to fall back to rally after suffering heavy casualties. This persuaded Archer to form his battalions into line and although the advance was slower, it did give the British artillery time to deploy on the central hill. The skirmishers on the American right took the opportunity to occupy the meeting house grounds and two battalions moved up to support them. However, this proved rather a poisoned chalice, as the skirmishers then became the target for the fire of two batteries and two battalions. Unable to stand under such a concentrated fire, they had to fall back to rally. Although costly, their stand had allowed one of the American battalions to occupy the Meeting House itself and they would prove difficult to dislodge.
In the centre, Bannister had moved his Hessian jaeger forward into the wood to protect the artillery on the hill to their left. Two infantry battalions supported the jaeger and these were needed as the Americans also wanted to occupy the wood. Their riflemen advanced and began skirmishing with the Hessians. Few casualties were caused and in an attempt to make progress, one of the British battalions moved through the Hessians and pushed back the rifles. The retreat of the riflemen uncovered the flank of an American battalion which was manoeuvring to attack the flank of the grenadiers. Caught at a disadvantage, the Americans were quickly overcome and they retreated to rally. Their supporting battalion attacked the British battalion and a confused melee resulted. The advantage swung back and forth and in the end both units had to fall back to rally. This confused fight resulted in the British securing the occupation of the wood, but both sides had damaged units which needed rallying.
Meanwhile, Cowmen was following orders and holding his position in front of the farm. He had sent a flanking force, (light infantry and Hessian grenadiers) to the right to threaten the flank of the American advance. These units began skirmishing with some American riflemen and the action lasted for the rest of the game. The principal action was for the farm and attached field. The Americans occupied both and found, like I had in the previous scenario that holding terrain was sometimes more difficult than attacking it. The American unit holding the hedge struggled to stand against the fire from two units and found that it had to fall back to rally. A second unit took the position and also found itself suffering heavy casualties. In the farm buildings the defending unit was targeted by the British artillery and a third battalion. It too steadily suffered casualties, eventually having to fall back.
On the British left, Archer had now advanced on the Meeting House and began a musketry duel with the occupants. Heavily outnumbered, the American fire began to slacken and Archer judged the time right to charge the building. The melee was fierce, both sides suffering casualties, but eventually the British prevailed. However, they did not have long to celebrate as the American reserves fired a volley, charged and quickly expelled the British to regain possession. On Archer's flank his cavalry was moving forward cautiously. Suddenly, over the brow of the hill came the American cavalry. Unslingling their carbines, the British cavalry fired a rather ragged volley, which must have surprised the Americans as they were unable to make any progress against the British cavalry. The Americans fell back to rally, the British seized the opportunity and followed up. Their elan proved too much for the Americans and they routed.
At this point the British held the upper hand, but we were unable to finish the game as time ran out. The d20 experiment worked really well and we found the recording of casualties on the labels eliminated a lot of table checking.
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