Elsewhere on the board the riflemen on the right continue to push around the flank, ensuring they keep the Loyalists bottled up. On the left, the riflemen also push around the flank in order to bring more rifles to bear on the British line crippled there.
Note: when a unit reaches three figures or less it must immediately rout. As the squad only has one base of 3, it should have routed. This is an oversight on my part. On of the problems with playing solo. You don't have other people to remind you that you are screwing up.
British Turn 6
On the right the rifles shift left to try and contain the Grenadiers attempt at penetrating the line. The Continentals fire, but instead take the worst of the exchange.
This is an interesting situation, which came up several times. When a unit loses two or more figures in close combat, it must make a morale check and the flight of that unit through friends can cause one soldier to become Shaken, per unit. However, if the unit falls below 4 soldiers, the unit automatically Routs, whether it also has a morale check or not, causing the unit to be put anywhere on you baseline. Which do you do?
I resolved this by first making the morale check and finishing the outcome, then routing the unit from that new location. This way the retreat can effect other units, but you still rout in the end.
The Marylanders make a morale check and pass all three dice, so they retreat in an orderly fashion by marching to their baseline at the double-quick!
On the right flank the British line side-steps to move away from the pesky riflemen and close up the command distance. It galls the British to do this, but the command is simply stretched too thin.
I also forgot to show the retreat of the first line of militia. As you can see in the picture to the left below, the British charged and inflicted more losses, forcing the militia to continue their retreat, straight into the line of militia behind it. (I also forgot to convert the red die with a '3' on it to a removed stand, so the unit is supposed to rout.)
Patriot Turn 8
As shown in the figure below, the rifle fire only produced one Shaken soldier in one of the Grenadier units.
British Turn 8
This is really too much for the British to take (and I am ready to end this playtest...) so the British decide to quit the fields
Slowly the curtain draws to a close. The picture below shows the final dispositions.
First and foremost, six figures cannot be considered an average squad size. The loss of a single figure puts you at a negative and at 50% casualties you unfailingly run. There needs to be more attrition. Second, you cannot consider the casualties dead in a campaign game, otherwise the casualty rate would be too high.
Note: all of the following suggestions are for the American War of Independence and not for the American Civil War, and reflect my views of how this period should play differently from that the original rules were written for.
As it stands, I wonder if the casualty rate is already too high, at least for this period. I was thinking about something like this:
|Difference||Squad Firing||Skirmisher Firing|
|Beaten||1 Shaken||1 Shaken|
|Doubled||1 Shaken and 1 Casualty||2 Shaken|
|Tripled||1 Shaken and 2 Casualties||1 Casualty|
|Quadrupled||2 Shaken and 2 Casualties||1 Shaken and 1 Casualty|
This would allow for more Shaken results, requiring more rallying. This, of course, will slow the game down. I would still suggest that a Morale Check be required when Doubled by a Squad firing, even though two casualties would not be inflicted.
Another change I could see, but only because I would want more figures on the board, would be to increase the Squad Size so that Large is 10 to 12 figures, Medium is 7 to 9 figures, Small is 4 to 6 figures, and the Squad still Routing at 3 figures or less. This change and the one above may produce a very long game, but that remains to be seen. If I were to change only one, it would be the Squad Size.
To go along with that I would change the Skirmishers to 2 figures for muskets and 3 figures for rifles. The rationale for that is that the rifle is simply a slower firing weapon. Rather than changing the number of reload actions for Skirmishers, by only allowing 1 in 3 riflemen to fire you effective slow the firing rate of rifles down, but not so drastically as if you required 2 actions to reload. As the muskets can reload faster they are only 2 figures. In both cases, loss of a single Skirmisher figure results in the Skirmisher unit being force to retreat to its parent unit.
I see that in turn 7 I made another mistake: I allowed a Skirmisher unit to move within 1S of a Squad without being in cover. Normally I would say that was minor, but in this case it allowed another Skirmisher to fire.
In this period skirmishers may or may not be a part of a parent unit. I think that it is better that they are, but that they are not "lost" when merged back in. A unit should be rated as skirmish-capable or not. If they are, the unit (or an NCO or Leader) can use an action to "deploy skirmishers", allowing 2 (or 3 for rifles) to break off and form a separate Skirmisher unit. Such a unit cannot ever have more than 1/2 of the figures deployed as Skirmishers and if the parent unit ever falls below the 1/2 mark, the player must immediately retreat sufficient Skirmisher squads to bring the formed parent unit back up at 1/2 the total.
I still believe that, given the scale of the rules, in this period there could easily be fights where one side has skirmishers and the other does not. The side without skirmishers should have cavalry available, or artillery at the least, otherwise they will find a number of actions being spent on rallying or shooting at skirmishers.
Overall, I really liked the rules. Using 12 figure units I could see using that unit to represent a company. This would make the rules very much like The Sword and the Flame in design concept, where each figure represents 5 or 10 men, but is played as if represents a single man. I can definitely see given these rules another go.
There are a rich number of choices for the player to make: which unit to activate and in what order, how aggressive to be with a unit (by deciding the number of activation dice to use), whether to use the Corporal to rally for the unit attempts to take its action, how far to stretch the line (stressing the command distance), when to use the activation die or morale die re-rolls, and so on. And these are just decisions that the game mechanics force upon you; there are still the decisions you make with every game (where troops are placed, who will they face off against, etc.).
I look forward to playing the Sixty-One Sixty-Five rules again and recommend them to others that wish to play their games at this quasi-skirmish level. The next challenge will be developing historical scenarios at this level...
Update: Much of this assessment to change things is probably due to my using multiple-based figures rather than singly-based figures. As it happens, I have a substantial collection of AWI both singly- and multiple-based. I should try another "straight" game with the singly-based figures and look for a different set of rules that allow me to use the multiple-base figures. As it so happens, my copy of the Black Powder rules came in today...