My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

TWTUD Playtest Part 3

Well, I finally have a moment to pick this up again. I am on third shift for two weeks to support a working group on the other side of the world, so I mostly listen to people talking on a conference call eight hours a day. Gives me some time to do other things...

When I stopped it was at the point where the troops were deployed and things just did not "look right". I posted questions but did not really get an answer, unfortunately. These rules are too new, I think, to find people who have used these rules other than the original play testers. Nonetheless, I pored through the rules again and took out a magnifying glass that I use for painting to look at the pictures in the rules and found the problem. Page 44 of the rules say "you can only count the first two ranks" for infantry fire and when I first looked at the pictures on pages 28 through 32 the infantry looked like they were based in two ranks. So, it looked like an eight base unit was deployed eight bases wide by one base deep, making the unit in line 8" wide. The real configuration is four bases wide by two bases deep, making the unit in line 4" wide. That is much better! Here is the new deployment.

Let's start the game, already!

Step 12: Each side draws Fate cards up to the ability of the CinC and each named subordinate General. That is 8 for the Crown and 5 for the Patriots.

Crown: Wasted Fire, Courage Men!, Wrong Shot! x 2, Like the Wind, Fop and a Poltroon, The Gods!, and "Whites of their Eyes". The The Gods! card has to be played immediately, but it has no effect until a second such card is played (page 49).

Patriot: Courage Men!, Confusion! x 2, Like the Wind!, and Wrong Shot!.

Turn 1

The first step in the turn is for both sides to throw 1D6 with the winner gaining a Fate card (both gain in a draw). The attacker, however, can relinquish going first in order to ensure they gain a Fate card.

In the roll the British win, gaining the card Fop and a Poltroon.

Just a program note: I am not actually drawing cards, but using a table and die rolls to determine the cards, thus actually allowing more copies of particular cards than might normally be allowed.

The attacker now orders their units. This is the heart of the game. The CinC, Earl Percy, has an ability of 4 so he has four basic actions. Each action allows you to attempt to activate a subordinate General or to order a unit. Subordinate Generals, in turn, can order a number of units equal to their ability. So, it makes sense to use the CinC to activate Generals and only use their actions for other things, like moving or ordering units, as a last resort.

Game note: it would seem that appropriate order markers might make this play better. For example, there should be four markers for Percy, four for von Heister, five for the British Brigadier, and four for the Hessian Brigadier. This allows you to place the appropriate markers next to the General or unit that receives the order.

Earl Percy gives the following four actions: activate Hessian Brigadier, move to the right hill location, activate British Brigadier, move back to British Reserve location.

To activate the Hessian Brigadier 2D6 are rolled, because Earl Percy and the Hessian Brigadier are at the same location, with the subordinate General being activated if either die is equal to or less than the subordinate General's ability. If Earl Percy were at a different location, only 1D6 would be rolled. This is why the Earl moved to the right hill location; it increases the chance of activating the British Brigadier General. Both subordinate Generals are activated.

The Hessian Brigadier can order his two units to enter a Close Range Firefight at the British Reserve location. The Jaegers, with four Officers, needs to roll a 4 or less on 1D6 in order to activate/obey the order. The musketeers have three Officers and need a 3 or less. The musketeers are the only ones that pass the test. As one unit succeeded any light artillery can attach and enter combat. Also, the medium and heavy artillery can too, but if they do they are deployed and the unit can no longer move. In this case the medium and heavy artillery will not engage as they wish to move later.

The British Brigadier can order his three units to enter a Close Range Firefight at the right hill location. Only unit C engages, although the two light artillery and one of the medium artillery pieces join in.

Now it is time for combat. In both locations a Close Range Firefight was successfully initiated, but not with all units. Thus one has to wonder: do the remaining units then Skirmish? Further, understanding how combat is resolved the following passage is problematic:
"... Close range firefights are resolved unit on unit ... Pair off units on a one to one basis by how they are deployed at a location. If there are any artillery bases, attach them to the nearest friendly close order infantry unit."
So, one wonders how to resolve a location in which some succeed in getting into a close range firefight and others do not. Possibilities are:
  1. Units successfully ordered conduct their Close Range Firefight. Those not successful do not do anything.
  2. Units successfully ordered conduct their Close Range Firefight. Those not successful conduct Skirmish Fire.
It seems to me that option #1 overly penalizes the attacker. If all units do not activate, their combat may well be weaker than if none activated. As an "all or nothing" approach does not seem right, I will use option #2.

So, starting with the British Reserve location, the Hessian Musketeers enter into a Close Range firefight with the Militia Rifles, while the Hessian Jaegers perform Skirmish Fire. The Militia Rifles decide not to "Shoot & Scoot" (mostly because I want to test the melee rules). The following damage occurs:

  • Skirmish: 6 Jaegers bases / 6 = 1 casualty marker
  • Close Range Firefight: Hessian Musketeers 12 bases x 3 Officers and Light Artillery x 3 = 6 gunners = 36+6 = 42 / 6 = 7 casualty markers. Militia Rifles 10 bases x 4 Officers = 40 / 6 = 7 casualty markers.
Casualty markers are converted to losses by rolling 1D6 for each, with a 4+ being a conversion. A skirmish target or one in cover requires a 5+. Casualties result in one Militia Rifles casualty and four for the Musketeers. If the firers are Rifles, every odd loss is an Officer and every even loss is a base, otherwise the odd loss is a base and the even loss is an Officer. The situation is now:

Hessian Musketeers unit I: 8 bases, 2 flag bases, and 2 Officers.
Militia Rifles unit K: 9 skirmish bases and 4 Officers.

Moving to the next location (the right hill), the first problem is the "pairing off" of units, as indicated above. How is this actually done, as units are not "moved" around on the table. Does the attacker conduct the pair-off? If the attacker does so, on the next turn can the other side then rearrange the pair-off? Right now, I am going to let the attacker choose the pair-off, but this remains a standing question.

The British unit C pairs off against Continental unit H; combat is as follows:
  • Skirmisher Fire: British unit A and B = 2. This produces no casualty markers. Militia unit N produces no casualty markers.
  • Close Range Firefight: British unit C 8 x 4 = 32, Artillery 7 gunners. This  produces 7 casualty markers. Continental unit H 8 x 2, Artillery 5 gunners. This produces 4 casualty markers.
Continental unit H: 1 Officer, 3 flags, 4 bases.
Continental unit R (Medium Artillery): 2 gunners
British unit K (Light Artillery): 1 gunner
British unit C: 4 officers, 1 flag, 6 bases.

All the firing is done, so now it is time to check morale. All units involved in a close range firefight and that took losses have to check morale. Roll 1D6 and add or subtract based upon a list of modifiers.

Hessian Musketeers unit I: Carry on!
Militia Rifle unit K: Rout! Now 7 skirmisher bases and 3 officers. Lost  2 skirmisher bases as POWs. This is interesting in that each Skirmisher base produces a -1 to the roll, so the larger the unit, the more likely it is to rout. This seems wrong.
Continent unit H: Carry on! ... or Halt! The problem here is whether the unit has rear support. Again, how do units line up?
Continental unit R: Rout! It appears there are no modifiers for artillery. Do they even take morale checks? This artillery is captured, given losing two bases as POWs.
British unit K: Repulsed! This artillery is abandoned as it loses a base as POWs.
British unit C: Carry on!

With morale done, any attacking unit that performed a close range firefight and that is still in good morale against a defending unit that stood may conduct close combat. This only occurs with British unit C versus Continental unit H. The British inflict 5 casualty markers and the Continentals inflict 1 casualty marker. When rolling for losses the Continental lose two and the British none!

Continental unit H: 0 officers, 3 flags, 3 bases.

After combat the defenders always take a morale test.

Continental unit H: Rout! The Patriots play a Courage Men! card and re-roll the morale test. Rout! (I guess it was not meant to be!) This causes Militia unit N and Artillery unit Q to check. 0 officers, 3 flags, 1 base.
Militia unit N: Rout! 1 officer, 4 flags, 4 bases.
Continental Artillery unit Q: Repulsed! 1 gunner.

It doesn't state what happens when a General is left alone in a location with the enemy. As they can move away next turn, this probably won't matter.

Considering that the defending unit routed, we check to see if the attacker falls under an uncontrolled advance. British unit C has 4 officers, so it pursues on a 5-6 on 1D6. It does, but it does not matter as there are no enemy units left at this location.

The British turn 1 is over.

Disastrous turn for the Patriots, but it is an ambush after all!

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").