Friday, December 16, 2011

American Militia

Just a few days left for 2011, it ultimately is time to solve another New Year's Resolution. Without further ado, here's the second unit of Patriots for the American War of Independence:

These are meant to represent a formation of militiamen. However, the summer dress shown on most figures makes them fit for service as a state regiment as well. Of course, when I selected the figures for the command stand, I had a certain image in mind: Benjamin Martin, also known as "The Patriot". I also added one lad carrying his father's rifle (taken from Conquest Miniatures' FIW colonists) to commemorate Mr Martin's unscrupulous recruitment of child soldiers.Despite this and further devastating shortcomings of the movie I wanted to honour it once for it sparked my initial interest in the 'real' AWI. At least, I passed on fielding a flamboyant Frenchman…

Once again the casting quality of the Perry models was poor. At least, I hope it's not down to the sculpting itself. Most noticeably the leader got a crumpled face, but also limbs and equipment showed washy detail. A shame since the older Foundry range shows quite well how Perry models could (and should) look.

Fortunately this unit got ready just in time for the "big game" I had planned with an old chum for 2011. At least, with a couple of 12 to 16 men units per side, it was big by our standards. After some consideration we wanted to give the British Grenadier! rules a try. In essence, they provided a good and fun game with decent period flavour. That said, there are issues in regard of the rules' structure and a confusing layout that worried us a lot. We spent quite some time leafing through the booklet to find certain, even elementary rules. Most of them seem to appear in a more 'intuitive' than logical order.That's probably fine if you are a native speaker or just more accustomed to similar rulesets than we are. However, for example an index or cross references with page numbers given would have enhanced the book greatly. One can only hope that such things were considered for the updated version that has been released this year (we used the original set).
Certainly one has to play a few more games to come to a reasonable judgement. And I am more than willing to dig them out again if opportunity arises.

Apart from poring over the rules, the mere nature of our test game kept us from collecting data for a dedicated AAR. We played kind of a rearguard action with the Americans trying to delay an advancing British force. Thus the American player had all his troops available from the start, whereas parts of the British marching column would appear on reserve rolls in subsequent turns. Since the American player would be outnumbered soon it was left to his discretion when to withdraw his entire force.
Our game opened with the British advance guard, consisting of Light Dragoons and a Jäger corps, rushing forward. Acting indecisively, the horsemen first came under artillery fire and were then repelled by musketry before they could make any impact. In contrast, the Jäger skirmished with their American counterparts for some time and drove them finally off in a fierce Hirschfänger attack. Still shocked by the rapid British advance (due to lucky dice rolling the main column arrived in the first few turns), the Americans couldn't bring their already brittle firing lines into effect. So, in the face of superior morale, command and numbers, their resistance faltered. However, it wasn't as decisive as it could be, since the British lost some time manoeuvring and getting rid of disruption points. Hence they didn't catch up with the Americans withdrawing in - overall - good order. At the time we finished, only the rearguard, i.e. the Hessian regulars, were in a position to pursuit the enemy by forced march.

To compensate for the lack of in-game photos, and because it is the parade time of the year, here is at least a shot from the general assembly staged on my sill prior to our game. Of course, the Americans got some reinforcements as my gaming partner contributed another two units and I lend some turncoats to the Patriots' cause. So next year will likely see further American units on the painting table.

On a final note: Weather is not very conducive to taking photos these days, hence I struggled a bit (again!) with quality. Apologies for that. Anyway, hopefully I'm able to come up with another posting before Christmas.

Painted December 2011. Miniatures by Perry Miniatures, Wargames Foundry and Conquest Miniatures, flag by GMB Designs.


cbaxter said...

those look great! way to go!

Brummie said...

Look fab. Stripes look excellent musta been a few shaky moments

The Angry Lurker said...

Lovely painting on those.....

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

They look just great! really enjoy seeing some lovely painted AWI!

The scenario you played sounds similar to "White Plains" which is one of my favourite.

British Grenadier rules are difficult to get at first even for a native speaker. The indexing and cross referencing is pretty awful, but once you know where to look it does gets easier of course.
The rules themselves take a few games to appreciate especially if your learning them together without an experienced guide as apparently was your case(and mine).

Once I realized they are actually trying to place you in the saddle on the field of battle issuing orders as if your giving them in person and then having the troops act them out without assuming they know exactly what you mean. In other words they only do what you tell them and all assumptions are removed.

I would say BG is probably the most simulated tabletop wargame I've played. When we got our heads around this aspect of the rules design it all became much easier for us to understand and the game became very enjoyable and not frustrating.


Guidowg said...

Very very nice. Lovely detail you've achieved.

Sire Godefroy said...

Many thanks for your comments. Glad you like them chaps. :-)

Christopher, I'm not questioning the quality of the rules themselves. On the contrary, I think they manage quite well to balance simulation and gaming aspects. We saw that and we like it.
I'm rather questioning the presentation of the rules which is, despite all the pretty pictures even in the original version, plain awful and not very welcoming to new players.
I know that's an issue with many sets out there. And certainly, gameplay becomes easier once you fought your way through - but still, why such obstacles in the first place?
As I said, BG! is a good game unfortunately hidden in an awfully confusing layout.


Giles said...

SG, beautiful painting, as usual. I really like the addition of the young pup from Conquest!

I've just finished the totally excellent book "With zeal and with bayonets only" by Matthew Spring, which to my mind strengthens the basic premises of the BG rules. If anything, I now think that the BG command and movement mechanics are too generous - the commanders, particularly on the British side, often couldn't see what was going on more than a few feet in front of them.


Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Oh yes, I agree SG the layout leaves a lot to be desired. In some ways the new version is better, but at the same time they left a few important things out like acquiring DP's during movement that will have to be addressed in some form of errata. Still, you really should pick up the new version as the book itself is one of the best looking books I've seen.;-)


Mr. Bigglesworth said...

Stunning, the way the figures are composed together is very thoughtfully done.

Galpy said...

these have been painted to such an amazing standard they are beautiful, I have a commission to paint next year and i've never painted this period before i think i will pop back for inspiration. Yhanks

Dalauppror said...

Lovely painted American Militia !!!

God inspiration for my own AWI project that are in torpor at the moment...

I have never tryed BG so I couden´t say much about it but the layout of the new rule book look nice. My self I prefer Black Powder for my AWI gams, realy like the rules and they give me the game I want.

Best regards dalauppror


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