Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Big Boys Games: Brandywine!

Easter Friday saw the finale and culmination of all the hard work that one or two people have done over the last couple of months plus the additional helping the rest added in :)

For what seems like forever I have been wanting to put on a game of the size that I see in wargames magazines and on blogs. You know the type: 28mm big battalions, excellent terrain, multiple players. Friday's game did not disappoint. The scenario we ran was one of Rick Priestly's that appeared in a Wargames Illustrated a wee while ago and saw the American force arrayed on the southern side of Birmingham Hill trying to race into position before Cornwallis' force got their. The Americans role was to prevent the British taking the hill and therefore cutting off the rest of the American army's line of retreat.
The map from the scenario

Here is the table in all its glory. l-r Mr Briant, Pelarel, Mr Goldstone, Mr Bailey, Tibby, Tank Engine, Scotty and McZermof
The table is was 12'x6' with the left side in the pic being the North and the right the South with Birmingham Hill on the Southern side of the road.
The British was led by myself (Cornwallis, the Grenadiers and 3 Brigade), with Mr Goldstone (4 Brigade), Poochie (Light Brigade), Pelarel (Hessian Grenadiers) and Mr Briant (Guards) while the American's were led by Tibby (as Washington) and each of Mr Bailey, McZermof, Scotty, Tank Engine, Mr Steer and Prinnie had a brigade of rebels.

View from the American right flank. Birmingham Hill is in view and the American brigades are blocked from view from the British Light and Grenadier brigades on the opposite side. Birmingham Meeting and Davis houses are in the middle.
The game started well. I ordered the Grenadiers up to the fenceline just north of Birmingham hill but rolled a double '6'! A blunder! the Grenadiers marched to the right instead. In fact that was about the run of it for the British under my command. I rolled five blunders throughout the game. There were five in total on both sides! My first five dice rolls were 12, 11, 5, 12, 12. 3 Brigade came on in turn three then promptly retired one move. 

American die rolling. Five dice, five 6's. Damned colonials.
The same issues happened on the other side with Tank Engine and McZermofs brigades doing a whole lot of nothing except when the Guards smashed into McZermofs Marylanders and broke the brigade. On the other flank however, Tibby's sole 3rd Virginia Regiment held off the Light Brigade over several turns, ultimately breaking the Lights after Tibby rolled 18 4+ die rolls straight and Poochie did not.

Ultimately the British ran out of steam and the high watermark of the advance was 4 brigade gaining the hill crest with one battalion of Grenadiers in support, only to see the rest of the British and Hessian brigades streaming back to whence they came. A solid win to the freedom loving patriots. 
The blue (for American) and red (for British) commander cards were made up by our good friend Nichole (whom I work with). She and I worked together with Nick and it was nice to be able to include her in some part in what was essentially a Nick-begotten idea of a game.
1st and 2nd battalion of Guards. They smashed the (McZermof's) 1st Maryland Brigade then they themselves were broken by De Borre's (Scotty's) 2nd Maryland Brigade.
Hessians! "Damn you Frenchie, you'll take our pay and will damn well like it!"
4 brigade including what will become the Duke of Wellington's Own, 33rd Regiment of Foot. 
Grenadiers. When not blundering to the right, they blundered to the left. I'm sure there is going to be a song written about that Ol' Blunderer, General McBeth.

The red and green markers you see in the pics are the markers we used to record First Fire and Steady rules for those units that had them. I had also made some custom disorder markers for the game too, which I did not grab a pic of. As it happened, I forgot to take any pictures at all! All pics above are courtesy of Mr Steer (http://rdsteer.blogspot.co.nz/).

So that was Friday. Lots of people making lots of noise and rolling bad dice and annoying the serious gamers playing DBMM. Annoyingly, as it was Easter the pie shop was not open. Murder was almost committed but for a quick trip in the car towards Upper Hutt city where a lone champion of justice and good pastry was still open and doing a frickin' good trade!

Saturday dawned, and minus a few of the team whose brownie points had been loooong spent, we set up for another game. This time Mr Bailey, Mr Goldstone & Son, new boy Adrian and myself played the AWI scenario straight out of the Blackpowder rulebook. This time I took some photos!

The scenario pitted 'Gentleman' John Bourgoyne against some dirty revolutionaries lead by the completely trustworthy Benedict Arnold. The British, again commanded by me, having been ambushed by some minutemen, turned to face an onrush of continental regiments, Adrian helped the British push for victory over Bailey, Goldstone & Son. The British won the game, but lost one whole brigade and the surviving two brigades were in a terrible state.

On the left are the dastardly American rebels. One long line of continentals on the left facing a smaller brigade of stalwart British on the right. 

Led by Dearbourne's Light Infantry, the Continentals advance to the Western ford.

Fraser's (Adrian's) brigade double time to secure the British right flank and the Eastern ford. On their right are the marksmen and Canadian light infantry

One of the three 6pdrs covering the British line

The important turn. Under the finger of God (Mr Goldstone) the Continentals unleash a withering fire and quailed by the stern pointing, the British line battalions fail almost every saving throw. 

The Highlanders hold on for three turns under intense pressure after their brigade broke. Ultimately, they failed one break test and ran.

We were not the only AWI game at the club on Saturday. There was also a 10mm refight of Guilford Courthouse. Some other club members were inspired by our Friday game and also brought down their collection of 28mm AWI. No pics though unfortunately.

The Guards brigade in 10mm! Looks like we may have more games of 28mm AWI in the future with so much interest in the period... 


  1. Nice write up :-) the friday game was a blast, would have liked to give the saturday scenario a go but brownie points must be earned! :-D

  2. I agree - great write up. Thanks for being my whipping boy Pelarel :)

  3. 18 4+. So, so sweet. Then there was the not failing a single morale roll.

    The 3rd Virginia sure earned their chewing baccy and corn liquor that day! YEEHAW