Saturday, November 27, 2010

War of 1812: A Battle "Somewhere" in Canada

 Today I had the opportunity to play a war game at Ernie's house (Architects of War).  I had thought we were going to play test his new Uncivil American Civil War rules, but Ernie felt that would be too "work-like" so he opted for a War of 1812 game using his house Napoleonic's rules (Gentlemen of Rank).  The rules are command and control oriented and use command cards which means units, especially militia and indians can do unexpected things.  It's a fun game system.  The first picture shows the table which features some of Ernie's gorgeous Architects of War terrain.

The US force (commanded by me) was the attacker and our objective was to seize the port at the other end of the table.  The US attacking force consisted of 3 Regular infantry battalions, 2 Militia battalions, 2 dragoon troops and 2 guns.  Opposing the US were a mixed force of 2 Regular British line Battalions, 1 Canadian Militia Battalion, 2 Bands of Indians (think foot calvary) and a single gun.

 Here are my brave troops entering the board.  The bulk of the regulars entered on the right flank.  The center was held by a gun and 1 regular battalion and militia and a Dragoon troop made up the left flank.  By the way there is a sneak peak of some of Ernie's future terrain releases in the pick but I'm not allowed to tell you what they are.

 The British deployed in depth with their 2 regular battalions up front with the gun in the center.  The Militia made up a second line, just behind the white church/meeting house in the upper center of the picture.  The Indians were just arriving via canoe at the dock and would soon join the fray.  A few other notable features of the battlefield are the hedges along the road and the stone walls, all which played important roles in the battle.

 The bulk of my forces advanced up the right flank, shielded by a hedge on the left.  One of my two guns was with this force also - you can just see it behind the large tree.  Just prior to this picture being taken, the British (played very well be Mike) had dispatched my other cannon with very effective counter battery fire!  My remaining cannon was not long for this world either as a few turns later, Mike played one of his command cards, which indicated a fuse malfunctioned on my cannon and it blew up.  We lovingly call these command cards "F-U Cards"

 But all was not lost, the Dragoon troop with the main force charged the lone British cannon and quickly dispatched the crew.  Unfortunately I lost control of the unit (command cards again) and it plowed forward into a waiting Indian Band.  Let's just say the Indians "took care of business" and my dragoons routed from the table.  At this point neither army had artillery - the battle became an infantry focused slugfest.

 The most dramatic action of the day occurred on the far left flank.  The second band of Indians charged my other dragoon unit which was dismounted and already reduced to 8 figures for 12.  My unit had to draw a reaction card and the result was a counter charge - 8 dismounted calvary troopers charging 21 blood-thirsty Indians.  My guys took 5 casualties and inflicted 3 on the Indians - but one of those was the chief and the unit broke!  This as complete luck on my part and was the turning point in the game my left flank gained a very large advantage.

 The indians managed to rally but were then charged by one of my militia units and further worn down.  In the center the second Indian band charged one of the US regular battalions (in the cornfield) but were held in check.  On the following turn the US unit counter-charged the Indians and put them to flight.  The carry through of the charge then brought the unit into contact with the flank of the center British battalion which was not in position to repulse the attack from where the Indians were supposed to be.  The British broke and routed back.  The resulting morale check forced the other British battalion to fall back in disorder.

The US initiated a general advance across the line, chasing the retreating British and their remaining Canadian allies towards the port.  The game was called a US victory but it was a very near run of things.

All-in-all it was a great afternoon.  As you can see from the photos the terrain and figures were fabulous.  Ernie makes some great products which I think really enhance the overall gaming experience.  I also really enjoyed the War of 1812 setting - a nice combination of Napoleonics in a very colorful setting.  I hope we play another 1812 themed game very soon.


DeanM said...

Wow - cool looking game. I like how the terrain looks similar to what one would use for AWI, but with Napoleonic figures. That wall with all the gaming inventory looks like a nice shop too. Dean

Scullmeister said...

Fantastic looking board. I'd like to know more about the rules you played. I agree, the shop looks like a place I'd want to visit.

Beccas said...

Very impressive. Good subject matter as well. I don't see many wargames played Canandians V Yanks.

jmilesr said...

Playing a game near where Ernie keeps some of his stock can be very distracting - Both the new Gripping Beast stuff as well as the new plastic hoplites from Immortal are very tempting...

As for the game rules they are both simple and fun. There are no dice! Combat is resolved via set tables and artillery can be deadly. Chance comes into play in two forms - reaction and command cards. The reaction cards vary by troop type and are drawn when the enemy first approaches or a unit takes losses. Command cards are held by the various command figures (usually 2-3 commanders per side, each with 3 or more cards). These cards are either played on your on troops to kick-off an action (charge, rally) or counter act a reaction or command card played by the other side. There are also command cards that inflict mischief on the other side, the "F-U Cards" which are very fun to play.

It's a very simple an elegant ruleset. It's also very easy to pick up which is good for club play when the playing experience between players may very widely.

Hopefully, Ernie may publish these rules once he's finished with the upcoming civil war ruleset.

BigLee said...

A great selection of pictures. I genuinely enjoyed viewing these. thansk for sharing!

paulalba said...

Really enjoyable report and game pics. A Great looking battle.

The Angry Lurker said...

That is a lovely set up of a period I have not yet played.Excellent stuff.

Ubique said...

Great looking game and scenery. Thanks for sharing.


Der Alte Fritz said...

That is one of THE BEST looking game tables that I have ever seen. Everything is so realistic.

One suggestion though: you need to get a mini tripod and a conventional camera tripod to use when you shoot pictures. Most of the figures are blurry, although the terrain is in focus. A tripod will fix that. I use both sizes when I film a game.

Excellent game report too. Well done.


John de Terre Neuve said...

I concur what a great looking terrain, I would also be interested in seeing these rules published. They sound very interesting.


The Belgian, said...

Awesome layout and amount of figures! Looks like a splendid game!


Anonymous said...

That's a great set up you have there Miles.
Cheers Paul

jmilesr said...

I'd like to take credit for the set up but that wouldn't be true - the gaming table and scenics are owner is Ernie from "Architects of War". He has a great table setup that uses 2'x5' table panels that have the base ground cover and some roads. The bulk of the scenics are from either his current product line ( or from his and his wife's (Barb's) former scenery business "Barb's Bunker".

All of the mini's are from his collection also which seems to have a never ending supply of miniature soldiers and periods to game.

Thanks for the comment.


Vinnie said...

That is a fantastic looking table. I was only there a few days after..I think. Ernie and a fantastic guy and loved the collection of figures and terrain he had. It was a shame I was not there long enough to have a game.

jmilesr said...

I live about a mile and a half from Ernie and he has an astonishing collection of figures and terrain. He's also a real master of staging and running a game. I'm not sure how often you get over to the states but I'm sure we can organize a game the next time your in town