Sunday, April 24, 2011

FIW using Black Powder

Ernie, of AofW, hosted another game last night.   The theme was the French and Indian War (FIW) and the rules were Black Powder.  Ernie set up the opposing forces to be exactly even with 3 brigades of infantry each and 2 guns.  Neither side had any calvary but we did have a wide range of light troops including Indians and American militia.  The first picture show the initial entry of the forces.  I was in command of the French along with Les and Bob.  Dick commanded the British along with Mike.  Ernie played part time umpire and full time comedian.

My Brigade formed the extreme right flank of the French line and you can see them advancing to the fence line.  This was a bit of a feint just to see what those British chaps were up to!  I also had a group of Indians that I sent into the town (at the bottom of the picture) to cause trouble.

 Once I saw that 2 British Brigades were moving to opposing me I quickly ordered my French gentlemen to run away and form a defensive hedge position by some stone walls.  I kept 2 battalions in the front line and kept one back to take advantage of the Black Powder Support rules.

 The real action of the evening took place on the French left flank where Bob and Les's brigades made contact with the lead elements of the 3rd British brigade.  Pictured is Les's infantry advancing to contact.  In the center left you can just see some of Bob's light troops picking there way through the forrest to flank the British.  In a few turns 2 British Battalions were routed at the cost of a group of Indians.   A word about the forests.  You can see that Ernie has very impressive and true to scale forests for his 28mm forces.  What's even better is that the canopy's are removable to allow for easier movement - very cool.

 Another view from the "hedgehog".  Mike poured fire on my position all night long and succeeded in routing my Indians and causing some casualties to the artillery.  I used my leader to keep rallying the gun crew (removing a wound) to keep in action.  This actually was a bit foolhardy on my part as if the unit had routed my leader would have gone with it.  The British saw two battalions broken as a result of counter fire.  Entrenched units (stonewall) are very difficult to root out in Black Powder as they have significant advantages in saving throws.

 A view from the British side of the table.  Here was some nice slight of hand from Dick.  The lead elements of the 2 British brigade are shown at the bottom of the picture and we were convinced they were coming for the entrenched French (me!)
 But they surged towards the French left flank and launched a brigade level charge.  If it wasn't for some very lucky closing fire die rolls this attack might have swung the battle to the favor of the British, as bulk of Bob's brigade was not in the line yet.  Alas the charge was halted just before making contact.  The next turn saw the British flanked and routed by French musket fire.  We called the game then as two of the three British brigades were broken.  You can see one of Ernie's forest pieces with the canopy removed in the upper center of the picture.

Here's a silly mood shot of the advancing french taken from the perspective of being in the forrest.  All in all everyone had a grand evening and both Ernie and Bard were fantastic hosts.  We were also regaled by the exploits of Ernie's grandson, Aidan, who truthfully, can do no wrong.

Despite all the players having some experience with the Black Powder rules we did struggle a bit with the the finer differences between being disordered and being shaken.  Combat is very quick given that each unit only has three causalities.  No melee's lasted more than one round.  I like Black Powder for 6mm ACW, but those games are much more firepower focused and have less melee combat given the range and greater effectiveness of the firearms.  If we wanted more staying power we could always raise the level of wounds a unit can withstand (usually 3) to 6 or 7, which appears to be the approach the new "Hail Caesar" rules use.  Net, net Black Powder is a ruleset that emphasizes fast play and sweeping movements.  A beer or glass of red wine is definitely in order when playing!


Anonymous said...

Great looking layout.

Secundus said...

I love those forests, very clever.

Allan and Carmen said...

I'm not jealous!

Well maybe a little :)

Looks like you had fun.

Do you like the Black Powder Rules for Napoleonic Gaming?

Just curious as this is a new era for me.

Thanks for sharing the fun.

Happy Gaming,


Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Fantastic looking board and the period is also great! Love those trees!


Curt said...

Beautiful game! Those forests are fabulous!

We use 'Black Powder' for Napoleonics utilizing our own variant (which is still developing with play). I really like the base system as its very approachable to new players or for those who come back to the game after long breaks. It also provides a good basic 'toolkit' for modification. We're currently running a variant that doubles the stamina of units, removes saving throws and increases artillery effectiveness - still working out kinks but it 'feels right'.



jmilesr said...

I like Black Powder as it's easy to learn.

Curt - I think you're onto to something with increasing both the stamina and artillery effectiveness. I think a few tweaks to unit values and we are good to go

Ray Rousell said...

Great looking game, beautiful terrain too! My ,ate Posties just bought BP, and he said they seem to work really well, he's thinking of using them for his AWI armies.

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

That is one lovely looking game!

Man Cave said...

Wonderful agree and those forrests have given me ideas too, thanks`1

And I never play without a beer or red wine, so BP wouldnt be anything different there!

Docsmith said...

Soooo envious of your mate Ernie's gaming room! That's a terrific looking AWI game. Thanks for the nomination for the award - and back atcha! Yours would be a site I'd nominate too - always something interesting with great posts!


Scullmeister said...

Inspirational! I have always liked the period and have been toying with the idea of starting my own British F&I war army.
What miniatures did you guys use?