Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Battle of Monmouth, Part 1 - British Grenadier AAR

This week's game night at Ted's featured British Grenadier. It's a ruleset that I had no experience with, but did manage to pick up a used copy of the Deluxe version at some point in the past. I had heard it around various wargaming circles that British Grenadier is one of the better sets of rules for the American War of Independence, so I was looking forward to seeing how they played. 

Ted had set up a table based on the Battle of Monmouth. The action would start after Lee's disastrous attack on the British rearguard. Washington started on the road directing the American forces, bringing up a reserve of Knox's artillery. Clinton started with two infantry forces with some accompanying light infantry on either side of the road. Both sides had a third infantry brigade move onto the table on the first turn. 

Ted also "convention-ized" the rules a bit to make them a bit faster to play. We skipped using the Command section where you assign whether a brigade is Assaulting, Moving, Supporting, etc. This may have removed some of the "friction" of getting your troops to follow your command, but at the same time made the gameplay smoother (I'm assuming). 

I was commanding the British right flank, facing off against Steve and his Americans. My plan was to try and turn Steve's flank, using the Scottish infantry and then the combined Light Infantry regiment. I also had a long line of skirmishers, a "grasshopper" cannon, and a tiny unit of mounted Queen's Rangers.  

Chip, my fellow commander for the Crown, had a massive pair of combined Grenadier regiments, some artillery, and a unit of Light Dragoons that we hoped would be enough to overpower Ted's defending Americans. 

Additionally, Chip and I split up a third brigade that would have been under the control of a third player, had there been one. Chip took the artillery to throw more cannonballs at Ted's infantry, while I had two regiments of Foot Guard to add to my attack. 

As my infantry approached the American lines, the poor Scots were taking a beating from Steve's defenders, especially since the cannons pretty much started the game in grapeshot range. My skirmishers sat back and threw out Disruption Points here and there, hoping to interfere with the American regiments. 

Chip's Grenadiers dutifully marched forward as the artillery blasted away. Off in the distance, Ted ordered Knox's guns to set up to help defend the center against the (out of frame) Foot Guard. 

Having weathered the storm, the Scots got close enough for a charge. Bayonets lowered, they ran at the American lines - but didn't roll far enough to keep Steve from getting a shot in. Luckily for me, Steve's dice result was dismal, and the American's ended up retreating. 

Of course, Steve just turned his guns to face the now-flanked Scots, but my luck held and the close-range grapeshot somehow didn't lay waste to my infantry. 

Chip's Grenadiers continued their march across the fields.

More impressively, Chip's Light Dragoons not only managed to land a charge home on Ted's right-most infantry regiment, but the cavalrymen sent the Americans fleeing with a number of casualties! 

A round of shooting from my Scottish (who still had somehow survived more grapeshot from the very-much-too-close cannons) and the "grasshopper" cannon sent Steve's already battered regiment fleeing, and they would eventually disperse. This forced Steve's entire brigade to test their morale, which did not help the American position. 

Chip's cavalry were also poised to exploit the gap they had opened in the American line, as Ted's troops also failed to rally and ended up fleeing from the battlefield. 

Steve's infantry were forced into a v-shape as my combined Light Infantry charged the cannons that had been harassing the Scots, forcing the guns to limber and retreat. An additional small infantry regiment had arrived as well, adding to my attack.  

Steve's situation had also changed. While he also received a small regiment to reinforce his position, a new force of Americans had arrived on the hilltop. Chip withdrew the dragoons, but moved his skirmishers up to delay the new arrivals. A round of fire from the British saw three hits on the American skirmishers (that's three 6's on three dice!). 

That's when we called the game for lack of time. We decided to pick it up again in the next week or two. While it seems like the British have the advantage, the Americans are still largely in their defensive positions, and the Americans on the hill could mean trouble if they're not dealt with. 

That said, I'm definitely looking forward to playing more! British Grenadier isn't the first set of AWI rules I've mentioned on the blog, but I did enjoy them. They seemed to move quickly enough after jut a couple turns of guided play from Ted, although I would like to see how the Command section changes how the game plays. 

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