Thursday brought another game of Sharp Practice to the Williamsburg Legati. Based on a minor event that occurred not far from here on the morning of January 1st, 1781. Infamous traitor Benedict Arnold had invaded Virginia and was working out his advance upon the new capital at Richmond.
At 2 in the morning, Militia activity was spotted from the James River. Arnold ordered Captain Johann Ewald of the Anspacher Hessian Jaegers to land with a detail of the Queen’s rangers to investigate. After a brief assault, the militia were pushed back to a plantation in Warwick county. There the militia attempted to have the advance of the Germans.
I ran the game as a meeting engagement, with the exception that I changed the victory conditions, only requiring the British to get across the table. The original objectives would have actually been more historic but I was very concerned about the game balance. I created the forces per the point system in the book, but looking at the forces on the table they certainly did not LOOK equal. Furthermore, the Americans had the advantage of the plantation house in the corner and I imagined a long night of trying to expel militiamen from the house. The Americans were defending with four groups of Militia in line and two militia skirmishers. They were further supported by a musician, holy man, water cart and secondary deployment point.
The Crown forces were two groups of Jaeger Skirmishers and 2 groups of Queen’s Ranger’s Skirmishers. They also had a musician, spirits/ tinder box, and a movable secondary deployment point. The crown forces began with a force morale of 11 and the American’s a 10.
The Jaegers began the fight by coming through the woods off the Primary deployment point, on the perimeter of the farm, but most of their forces deployed off of the secondary DP on the American’s Right.
The American’s responded by sending their second formation of militia to protect that flank. Unfortunately for the Ameircans, they had placed their secondary deployment forward of the primary Dp, which now left them deploying rather far from that flank.
Luckily for the Americans, the Crown Forces stopped their forward movement and elected to take positions and fire upon the militia.
This gave plenty of time for the second formation of militia to get into position and shake out into line. They fired their one controlled volley into the forward group of Queen’s Rangers, killing almost all of them including their officer, and sending them into a rout.
The British Force Morale started to drop dramatically but was still pretty firm. Apparently, here the Crown forces remembered their objectives, and the began a race for the table edge, making great use of the Leaders Staus III level.
Seeing that they were unlikely to stop this charge, the American’s ordered their own skirmishers to capture the Crown’s primary Deployment Point, hoping to cause a collapse of the British Morale, it was however too late.
In the end, the British made it off the corner of the board giving them victory.
In the end, I still feel the fight was unbalanced, and I am suspicious of the pointing system. even with all the special abilities of these skirmish troops and the superiority of the Crown forces, it did not offset the advantages of line troops firing in formation, therefore I think the skirmish units too expensive. If I were to do this again, I think I would give Queen’s Rangers in line.
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