Thursday, August 20, 2015

Playtesting "LaFayette Gets His Chance!"

General Washington leads the Continental line against the 27th Foot in "Lafayette Gets His Chance!"

Our latest game in action at the second playtest.  This regiment of the new Continental line, after the rigors and training of Valley Forge, led personally by George, achieved the breakthrough he was looking for and ended the game after 12 turns.  Carnage & GloryII gave the Americans a major victory with the honors going to Morgan's Rifle Corps for the Americans and to the Hessian regiment  v Ditfurth for the British.

This scenario will be a hypothetical one, but based closely on what almost did happen.  For background to the game remember that by the late Spring of 1778 the character of the war in America was changing.  After the American victory at Saratoga in October, 1777 led to the French Alliance and  Sir William Howe's failure to destroy Washington's army in Pennsylvania, British war planners had directed the main British army back to New York City, abandoning the American capital at Philadelphia.  Howe returned permanently to England leaving his command to Sir Henry Clinton, who was to decide to move the war into the American South and the Caribbean.  The Continental Army spent its famous winter at Valley Forge and trained under the German adventurer v Steuben.  The Frenchman Lafayette returned to Washington's command bringing hope of the French Alliance and joined the Americans, Greene, Wayne and Knox in urging an aggressive response to the British evacuation of Philadelphia. 

Meanwhile, the entire British command and their Loyalist supporters had begun a withdrawal from Philadelphia to New York late in the Spring.  Rather than moving the thousands of troops, civilians and baggage by sea with the fleet, Sir Henry had decided on a cross country march to Sandyhook and the safety of New York City .  It was that column, moving slowly across the backcountry of the Jerseys that Washington wanted to strike.  He ordered BG William Maxwell's command and Daniel Morgan's Rifle Corps to begin the harassment of the British line of march.  Philemon Dickinson's New Jersey militia joined in sniping at the moving column during the third week in June.  BG Anthony Wayne agitated to join them and take his command against the British. 

At this point Washington offered his second in command, the newly exchanged MG Charles Lee, command of a part of the army to conduct a major strike against the rear of the retreating British column.  Lee declined the command, unconvinced of the wisdom of a strike.  MG the Marquis de Lafayette, though young and untried, was given the command instead and prepared to make his move on 25 June, 1778.  If Lafayette had been given that chance, well.... that is the premise of our game.

In reality, Lee, realizing how many men Washington was committing to this endeavor, reconsidered, believing that if he declined such a large command, he might not be offered another.  Washington, not wanting to lose the services of Lee added even more troops to the command and Lee finally attacked the British at Monmouth Court House on 28 June. 

One interesting aspect of the campaign was that the British army was and had been split in two "wings", one under Earl Cornwallis and the other the Hessian, Graf v Knyphausen.  This gave us the idea to put a large contingent of Hessian troops into the British order of battle for the game.  Generally, British troops are given good melee abilities in the Carnage & GloryII system and average fire ability.  Continentals before 1778 are given poor to average melee ability, but average to good firing.  Militia is poor to contemptible in melee (no bayonets) and average to good fire ability, but their morale is not great, if they stand they can dish out the fire, but... will they stand?  The Hessians are given average to good melee ability and average firing.  Additionally, Hessians always form up three deep, while British and Continentals form up two deep.  This would potentially give the Germans an advantage in melee, they are a denser formation with more punch, but it also makes them a denser formation to fire at.  We had never really played much with the Hessians as a large contingent.  Not wanting to give away anything for future players.... it was interesting!  Note the above where I said that on the British side the v Ditfurth regiment won the battle honors.

 Continental artillery is brought up and crosses the ravine as the battle progresses.

Till next time, Paint, Paint, Paint!