Monday, May 3, 2010

Bemis Heights at Huzzah!

This past Saturday at the Huzzah! convention I ran a Carnage & Glory AWI game for the battle of Bemis Heights. Before I talk about the game, a quick AAR for the convention. I thought the Huzzah! staff did a great job for their first year running a convention. There were ample games, a Flames of War tournament, great variety of vendors and everything seemed well run. As a GM I was treated very well including my special request to be located near an electrical outlet. The hotel was right off the Interstate making it easy to get to even for those unfamiliar with the area and the facilities were well lit and clean. I will probably take advantage of the hotel next year in order to stay for an additional day.

Having run this scenario two other times, this game benefited from the tuning that resulted from lessons learned during the previous two games. In order to help reduce what previously had been the overwhelming power of the historical British artillery, this version of the battle had one of the British batteries left behind in the camp, and one of the remaining three batteries reduced to a single section instead of two. This small change seemed to have good effect on the game, which was a see-saw affair throughout the early and middle game as both armies held the initiative at one point or another.

The Americans had a clever plan which looked like it was going to work well. The arriving American reinforcements entered the field in column of route (aka march column) and double timed it to the British right flank in hopes of overwhelming them there while Morgan and Dearborn's light troops demonstrated against the opposite flank in hopes of pinning as many of the King's troops there as possible. In the middle the initial American forces sparred well against the British Lights and detachments pushing them back but ultimately failing to break them due to the excellent leadership of the Burgoyne and the other British field officers.

Just when the Americans were about to overwhelm the British left flank the British grenadiers arrived and fired several devastating volleys in successive turns, routing one American battalion and putting another in such a state of disarray that when the British grenadiers charged, it was a  complete rout, the Grenadiers pursuing deep into the American's lines. Elsewhere on the pressured flank the Hessians were able to hold the flank with a battered infantry unit while the Americans did manage to capture one section of British howitzers. Unfortunately for the Americans it was a bit to little and a bit too late. Their army morale had broken and units started to leave the field.

The computer ruled this a major British victory and at the end of the battle I agree. The sharp use of the British Grenadiers in reserve turned the battle for the British. To only look at the end result doesn't give a complete picture of how close the battle actually was. Until the decisive volleys and charge from the British grenadiers, the Americans had actually held the army initiative and were winning the battle. There were several British units throughout the battle that teetered on the edge of collapse but were rescued and reformed by judicious use of the British officers. Both sides fought very well and I had a great group of players. Usually I give away a prize to each side for the best sportsman, but because every player was an excellent sport I let each side vote on the best player on each side for the prize. Now that I have this scenario well tuned I think the next time I will run it will be this fall for the Carnage Centuries of Conflict event which will feature 18th century games at its theme this year.


Giles said...

Great report, AJ, and a neat set-up with judicious use of teddy bear fur!

Best wishes


abhorsen950 said...

Agreed, great report.


The Haggis said...

I was at Huzzah! but I didn't see the game. I was at the con but didn't see the game, I was playing in the FOW tourny but would rather have stormed the heights.

jonfreitag said...

Who is the source of your gun emplacements?
Thanks, Jon

AJ (Allan) Wright said...

Jon asks: Who makes the gun emplacements

Well Jon, sorry to say those are scratch built from pink house insulation foam and balsa wood. Once done I painted them and added some grit to the dirt side. I had to make them to get them to fit my figures the way I wanted. Next time I make some I'll do a blog 'how to' entry on them.