Friday, January 13, 2012

Black Powder - Freeman's Farm Game

Tonight we played the Freeman's Farm Black Powder game that I set up earlier in the week. I had initially intended on playing the game verbatim from the book, but with extra players expected I expanded the scenario with some creative alternative history. I put Von Breymann's brigade for the British on a faster timetable for their arrival and for the Americans I engaged Patterson's brigade in the battle when historically they remained on Bemis heights. This gave me what I thought would be a good 6-person game. My friends George and Byron played the British While Chris, Charlie and Mike played the Americans. We had one last minute cancellation so Byron and George let me as GM push Von Breymann's flanking force. By the time they arrived the game was mostly running smoothly so I was able to have a little fun pushing troops and answering only the occasional question about rules, etc.

The British had GREAT command rolls in their first few turns and entered the game at almost a dead run crossing the stream and setting up the beginning of some good battle lines. About two-thirds of the way through deploying their lines they had some commanders start to falter and issue only partial commands, but nothing that seriously hampered them.

The Americans were not as fortunate and trickled on at a much more leisurely pace. In the photo above you can see the British mostly deployed while Poor's brigade in the east (top of the photo) are still marching on and Learned's brigade in the west (bottom of the photo) are also bottled up a bit on the road by the British Indians and Canadian loyalists.

Things stabilized and entered into a general engagement after that. Dearborn's regiment held up the British advance in the Farmhouse while Poor's brigade with good support started to soften up Hamilton's (British) brigade. In the west Fraser's (British) brigade was fairing better against Learned's brigade with Patterson's brigade rushing into the middle of the battlefield to plug a gap caused by Poor's brigade's slow deployment. (See below two photos)

As the battle rolled on Learned's brigade finally collapsed in the west but Patterson was able to fill the void left in the American lines due to some of the mounting casualties on some of Fraser's units. Just after the left photo below was taken Poor's brigade finished off Hamilton's brigade collapsing it. With only one unit lost Poor turned it's attention to the German attack on the eastern flank. (see photo below right.

We ended up calling the game around 11:45. We probably had 3-4 more turns to come to a clear conclusion, but as GM if I were to call it I'd say the British had a slight advantage. Although Hamilton's command was collapsed, his two-gun battery could still continue to punish the Americans and Fraser and Von Breymann's brigades were still quite strong. Poor's brigade was fairly strong as was Patterson's but the American commands were of lower quality and Patterson's command was fairly small.

This was a very fun game to run and everyone played well and picked up the Black Powder rules fairly quickly. Some liked the rules a lot more than they expected to which was a fun surprise. With the outcome so close to a draw the big winner was everyone for having fun!


Adler Hobby & Board Game Cafe said...

Sorry I missed this next time maybe better,Good to hear the guys liked the BP rules ..

Giles said...

Great report, AJ. Troops can move very quickly in Black Powder, which I have found can leave forward units isolated if you're not careful!

Best wishes


DeanM said...

Great report and photos! We're playing another round of Black Powder next Saturday. It'll only be my third game, but I feel pretty confident with the rules - especially with the QRS :)! Best, Dean

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Very nice report!


AdamC1776 said...

Looks like a good game. How did the group like the rules? I know you had some concerns.

Galpy said...

wow that looks like a great game, nice report

Mike said...

Good AAR. How does Black Powder compare to V&B for this period and sized battle?

AJ (Allan) Wright said...

Black Powder is different, and actually a bit more simple. Takes twice as many stands since each unit is 2 (or more) stands.