Sunday, March 24, 2019

A Cow! A Cow! My Kingdom for a Cow! - AWI gaming at Cold Wars

On Friday morning at the recent HMGS Cold Wars miniature gaming convention at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I ran an American War of Independence (AWI) skirmish game using the TooFatLardies excellent Sharp Practice rules.  This foraging scenario,  A Cow! A Cow! My Kingdom for a Cow! (with apologies to Shakespeare and Richard III), was based loosely (very loosely), on an actual engagement during the early days of the war (November 9, 1775), at Lechmere Point in the Boston area.  Nine companies of British light infantry along with some grenadiers crossed Boston Harbor at a very high tide to seize cattle needed for the British garrison in Boston.  I moved the setting (to a farm in the southern theater), the time (from 1775 to 1781), and the troops involved.  Other than these few changes, it was almost a duplication of the original fight.

So, without further ado......

The setting is a farm in the border area of the North and South Carolina low country, where, according to loyalists in the area, there is a herd of Guernsey dairy cattle, renowned for producing high-butterfat, high-protein milk.  These cows were the British objective - they needed to round them up and drive them back (overland), to the British camp.  Rollin, Rollin....Rawhide!
The Cows
The Farm with Dairy

As morning broke over the peaceful farm, workers went about their duties, unaware of the violence about to be unleashed.  The cows were aware but apparently didn't care.

Stable worker and Blacksmiths working hard

Milk maids getting that good Guernsey milk

The Axeman Cometh

The British force consisted of elements of the 23rd Regiment of Foot, the 42nd Regiment of Foot, the Queen's Rangers and a group of Hessian Jaegers.  The British deployed onto the table at the two deployment points shown below:

No, we didn't spill something on the floor, that is the new carpet in Distlefink

Note to the reader:  Be sure to take notice of the bateau in the photo above because this was available to the British, complete with two stout rowers, to transport some troops across the deep water to the pasture in the quickest possible manner.

The Americans countered with members of the Maryland Continental Line, Virginia State Line, North Carolina militia and a group of riflemen.  They patriot forces deployed from a single deployment point which proved to be difficult and time-consuming for the Americans.

American Deployment Point

The battle started with the British splitting their command, sending one group of the Queen's Rangers across the water in the bateau, with the remaining group circling around the water to hopefully screen the Rangers and their hopefully, captive cows from the presumed oncoming Patriot forces.  The Hessian Jaegers, 42nd and 23rd Foot deployed near the British camp and proceeded up the road to intercept the Americans, with the Jaegers leading the way.

Route of the 2nd group of Queen's Rangers

Jaegers prepare to fire
23rd Foot deploys on the table
The 42nd Foot came on in column, crossed the Little Toad River at a ford pointed out by a local traitor, err, Loyalist and quickly deployed into line to face-off against the Patriots.

42nd Regiment of Foot
Meanwhile, back at the deep water, one group of the Queen's Rangers were in the bateau and making their way across the water toward the cows.

The Queen's Rangers are afloat
After being held up by deploying into a heavy woods, the Americans, led by Barstow's Rifles in skirmish formation, the Virginia State Line emerged from the woods and deployed into line to oppose the 42nd Regiment of Foot, the Hessian Jaegers and the 23rd Foot.  The State Line was followed closely by North Carolina militia which quickly deployed into line next to the Virginians.

Troop Placement
Virginians and North Carolinians exchange fire with the British

 The Virginians and North Carolinians squared off against the British.  Overall American commander COL William Bond was afraid the militia would break and run.  However, much to the surprise of everyone, and through the valiant leadership of the officers and NCOs plus the judicious use of command cards to rally shock, the militia managed to hold fast despite taking casualties.  Interestingly, no unit on either side broke with very little force morale being lost.

Now, back to the Cows.  The Queen's Rangers managed to cross the Deep Water and were able to quickly round up the obedient cows.

While most of the units were engaged in a firefight, the Maryland Continental Line was on a fast march behind the farm buildings in hopes of stopping the British from making off with the precious cows.

While the cow-herding Queen's Rangers continued to move their captives through the woods and hopefully back to the British camp, the land-based contingent of the Rangers moved into position and prepared to do battle with the Maryland Continentals, now deployed into line behind a garden fence.

At this point, the game was drawing to a close due to time constraints (4 hours).  It looked like the Queen's Rangers cow wranglers might be able to drive the cattle around the manor house and behind the 42nd Regiment of Foot, while the other group of Rangers could at least hold-off the Continentals for a turn or two.  The main firefight at the center of the table could have continued for a couple of more turns with no clear winner.  The British were rewarded a marginal victory.

This game, with some tweaks, will be run again at Historicon.  I asked for and received input from the players and together with some areas I saw that needed improvement, I hope to have an even better game this summer.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Lard America Gaming Club at Cold Wars 2019

The Lard America Banner stands proudly at Cold Wars

The Historical Miniature Gaming Society's (HMGS), "Cold Wars" gaming convention was held March 15-17 at the Wyndham Lancaster Resort (nee Lancaster Host), in Lancaster Pennsylvania.  While many structural changes and renovations made the facility a much nicer destination, one constant was a great selection of games sponsored by the Lard America Gaming Club.  Lard America is a loose confederation of historical gamers with a fondness for miniatures games by TooFatLardies (TFL).  The group came together starting in 2017 to bring the goodness of Lard to HMGS conventions and beyond.

After a detour for Fall In that put us in Windows Vistas (or whatever the old restaurant area was called), we returned to the main gaming area in a refurbished Distlefink Ballroom for Cold Wars.  Under much better lighting, Lard America put on 12 games over two days covering a wide range of historical periods utilizing several different TFL rule sets including, What A Tanker!, Sharp Practice, Chain of Command, I Ain't Been Shot Mum and Dux Britanniarum.  Judging from advance registration and attendance at the games themselves, these proved to be very popular events.  And, for the 3rd straight convention a Lard America game master received a PELA (Pour Encourager Les Autres) Award - congratulations to Ed L.

Just to give a taste of what was available at Cold Wars, below are photos from the convention highlighting some of the games the club sponsored:

Game:  Heart of Stonne
Period:  World War II
Rules:  Chain of Command
GM:  John Emmett

Game:  Mourir Pour Cao Bang
Period:  Modern French Indochina
Rules:  Chain of Command
GM:  Patrick Berkebile

Game:  Clodwig Wodenborn Finds God
Period:  Dark Ages
Rules:  Dux Britanniarum
GM:  Gunnar Lopez

Game:  A Cow! A Cow! My Kingdom for a Cow!
Period:  AWI
Rules:  Sharp Practice
GM:  Ed Bowen

Game:  Hauts-Vents
Period:  WW II
Rules:  I Ain't Been Shot Mum!
GM:  Thomas Ballou

Game:  Dust up in the Desert
Period:  WW II
Rules:  Chain of Command
GM:  Eric Boyle

Game:  Rats vs Rams
Period:  WW II
Rules:  What A Tanker!
GM:  Chris Thomas

Game:  The Defense of Khatisino
Period:  WW II
Rules:  Big Chain of Command
GM:  Ed Leland

Game:  Probe at Bas Mouen
Period:  WW II
Rules:  Chain of Command
GM:  Andrew Frantz

These photos are just a sample of the Lard America games at Cold Wars.  Lard America will be at Historicon this July with a great slate of TFL games across multiple historical periods.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Fall-In 2018: An AAR of Race Across Carolina - The Final Fury

Lard America gamers were out in force at this year's HMGS Fall In Wargaming Convention, held in Lancaster PA., 9-11 November.  Located in the Vista Windows room at the venerable(?) Lancaster Host, 15 TOOFATLardies games were on the schedule.  Among the offerings of TFL goodness was Chain of Command, I Ain't Been Shot Mum, Sharp Practice and What A Tanker!

Race Across Carolina - The Final Fury

The fourth and final scenario for my AWI mini-campaign, "Race Across Carolina," was played on Saturday morning starting at 0900.

Table Sign for RAC

In the third installment, played at Historicon this past summer, the British had pushed the Americans out of the small town of Freemantle, N.C. and, to add insult to injury, a group of Hessian Jaegers commandeered an abandoned beer wagon and ensured it was safely spirited away to the main British camp.

However, in this scenario the British still had to deal with elements of the Maryland Continental Line, the remnants of the 3rd Continental Light Dragoons, and other supporting elements of the colonial forces.

Morning Breaks over a peaceful North Carolina farm
Out for a morning stroll, but danger approaches.....
The British force, consisting of elements of the 42nd Regiment of Foot, the 23rd Regiment of Foot, the British Legion dragoons and the now sober Hessian Jaegers, broke camp early that morning - the peace was about to be shattered.  The horseman of the British Legion immediately began a search for extra mounts as they needed additional horseflesh after the last encounter with the Continental Light Dragoons.

Where could those extra horses be?
Pictured below are some of the early positions of the two forces.  The 23rd Regiment of Foot, led by COL Timothy Urquart, is in line heading up the road, about to clash with the Maryland Continental Line, ably commanded by COL William Bond.  LTC Hugh McFerrin leads the 42nd foot in column around the mansion house (which they will eventually occupy).  The Virginia State Line is just crossing the bridge over Little Hog Wallow Creek.   The dashing LTC Barry St. Leger and the British Legion is crossing a cow pasture and not in the photo.

The Black Watch Approaches

Wait, we found the Legion!

Deployment from the American Perspective
MD Continental Line crosses Little Hog Wallow Creek

For the first time in this mini-campaign the American riflemen and Hessian Jaegers did not factor significantly into  the outcome of the game.  They deployed into the forests, but never really engaged.  The heavy fighting fell to the infantry and dragoons of both sides.

Not much happening here...

The Marylanders and the 23rd Foot engaged in a firefight with the British taking casualties as the shock began to climb.  Both sides held their ground.  Meanwhile the Virginia State Line crossed the bridge and moved to the right rear of the Continentals - they would soon play an important role.  While the British and Americans continued to slug it out, the British Legion scurried around the action and galloped into the stable, where fresh mounts were waiting.

A horse, a horse!  My kingdom for a horse!  Whoops, wrong war.

 The Legion deployed in line and prepared to charge the Continentals.  In his haste, LTC St. Leger failed to see the Virginia State Line which had come up to support the Continentals.  Nevertheless, the Legion charged the Marylanders in the flank and sent them running toward Little Hog Wallow Creek, the bridge, and possibly, safety.

Later that same day, as evening shadows fall, a charge seems appropriate
Before St. Leger could utter "Bollocks!",  Capt. Edward Rhodes hurled the Virginia State Line into the milling Legion horsemen.  Mayhem ensued, but the vaunted British Legion turned tail and ran.  On the other side of the battlefield, the 3rd Continental Light Dragoons, employing local farmer Zebulon Freemantle as their guide, followed an old Indian trail through the woods and charged pell mell into the 23rd Foot, who having driven the Continentals from the field, were nursing their wounds and beginning to fall back.  This charge finally broke the morale of the British Force and the Colonials stood triumphant in the Race Across Carolina!

A solitary Colonial Officer crosses the bridge.

Race Across Carolina was brought to you by Lard America

A Cow! A Cow! My Kingdom for a Cow! - AWI gaming at Cold Wars

On Friday morning at the recent HMGS Cold Wars miniature gaming convention at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I ran an American War of Indepen...