Sunday 23 October 2016

Bemis Heights AWI AAR

We had a game at Chris Flowers Barn today on his 14 x 6 table and had decided to do an American War of Independence game with Black Powder. Dave provided the majority of the figures and fancied something from the Saratoga campaign. We trawled the Black Powder Revolution supplement and Bemis Heights looked like a game we could adapt for a number of players.

Initial order of Battle has 7 Crown battalions against 13 American Regiments. As we initially thought 6-7 players were coming we could add a small number of troops to some of the Brigades and each player would then have a brigade to play with. At the last minute we found out there were actually 10 players so had to add some units to create enough commands.

Essentially the Orders of Battle were as follows

General Grant, 1 British line battalion, 2 British Light battalions 1 unit of Scouts
General Reidesal, 3 Hessian battalions, 1 Hessian Grenadiers in Redoubt, 1 small unit Jaeger, 2 guns
General Phillips, 2 Grenadier battalions and 1 light gun
General Haw Haw 3 British Line battalions and 1 unit Jaegers
1 British Battalion and 2 Guns

General Morgan 2 Rifle units, 1 Light Infantry and 1 Militia
General Poor 3 Continental Regiments and a gun
General Learned 4 Continental Regiments and a gun
General Rich 2 Continental and 2 Militia Regiments and a gun
General  Ten-Broek 4 Militia Regiments

Generals Haw Haw and Rich were made up Generals and Brigades many of the rest were beefed up to give players a game. So the British had an extra 6 Battalions and the Americans an extra 3.

Haw Haw and Ten-Broek were both off table and would arrive on move 3. We were playing Black Powder with amendments making units fire before moving rather than the other way around. This proved to work very well indeed. All forces were set up in initial deployment areas to speed up the game.

The above map from the Revolution supplement gives you a rough idea of initial set up, our table was a fair bit longer, you can see the initial layout above too from the American deployment area.

Above is the view from the Rebel extreme left where Morgans brigade marches on pictured below.

The American left advanced quickly with no initial resistance, the right though struggle to get going giving the British Grenadiers time to deploy on their flank in the woods.
Howard seemed happy with his command of Hessians and no wonder the redoubt was a formidable obstacle.

The troops elsewhere were fairly evenly matched but Mark had Grants three battalions against 6 Rebel units plus Morgan's riflemen and a gun. He probably had the toughest fight of the game.

Above the British Grenadiers enter the woods to flank the Rebels on the right of their line.

Meanwhile Richard had appropriately gained Rich's command and was attempting to steam roller through the middle left.

The pressure eventually told on the British Right, Mark commanding Grants Brigade was forced back and his units destroyed one by one until his last unit was finally overwhelmed after a valiant but one sided fight. We had opted for Brigade morale rules rather than Brigades automatically breaking after 50%. As each player only had one Brigade this meant everyone got a game, we also felt this worked really well, although you might not use this for a 2 hour club might game.

But as Grant breaks, Steve with Haw-Haws Brigade marches out of the woods and into the fray.

In the centre Chris Flowers broke the first Hessian battalion and two guns and was then able to mass three units against the remaining Hessian unit facing him and see that off too.

Howard might have been smiling slightly less with the loss of his Germans but the Crown forces now had a new line of fresh troops stretching from one redoubt to the other, so things were far from over.

Meanwhile on the right of the American line the Grenadiers had broken the first 2 units of continentals an then engaged the Militia reinforcements in a  bitter fire fight for three moves. With their amazing morale saves (anything but a one and a re-roll) three volleys only managed to see one casualty on each of the battalions, eventually they managed to see of the American Brigade which was completely destroyed.

By this time we had been playing for about 5 hours, each side had lost a full brigade and a couple of the other brigades were looking shakey, both sides however had plenty of intact troops left and all to play for. Another hour or two might have seen a final conclusion but at this point we all decided that Sunday dinner was beckoning and it was time to finish.

The Americans had achieved none of their objectives and I have my doubts if they could have taken both redoubts, so a British victory I feel.

The rule amendments worked really well and I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed their game. Some fantastic figures from Dave's collection and great terrain (and lunch) provided by Chris Flowers.

Thanks to all the team for a very enjoyable day.


  1. Fantastic game Roj. The troops looked gorgeous and the rules are simple enough to be quick and easy while maintaining the ability to make troops very different using the various abilities and values. Really look forward to the next game. Rarely have I destroyed and routed two full brigades with three times my number. Go Grenadiers! Thanks to you and Dave for putting it on.

    1. Glad you and your Grenadiers enjoyed it.

  2. What a wonderful game. Quite a few people seem to be doing fire before move and they seem to report having a better game for doing that - makes me wonder why the designers never went that way.

    1. Thanks Norm, thoroughly enjoyed it thanks.

  3. Very handsomely visual treat, Roger!

  4. No wonder I was smiling ,it was a great game with plenty good company. Thanks to you for your efforts in organising the game.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Howard, possibly see you Wednesday

  5. Nice game matey, Bemis Heights is a great game both sides having a decent chance of winning. Had a crack at it last year. So wish I had more time to get to Chris' every now and again.

    1. Didn't quite get the balance right but everyone enjoyed it so alls good.

  6. Balance was perfect Roj. Just time beat us on getting a fuller more decisive result.

  7. It is amazing looking game Roger. Thanks for sharing.

  8. That looks stunning. The venue is something else and the figures superb.. Great achievement.

    1. Much appreciated Paul. The figures are mainly Daves, about a third of the Rebels were mine, I am sure after your WSS game in the new year Dave will be very happy to reciprocate the invitation.