Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hobkirk's Hill Playtest

Enfilade is only a couple of weeks away and with three games on the docket I've scrambled to finish figures and get games ready.  I've also struggled to try and playtest my three scenarios, so hopefully they all turn out.

Last summer I walked through Closing Wilmington a couple of times and it just needs some minor tweaking.  I got in the Sluys playtest last month and enjoyed it thoroughly.  We tweaked a couple of modifiers to the charts, but the game will play as planned.  I was hoping to get in a second playtest but it just didn't happen. The only game left out there for me to run through was Hobkirk's Hill and yesterday seven of us got together to play through it.

Hobkirk's Hill  was fought on April 25, 1781 near Camden, South Carolina.  In the grand scheme of things it was a minor affair, but it was the first of a series of actions that forced the British to abandon their outposts in South Carolina to very active patriot militia.

The action took place as American commander Nathaniel Greene tried to enlist the aid of South Carolina militia leader Thomas Sumter.  Sumter, not an easy guy to get along, let the pleas of Rhode Islander Greene fall on deaf ears.  In the meantime, the British command, young Lord Rawdon committed to attacking Greene in his encampment at Hobkirk's Hill.  Counting on information from a deserter that Greene had no artillery, Rawdon made a night march through some heavy woods and massed in front of half of Greene's army, and that's where the scenario began.

We used the Regimental Fire and Fury rules with official modifications for AWI. Bruce Meyer, Al Rivers, Mark and Joe Waddington, Scott Murphy, and Wayne Harold came down to Game Matrix to walk through the game.  I went with a historical set-up, the British largely set up against the American left flank, but seriously overlapped by the American right.
A panorama shot of the set up.  The British are clearly massed east of the Logtown Road, while Huger's Virginia Brigade is in position to turn the British flank.

David Sullivan controlled the first group of three British regiments.  He promptly rolled three 10's for fire in the first two turns of fighting, reducing the effectiveness of the two Maryland infantry battalions.  Sensing an opportunity to shatter the American left, David quickly assaulted the 1st Maryland, who unexpectedly repulsed his charge.  Al Rivers likewise attacked the 2nd Maryland with the 63rd Regiment and the Convalescent battalion, and despite some initial struggle, eventually drove them off.  A second assault by Sullivan's troops cleared the left flank of American troops,  leaving a gun behind to be captured.  Only a large unit of North Carolina militia and Washington's Light Dragoons remain to hold on to the center.  The 1st Maryland broke and fled the battlefield while Greene tried to rally the 2nd Maryland.
The Volunteers of Ireland, and the The King's American Regiment get the best of the 1st Maryland in a firefight.  The Marylanders repulse their bayonet attack, and hold the hilltop by their fingernails.

A longer view of the battle shows the 1st and 2nd Maryland under attack by the British all along the line.

On the right flank, Mark Waddington, running the Virginia Brigade, struggled with Brigadier Isaac Huger's poor commander rating.  This large force, came up only slowly as the British made a mess of the American center and left.  The 4th and 5th Virginia watched helplessly as Bruce launched Coffin's militia dragoons against the North Carolina militia.  Things ended badly for Coffin's troops, however, as fire from artillery and the militia decimated them.
William Washington's Dragoons are about to ride to the rescue and run down the 63rd Regiment.

Just as things began to look hopeless for the Americans, Joe managed to launch two devastating charges against the 63rd Regiment with the Continental dragoons. With everyone in extended order to move over the rough ground, the light horse had its way, slaughtering the British foot.  At that point we agree to wrap things up.
At game's end, the North Carolina militia hold  the Logtown Road in support of the Continental Dragoons.  In the distance, Huger's Virginians make slow progress toward the British.

I did get great feedback on the game.  All agreed the basic concept was good.  Al even asked if he could help me he could help run the game on Saturday night at the convention.  He has the most experience with the regimental version of the rules so I was all over it.

1 comment:

DeanM said...


Looks like another excellent game. I saw that you had a full-house for the game - no surprise. Adrian & I were supposed to do another playtest for our game, but Adrian had to cancel at the last minute. Should still be fine though. See you in a couple of weeks at the convention. Dean