Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Holding My Breath: Hobkirk's Hill

It is my dream to game all of Nathaniel Greene's battles in South Carolina.  Hobkirk's Hill is an important part of that dream.  The battle has the simplest terrain, the easiest order of battle for both sides.  I'm also finished with the figures.  So, it was a natural to host at Enfilade this year.

When Fire and Fury finally published their regimental rules, and also provided support to the American Revolution I jumped on it.  In previous posts I've shared my ruminations on AWI rules and my own efforts at drafting some Fire and Fury-like.  The adaptation of the long awaited regimental rules gave me the opportunity to choose rules that were commercially available and fairly familiar. 

Your obedient servant cutting out labels for Regimental Fire and Fury.  Ugh!

Even so, I hosted the game on Saturday night with a certain degree of trepidation.  I hadn't played the rules a lot and there are some significant differences between the brigade and regimental systems.  I did playtest the scenario once, but didn't feel once was enough.  When Al Rivers offered to help me with the game I jumped at the chance.  Al definitely was more familiar with F and F regimental, though the AWI rules were a tad different. 

The game had a full six sign-ups.  Chris Pramas, Tom Foosen, and Gene Anderson ran the Americans.  Chris Craft, Andrew Mah, and Mitch Berdinka ran the Brits.  Chris Craft and Mitch had a fair amount of experience with the rules, which left the Americans with those relatively new or unexposed to the game.  The objectives were pretty simple.  The Americans needed to hold their camps on the hill and inflict heavy casualties on the British.  The British needed to capture the American artillery and inflict heavy casualties on the Yankees.

4th Virginia Regiment.  Figures by Old Glory

Colonel Campbell leading the first rank of British. Figure by Perry figures.
 Chris and Mitch immediately led attacks on the Maryland Brigade, holding the American left.  They closed ranks and charged the Americans in extended order, as any self respecting British commander would do.  Though the 1st Maryland was thrown back, the 2nd Maryland beat Mitch's command back.  This would be the pattern of the game.  The Brits would have success to the left of the Camden Road, but not enough to completely unhinge the Americans.

The British set up in two ranks in extended order.  They will quickly form and give the Americans the cold steel.

The 5th Virginia moves to the attack the Loyal Americans and Coffin's Light Dragoons.
 On the right, Chris Pramas advanced his Virginia Brigade to confront Andrew Mah's troops.  Using his artillery to support his fire and eventual attack, the Virginians moved rapidly to take advantage of their numbers.  Andrew could only form a firing line and take it.  In our playtest, the Virginians, with their poor commander were slow and had little influence on the game.  At the convention, they destroyed the convalescent battalion, drove off an attack by Coffin's dragoons and man-handled the Loyal Americans.

By turn 10 both sides were close to reaching their casualty limit.  The Americans had driven in the British left flank, and the British had pushed back the American left flank.  An attack by the 2nd Maryland against the 63rd Regt. and New York Volunteers, both at half strength, eliminated the lot and the Brits suffered a major morale loss. Even though Chris Craft's Volunteers of Ireland and South Carolina Royalists were unscathed , when the game ended on turn 12, the Americans won the victory.

I was pleased the game was so tight.  It really did come down to the last turn.  I just need to play the rules more, so I'm better prepared.  It's the little things I really didn't get. The game turned out fine, but I think I got lucky.


DeanM said...


Awesome looking game. I have nothing against AWI (in fact, I like the history), but likely will not get figures for the period. Hope you get to fulfill your dream of playing all of those games too. Regards, Dean

P.S. Thanks for running such a great convention!

Ray Rousell said...

Nice little battle report and a great looking game as well!!