Saturday, September 21, 2013

AWI Game Report - Fife & Drum rules

Below is a report of a fairly large AWI game that was played a couple of weeks ago. Most players were new to the rules and everyone caught on after a few turns. The rules are based heavily on morale but still lots of shooting and melee action. Movement is (thankfully) generous and initiative rolls are very important for momentum. A simple matrix style of layout and a lack of 'fluff' makes them truly fast play. A good, fun day.

Lots of pics!

Battle of Beerywine – AWI game report.

Basic table setup: a river with one bridge, a Hessian camp in the centre and a small settlement.
Other side of the table.

  Just a shepherd chilling out; hoping, for no reason, this doesn’t become the scene of a bloodbath…

Some dragoons and geese – just because…

…Alright because I’d just finished retouching them the day before. Yes the flags are completely wrong but couldn’t be bothered changing them.

Sneaky Americans move to their start positions. Note the riflemen in the foreground.

Another view that shows the pontoon bridge they put up. The rocks on the river below the pontoon are fordable. Hence the massed formation right behind it. Note the Hessians in the camp start positions.
Rebel guns line the river opposite the Hessian camp. Light dragoons all poised and dragoon-y.

 First turn and the Rebels are off and begin streaming across the river. A good start.

The Hessians start to react and throw out a hasty battle line.

The first round of firing and subsequent (crappy) morale tests. Note the absence of riflemen in the foreground. The jaegers that caused the damage were called very rude words from that point on.

The Hessians win a vital initiative roll and charge into some Continentals – swiftly sending them packing. More rebels take their place but are starved of room to move.
Another view of the American troops scrambling to get into position as the first of the British reinforcements arrive (top right).

 Hessians keep the pressure on while the Americans try to find suitable defensive positions to counter the waves of advancing British.

At the bridge, both sides are evenly matched and cause a lot of damage to each other. Both sides roll well with morale to keep it a tight contest.

 Some of the aforementioned waves of British.

Yes – more of ‘em.

A shot of the game situation about turn 4.

 Chris’ hand helpfully showing us the target that he insisted on missing with his guns.

Around turn 5 and the high-water mark for the Americans. They’ve taken a lot longer than wanted to clear a bit of room to move.

 Some Loyalists trying to move toward the action.

The American view of their “not quite ready” defensive positions to face the oncoming Brits.

Jaegers in the foreground that harangued and sniped at the American right flank.

 The Americans guns retired, while the British and Allies close on the lonely looking bridge defenders. An ominous looking situation.

The British take a few losses but close easily on the Continentals defending the settlement.

The Americans attempt to trade off space for time.

The final assault on the bridge (top left) as the shot up Hessians kindly provide cover for the fresh British brigade in the rear.

 The last fresh militia brigade are placed with the guns as cover for any involuntary withdrawals J

Redcoats have entered the settlement.

Pesky foot dragoons picking away at militia.

Some more militia to try to stem the flow. And, oh typical, an ex-slave lying down on the job.

Defending Continentals doing a good job but unable to hold against the weight of enemy numbers.

Bridge defenders have their last stand as the British bash their way through the bloodied sheep enclosure.
End of turn 7 when the Rebels (wisely) gave up the field to the enemy and the game was called (after several jokes about rounding up the civilians into locked buildings and burning them). The tents were all trampled to bits causing a Hessian general to have an aneurism.

The game was scheduled for 10 turns and the umpire determined that the British would have achieved their objectives by end of turn 9 giving them victory by 1 turn. The Americans were getting concerned about army morale and were 4 units away from breaking. One unlucky turn could have broken the army so they decided to keep the army intact as their consolation prize. The Americans did a good job and came surprisingly close despite the losses.

The British and Allies managed a clear victory, largely due to the Hessians that stymied any American progress across the bridge. Their solid morale throws and pressure made it difficult for the Americans from turn 2. Winning the initiative rolls for first few turns was also significant.
Seemed that the rules went down well and worked for the scenario. Somewhere around turn 4 the players were running independently with the rules so that was a good sign. Not having to look up multiple charts and using logic for anything tricky seemed to make the game flow well enough. I think all the players will be happy to give them another go for the next time.



  1. Fantastic looking game Mick. Beautiful figures and great terrain.

  2. Wonderful pictures, love the figures and the battlefield, a great report!

  3. Great looking game! Rivals any Napoleonic game I've seen. Best, Dean

  4. Nicely done Mick! Glad to hear that you enjoyed the rules and that the players figured things out quickly.

    There is an option command radius found at the top of the movement column on the chart. Units that are more than 24" from their commander can only move half. You can easily adjust the distance to your liking.

    I'm considering adding a rule whereby all American units have to roll a D6 to see what happens whenever thenBritish approach with 12" of them.

    1-2 = rout; 3-4= fall back 12" in good order; 5-6= no effect on the Americans

    I plan to test this soon so I don't know yet how it will work in a game


  5. Thanks for the comments gents.

    We were aware of the command radius and used it in the earlier play tests. It was simply just forgotten about as we went about the game. Interesting ideas, Jim. Basically a test of nerves. A good idea for militia or green units at least. Would that be a once-off test per unit or each time they get within 12"?


  6. Mick: I usually do not use the Command Radius option in my games. I find that the individual players create plenty of their own indecision and Fog of War without me creating rules for the same. :)

    And yes, the test of nerves would only apply once per game for each American unit. Maybe this is more of a 1776 campaign year device as Continentals seem to have been giving a better account of themselves in 1777. I would dispense with the idea entirely for the post-Valley Forge Continental army, but then, who knows until it gets some play testing.

    1. That makes sense and I agree about the player driven fog of war. If you have a sensible enough scenario the rules serve their purpose by allowing the game to play out in a clean, tidy manner.

  7. Fantastic looking game. I never get tired of seeing AWI redcoats. :-)

    (Benno's Figures Forum)

  8. Great work Mick loved it, nicely documented photo's and some lovely toys. Makes me want to hound DAF over his recent kickstarter project to get my new toys.