Monday, August 15, 2022

Battles & Brews Game



Battles & Brews 2022 is in the books, as they say, and a good time was had by all. . . at least as far as I could see. Go here to my previous post to learn more about the event, and here for a look at some of the games. I put on one game of Fistful of Lead: Bigger Battles with the selfish goal of play-testing my rules additions and unit characterizations for campaigning during the French & Indian War. In the One True Scale, of course.

The terrain was basically symmetrical so both sides had the same advantages and challenges. The scenario was a meeting engagement, and whoever held the center clearing at game's end would be the winner.


Both armies were the same size and roughly the same configurations for as clean a play-test as possible. I am also using unit sizes that correspond to the forces used in GMT Games' Bayonets and Tomahawks for use in a map-based campaign; the Irregular units are roughly one-quarter to one-third the size of Regular Brigades. All of the Irregular units are one 6-man unit and the Regulars and Provincials are 2 10-man units with a Brigade Commander. Each army then gets one overall Commander. Each unit has an integral Unit Leader with no traits (at this time) whose loss causes a negative modifier to Rally attempts.

Each Army for this game consisted of one overall Commander, One Regular Brigade of 2 10-man units with Brigade Commander (Player One); one Provincial Brigade of 2 10-man units with Brigade Commander (Player Two - the British were Regulars and the French Irregular). Player Three had two units of Irregulars; French had First Nation Warriors and the British had Rangers. Each side then had a unit of Regular Grenadiers and French Irregular Marines or British Irregular Light Infantry to assign as desired. 6 players in total!

The Irregulars came onto the table on Turn One, the British and French on opposite sides. The French Natives and Marines entered on the narrower strip of woods with the British Light Infantry and one unit of Rangers opposite.


On the wider wooded flank the French Provincials faced off against the other unit of British Rangers.


On Turn Two the Regulars arrived via the road mostly, except for the British Grenadiers that entered in the woods on their left flank and one unit of the British Provincials that entered the woods on their right flank behind the Rangers.

As the Irregulars found hard cover in the woods to provide covering fire the Regulars maneuvered to sort out into firing lines in the clearing.


The French Regulars got their firing line organized first as the Natives charged the Rangers in the woods on their right flank, the melee throwing the Rangers out from behind their cover. The Provincials on the other flank blazed away at each other.


After the British Rangers fell back the Light Infantry engaged the Natives, and both sides suffered losses that caused them to retreat. The British Grenadiers moved up to the edge of the woods to provide flanking fire in the clearing and delivered the first of two devastating volleys. The French Marine Irregulars left the cover of the woods to advance through the clearing and the Grenadier volley fire killed 5 of the 6 soldiers in the unit. The second volley was delivered by the center British Regular unit and 7 of the 10 French Grenadiers went down.


The Natives attempted to charge the British Grenadiers, but were foiled by my new Test to Charge rules. Being under half-strength and outnumbered, they failed their tests, as they should have! The British regulars were able to make good use of two "Free Reload" cards. . . and coupled with the aforementioned volleys, the French just couldn't recover and ceded the field.


I had a blast watching this game, and all the players seemed to have had fun. We had at least one player new to the Fistful of Lead system, and one even new to miniatures gaming (husband and wife, respectively)! Bigger Battles handled this genre admirably and my period adjustments worked as intended,. The dilemma of 18th Century Regular commanders seemed well represented - does one move into close musket range and risk taking a crippling First Fire or wait in the hope that you will get to deliver said crippling Fire instead? After delivering that volley will your men drive the enemy from the field at bayonet-point as ordered? I'm looking forward to more games using the Fistful rules, and experimenting with campaign adaptations.

See ya!