Sunday, June 5, 2022

Battle of Cooch's Bridge Playtest- Muskets and Mohawks.

 Rules : Muskets and Mohawks (2 Hour Wargames)

Figures: 18mm Blue Moon

The Rules are a skirmish level horse and Musket with a built in reaction system that also has rules for unknown units or Possible Enemy Forces (PEFs)

My son and I did 3 turns to test out the unit sizes, positioning, flow of rules and table lay out. 

I need to develop or find Quick Reference Sheets or Players Aids as we were constantly searching for charts, available actions, firing ranges, involuntary movement definitions, etc. I had to forget what I knew about chain reaction and approach these rules as a different set. Reactions are not as plentiful from movement as they are in the other sets from the company. 

I decided to use an off board set up for the British forces and have them enter. I wanted to recreate the ambush of militia against the British. I need to give more room for entry and on table set up or move back the ambush points. The British were bottle necked too much on entry. I also need to add hidden units for some of the militia. The PEF rules will help hide actual forces and give the Dragoons something to recon in the opening moves. 

 As each unit gets one action per activation and firing is handled differently between formed vs, unformed units and volley fire vs fire at will I was not sure how lethal firing combat would be.  The Dragoons suffered 2 casualties and retired from my failed checks against being shot at (1st check) and receiving casualties (2nd check) thereby getting stuck on the board edge. The Hessian Jaegers had a similar problem. My poor rolling resulted in a traffic jam. 

The Jaegers marched in unformed formations making them harder to hit but they lose the ability to volley fire. They suffered few casualties and were unable to close the charge to clear the militia (again my very bad rolling). 

The militia in formed line was quite effective. Each time I could not close the charge and received punishing volley fire which would have been much worse if I was formed up. 

The colonial regulars enjoyed open space and were able to march unimpeded (even Double time) as they were more than 24"away from enemy units. General Maxwell was moving into position very quickly as the Americans won initiative each turn. As you only get one action per tur you are very concerned about getting stuck in a vulnerable position which is why I really like these rules. 

The militia volley cleared the Hessians as I focused too much on charging. I should have fired but in these rules, if you don't reload after firing, you can't move. It cost an action to reload, after which you have to wait until next active to do something else. You have to focus on movement or firing so as I had to keep moving I wanted to keep firing at a minimum. 

Failing to close the charge meant the Jaegers stayed pinned against the board edge reinforcing the need to give the British more room and keep the game manageable. Units retire a full move so I need to move the action inward to the center another 10 inches. 

While units do receive some casualties from fire they are more likely to move after losing a figure or two. I brought the British light infantry on the table on turn 3. The Jaegers were barely moving and were getting outnumbered. I may break up the militia into 5 man units as well to make them a bit more fragile on the next playtest. They were taking hits but repulsing charges too many times which didn't feel right, but I was getting out rolled as well.  The British light infantry was also repulsed by a stubborn militia unit. 

The Jagers rallied and formed line and released a volley that finally sent the militia running. I finally gave up on punching through with melee. 

I also brought in 2 Grasshopper guns (3 lb guns) and more Jaegers to clear the militia from the woods. The militia units all did a great job in standing against the British charges. I needed to outnumber the target unit 2 to one to get bonus dice to use in fire combat. 

 It was at this time we called it quits. We learned a lot about the rules. They are easy to remember once you do something you really don't need to look it up again. 

What I need to do to playtest again is 

1. Get a quick reference sheet printed. 

2.  Give the British a bit more room to move, the 18 inch musket range means I can move back the colonials and still achieve the  ambush effect that kicked off the battle 

3. Use hidden PEF placement and give the Dragoons a recon range of 12" to find hidden units using cover (infantry has a 6" range). PEF's can move about the board until discovered. 

4. The British had infantry columns close behind (Howe was marching the entire Army North) so random reinforcements are not required. Decide on what turns the Artillery and light infantry enter. 

6. Move the game away from the table edges. 

7. Try 5 figure militia units instead of 10. Perhaps add random reinforcements for militia to appear randomly. 

8. Give Hessian Jaegers a charge bonus as they preferred to melee with their hunting swords to clear militia in this battle. 

As for the rules they do everything I need them to do and are simple; they just need organized. Units are not likely to be wiped out by volley fire, they are more likely to move away. I lost 1 or 2 figures per volley. I think a few more test runs are needed. I may even develop a mini campaign as Colonial Dragoons skirmished and were out gathering Intel on British movements in and around Elkton when Howe landed.  


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