Sunday, 18 October 2015

Game 33 - Battle of the Brandywine - Sept 11, 1777

 Ok, ok, so there's no point in me giving all the excuses for my lack of blog activity - suffice it to say that work and a part time lecturing post are sucking up time significantly.

Yes, we should have been doing a WWII variant of Steve's 'Battle' rules and Sabre Squadron...and Field of Battle WWII by now. Instead, I have had a large amount of AWI lead on my painting table for months now, and have been trying to do the Battle of the Brandywine with Volley & Bayonet for even longer. SO...first things first, and let's clear that table.

The Brandywine is a beautiful example of V&B's scale and scope combined with an insane map that seems to change depending on which authority you go to (see Jeff Glasco's here - this is probably most accurate and we'll return to this version at some stage - but we kept the V&B rulebook map for this version. JG also has some wonderful 'wing scale' etc. scenarios for AWI V&B. It's a great site.)

And so to battle. V&B gets a slagging in some quarters, but I still love it so. Simplicity, decent rules for disorder and the fact that division exhaustion creeps up on you (and can be used to determine commander abilities and national characteristics, despite what the detractors say).  Ed Mueller also has a brilliant nine years war version of the rules. What's not to love?

So. The classic Brandywine flanking action is presented below. I played the Americans. ...and lets put it this way...Mr. Washington would have been in even more trouble this time around!

So...youngest daughter provided the river and ford detailing on the cheap felt ...again. (I didn't even have to pay her this time).

 The British viewpoint, from their right flank. Howe and Cornwallis's classic flanking move, and  positions at the start of the battle.

 The centre was a little less fluid, with American blocking positions firmly set.

Actions on the British right started early, with the disordered (automatically by the rules) American militia taking the brunt of the damage.

British moving on the American right - using road movement to rapidly advance and secure the flank...and the rear...more to follow.

American units move toward Dilworth in order to secure their rear.

...while the British elites are moving VERY quickly to secure the area around Dilworth and the American escape routes.

Melee started early in the centre across the Brandywine as the Highlanders attack.

...while the American rear appears to be in trouble.

Stirling and Sullivan provide a delaying action on the right flank with a view to letting the rest of the army escape.

 River crossings are being less strongly held in the centre...

...while the American left holds on...just.

The Americans try to apply pressure at Dilworth, but it's now a strong British position. the British in turn attack across the river in an effort to force back what paltry defenders remain.

 The American rear at Dilworth...

 ...panning out to show the right flank...

 ...and the entire battlefield- which was rapidly becoming three separate battles.

A morass of melee on both flanks are forcing divisional collapse after line with British requirements for the victory conditions.

By turn 7, it's all over, and the Americans concede.

'With a tow, row, row, row, row, row, row, for the British Grenadiers.'

Volley and Bayonet never fails to impress. We're looking forward to some of the reduced scale variants that are out there for the AWI.


  1. WOW excellent battle report and terrific looking troops, Darren! They were worth the wait to see them that's for sure.

    I enjoyed your AAR on The Brandywine very much. So much in fact that I was looking at some of my previous AWI Volley & Bayonet posts on the blog.

    I did a playtest of Freeman's Farm in both regular scale and "wing" scale and the wing scale is a completely different feeling game as the ranges are much longer.

    I like the British decision to fortify Dilworth as soon as possible - staying within the parameters of the mission objectives. My game the Continentals fought like hell to defend their positions and when the time came to retrograde it was too late - the trap was sprung.

    One of the best parts about Volley & Bayonet, in my humble opinion, is the narrative it produces. Reading your AAR and re-reading mine, they all read like history books as opposed to reading about a game (kind of like Black Powder - which is a very fun game, but the narrative reads like a game!).

    When I read Volley & Bayonet batreps, I feel like I could be reading the staff log from headquarters :)

    Well done sir. And allow me to say again, lovely looking troops!

    1. Thanks Steven. Very kind comments. Yes, we loved the game. I didn't include every road and 'lane' so the battlefield road layout was a bit of an approximation...but I'm wondering now, with the movement rates in V&B, if I made it too easy for my opponent to reach Dilworth. He really creamed me!

      That said, I agree wholeheartedly with your statement; there is a real narrative to a V&B game. It's a great set of rules. The only thing that always puts me off is the amount of prep work with regard to regimental idents/markers - but there are ways around that I guess.

      I do think that Greg Novak's inspirational design for V&B smooths out rough areas that exist in other rules, and brings the key features (divisional exhaustion is pure genius) to the forefront. I kept those American units in line on the flank in order to allow other 'divisions' to move, and they just got exhausted - the key was the amount of casualties that they had to receive in order to become so, whereas the British 'elite' units can soak up a LOT more punishment. A great mechanic and so simple.

      I think we'll do the same battle (or perhaps Freeman's Farm) with Muskets & Mayhem and Maurice (as the figures are painted now lol).

      Also need to get Sabre Squadron and 'Battle' moving...though time is a little more limited these days.

  2. Great looking game...always fancied doing this war in 54mm.

    1. Oh I would LOVE to see it in 54mm. Actually, 54mm would look great with your painting style and varnish technique. They would look superb.

  3. Nice pictures and nice looking game!

    1. Thanks Phil. A bit of a 'thrown together at the last minute game' but it worked out for us.