Hated Spy

Last night we played a scenario of Sharp Practice set in the American Revolutionary War.

In December of 1781, Benedict Arnold, now a British General invaded Virginia in an attempt to disrupt the State’s support of General Greene’s forces in the Carolinas.  With a force consisting mostly of Hessians and Loyalists, Arnold landed unmolested in Portsmouth and preceded to raid up the James River until he reached and burned the new capital at Richmond.

Returning to Portsmouth, Arnold turned his attention to securing the deepwater port. This meant defending not only the town but also a redoubt on the road to Portsmouth from North Carolina called Fort Murray (Great Bridge) and Kemps Landing.  Arnold was hard pressed to defend all of this and to maintain his anti-partisan orders with his small numbers.

Virginia was suffering her own challenges.  The state was embarrassed by how little defense they had been able to muster to defend their capital and their fort on the James that was intended to be impassable (Ft Hood) proved little more than an annoyance.  Now, two months later both Generals Muhlenberg and Nelson had raised some militias but mostly they sat and watched.


This interim period, while Arnold sat in Portsmouth is filled with the sorts of actions that make the new campaign style in Dawns and Departures come alive.  The British are constantly moving their forces around their three main garrisons as well as harassing the inhabitants, looking for partisans, destroying American material of war, and foraging supplies and horses.  Two of the main forces of Arnold’s command are the Queen’s Rangers and Ewals Hessian Jagers.  Not only are the colorful and interesting troops both both Simcoe and Ewald have left memoirs which detail some of the action.

The American are more difficult to get specifics on and were mostly just militia forces, but they are under the command of Captain Amos Weeks who appears to be something of a local “swamp fox”.  Probably a relocated Conneticuit man, Weeks was leading a hit and run partisan campaign based out of the Dismal Swamp.

Our scenario was fictional, though it was built around a real event.  Ewald fought at James Plantation in a failed attempt to capture Weeks.  Weeks had been warned of their intentions by a young lady living in Portsmouth.  Our scenario was the rescue out of the rule book.  Some of Simcoe’s rangers had caught Polly and were holding her in the tobacco barn at James’ Plantation as a spy.  They are awaiting Ewald’s return to take possession of her.  In the Meantime Capt Weeks tries a brave rescue.


The Americans had a secondary deployment not far from the tobacco barn, and Weeks had his best troops, Some Virginia State men deployed there amongst the outbuildings of the plantation.



A small group of Rangers try to hold off the Virginians


The first of Ewald’s men to arrive were the skirmishers of the Queen’s Rangers who in a frenzy of spirit disregarded their orders and surged forward at some american militia skirmishers.  Their sargent, deciding that it was better to take advantage of the situtation that to try to regain their control ordered rushed them forward and the devastated one to the two goups.  The others would continue to fight on in a fire fight that continued for most of the rest of the battle.  Both sides fought bravely and hard, but the Ranger Sargent continued even after having been wounded twice.


When Captain Ewald arrived, he ordered one group of Jagers to help the Ranger skirmishers and then threatened the Princess Anne County Militia who were attempting to hold the American route of escape.



The Skirmishers fight by the Quarters while the Militia holds near the Barn

The militia fired a powerful first volley into Ewald’s Jager screen, sending them running but after that the firing between the main forces seemed to be having little affect.   For much of the game the advantage of momentum seemed to be going tpo the Americans and the British force morale was wavering.  Some of this was bad luck of card pulls, some of it was lack of familiarity with the rules some was just bad dice.  The Americans, seeing that the British Force Morale was collapsing decided to change their priority to that.  Figuring that if the drove Ewald off then they could take as long as they like to save Polly.

The British than through it all on one mad die.  They used their “Thin Red Line”.  This allows the British to fire a volley and then rush in with extra movement.  The caused some shock, but the movement left them just an inch short of their target!  It looked like their cause was lost, they were down to 2 or 3 force morale and inch from their target at the end of that turn.  We almost stopped playing, with the opinion that the British cause was lost.  It was decided to play one more turn, and miraculously the first card was Ewald!

The superior abilities of the Rangers saved them now.  Both groups of Militia were routed right off the table and a constant barrage of Bad Things Happen rolls took the Americans right to a complete collapse.








Wiliamsburg Muster 2017

DSC_0012The club participated as we always do in another Williamsburg Muster.  Though this one was different in a number of ways.

The Convention itself was held over Memorial Day Weekend (May 26-28) rather than its usual time in February.  It was not just a wargaming miniatures convention, but rather reached out to our local board gaming and roleplaying game communities to help expand the convention into a greater or more universal gaming convention, and lastly, it was at a new venue, The Doubletree here in Williamsburg.

The hotel was a great improvement, and one attendee stated that “it was nice to have a hotel with hot and cold running water for a change”.  If you attended last year’s Guns of August you will know he wasn’t entirely exaggerating!

The convention was different for the club as well.  Chris had planned on running some games but his business demands (The Phalanxe Consortium) and his convention duties got in the way.  He was present as a vendor of course as well.  Poor Peter found himself laid up at home with an injured back.  This left me to carry the Legati flag as far as running games and reduced the number of games supported by the Legati in years past.

My first game was intended to be a “Big Chain of Command” game, using TFL’s expansion for multiple platoons.  It was based on a scenario for Mud and Blood in an older TFL special, “Midnight at the Oasis”.  This was part of our ongoing commemoration of the World War One centennial.


Only two players wanted to participate, however, and so the game turned into “regular” Chain of Command with just two of the original four platoons.  One of our long lost Legati, Andrew Frantz participated and gained victory with the Turks holding the supply depot.

I also provided two 7TV games.  Both were set in 1970s London and played on the same table.  That made it far easier for me to run two games on Saturday, but it also gave me the opportunity to show off the versatility of the game.


The first game was “The Beat” a gritty London detective show involving a security van robbery.  The game was undecided.  The criminal firm successfully pulled off the heist but the Met did manage to nick some of the baddies including one of the stars.


The second game was a more outlandish spy-fi game.  Department X was escorting a VIP when attacked by the mysterious SHIVA. Al and Kerry played and the VIP was safely delivered.

Overall the convention seemed successful to me, and the new venue has a lot of promise.

Until next time Cheers,




Guns of August 2014


      Once again Williamsburg Legati did what it could to support our local Williamsburg conventions.


     Chris and family were present with their company The Phalanx Consortium, and were actively promoting Skirmish Sangin and the related Radio Dish Dash products.

The Phalanx Consortium Table

The Phalanx Consortium Table


     Chris also ran two Demo games on his beautiful Afghanistan board, one in the evening both on Friday and Saturday.

Coalition Troops in the irrigation canal

Coalition Troops patrolling the irrigation canal



Afghans in the poppies


    On Saturday afternoon Peter offered his Mons game.  This was a Trench Wars game based upon one of the actions at Mons in 1914 and his the first official game of our clubs commemoration of the centennial of World War I. The scenario has German lancers pursuing a column of retreating British tommies while the rest of the German forces try to take the town.  I did get some pictures to share with you but for some reason the  were completely black when I loaded them onto the computer.  I will try to get some pics from peter to share with you all here.

    I ran two games.  The first was Friday night. this was a Sharp Practice game set in Spain.  Members of the 60th American were being chased by the French 4th Dragoons.


Peter moving his forces

       Peter and three others played in this game.  The British were so successful that they managed to make their objective (driving away the enemy and the get off the board) before the larger threat of French men even arrived! 


Dragoons enter on the first game

      All players agreed to a second game however with a few alterations one of which was to allow the reinforcements to arrive earlier!


Rifles defending the farm

Rifles defending the farm


    This alteration made the world of difference.  the game unfolded much like the first, though with more British casualties than the first.  However just as they left their cover and made their run for the board edge, the Dragoon reinforcements arrived!




     The Dragoons ended up dismounting and chasing the rifles off into the hills and away from their objective. for a French victory!

    My second game was Friday evening, and was a Fall of France World War Two scenario using Chain of Command as the rules.  Again with four players, the Germans were of the advance with orders to drive the french away from their positions on the outskirts of Etalle in Belgium. 

The board before the battle

The board before the battle

    The Germans held the initiative through most of this game though the French very valiantly repelled an assault for the farmhouse on their left.

Germans moving through the trout stream

Germans moving through the trout stream

      Perhaps cocky from their victory on the left, the French squad on the right tried to assault the other farm house.  Here it was the Germans who proved victorious.  The French realized that they had suffered to many causalities and they chose to fall back leaving the Germans victorious.

French men supporting the assault

French men supporting the assault


    Now we are back to are usual Wednesday night schedule until the next convention in February.  See you all at Williamsburg Muster!