Last weekend I was feeling a bit nostalgic, so I tried out a game of my Johnny Reb 3 variant for the American Revolution. I played a small game with the British having a brigade of British regulars and a very full strength British Legion, and the Americans had Davidson’s North Carolina Militia Brigade (from the 1781 campaign) plus Williams Light Brigade (Maryland/Delaware Light Battalion and a Virginia Rifle unit) and the 3rd Dragoons commanded by Lee. It was a spur of the moment game and I used used post-its to label the units rather than printed, cut and taped fancier labels.
The first issue was how to place orders as normally Johnny Reb 3 is a two or more player game, and this was a solo game. I decided that in the place orders phase, each side would roll 2d6 and add their overall commander’s rating. The winner got to decide if they placed the orders for one of their brigades or if the other side had to place their orders for one of their brigades. With two British and three American brigades this worked fine.
In the end, the game was a British defeat, and they had to fight a rearguard action to get their forces off of the table. I think the game went pretty well. I play a lot of original Piquet, and that means waiting for the card you want to show up to act, so it was enjoyable to just be able to give the units the order you wanted for them each turn. The one thing I would change is the bonus move for infantry in the open. Right now it is 3d6, which means charges can go a pretty long distance. I think the game would play better if that was 2d6. Other than that, it was an enjoyable game. I felt a bit nostalgic playing it as I started playing Johnny Reb with the first edition way back in 1983 or so (when it came out). All of those pipe cleaners being used to mark units took me back to playing JR1 with my friend Bill in the back of his game store. While I enjoyed the game, I wonder if I liked it for the game it was or for the nostalgic feeling it gave me.
I don’t remember the full details of the game, but here are some pictures from it:
The British Set-Up
General Morgan Prepares For Battle
One of the British Brigades Advances in Open Order:
The British Legion Also Advances:
The Americans Await the British:
American Riflemen Deployed in Skirmish Order in Front of the Maryland/Delaware Battalion in Open Order:
General Davidson (of the North Carolina Militia) Gives an Order:
American Militia Await the British (these are 18mm Blue Moon figures):
American Militia Skirmishers in the Woods (with a Hold order):
The British Brigade’s Assault Fails, but Morgan is Wounded and Out of the Game for Two Turns:
Lots of Routing British Units!
The Remaining British Legion Dragoons Fight a Rear-Guard Action:
Rallied British Infantry Charge Again:
With Howard’s American Brigade Driven Back, Davidson’s Militia Renews the Attack for the Americans:
Once Again, the British Fight a Rear-Guard (the last one):
With Only a “Shaken” Mounted Militia Unit as a Reserve, the Americans Watch the British Depart:
The “Dead Pile” (lots of units end up destroyed in Johnny Reb 3!):
All in all, it was a fun game. It reminded me of how complex Johnny Reb was compared to some more recent sets of rules, but it came back to me pretty quickly. Charges are not as complex as they were in Johnny Reb 1/2 (a part of the game that a friend of mine always referred to as two arguments and a fist fight to resolve). Johnny Reb 3 is clearly a set of rules for the serious gamer, and not very well suited to the casual social gamer who just wants to “roll some dice”. I still like it and may try it out again. My American Revolution figures are based in a way that allows me to use them for either Johnny Reb 3 or Piquet/Cartouche, both of which are sets of rules that I enjoy.
Here are the charts that I used: JR3 AWI CRT JG 7.0