About 30 years ago I went through the United States Army school for infantry lieutenants (Infantry Officer Basic Course). In that course, we read a book titled, The Defence of Duffer’s Drift (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Defence_of_Duffer%27s_Drift). From what I remember of the book, the author took the reader through the planning of a defensive position. Each time he would point out flaws in the plan and fix them. The book was effective in teaching lieutenants how to think about all aspects of the military planning, including looking for flaws that could be corrected. As my game of Camden was still set up, I decided to give it another go based on what I had learned from the two games of it I had played recently.
For both sides, I realized that firing at enemy troops in open order in light woods (Class II terrain in Piquet) as not that effective as both the open order and Class II terrain were a Down 1 fire modifier. That reduced a d10 fire value to d6. Even worse, many of the American militia units started with a d8 fire value, which reduced them to d4 when firing at British in open order in the woods at normal range. That showed me that the British could and should move to melee combat as soon as possible, especially given the higher quality of many British units and the masses of low quality American militia present. For the Americans, I realized that it was best to use Armand’s command as a second or third line force given the small size of the units; they were good for skirmishing, but didn’t last long in the line of battle. In my second game, Armand’s command was in the front line, and was quickly destroyed by larger British units, which was costly in Army morale chips and units lost.
The American set up on the right and center was three lines: two of militia and one of Continentals. The extreme left was Armand’s command, which was designed to guard the American flank and threaten the British right if they broke through the American center.
The American Right Wing: (click on the pictures for larger images)
The American Center:
Armand’s Command on the American Left:
The British set up with their regular brigade and reserve brigade on their left:
Rawdon’s loyalist and militia brigade was on the British Right:
Here is a picture of the overall British set-up:
In the game, the British advanced on both flanks, and were able to defeat the American militia with only minimal casualties. Rather quickly, the Americans ran out of Army morale chips. This was a disaster for the Americans as the lost units put a Major Morale Check card in their deck. By turn 4, the Americans were out of Army morale chips and forced to take a Major Morale Check. With no Army morale chips to spend, each American unit had to check morale. Some of the militia and even one of the Continental units failed and retreat. Likewise, the previously unengaged American cavalry started to fall back. Three Continental units and a single militia unit fought a rearguard, but it was ineffective due to the addition of Dress Lines cards in their deck for each unit lost (up to 11 Dress Lines cards were added by turn 5). By the end of Turn 5, the Americans had clearly lost and the game was over.
Again, Piquet worked exceptionally well in terms of command and army morale. The better quality overall commander of the British (Cornwallis) was able to make good use of his two Brilliant Commander cards, while the Americans suffered several times from losing key initiative when Gates’ Command Indecision card came up. I also really liked how the game represented the collapse of the American Army, it almost mirrored the actual events. I still need to review the rules before I play Piquet again to check a few issues, but it was a great game. Piquet works exceptionally well for solo games. I had an overall plan for each side, but the cards dictated when I could implement those plans far better than a you-go, I-go rule system.
Here are some more photos from the game (I was too involved and interested in the game to take many mid-game photos):
American Artillery that dominated the main road through the woods:
American Militia await the British attack:
The British 71st Highland Regiment advances:
British Legion Infantry and militia of Rawdon’s Command:
The British Legion Dragoons in reserve (behind Rawdon’s Brigade):
At the end of the game, the British Legion Dragoons swept the American flank:
The American rearguard:
The American “dead” pile:
Another victory for Cornwallis:
The game was played with 15mm figures (from Blue Moon, Minifigs, Old Glory and Polly Oliver). I use 3/4ths size stands and rulers, so the normal 5′ x 8′ map fit on a 4′ x 6′ table.