Monday 21 December 2020

War of 1812 Inaugural Game

 On Saturday I decided that at long last the time was right for me to give my War of 1812 collection its debut tabletop appearance. Its quite a small collection by my standards but more than enough for a leisurely game on the Saturday before Christmas. It needs a little reorganising as I’m aiming at a 1:10 figure ratio but is still good to go. I only had to finish the bases of over half of the collection but managed them all over a couple of days.  As is the ‘new norm’, the game was live-streamed, using three cameras, on Youtube, while we utilised Sykpe for the audio. The players were able to switch between cameras as they saw fit and independently of anyone else. It works well despite the occasional glitch.

HM Brig Bludgeon offshore, waiting for the return of the army. Will it be in vain.....?

The scenario saw the British marching back to the shore of Lake Erie having been on a late winter (hence the snowy terrain including my new snowy roads and wintry/frozen stream) mission to destroy an American depot about ten miles inland. Their force had, two days previously, come ashore and  captured a small settlement on the lakeside, complete with an old blockhouse, which on its capture was held by Royal Marines and sailors until the return of the main body.

The return route of the main English force was blocked by a hastily assembled brigade of US militia, supported by a handful of US light dragoons and some US regular riflemen. Reinforcements (all US regulars) would arrive at some point along the east and/or west roads. Ideally they'd arrive before the militia speed bump were obliterated.

Conrad and Nigel played the British while Mark (who used to own some of the figures), Richard and Paul played the Americans.  Neil was supposed to be playing on the British side but his internet died. I hadn't advertised the fact that we were playing the War of 1812 but most players seemed to guess. Anyway, what follows is how the game played out. We used Black Powder 2 with my very few house rules and my stats.

The blockhouse with its garrison on Royal Marines and sailors.
Three wagons of loot from the depot. Will they get them back to the lakeside? The rest of the stores were burnt at the depot.

The British advance guard at the start of the game. The smudge on the road to the  left is the main body of the British force, two ‘brigades’ in total. The Americans are lining the fence along the east-west road mid table.
United States 4th Btn of Riflemen

American militia defending the crossroads.
United States 1st Dragoons. 
The Americans ordered their Kentucky Militia riflemen into the wood to cover the bridge.
The British advance was slow, but eventually the  leading brigade of two militia and one regular battalions were able to start deploying off the road.
The British main body, of four regular battalions and a section of 9pdrs marched rapidly towards the centre of the table.

Sadly the advance guard, or ‘light brigade’ (one regular Btn, a flank battalion of militia and the Glengarry Light Infantry, with a section of 5.5” howitzers) failed to move for several turns, so the  most versatile units in the British force were not engaged when most needed. 
Richard’s US regulars took their time arriving, and only did so on Turn six, but just in time. Paul and his brigade had arrived on the other road several turns earlier, effectively blocking that avenue of escape for the British.
Conrad ordered the light Dragoons to cross the stream and get up close to the American militia and ‘worry’ them. Meanwhile Nigel’s regulars crossed the river and advanced on the enemy.

Finally the ‘light brigade’ started to move and slowly caught up with the rest of the British troops.
Nigel’s regulars boldly advanced upon the Americans lining the fence.  

The British tried to clear the Americans with a bayonet charge. Sadly  the latter were  determined to hold their ground and the British were sent packing!

The British in the centre advance resolutely forwards.
The American militia were driven out of the wood in the centre and the US Riflemen forced back by the advance of an English battalion. Paul ordered his brigade forward to slow or hopefully halt the enemy’s advance.

Nigel’s brigade advanced towards the American centre and left. The Americans pushed a battalion of militia through the old cornfield to take them in the flank.

After firing a volley at the British the militia fled when their targets promptly wheeled to the left and charged them!

The  British take the cornfield amd are threatening the American centre. Another British battalion advanced against the fence lone and took heavy casualties from the American infantry and pair of 6pdrs. They passed a break test even with. Minus 5 adjustment due to losses so shrugged off their losses and pulled back a move.

The British are definitely in control of the cornfield. They drove off the dismounted US dragoons who were lining the fence and were poised to break through the American centre.

Unfortunately on the left, Paul’s brigade had advanced and caused Conrad’s battalions to withdraw shaken. The British did manage to hit the battalion pictured hear very hard and they had to pull back.

This give an idea of the opposing lines at the close of the game.  The British left has been stopped and pushed back, the British centre is in a great position to smash the American centre and on the right a last minute success by the British drove off the American regulars lining the fences.
In the very last turn this British battalion charged and broke this battalion of US regulars, leaving a large hole in the line which the Glengarry Light Infantry, the 19th Light Dragoons and Canadian Dragoons would be able to exploit.

Unfortunately we had to stop at that point, mainly as I was struggling to keep going, but also because of an echo on the sound which was driving me round the bend! The signal strength being broadcast from the Burrow remained excellent all day but the sound on Skype didn’t. I would have normally said it was due to a mic being left unmuted on somebody’s machine but not this time. 

We reached a conclusion of sorts, in as far as the British were struggling to break through the American line. However, I think there was a good chance that the American left would have begun to collapse, followed by the centre. In the meantime the American  right could easily have driven the British left back even further and maybe even recaptured the supplies.

It was a fun game and great to get this collection on the table. Of course since the game I’ve almost finished painting two further battalions of American militia and undercoated most of the unpainted figures I have remaining in the box of doom. The biggest job is the restructuring I referred to at the start, which might be a nice job to do over Christmas before I embark on my new main 2021 project.

Thanks to everyone for reading this blog over the past rather difficult year. I hope doing so has been enjoyable amd maybe even seen you through the dark days of the pandemic. I suspect it’ll be with us for a long time yet, even with the vaccinations. So, here’s wishing everyone a very Joyful Christmas and a Happy amd Healthy 2021.


  1. Colin, that’s one of the nicest 1812 games I’ve ever seen. Lovely troops and terrain. Plus, a guest appearance by the “circle o’sheep.” Brilliant.

  2. Great looking game Colin and coincidentally, our group also played a War of 1812 game a couple of days ago - drop by my blog and Marks "1866 and All That" blog too for details and images!

  3. That is another lovely looking gmae Colin and thankyou for keeping us entertained over the past year:)

  4. A feast for our eyes! Wonderful looking game, congrats...and Merry Christmas!

  5. As always a wonderful boost to the spirits to see your latest game, more so as it's a new collection's first showing. Happy Christmas and a safe and healthy new year to you and yours!

  6. Splendid game Colin and nice to see the collection getting some action. Thanks for your inspiring games during the year 👍

  7. Indeed. Thanks for being an inspiration through this last year and a very happy christmas to you