A snowy day in the mid-Atlantic region on this President’s Day weekend gave me the perfect opportunity to pull out Command and Colors Tricorne: The American Revolution (Compass Games, 2017). I categorize this as one of my “lite” wargames that combines easy to understand rules with a thematic experience. In the case of Tricorne, it is the Retreat and Rally rules that make the difference:
Players, that are familiar with other Commands & Colors games, will soon note that unit combat losses in a Tricorne game are typically not as great as other games covered in the Commands & Colors series. This is a direct result of the linear tactic fighting style of the armies that fought during the American Revolution. Unit morale is the main thematic focus in a Tricorne battle as it was historically. Knowing that an entire unit, that has only taken minimal losses when forced to retreat, may actually break and rout from the battlefield, will definitely keep players on the edge of their command chairs during an entire battle. [commandandcolors.net]
The battle of the day was White Plains from 28 October 1776. The British are trying to turn the Continental right flank. I took the British, while Middle RockyMountainNavy Boy took the Continentals.
Understanding that the Continental Militia are the weak link, having less firepower and retreating more for every Flag result, I focused my attack on my left section. The plan was to roll up the Continental right and then push down Chatterson’s Hill. Historically, I was attempting to repeat history:
The British regiments attacked directly against the American positions while the Hessians attempted a flanking manuever against the American right flank. The British were forced back with heavy casualties but the Hessians took up a position beyond the American left flank, which was held by inexperienced New York and Massachusetts militiamen. The fight lasted only a few minutes before the militia fled. The fleeing militia exposed the flank of the Delaware troops. The appearance of the advancing Hessians threw the Delaware troops into confusion. [myrevolutionwar.com]
It almost worked for me, if it had not been for those d*mned Continental Militia!
As my Hessians pushed forward, they pushed back the Militia like I expected. But the Militia refused to Rout. To my great surprise, Middle RMN actually counterattacked with the weakened Militia and, to my greater surprise, Bayonet Charged with them! Caught off guard, the Hessians melted before the Continentals (ok, he got some great die rolls while mine…sucked).
At this point I tried to bring my Elite Infantry Grenadiers into the fray. As much as they tried they just could not push the Continentals back. One leader in particular, Alexander McDougall, just did not give up. I even had a five-die attack against McDougall and a weakened infantry unit and – against all odds – whiffed completely.
After that, it was only a matter of time. Since I had concentrated on my left, I had failed to bring the center to engage and, once I tried to advance, faced the well-prepared Continental artillery. Already behind in Victory Banners, it was only a short matter of time before I lost completely.
Total game time, set up to clean up, was only 90 minutes. I really enjoy Tricorne in that it can deliver a very intense game in a short period of time. The game also reminds players that expectations do not always meet reality. Tricorne will definately be getting more play with longer scenarios to come.