I discovered C&C Tricorne pretty recently, playing Bunker Hill on Independence Day. I am a big fan of Commands & Colors system, and love to explore new titles within the series. What fascinates me, is how Richard Borg is able to reflect particular epoch or war using well known mechanics but still doing a tweak or two to the rules, and significantly changing the game dynamics.
In Tricorne it is of course the additional flag on the die and the Rally mechanics. You need to be watchful of those morale checks, as even full-strength unit with leader can flee the battlefield! It happened to us twice recently!
Currently I am playing with my regular wargames buddy, Marcin (stormwalker) – he leads the British and I am in charge of Continental side. How it goes? Well, let us just say, the revolution will need some support should it aim to achieve its goals – so far, I lost 3 out of 4 engagements. How it happened will be depicted below, with short historical background (based on rulebook) and then the graphical depiction. Enjoy!
003 Freeman’s Farm (19 September 1777)
The British campaign plan was to send General Burgoyne from Canada, down the Hudson River and General Clinton, up the Hudson River to capture Albany, which would spell the end of the American resistance in the Hudson River valley. Burgoyne’s march south was more difficult than expected giving the Continentals time to set up a defensive position on Bemis Heights. On the morning of the 19th, Burgoyne was within a few miles of the heights and ordered the army to advance. Fraser would turn the American left flank by negotiating the heavily wooded high ground north and west of Bemis Heights while Hamilton would make a frontal attack on the heights. Arnold realized such a flanking maneuver was likely, and petitioned Gates for permission to move his forces forward from the heights to meet this potential flanking movement. Gates permitted Arnold a reconnaissance force, which met the British advance near Freeman’s Farm. The battle went through phases alternating between intense fighting and breaks in the action.
It finally turned in favor of the British, when Riedesel and the German troops arrived and threatened to turn the Continentals flank. But as darkness began to set in, the Continentals retired back to their defenses, leaving the British on the field.
- Both sides have pretty large forces on the map, with British holding the advantage in the artillery and number of leaders
- We start with mutual exchange of range fire, with my forces getting one British regular off the map
- And then the whole games starts to move much quicker; I am attacking in the center using At The Quick Step; unfortunately, I am losing two units in a process, dispatching only one
- Another Bayonet Attack, and another exchange of causalities; the game turns to series of individual skirmishes, with me rampaging on British right and Marcin moving forward on his left.
- In last two turns I finally manage do rout very stubborn militia near McBride Farm as well as shoot to death one regular; victory! Continental 7 – British 5.
001 Bemis Heights (7 October 1777)
After the battle of Freeman’s farm, Burgoyne, running low on men and food, was still in a very difficult position, but decided to wait in the hope that Clinton would arrive to join his army. While in the Continental camp resentment between Horatio Gates and Benedict Arnold finally exploded into open hostility. Arnold asked for a transfer to Washington’s command, which Gates granted, but instead of leaving he remained in camp. In early October, Burgoyne decided to again reconnoiter the American left flank sending Fraser’s Advanced Corps forward to see if an attack was possible.
Fraser advanced about three quarters of a mile to a rise above Mill Brook, where he stopped to observe the American position. When Continental scouts brought news of Burgoyne’s movement to Gates, he immediately ordered Morgan and Poor’s command to engage the enemy supported by Broeck’s large militia brigade. The British force broke and retreated back toward their entrenchments, when Fraser was mortally wounded.
Key actions of the game:
- My continental forces quickly formed a line and then a disaster struck – Leader Check 2 dice and Broeck (just moved forward) is dead.
- My Line Volley manages to seriously disrupt British formation; still, in a moment one of my Regulars receives a devastating shot from Grenadier supported by leader and is not able to pass the morale check.
- What a day, what a calamity – another Leader Check 2 dice and another casualty – this time Learned. 3-0 for British (Marcin) and I am utterly shocked!
- The rest of game is me trying to get any points but all in vain; even well planned counter-attack on advancing British ends in disastrous battle back. This time defeat. Continental 0 – British 6.
004 Bemis Heights – British Redoubts (7 October 1777)
After Fraser was mortally wounded, the British retreated back to their camp. Arnold hearing of the Continental success rode out to join in the pursuit. The British had set up two redoubts near their camp, one was defended by Heinrich von Breymann, while the other was under the command of Lord Balcarres. Poor’s Continental soldiers attacked the Balcarres redoubt and Learned attacked the Breymann redoubt, while Arnold led a charge through the gap between the redoubts. Arnold’s horse was hit and the falling horse broke Arnold’s leg. What followed was a furious battle where both redoubts were taken, which forced Burgoyne to withdraw his army to Saratoga.
Key actions of the game:
- After calamitous beginning of the Bemis Heights battle (completely a-historical :)) I was yearning for revenge. There was more of my troops, statistics were showing Continental advantage so what could possibly go wrong?
- The answer was: a lot! Just as I formed a line and started shooting at enemy I got another Leader Check 2 dice which killed my general! Third such situation on our Bemish Heights game!
- I decided – having good cards – to attack on my right the British redoubt; well, that also did not go so well, with 3 of my and 1 of Marcin’s units routed.
- My leaderless left wing tried to inflict as many British causalities as possible but had to succumb to quality superior enemy.
- Yet one more defeat for my side – I really missed those leaders early killed in both scenarios. Continental 1 – British 5
We are 4 games through – we try to play in more or less chronological order. Below short summary of our campaign:
So far, the revolution is developing slowly, with some early setbacks. Still, I have confidence the tide will turn! See you in another session report!