Rebels and Redcoats, Volume I
Available from Decision Games
Rebels and Redcoats, Volume I is a re-creation of battles of the American Revolution. Along with its companion Volume II, that covers actions from Bunker Hill to Etaw Springs. This incarnation contains the battles of Bunker Hill, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth. The second volume covers Saratoga (both battles), Bennington, Camden, Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse, Hobkirk”s Hill and Etaw Springs. However, Bunker Hill is the ideal introductory scenario in which to become familiar with the system.
Game scale is approximately regiment size for the American forces and Battalion size for the British, although some compromises have been made to include smaller units in the counter mix. Each hex represents 200 to 300 meters and each strength point represents between 50 and 100 men. Each game turn is equivalent to 30 minutes.
The system is based on Line of Communication and Command Control. Units out of command control may not advance on an enemy and engage him in combat, but may defend normally. Command Control is exerted on units within a certain number of hexes, as specified by the leader’s control number. Lines of Communication come into play during retreats and after combat. The concept of force march is incorporated to get units from place to place quickly. Force march increases the infantry movement allowance from four to six, however, this comes at a cost of not being able to enter an enemy ZOC and institute combat.
Combat is executed by artillery bombardment and close assault. All units exert a Zone of Control in the six hexes surrounding their own, when an enemy unit enters that zone combat must take place. Combat is resolved by comparing total attack strength versus total defense strength. This is compiled as odds, taking into account terrain and executed by the roll of a ten-sided die. Any result causing a casualty or a retreat prompt a morale check being made, which can end with the unit becoming disrupted as well. Stacking is permitted with a total of 12 strength points “stacked” in a single hex, this does not give you 12 points to fight with, and you are limited to a maximum of 8 SPs to conduct assaults. Disrupted units strength counts double for stacking limits within a hex denoting that a disrupted unit will take up more space as its troops are milling around in the space.
Another unique feature of this system is the concept of disintegration. As units are removed from play either through combat elimination or disruption, the army begins to fall apart. If the army sustains sufficient losses to completely disintegrate, the other player scores a Decisive Victory. Not all scenarios utilize the disintegration level and those scenarios have specific victory conditions spelled out in their special rules.
The individual map sheets depict the actual terrain where the action was fought. They are overlaid with a hexagonal grid to facilitate movement and combat. The game plays smoothly and fairly quickly. For anyone familiar with war games, the system is a bit different, but easily learnable.
Warfare in the late eighteenth century usually found two opponents facing each other at 50 yards and pouring tons of fire into each other’s formations, this was the European way of conducting a battle. When the British came to quell the “Uprising” in the colonies, they expected to fight this type of war. Apparently the lessons learned in the French and Indian War did not sink in. The subject is very much in need of more attention and this game is very playable. I recommend it to anyone interested in the revolution and anyone simply interested in late eighteenth century warfare.