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"Battle of New Orleans as a wargame?" Topic

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23rdFusilier Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 5:54 a.m. PST

Just finnished reading "British at the Gates" again for the second time. An excellent read, but it got me thinking. Can you make a good or interesting game out of the Battle for New Orleans? Specifically the frontal attack against line Jackson?

Curious what you think, or if you have fought this on the table top. There is an incredible array of color troops but is the Battle just too one sided?

Personal logo brass1 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 6:39 a.m. PST

Probably not. On the other hand, Jackson's night attack on Dec 23 makes a fun game if you can reproduce all of the stumbling around in the dark and Pakenham's reconnaissance in force on Dec 28 could be interesting, although you would have to tweak the scenario to keep the British from knowing everything about Jackson's position before the attack.

You could mix and match a couple of what-ifs if you really want to do the main battle: 1. no artillery duel on Jan 1, giving Pakenham all of his guns for the attack, although the ground was just as bad and I'm not sure the British guns would be particularly effective; 2. the 44th steps off on time although, once again, I'm not sure this would have any major effect; 3. Thornton's attack at Algiers arrives at on time at the right place and he captures Patterson's guns, which could have had a major effect on the outcome; 4. anything else you can think of.


marshalGreg28 Jul 2017 6:47 a.m. PST

At TSS we played this battle run by Ron O.
He made the objects appropriate for the situation.
There was also a ladder rule in play which made for some laughs.
Yes the frontal attack can be tough!
I think in some 3 games played the Brits won one. Not the one I was in though, but we did come close.

Hopefully he will chime in soon.


Tom Reed Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 6:47 a.m. PST

Many years ago my good friend Greg Novak ran that very scenario. I think he used Volley and Bayonet but I might be wrong on that. It turned out to be quite fun.

advocate28 Jul 2017 7:45 a.m. PST

Brass1, your ideas suggest to me that it would be best played as a campaign, or at least an operational game, in some way before figures end up on the table. I've often thought that many historical replays should have a 'pre-game' where some of the what-ifs are resolved before the actual battle. Isandlwhana is anther example of a game that's not very much fun for the British if you start the game at 10.00 or 11.00 on the 22nd January. Start it a day or two before and it becomes a whole different ball game.

marshalGreg28 Jul 2017 8:10 a.m. PST

@ Advocate
All my convention games are now played with such a format.
It to me as GM makes for a much interesting situation and thus fun to run!
I have had many players say the same as regards to "this is has become a VERY Interesting Game"!
That would be how I would run it.
The Ron O game had some of that set in his scenario.


Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 8:12 a.m. PST

+1 for brass 1's suggestion of the Night Battle. I played it in 15mm and now I plan to play it in 54mm.
Question: are there any equivalent actions in the Peninsula that one can compare to the frontal attack on Jackson's line? There were lot of bloody siege assaults that were successful, though IIRC, some were very near run things.

Rich Bliss28 Jul 2017 10:16 a.m. PST

It can be done, but, in my opinion, it looks better than it plays.

Corporal Fagen28 Jul 2017 11:28 a.m. PST

@Nick Stern
What figures would you use for 54mm?

leidang28 Jul 2017 12:12 p.m. PST

You will need a gator, cannonballs, and powder to do it right.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 4:53 p.m. PST

Yeah, I hate to say it, but attacks on a fortified position tend to be more colorful than fun as wargames. Bunker Hill and Ticonderoga (Fort Carillion?) are pretty much the same way. There just aren't enough decisions. Brass is right about the options, but I'd add that the fewer decisions the gamers make, the faster the resolution needs to be.

Night actions solve that problem, but you need an umpire, and you lose a lot of the spectacle. Leaves me back with Bladensburg and Guilford Courthouse, I'm afraid.

RudyNelson28 Jul 2017 7:48 p.m. PST

There are plenty options for a low level tactical combat levels using small troop numbers. Several have been mentioned here but there are more actions than the main one.

If you are talking about a board game then it would be more difficult. The straight up final action can be done easily. Other options at a higher level would include the Ala-Miss-Fl coastal region as well. The use of blocks would provide the unknown troop forces associated with the campaign.

Peter Lowitt29 Jul 2017 6:55 a.m. PST

I have run both New Orleans Nd the night battle three times each using 28 mm and carnage and glory 2 rules. After adjusting victory conditions to give the British a fighting chance the American forces still won 2 of 3 games, their only loss occurred when the rockets hit Coffees Tennessee boys and they bolted from the field.
The night battles were much closer and more evenly matched. I used hidden movement randomized for direction and causing the mounted infantry to dismount. The games split with both US and British minor and pyrite victories.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2017 10:25 a.m. PST

@Corporal Fagan
British 95th Rifles and Light Infantry are easy to find in both plastic and painted metal. W. Britain's Americana collection, though OOP, has figures for the Choctaw Indians and 93rd Highlanders in trousers that you can find on eBay. Britains also has a Lafitte pirate cannon and crew. has the best prices. For the US forces, Barzso made both sides of the Battle of New Orleans in resin and plastic, including a British rocket crew. Again, check eBay. Oh, and I will use a PlayMobil boat for the Carolina.

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