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"Is this enough to game the AWI?" Topic

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Au pas de Charge05 Oct 2021 2:02 p.m. PST

AWI isn't my focus but I've been accumulating units for a while.

The French units are huge 36-40 figures. All the rest of the militia/line/grens/light units are 24 figures, while the rifles/jaegers/indians are 12 figures. I've managed to scrape together:


2nr line regiments

2nr grenadier regiments

1nr Light regiment

2nr Hessian jaeger

1nr Queens Rangers

Lots and Lots of light dragoons (24)

1nr battery of artillery


3nr Militia

3nr Continental

1nr Rifle

Light dragoons (12)

2nr batteries artillery


5nr line units

1nr battery artillery

I have larger Napoleonic/ACW and WW2 collections so this does seem smallish to me. However, I wanted to as AWI enthusiasts if this enough for a solo endeavor or is there some proportion that is glaringly off.

I realize it isn't the best planned AWI collection but given that most of the popular rules sets are very low casualties, I was hoping this was enough for puttering around occasionally and enough to keep it interesting in terms of scenarios.

Maybe the more experienced gamers can weigh in on how many units make for their most enjoyable games.

cavcrazy05 Oct 2021 2:25 p.m. PST

It seems fine to me. All of my British, Hessian, and French units are 24 man. Continental troops are 16, my dragoons are all 8 man units. Rifles are 8 man, and I have 4 men per gun.

John the OFM05 Oct 2021 2:25 p.m. PST

You certainly have the Americans outnumbered, both in quality and quantity, but it's a good start. Build up your American strength.
I suggest that you get a few good scenario books. I have all of the British Grenadier books, and they're great, even if I don't use their rules.
I've heard good things about the Black Powder scenario book, but haven't seen it.

Start out, first battle, with all of your Americans, with combined British and Hessians at about 2/3 of that strength. Small cavalry units.
French and Americans operated together rarely.
Have fun. Blame the dice.

cavcrazy05 Oct 2021 2:28 p.m. PST

Oh yeah, my Indians are 12 man units, and my officers are single based. I have 20 Continental units. 8 British, 8 Hessian, and 5 French. Half of my Continental army is militia

Old Contemptible05 Oct 2021 2:39 p.m. PST

At first glance you have too many dragoons. Not sure what "nr" stands for. For a small fun game, made up scenario you have enough. But don't do any more French for now. I have been playing AWI for years and have not needed any French yet. Instead of French work on German battalions starting with the Hessians.

It really depends on your goals. Do you want to do historical scenarios? Then paint units for those scenarios. Do you just want two balance sides and play made up scenarios? Do you have a set of rules yet?

Do you have scenario books or do the research to write your own or a combination of both? Most historical scenarios are going to require more units than you have. But there were plenty of small actions that did not make it into modern scenario books. Do some reading on the conflict and then pick your rules before you paint anything else.

These are good places to start.

TMP link

and this next,

TMP link

and this,


and this,

FusilierDan Supporting Member of TMP05 Oct 2021 3:09 p.m. PST

Enough for a Savanah, GA scenario or what ifs in Rhode Island or the Hudson Valley.

Au pas de Charge05 Oct 2021 5:09 p.m. PST

You certainly have the Americans outnumbered, both in quality and quantity, but it's a good start. Build up your American strength.

That's good advice.

I suggest that you get a few good scenario books. I have all of the British Grenadier books, and they're great, even if I don't use their rules.
I've heard good things about the Black Powder scenario book, but haven't seen it.

I have them all but most of the scenarios seem to use a lot more units than I have which is part of asking how to game with my little collection.

At first glance you have too many dragoons. Not sure what "nr" stands for.
nr stands for "number"

I did get a little crazy with the light dragoons and French. I did them first and my only reference were Napoleonic units. As I did more hobby research I scaled everything down.

I'll check out those links.

Oh yeah, my Indians are 12 man units,

I have a unit of 12 Indians too!

John the OFM05 Oct 2021 5:37 p.m. PST

Your units are 24-36 figures.
Cut them in half, and you have doubled the number of regiments.

I used to joke, like a soap opera introducing a new actor to play the same part, "In tonight's production, the part of the 4th Massachusetts will be played by those guys in hunting shirts. Try the veal and tip your waitresses."
That evolved into "They are who I say they are."

And, play the rules you like. If you find a set of rules where your basing is incompatible with what you have, don't worry. You have both sides based identically! It evens out.

Have fun. Blame the dice.

doc mcb05 Oct 2021 5:50 p.m. PST

I've been enjoying the AWI variant of Regimental Fire and Fury. Their website (under "variants") has scenarios for half a dozen battles, including Cowpens and Guilford, which I have played. You should give it a look. I also like the LOOSE FILES AND AMERICAN SCRAMBLE rules.

The French are beautiful but I have none and have never needed them. Otoh I do not hesitate to use "ringers" for troops I do not own. There is so much variety in uniforms that substituting seems almost essential.

doc mcb05 Oct 2021 5:53 p.m. PST

How are you basing? There are some awesome skirmish scenario books for SHARPE'S rules, 1:1 scale. A chance to use all of those dragoons.

Au pas de Charge05 Oct 2021 6:55 p.m. PST


I was thinking of loose files too. Do I need the command points mapping boards?

I have Regimental Fire and Fury so I'll look at AWI variant.

My stands are mostly 6 figures to a base and for the jaegers/rifles/Indians 3 figures to a base. The dragoons are all 2 figures to a base.

I hadnt thought of cutting the units in half, maybe there's something there.

John, I always blame the dice. Always have, always will ;).

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2021 5:06 a.m. PST

That's certainly enough figures for a decent game. I generally find it helpful to run a few historical orders of battle to see who showed up, and in what proportions. A lot depends on the battles and types of battles which interest you.

The French generally show up in sieges, which might suggest a bit more artillery--and possibly a unit of Continental light infantry, who were commonly used as assault troops. For the southern field battles, you might want to have enough cavalry to cover both flanks.

But go out and play some games. The poor fellows have been in boxes long enough.

doc mcb06 Oct 2021 5:56 a.m. PST

Both F&F and LOOSE FILES need markers for states of organization and ammo etc that change pretty often. I've enjoyed using a lot of odd figs to show various states. I don't think you need a roster or board.

Bill N06 Oct 2021 6:47 a.m. PST

I think the standard answer to the question "How many units make for the most enjoyable game?" is always "More than I have". The great thing about AWI though is that relatively important actions were fought by fewer than 10,000 men. In some instances it was 3,000 men or less. There is also the potential for skirmishing actions, although my take is that works better with single rather than multi-figure bases.

I think you have more than enough figures to start. At some point you will probably want to increase the number of your British and Continental regular regiments, and IMO you can never have enough militia. (Remember there was also militia on the British side.) Unless you have specific campaigns in mind I would say start with what you have and then let your experience tell you what you need to expand.

The problem with French (and Spanish) troops is that they were not involved in that many open field actions, the kind most of us like to wargame. There is the potential for island raiding in the West Indies and fantasy scenarios. They are definitely worth keeping, but you might want to hold off on expanding them at this time. The element that seems to be missing, aside from the jaegers is German troops. Regular German regiments served from Canada to Florida. My AWI wargame collection does not include any Hessians so far, but they are on the list for the next level of expansion.

Dave Gamer06 Oct 2021 8:06 a.m. PST

Brent Oman (author of the "Piquet: Field of Battle" rules) once commented that (in his opinion) 12 units per side is the ideal, so he always works to paint up that number first, and then adds more (if needed) after that. I actually think that's about right, although if having multiple players on each side I'd think 4-6 units per player is good.

Interesting point: Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames uses only 6 units per side (or was it 8?) and his Wargaming 19th Century Europe rules use 10 units per side.

I'm not an AWI expert, but I'd probably add maybe 2 Continental and 1 more Militia to the US (or maybe replace one of those with another Light Dragoon – cavalry is fun and looks good on the tabletop). For British add another line unit and maybe 2 Tory militia types and you should be good for pick up games. Note that all of this is based on just getting figures on the table and play a game that looks and feels like an AWI game. If you want to do historical scenarios then all bets are off (I don't usually do historical scenarios, I may use the table terrain set up [more or less] from a scenario and then just put what forces I have down and let them have at it (victory conditions are always to drive your opponent from the table).

historygamer06 Oct 2021 9:06 a.m. PST

The question really depends on the rules and level of your game. I suggest finding a good rules set you like, then building your forces based on them.

Note that some of these units mentioned didn't really serve with each other. Your game, your mix.

Virginia Tory06 Oct 2021 9:36 a.m. PST

What HG and John the OFM said--scenario books are a really good place to start. Some battles had very odd OOBs, some more common.

Au pas de Charge06 Oct 2021 11:35 a.m. PST

I doubt if I'll be faithfully refighting any historical battles. In order for me to get my money's worth, the French will have to put in more counterfactual appearances. I will probably bathtub scenarios from the books mentioned above. I might also do some FIW scenarios.

I built the collection without a rule set in mind but I like the Loose Files idea. I need a simple set for something that will get gamed only a couple times a year. I am more interested in a taste of the period rather than a full meal.

I like Oman's approach to what is "fun" to game rather than what actually recreates a given battle.

I will certainly do more Americans (both continentals and militia), maybe a couple more British line and a Hessian grenadier unit.

Bandolier06 Oct 2021 12:34 p.m. PST

I have over 1000 painted AWI 28mm figures but have no French.
I use standard units of 16 figures (4 per base) and Hessian units of 20 figures.
Loose Files is a good choice. I have used Der Alte Fritz AWI rules for years and they are excellent for multiplayer games.


DeRuyter08 Oct 2021 7:22 a.m. PST

I might add that you certainly have more than enough for skirmish games or games at company level. For example TFL Sharpe Practice or Muskets & Tomahawks. The Perfect Captain had a free set of small action rules called John Bull/Patriots as well. I like Patriots & Loyalists as well. As others have mentioned you can cut the size of the units as well.

GROSSMAN08 Oct 2021 8:04 a.m. PST

Seems plenty to me as most AWI were small affairs.
Check out Guns of Liberty, excellent rules for smaller to mid size battles. A third edition is on the press.

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