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Land of the Free: Wargames Rules for North America 1754-1815» Forums » Reviews

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Pat Collins
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I was quite excited when I saw this arrive at Games Plus. I have a great interest in this time period, so I was quite eager to get it and try it out.

The good.

The author has a website, and answers Qs very quickly. Excellent support. Even if its not needed, its nice to have it

Pretty pictures - Osprey does a great job of leveraging and advertising their series with this rule set. Illustrations are inspiring and well done.

Scenarios - They give you quite a few! 4 from the French and Indian War; 7 from the American Revolution, 7 from the War of 1812 and two from Indian wars in the Old Northwest.

You also get a system for creating your own scenario, as well as a points system for building your forces. The book has a lot of explanation for novices, which I think is good, but others might find a bit boring.

There is a lot that will disorient the experienced gamer. One item being scale! There is no set ground scale, which is a little odd, but also very practical for many cases. Units move 3", 6" 9" or 12" depending if they are INF or CAV, and if they are charging or not. That's it, really. The rules do not say so, but I would expect you could move less than those, if you want.

The book does have recommended base sizes, INF on 40x30 mm base, CAV on 40x60mm, ARTY on 40x40mm, Subordinate Commanders 40mm round, Overall commander 50mm round. That is for 10-15mm (and I guess 2, 3 and 6 mm too!) 25 - 40 mm a bit larger.


What is very unique, and quite cool are "orders". The game organizes units into "elements" (much like FoG's "Battle groups") of several stands, with a leader. Quite confusingly, the leaders are "group" or "force", I would suggest you make your life easier and call them "brigade" and "overall"

When an element is activated, each stand in the unit has a number of maneuver and combat orders. A unit can do as many of those items as it has orders. Move orders are things like move back, move forward, move in column, move in a charge. But its also things like change formation, reload, remove disorder markers, and store an action.

This is the really unique and I feel "realistic" part of the rules.

Units often became disordered, and took some time to become combat effective. The more bad things that happened to the unit, the more difficult getting set again was. This simulates this process very well, I think.

Storing an action lets you counter charge, which you will often want to do.

Combat orders are fire a volley, fight in melee (this is after you charge to contact) and you can store a combat action. This lets you do a snap fire (think opportunity fire for you boardgamers ) if a unit wanders into your firing zone.

Unit size and training doesn't really impact the number of orders a unit can have, those things impact morale and discipline, which means how much punishment it can take in combat, and how well it stands up to that punishment.

Units morale have 4 levels. Fit, shaken, exhausted, shattered. The latter is removed from the table. Exhausted units can't charge, can not move closer to an enemy, and have negative modifiers on morale and fighting. Shaken units must pass a morale test to charge, but lose a combat order.

Commanders have command points, which they can use to give units even more actions than they have normally, but at a risk. He can give them special orders, or rally the units. Some of these require the commander to be in contact with the units.

In general, commanders need to be within command range of their units, but the range is so large (12") that this will be an issue only in larger games, or, if a unit breaks, and the commander decides to try to rally it.

The book very desperately needs a decent QRS, I will try to make one. The organization of the material really could have used some improvement. Which is unfortunate, as the rules are really quite good.

When you play, you will see units slowly (usually!) degrade in effectiveness. Pausing to reload, store a counter charge order will slow you, and you will want to consider what actions units take. As the game progresses, your commanders won't have enough orders to rally, encourage units, or control them. I think this game will really reward the commander who has a fresh reserve at a key point.

I very definitely encourage a small game for the first playing or two, to get used to how different this rule set is.


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todd mewborn
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How many figures would you need for a descent sized scenario?
 
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Pat Collins
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tmewborn wrote:
How many figures would you need for a descent sized scenario?


Depends on how many figures you like per stand!

Cowpens is a small battle.

The Brits have:

2 medium Cav elements;

2 small Cav elements;

Two small ARTY elements;
1 large INF element;

1 medium INF element;
1 large INF element;

3 small INF elements;

Total is 5, each with a leader, and an overall leader (The Green Dragoon himself!)

Small elements should be 1-3 stands,
Medium elements 3-6 stands;
Large elements 5-7 stands.

Adding it all together the British force is a total of:

24 stand, using the minimum. How many per stand is up to your taste, it's not pertinent to the rules.

Brandywine is of course much larger battle, the British forces there are

36 large INF elements, 2 large CAV elements, 4 medium ARTY elements.

That's 210 stands total, for only the British. Of course, that is both wings, so it's the whole force.
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