Sunday, August 12, 2018

Montcalm & Wolfe: Capitulation!

Battle of Oswegatchie from Gridded Wargames
With the severe mauling of the French at the battle of Oswegatchie and the death of Rigaud from wounds suffered during the battle, the remnants of Rigaud's force retreat into the woods.  Unfortunately, the militia having sustained heavy casualties have had enough and disband.  For details on this hot engagement, please visit Peter's Gridded Wargames, FIW Campaign Game 20

Still reeling from the heavy losses at Oswegatchie, the French choose to roll on the Command Table to set their forces into motion.  The result?  No French activations!  A band of Algonquin join the French cause and move to join the retreating Regulars from Oswegatchie but no French forces respond.  The loss of Rigaud and Oswegatchie must have been a hard blow for the French.  A hasty retreat back to Montreal seems the only option for the defeated survivors of Rigaud's force.  
Heavy French losses at Oswegatchie
June 1759
The loss of any French activations provides the British with a chance to take a double move.  The British could play it safely and opt for a guaranteed single activation or choose to roll on the Command Table.  The British choose the latter and roll three activations for June.
British maneuvers in June
With those three activations, Monckton, Abercrombie, and two Regular regiments depart Fort Carillon and march on Fort Isle aux Noix; one Regular regiment marches to Fort Presque Isle to join Braddock; and Loudoun and his victorious force embark in bateaux and travel upriver to Montreal.  Loudoun finds Montreal without a significant military garrison and Montreal surrenders without much resistance.  The French are in trouble!

With Braddock threatening Fort Niagara in the west, Amherst blocking any attempts to gain access to the Mohawk Valley at Fort Stanwix, Fort Isle aux Noix under threat, and both Quebec and Montreal under British control, the French government sees the writing on the wall and seeks terms of surrender.  Of course, the British accept.  The war is over.

Well!  This campaign game has yielded much more enjoyment and many more interesting battles than I imagined when first conceived back in February.  In February, I never expected the campaign to command six months activity.  In that time, Peter has fought 20 battles on his gridded gaming table while the operational situations were conjured up by me using Rob Markham's DTP game, Montcalm & Wolfe.  While I became very familiar with Markham's operational design, Peter honed his own gridded, tactical rules.  I enjoyed seeing Peter's rules evolve over the course of the campaign.  Seeing his troops battle it out on the table was always a joy.   

What began as a response to Peter's desire for campaign context for his gridded battles, this Montcalm & Wolfe campaign blossomed to develop an interesting and captivating narrative punctuated by Peter's tabletop battles.  While the campaign would draw up the forces and location for each battle, Peter crafted the terrain and tactical situation to reflect the context of the campaign.  Sometimes the battle outcome was expected; sometimes it was not.

Montcalm & Wolfe presents difficult challenges for the campaigner.  Due the nature of the terrain and harsh attrition rules, movement is channeled through only a few corridors protected by forts within one month's march.  Those few corridors such as the Mohawk and Hudson Valley drainages saw much action during the campaign.  How many times were battles fought over Forts William-Henry, Stanwix, or Oswego?  Many!  Those landscapes became quite familiar territory to the follower of this campaign as the reader was treated to Peter's tabletop renditions of the terrain. 

The French have a difficult time in Montcalm & Wolfe.  A war of attrition cannot be won with the uneven reinforcement schedule.  To do well, the French must strike early and often before British troops begin pouring into America.  When the balance of power changes, the French must adapt quickly.  Having played through one complete campaign game, I have a very good feel for the play and design of Markham's game.  Perhaps a review and thoughts on the game, itself, will follow at a later time?  

Until then, tremendous thanks go out to Peter for diligently tackling every battle thrown up against him.  His battle resolution gave an extra dimension to the game and added tension as I awaited publication of each battle's outcome.  Twenty games played out on the table for a campaign is a feat not easily duplicated.  Peter, I hope you enjoyed this experiment as much as I.  Chapeau to you!     

28 comments:

  1. Those final 3 activation to none would have been worth an extra regiment or two under mid game circumstances, but at this point of play, when the tipping point had passed, it was a crippling loss of initiative for the French,

    Thanks to both Peter and your good Self for all the work that has gone into presenting an entertaining campaign.

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    1. Yes, the French made a mistake in not garrisoning Montreal. I did not count on Oswegatchie falling so easily and decisively. Once the defenders had scattered, there was no settlement or fort to protect Montreal from invaders.

      Glad you followed the campaign to conclusion from both fronts!

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  2. Wow the campaign is over! A big thank you to you Jonathan for initiating this campaign idea and providing the operational moves.
    It has been an incredibly enjoyable collaboration. I thoroughly enjoyed playing the games with the campaign context you provided in your posts. Many thanks, Peter

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    1. This was a good campaign, Peter! Your rapid resolution of each battle left me in awe of your skill and pace. Great job to you! I hope the campaign setting provided added interest to your tabletop battles.

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  3. Great to see Britannia victorious but sad to see this wonderful series of inter linked games come to and end. Well done to both of you.

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    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed this experiment in cooperative gaming.

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  4. It's been coming for a while,I think the French did well to keep it going as long as it did,its very tough for the French,got to strike early and hard or else you have a mountain to climb,a very enjoyable campaign from this end!
    Best Iain

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    1. Yes, this is a tough "ask" for the French and they put up a valiant fight for four years before finally surrendering. Very pleased that you enjoyed the campaign, Iain!

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  5. Thanks to you and Peter both for a very enjoyable series of posts!

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  6. Poor France! ;( This has been wonderfully enjoyable to follow, and I've looked forward to each new update. Well done to all of you!

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    1. I was hoping to see France give the British a run for their money in this campaign but it was not to be. The French did fight the good fight.

      Thanks for sticking with this to the end, Markus!

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  7. Well done to both the players for playing all the way to the conclusion, that took a lot of dedication! Every campaign I’ve ever been in just fizzled out over time.

    Victory for the British and history repeats itself! 😀

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    1. Thank you, Stew!

      Most campaigns I have seen fizzled out over time too. This one saw good fighting until the end. It probably helped that we each were administering our piece of the war solo. When you only have yourself as an opponent, it is hard to quit!

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  8. Replies
    1. A French victory would have been good too!

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  9. I thought for the briefest of moments there was going to be a sting in the French tail...but it was not to be.

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    1. I thought so too, Mark. I thought so too...

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  10. Really enjoyed following these posts. The campaign has been interesting and not without excitement too. Looking forward to future campaigns.

    Cheers, Ross

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    1. Ross, it is very gratifying to read that you enjoyed following the campaign. I may have to consider futures campaign topics.

      Thanks for your interest!

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    2. Excellent overall project, and nice to see an actual conclusion. I think this method for campaigns works great overall as it protects players from the usual fatigue and burn out of one side starting to pull into the lead that we usually see.

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    3. The tag-team approach between operational and tactical worked well especially since we each were conducting business solo.

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    4. That is what I meant. The division of labor works wonderfully for a campaign as neither player has anything invested in one side or the other. Both players can take a game to completion, which is rather satisfying compared to most my previous experiences.

      Anyway, my first few moves with 5th Corps are complete. I just need to clear a SYW game to try the tabletop resolution.

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    5. Looking forward to seeing the results of your 5th Corps work out.

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  11. As a follow up, I set up 5th Corps on a side table in the Den to try a short play through matching map moves to tabletop outcomes. Hopefully I can get the bugs worked out for a more modern campaign try.

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    1. A campaign using SPI’s Central Front series sounds great!

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  12. Congratulations and a big Thank You to you and Peter for sharing this with us. Great stuff!

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    1. Ross! Thank you for tuning in and following the exploits of this campaign game.

      You are very welcome and I am glad you enjoyed it.

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