One is better than two ... (or
took part in the Saratoga tournament featuring GMT's American
Revolution Series. All rounds were single elimination and used
vp bids to determine sides. (It is recommended that future bids
be in Army Morale Points rather than victory points.)
The opening round was the "Knyphausen's Feint" scenario
from Brandywine. The following deployment sequence was
1. Both sides placed units with designated starting hexes.
2. British set up remaining artillery.
3. Americans set up remaining artillery.
4. British set up the rest of their forces.
5. Americans set up the rest of their forces.
The American side was allowed two additional units not included
in the original scenario manifest. The Rhode Island and Continental
artillery, each in their printed set up hexes.
The modified scenario proved well balanced and it is recommended
that players consider making this deployment sequence and these
additional units a permanent part of their scenario rules.
The British won five games and the American's four. Two players
bid "1" to be the British and prevailed. One player
bid "1/2" to be the British and lost. One player bid
"1 " to be the Americans and won. Another player bid
"1" to be the Americans and lost. All other sides
were mutually agreed upon or drawn at random.
The second round was the "Howe's Flank Attack" scenario,
also from Brandywine. The British players won all three
games played. There was one substantial and two marginal victories
and all three British players bid "1" or "2"
vps to play that side.
semi-final was Saratoga, flagship game of the series. Hank Burkhalter's
British faced off with John Vasilakos' Americans. Play was modified
according to the following rules:
Fog rules were used. As it happened, the conditions were "moderate
fog" on turn 1 and "clear" on turn 2.
A tournament rule called the Middle Branch Ford Rule was in
play. "Starting on turn 8, the American player may subtract
1 from the Gates Release die roll during any turn in which the
British player does not control hex 1011. Control is defined
as occupying or being the last to pass through, regardless of
enemy zoc." Hex 1011 is the 'at-start' hex for Morgan and
Dearborn. This rule was offered to compel the British player
to press the attack beyond Freeman's Farm.
The game was a real tense affair with the British seeming
to have a slight advantage for 2/3 of the contest. John V's
Americans executed a modified "Ruhnke Gambit" by occupying
the woods in a central position above the Middle Branch to threaten
either the farm or the British baggage on turn 6. This maneuver
halted a British flank march with light units around the American
left, as all British units had to respond. There was engagement
all along the center line and in the end, an American Marginal
Victory (5 points to 2 points.)
Despite the enhanced die roll, Gates was never released (and
remained true to his historical persona.)
The Final was the full campaign of Brandywine. It lasted
eight hours, was fought between John Vasilakos' British and Mark
Miklos' Americans, and was played on the big 6' x 4' Demo Game
set shown above. John had bid "1" vps for the British
The British were moving in the bottom half of turn 7. Howe
and Cornwallis had entered the game, there had been skirmishing
at Brinton's ford, and a few sizeable British units had crossed
the creek at Rocky Hill. The Americans, however, were intact
and well formed all along their front, including at the Birmingham
A British artillery shot drove off the supporting infantry
from under the American battery in the breastwork at Brinton's
Ford. It became demoralized and the Army Morale differential
now sat at 15 British 14 (Fatigued) American. Sullivan
neglected to withdraw with the demoralized infantry and instead
stayed behind with the unsupported New York artillery.
What John did next was masterful. He had held on to the British
"at-start" momentum throughout the game, despite suffering
several step losses in combat to that point. Now he spent that
momentum chit to gain +2 to his initiative die roll for Turn
8. His High Morale status gained him another +1. Mark's fatigued
Americans added zero to their die roll.
The gamble paid off. John's
British got the initiative and with it the backto-back move.
They attacked all along the line, from the Meetinghouse at one
end to the fords of the Brandywine at the other. His first assault,
of course, was at Brinton's Ford where he overran the unsupported
American guns and captured Sullivan to boot. This caused a double
+1/-1 morale shift and left the forces with Army Morale of 17
British and 12 American.
Those who know the system well know that this was the game.
The Americans could never recover that much morale and the rest
of play was for honor only. In the end. the American lines never
broke and neither the Meetinghouse nor Proctor's Battery fell,
but American Army Morale was driven to zero by the end of Turn
10 giving the British a substantial victory and John Vasilakos
his first WBC Saratoga championship.