Saturday, February 3, 2018

"Battle in America: wargaming the Revolutionary War"

   "Battle in America: Wargaming the Revolutionary War"  is part of the Paper soldier series of books published by Helion and Company.   Soldiers are drawn by Peter Dennis and rules are by Andy Callan. I am especially interested in this set as the American Rev War is my favorite period for gaming.  In addition Andy Callan wrote Loose Files and American Scramble which are my favorite rules for the Rev War. So I was interested in this booklet and very curious about the rules.  Are they a updated version of his rules with improvement?  For those who are interested in picking this booklet up here is my review.

   Introductory material and tactical notes in "Battle in America" take up two pages of the book. a very nice introduction to the period and gaming it.  A guide is presented for choosing armies using cards and dice.  Americans should enjoy a 3:2 advantage in numbers, but dice rolls favor the British in giving them better units. Quality over quantity in theory.

   The rules take up five pages of the book. Infantry regiments have five to eight stands; cavalry, detachments and artillery are represented by fewer figures or stands. Units accumulate disruption points (DP) throughout the game. The turn sequence is firing, movement, close combat, then reaction/rallying and morale checks.  Firing and combat are calculated on a stand basis; movement is determined by the drawing of cards. The cards' colors and types determine what units can or can't do during movement. There are some command and control rules.  There is A two-page playsheet, and three scenarios ("Capture the Heights", "Winter Solders 1776", and "Long, Obstinate and Bloody 1781") To Get You Started. Always nice To have A senerio or two Included.   There are outstanding paper soldiers to start you gaming.  Very nicely done too!  In addtion you get three buildings.  Outstanding value and really useful.

   I'm a big Andy Callan fan and have played Loose Files since it first appeared.  So I was excited to get this booklet as I wanted to see if they had improved Loose Files or clarified them.   I was sadly disappointed.  It appears these are an attempt to change things that deliver unnecessary complication without adding anything to the original set. These include a blunder-type rule and command and control rules. Also, numbers count for more than class, which is a incredibly big change from the original.    When you consider the number of troop classes has dropped from five to three then no longer is quality better then quantity.  One thing I liked in the original rules was better quality regimenrs could take more punishment, regroup remove DP's and come back for more.  I do not expect this to happen here.   Don't expect your outnumbered regulars to last long.

The paper buildings are outstanding and very useful.  I will most definitely be using them in my games. Worth the price of the booklet alone.


  1. Shame, we always had so much fun with loose files. Looking forward to playing some more AWI.

  2. AJ, I will be putting on a Loose Files game for game night. I will let you know ahead of time. Thank you!

    And Go Patriots!

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed Loose Files and I think you make some fair comments about the re-worked rules in the paperboys book. In my defence, I would say that these books are aimed at a different (non-harcore wargamer) market, so (30 years on) I tried to make the Loose Files mechanisms a bit more fun and user friendly. I was particularly nervous about making the Brits too superior for an American market but maybe I went too far and got the balance wrong. If it ain't bust, don't fix it...
    Best wishes
    Andy Callan