Battle of Guilford Courthouse
Posted on 02/10/05 @ 01:38 AM (updated 02/28/05
DESIGN: This scenario was designed using RON TaP scenario editor with custom scripting. The zip file is labeled "guilford_courthouse." It's a stand-alone scenario, but the beta for a gaming system I designed for doing field battles for RON scenarios.
IMPORTANT: If you don't want to read the below instructions and game commentary, YOU M U S T READ THESE TWO ITEMS:
1) Note that your Fusiliers, called Lights in the game, are wired together to keyboard commands, so you can control them all together. This will help you scout the enemy over a wide front with units far apart, but all acting together. Simply hit:
"w" for them to advance
"q" for them to move left
"e" for them to move right
"a" for them to withdraw
2) If opposing forces start leaving, they are breaking and running. If opposing forces turn white, they have surrendered and pose no further threat.
SITUATION: After two years of hard campaigning in the Carolinas, on March 15, 1781, Major General Lord Cornwallis, leading about 1900 British troops, was pursuing Major General Nathaniel Greene and his American forces. His intention was to defeat the Americans before the British began the final and ultimately disastrous invasion of Virginia, which culminated in the British capitulation at Yorktown. Greene, leading about 4400 men, suddenly wheeled to give battle, establish his forces in three defensive lines around a town called Guilford. The courthouse for which the battle is named after was located near the third American line.
In this scenario, you are given the role of Cornwallis and must fight your way through superior numbers against an entrenched enemy.
In history, Cornwallis drove the Americans off the field and captured Green's cannon but lost 550 dead and wounded, nearly one-third of his force, casualties that could not be replaced. The Americans lost only 250 men, although the North Carolina militia who left the field did not return to service (and were considered cowardly in the battle to the extent that Greene posted parties to shoot any North Carolina militia who did not give the two volleys required of them--quite unlike Mel Gibson's rewrite of history in THE PATRIOT).
After the battle, Cornwallis led his army into Virginia, a move that ultimately led to his surrender at Yorktown.
This game has significant changes from standard RON play.
Modified range for cannon (longer), modified hit points (lower) and movement for soldiers (lower).
If enemy forces fall below a certain strength, they may either break and start running, or surrender. If they surrender, they will become white (joining the white player, called "non-combatants") and fight no more. This is how you can win against larger American forces, because your superior training and discipline will enable you to take much larger casualties than the Americans, and keep on fighting, while the American units will break or surrender.
At the beginning of the game, you will be offered a choice of information from an informant--the location of an ambush, or the location of Green's main force.
You have Lights (Fusiliers) who are in front of your army and act as skirmishers. Their job is to feel out the enemy defenses before the main body of troops commits. They are all wired together
VICTORY: You must defeat the Americans. This includes in particular Green's main force near the Guilford Courthouse (blue). If you lose too many of your troops, you will be obliged to leave the field and will lose. If you win, your victory will be rated on your casualty rate. If at the end of the game you have:
>100 units (decisive victory)
61-100 units (marginal victory)
<61 units (weak victory)
A decisive victory would be extremely difficult to get.
SCRIPTING NOTES: Scripting this scenario was very hard because the control was of individual units and unit types, rather than entire groups. The scenario editor could only handle so much before it started to freeze, so I had to make some compromises. For example, one of the frustrating things about Napoleonic scenarios is in no time your army is reduced to a mass of raging troops, instead of orderly units, and there is no morale component, meaning your troops fight to the death.
In this scenario, I changed things so that you can control your Lights (Fusiliers), but when I set it up so that you could control your other units the same way (all advance together, etc. based on keyboard commands), the game would freeze for a few seconds, and then the troops would move raggedly. In short, the editor couldn't handle it.
I also changed morale so that individual groups of soldiers can break and flee, or even surrender. However, I could not post messages to go with this. For some reason, I can't figure out in scripting how to make an event happen only once, then never happen again, even though the condition for it happening the first time is still there. If any script gurus out there know how to do this, let me know. For example, I would have loved to have the game say "Virginia Militia is breaking!" or "North Carolina regulars are surrendering!" when these events occur, along with a sound effect (I was thinking wonder_colosseum.wav), but I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to do something only once.
Another hellish thing was the use of Imperial Guard and Junkers troops to add more troop types. Unfortunately, the scenario kept doing wonky things every time I included them, and it didn't allow me to change their settings (movement, hit points, etc.)--so I ended up taking them out.
This script was a challenge and I had to accept its limitations (and my own). In the end, though, the player is given what I think is a unique RON gaming experience. It's a simple scenario with lots of interesting events and a sense of atmosphere.
PLAYERS: Notice that the Americans are actually several nations:
Virginia Regulars, led by Washington
North Carolina Militia, led by Lee
Continental Regiments (Virginia, Maryland, Delaware), led by Greene
Why? So that I could do the morale function, it was the only way.
The British troops are a mix of unit types, including Tarleton's dreaded dragoons. Unit types have been renamed:
Cornwallis - Wellington
Tarleton - The Monarch
Greene - The President
Regulars - Continental Marines
Lights - Fusiliers
1st Battalion Guards - Highlanders
Hessians - Musketeers
Tarleton's Dragoons - Carabineers
Continental Dragoons - Dragoons
Rebel Militia - Minutemen
Building types have been renamed:
City Hall - University
Church - Temple
Guilford Courthouse - Senate
Customs House - Library
Warehouse - Apartments
Blacksmith - Smelter
Linen Factory - Siege Factory
STRATEGY: You have three major groups of rebels in front of you, each difficult on its own to defeat. Overall, the Americans outnumber you more than 2:1. However, you have superior morale and training, good leaders, better dragoons, and all your forces concentrated, whereas the Americans are spread out and can be defeated piecemeal.
The map is explored but you don't know where the Americans are other than they are in front of you somewhere. The informer will give you valuable information--you have to choose one--either where Green's main force is, or where the Americans have established an ambush.
After that, you will need more information, this is where your Lights (Fusiliers) come in. They are spread out but can be controlled as a single group by clicking "w" to advance them, "q" to make them go left, "e" to make them go right, and "a" to make them retreat. Move up your Lights to find the enemy line, with your main force close behind. When they encounter the enemy, they should beat a hasty retreat and let your main army do the rest.
Crush the American units one at a time, force them to retreat or surrender, then regroup and move on to the next line of defense.
Try to lose as few forces as possible to win a decisive victory. To be honest though, I think the best anybody can do is get a marginal victory.
Use your Dragoons (Carabineers) to follow up to any assaults--when the Continentals break and start to run, you can have your Dragoons chase after them with their superior speed, shooting them down until they surrender.
Be careful about your infantry chasing after fleeing Continentals--because your troops may end up chasing them directly into another line of Americans ready to give them a volley.
That's enough, I guess--the rest is self-explanatory. There are other surprises in the game that are possible based on what happens, but these need to be surprises.
THANKS FOR PLAYING: I hope you enjoy playing this scenario as much as I enjoyed creating it. If you are a script wizard, I would appreciate any help with improving the game system. I would like to make it killer and use it to create scenarios for lots of different battles and periods of history. I'd also like to hear about what you think of this scenario, what you liked and didn't like.
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I live in Virginia my self, and i have a British friend, so i really like this scenario. everything was great but i thought there would be more lights in the battle. and the controls werent perfect...but congratulations Meat Puppet, you've done it again.