TITLE: Disperse, Ye Damned Rebels! (2004)
AUTHOR: Larry Brom (designer of “The Sword and the Flame”)
PUBLICATION DATE: 2004
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): $15.00 (North America)/$17.00 (international) (in 2008)
REVIEWED BY: Jim “Col Campbell” Pitts, a friend of the author
PERIOD COVERED: The American Revolution, 1775-1783
The “Disperse, Ye Damned Rebels!” rule book is an 8.5” x 11” plastic comb bound book. It has eight pages of introduction, organization, and gaming philosophy and thirteen pages of actual rules, plus some order of battle appendices. It has a color cover and black and white interior. It includes one double-sided playsheet that is separate and can be photocopied for multiple players.
“Disperse, Ye Damned Rebels!” is a tactical level rule set. Each player commands a brigade (possibly more) comprised of multiple battalions. As the author says in his introduction: “These rules are my attempt to play these later major battles of the war on a tabletop with reasonable historical accuracy, organization, tactics, and firepower, and field reasonably good sized armies. As always, I have simplified weaponry, maneuver, morale, command and control, organization, close combat, and other sundries of the game. The result will be a playable, enjoyable and informative exercise in fighting battles of the American Revolution with miniature soldiers on a well-terrained game table.”
A typical army is fairly small as befits this time period. Most battles will have two to six brigades, with supporting artillery and possibly some cavalry, per side.
The base units are: infantry battalions comprised, generally, of eight to ten companies, where one stand = one company; artillery batteries of three stands; and cavalry regiments of up to five stands. Mixed legions can also be accommodated.
- Ground Scale 1” = 5 yards
- Time Scale is not stated.
- Figure/Base Ratio: 1 figure = 15 men
- Recommended Figure: 25/28mm, with provisions for 6, 10, 15, and 20mm (“… there are copies of rulers for 6, 10, 15, and 20mm scale. Simple copy these, glue them on cardboard, cut them out and use them for all the measurements … no converting … .”)
- Table Size: 6’ x 8’ will give a good battle area
- Game Length: Not stated
BASING SIZES (for 25mm):
- Infantry: 2” x 1” (with two figures per base)
- Cavalry: 2” x 1 ½” (with two figures per base)
- Artillery: 2” x 2” (with one gun and two gunner figures per base)
- General officers, staff, and aides: 1” x 1 ½” (one figure per base)
- Wagons: Leave wagons unbased (if used in scenario)
Alternate basing can be used as long as both sides’ basing is compatible. “It will take some initial creativity and common sense to use an existing army with these rules, but the mechanics and free-flowing continuity does allow this to work very well.”
- Phase 1 - Movement.
- Phase 2 - Firing: standing artillery, standing small arms, moving artillery, moving small arms in order, checking morale as necessary after each sub-phase of firing.
- Phase 3 - Combat morale; do the attackers close and the defenders stand?
- Phase 4 - Close combat, followed by morale checks as necessary.
- Phase 5 - Morale adjustment, making permanent morale changes to units.
- Phase 6 - Rally routed units from previous turn(s).
- Phase 7 - Major army morale; determine each army’s state and act accordingly.
Command and Control and Movement: Command & Control is modeled by rolling a D10 to determine command response based on the highest ranking officer within 12” prior to movement. There are two command response tables, one for regular units and one for militia, rifle, and mercenary units.
Movement: The movement sequence is controlled by random move cards. Actual movement distance is determined the roll of one to four D10s, with the actual number of dice depending on the type of unit, its formation, and the terrain through which or over which it is moving.
Morale: Every unit goes into the battle not knowing its exact morale rating. Units are graded as regular infantry; artillery and regular cavalry; militia (all types), and rifles. Once a unit is required to check morale, it determines its exact morale bonus to which is added a D10 die roll in the morale check. Morale can be altered temporarily or permanently during the game.
Fire Combat: Fire Combat is accomplished in four phases as described above. D10s are rolled to determine hits, with each “hit” inflicting one casualty on the target unit.
Close Combat: Close combat assaults are conducted in a base to base match-up and opposing D10 rolls. Loser must pass a morale check in order to retire in good order.
ARMY LISTS/SCENARIOS: There are orders of battle for three battles: Cowpens (1781), Saratoga-Freeman’s Farm (1777), and Camden (1780). There are no scenarios in the rule book.
The rules are well organized with the various segments flowing from the sequence of events. The historical and table-top organizations are easy to follow. The description of the weaponry and battlefield evolutions of the time period and the author’s perspectives on how he adapted these to his game enhance the reader’s understanding. The gamer must always keep in mind that these rules are meant to be an enjoyable way to play with our toy soldiers in the milieu of the American Revolution. Occasional cries of “Take that, you dastardly redcoats!” or “God save the King!” will only enhance the enjoyment.
The game plays smoothly once the players become familiar with the turn sequence. The battle charts are easy to use and clear. Markers are kept to a minimum. Initially turns will take a considerable amount of time, but with experience, gamers can shorten them drastically. The provision of having a game master to “hurry along” the slow movers will make the game much smoother for all.
Battlefield success will depend upon traffic control. Combat is by battalions in line which can be up to 18” in length. With interpenetration resulting in both units being disordered, passage of lines will be difficult. But once fire can be brought to bear with multiple units on a single unit, the end will be quick for the target. Close combat can be tedious since stands are matched and opposed die rolls are made until all the stands of one side or the other have been forced back. This can mean several rounds of melee before a close combat is completed. Larry has included an optional close combat method in his Napoleonic rules “The Sound of the Guns” which could probably be adapted to this rule set.
While the rules have been simplified, they do capture the flavor of the American Revolution as the more professional British army is pitted against a Continental force of regulars and militia. Artillery is limited in its effectiveness and cavalry is almost non-existent in its effect on the battle. The linear warfare of the major battles of the American Revolution are, in my opinion, faithfully rendered with “Disperse, Ye Damned Rebels!”
You can view a battle report at this link:
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