Battle Report: Black Powder “The Battle of Newark 1776”

Up until now, I have only been writing reports for modern wargames battles.However, seeing as my fellow wargamers at SESWC report on all the games they play, I thought I should follow them and branch out a little to show the variety of games that are played down the club.

This week – Black Powder!

A group of players at SESWC have been running a campaign re-enacting the American War of Independence, with each player taking a general and their troops. So far, I haven’t taken part in any of this but I was invited to jump in and take control of a brigade of Colonials. Having only played a little bit of Black Powder, this was a good chance to learn with being overwhelmed by how much I was controlling at the time.

The situation was thus – Sixteen American regiments and guns (under General Washington) had managed to mass and were able to pin down a small group of British in an attempt to force them back. This battle saw a large force encircling Newark, home of a British garrison. Luckily for the Americans not only was this garrison only three regiments strong, it was also the location of the British C-in-C, General Howe out visiting the troops and unfortunately delayed enough to prevent him leaving the encirclement.

I took command as Brigadier Gen. Clinton, commanding the 7th, 17th and 26th regiments of the 1 Continental. Forming up close to the woods by the Northern road, the plan was to engage forces on the northern side of the town, providing support for other units to advance and capture the settlement. The rest of the Americans deployed to the North and West, including a small force crossing the ford and so able to approach the town from the West. Finally, the player in charge of Washington had used some rules of the campaign to deploy a surprise attack, bringing a final force into play from the South.

As the battle begun one of my regiments traded fire with the British while one of my other regiments moved through the woods to form an extended gun line. Elsewhere, the British were coming under a hail of fire. The southern troops had managed to enter the town. On the eastern side, the Americans had manged to reach the bridge and were pounding the flank. In the west, the Americans were redeploying but had managed to inflict some casualties and started to advance.

Seeing the end, General Howe decided to ride out in glory. Taking the least mangled British regiment, he charged into my forces. Luckily the American line held and thanks to the masses of support around combat, the Americans eventually broke the British and captured Howe himself. The British on the eastern flank were the last to fall, encircled on all sides by Americans.

I haven’t played a huge amount of Black Powder but I’m a fan of them. As someone who doesn’t know a huge amount about the period, its more important that the rules work (at least for now) and Black Powder is quick, light and fast to play (as long as you don’t spend too much time arguing about rules. As for the game, the Brits were in one of those situations you occasionally find in a Total War campaign that you would normally skip; they put up a good fight but sadly they were doomed from the start. Luckily for them though, this change in campaign position has put the bulk of the Continental Army right in front of the British Regulars. We might be returning to Newark sometime soon for a different type of battle.

Other Views

For more photos and viewpoints, take a look at some of the other reporting on this battle.


German Michael –

Jack (George Washington) –

Bart (Howe) – Coming soon


The paperwork
Overview of the board from the North-West corner
Howe joins the battle!