Freeman's Farm at Partizan MMXXII

This was the first demonstration game I had staged since 2019 due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, so it felt a welcome slice of "normality" to be setting up tables and terrainat Newark Showground on Saturday and then spending Sunday playing the game and talking to people about while wondering if my feet used to hurt that much!

If you are unfamiliar with the Batlle of Freeman's Farm then you can get a brief overview here. For a more detailed summary of the battle and the Saratoga campaign as a whole, the Osprey campaign volume by Brendan Morrissey remains excellent. More recently Don Troiani and Eric Schnitzer have produced a beautifully illustrated book on the Saratoga campaign, including a chapter giving a very good account of Freemans' Farm. I also made use of Dean R. Snow's book "1777" that covers Freeman's Farm and the subsequent battle of Bemis Heights as a series of "scenes" reminiscent of the outline of a film or documentary.

I was pleased on the day to be able to include a unit representing Fraser's picked marksmen. These are Perry Miniatures' Butler's Rangers figures with a different paint job. They only arrived on Friday, giving me just a day to have them primed painted and based. Thanks to a fan oven and matchsticks propping my eyelids open until 3:30 AM I did get these done and they were throughly dry by the time they hit the table!

I had put together an order of battle for the game using a variety of sources and adopted a 1:15 figure to man ratio rather than my usual 1:10 as this allowed me to scale the battelfield to fit the essentials into a 10' x 6' area. When I next play this I'll probably make a few changes and show a little less of the north of the battlefield (the road where Hamilton's brigade enters) to allow a little more woodland and space for the rebels to defend. At the actual battle there were several times when Poor's brigade fell back into woods pursued by Hamilton's regiments, only for the movement to reverse as the redcoats fell back from the sniping fire of muskets and rifles. My set up didn't really leave enough space for this as the treeline was very close to the table edge. Otherwise the table set up was about right and certaily looked the part with a load of new trees added to the collection:

view from the west

view from the east

view from the north east

For rules I used my own "Bloodybacks!" in their version 8.2 guise with one or two tweaks added. Since then I have added a few changes to reflect our experience in the game itself and to start adding in some of the details I have glossed over until now. I think these are moving (as v 8.3) to a more complete set of rules rather than a selection of (rather good I think) ideas and mechanisms.

The game itself was fun, however I think I need to refine the scenario with a better researched and thought-through schedule of reinforcements. Poor was unable to get troops into place quickly enough to give Hamilton's brigade the headached it should have had. Fraser's column exerted too much influence a bit too early. This wasnt helped by skirmishers having just a bit too much leeway to dance around the battlefield (now tightened up).

As a result I won't use this specific game as a basis for a YouTube video, but will take the learning and refight this at home as I have already done for Hubbardton and Eutaw Springs. After than my planning will turn towards The Other Partizan in October when I may well address the second battle of Saratoga; Bemis Heights. 

Here are some pictures from the game on Sunday:
Hamilton's brigade advances on Poor and Morgan

9th Foot

21st Foot

20th Foot

Major Forbes' piquets

Matt helping out by rolling dice and pointing at stuff.

3rd NH continentals go toe-to-toe with the redcoats

Mixed unit of Canadians and Indians

Burgoyne and staff survey the battlefield

Fraser's marksmen advance cautiously

Benedict Arnold inspires the troops

Dearborn's light infantry support Morgan's riflemen, before being routed by the 62nd Foot...


  1. Great looking game and fantastic collection of figures

  2. Excellent work Steve! If I was there I would have happily joined your game.


  3. I was there and it was hรฉ great table and nice miniatures collection.
    Took a lot of pictures.
    Greetings from Belgium๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

    1. Thanks. Hope you had a safe journey home!

  4. Sorry I didn't get a chance to chat but had a good look at the game, it looked great! Have you got nearly every AWI unit in every headwear variation yet? Feels like you must be close...

    1. Feels that way, John, but there’s plenty more to tempt me ๐Ÿ˜

  5. It was a great looking game Steve, wish I realised it was your game, I'd have said hello.

    1. No worries Ray. Sounds like you enjoyed the show and will be back. See you in October?


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