Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Black Powder ACW 5/26/13 Part 3

 We finally get to the good stuff - The Battle!  In part 1 I covered the table and the terrain and in part 2 I talked about the forces.  Now we will cover the scenario and the battle.

With 7 relatively new players we opted for a simple scenario.  We would play a simple meeting engagement.  Each side would have to enter the table on turn one.  Before rolling the first command roll each player would not only declare their order but also the formation of their units.  Obviously, March Column would be a good starting formation but there was always the chance that the units would have trouble forming into line once on the table.  Entering in Line would mean the units were ready for action as soon as they arrived but would not get the free move on a failed command roll.

We rolled off for table edge and the Union won.  They chose to enter on the side without the river.  This put the Confederates in the tough position of having to straddle the river and possible force a crossing at various points.

From here on I will let the pictures do the talking.

The first couple of turns sees Robert's Brigade (me) enter the table on the Confederate right and race for positions along the river.  This was made easier by the slowness of Dave's Union brigade in getting on the table.

Dave's Brigade commander and artillery battery are the only elements to enter the battle on turn one.  In the center of the Union lines Tom O's Brigade is streaming down the hill towards the village.

My brigade forming a long, thin, gray line.  In the distance you can see that Dave's Artillery is missing.  They came out on the loosing end of an artillery duel.  The Union left flank is completely exposed and I am very tempted to try and exploit this.

Mike's Brigade (or part of it) take up positions on the Confederate left.  Mike had a tough time of things as he several woods to navigate as well as the camp, which we treated as a woods.  At this point Mike is already taking casualties from Tom F's artillery behind the fence in the distance.

After a short delay Dave's Brigade arrives and begins to pack in behind the wall and the road.  Tom O would also take positions behind the wall as the majority of his brigade moved towards the village.

Tom F's Brigade taking up positions on the Union center-right.  He would spend most of the battle fighting Mike's Brigade.  Tom has the only large regiment on the table which was rather unwieldy.

Mike's Brigade is still holding out but the camp is proving to be an issue.  Here he has the division commander in support.

Dave and Tom O are now fulling in position and it is a scary sight for the Rebs.  I just don't have enough troops to crack a line like that.  In the distance Tim's Brigade is also on the table but command issues would plague is force all afternoon.

I foolishly begin to cross the river in the face of overwhelming Union force.  I am not sure what I was thinking here.  I guess I was just trying to keep the pressure on and hoping for a miracle.

Tim's Brigade is moving slowly towards the village that is strongly held by Tom O.  The two Reb regiments behind the river are Tim's and they should have been on the other side of the road.  They would spend the entire battle behind the village and out of the fight.

Tom F's Brigade slowly moving towards the village in support of Tom O.  This was really a fighting reserve for the Union.

Al's Brigade pressing Mike hard.  The Confederate forces are disordered and taking casualties.  The woods and poor command rolls have bogged down the Confederate left.

The long, thick, blue line.  Unions forces solid in control with an excellent battle line.

My brigade is slowly crossing the river.  The near regiment belongs to Tim's Brigade and will soon blunder and move even farther to the right.  The mass of the Union troops can be seen in the distance.

Mike's Brigade as recovered its composure a bit and is preparing to chard Al's Brigade.  By this point in the battle Mike has lost one regiment and it took the divisional commander with it.

Five Union regiments are packed into a very small area.  They are faced with three Confederate regiments without cover.  The firefight has been going on for several turns and the Rebs have been holding their own but their luck is about to run out.

Back on the Confederate left Mike's Brigade has been smashed and the survivors have fled the field.  Al is now working to reposition his brigade to roll up the Confederate flank.

In the center Tim's Brigade is still bogged down trying to get into the fight.  His artillery has taken a beating and is retiring while his infantry units are still fresh.

Dave is now moving against the Confederate right.

And quickly destroys a regiment and forms a solid line.  My brigade is now down 2 regiments and is about to break.

In the center the Union control the village.  Tim is unable to mount any sort of attack and the remnants of my brigade are disordered.
Al's Brigade is now moving unopposed towards the river and will soon encircle Tim's Brigade.  Tom F is pressing through the woods to engage Tim's one regiment on the left.  One of Tim's regiments is basically facing 2 Union brigades.  At this point we decide the battle is over and the Union as scored a major victory.

Looking back there are a couple of things that should be changed to improve the game.  First would be to concentrate the woods into fewer, but larger, areas.  Having lots of small woods really overstated their impact.  Because a unit paid the movement penalty if only a single stand was in the woods a very small woods had a huge impact on the game.  Having a fewer large woods would help this.  Another thing to change is the camp.  I think this should be treated as a patch of rough ground but not as restrictive as the woods.

For the units we should have made units of 20 figures as small units.  This would not have made a difference in this game per say but would have added more variation to the forces.  I think our variable force charts and troop quality stuff will really fill this gap.

The scenario needs a few tweaks as well. Since the Union had the advantage in numbers the Confederates should be allowed to deploy on the table, perhaps 12" on.  The Union would then get the first turn.  I think this would have given the Confederates a little bit of a chance.

There you have it, a great day of gaming with a great bunch of guys.  This was really a blast.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Black Powder ACW 5/26/13 Part 2

In part 1 I talked about the table for our big game.  Now it is time to discuss the forces. The game plan was for 7 players, each commanding a brigade.  It seemed only fitting that the Union get the extra brigade.  My friend Tom O and I supplied all the figures for the game.

Since this was really a training game and not a serious game we kept thing simple.  The stats for both sides were just the basic stats from the BP rules.  Commanders were all rated as 8.  Tom O has done some nice work converting some random unit composition/quality charts from Johnny Reb III for use with BP and I am working on a random commander quality chart for Confederates and one for Union.  For this game we skipped all that but we will be using these things for our next game.

We did not use any of the special unit rules for this game.  We limited the formations to March Column or Line only.  For future games we will probably allow one unit per brigade to skirmish.

Each Union brigade was as follows:

Dave's Brigade

4 Regiments of 28 figures (standard size)
1 Rifled Cannon
1 Commander

Tom O's Brigade

4 Regiments of 28 figures
1 12lb Napoleon
1 Commander

Tom F's Brigade

1 Regiment of 40 figures (large size)
1 Regiment of 28 figures
1 Regiment of 24 figures
1 12lb Napoleon
1 Commander

Al's Brigade

3 Regiments of 24 figures
1 Regiment of 20 figures (standard size)
1 12lb  Napoleon
1 Commander

Each Confederate brigade was as follows:

Mike's Brigade

4 Regiments of 28 figures
1 12lb Napoleon
1 Commander

Tim's Brigade

4 Regiments of 28 figures
1 12lb Napoleon
1 Commander

Robert's Brigade (me)

2 Regiments of 24 figures
2 Regiments of 20 figures
1 12lb Napoleon
1 Commander

Each side also had a division commander that could be move about as needed.  In all there were nearly 800 figures on the table which was really impressive!

My two Union brigades

My Confederate brigade and casualty no attention to the plane.

Tom's impressive Union collection.

His equally impressive Confederate collection.

Tom's guns and officers.  I love the division commanders with the flags.
The figures used in the battle came from several different companies.  I believe that Tom's collection is all Sash and Saber.  My collection is more varied.  I have figures from Perry, Foundry, Sash and Saber, and Old Glory.

It is just amazing to me how much stuff Tom and I were able to put on the table.  We have both been working on our ACW collections for about three years and have put in lots of effort to make this happen.  We actually have a couple of other local gamer that have sizable ACW collections and we could easily put on a game of 2 division per side.

Next up part 3 The Battle!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Black Powder ACW 5/26/13 Part 1

 Yesterday, several friends and I met at Crusader's Retreat for a big American Civil War game using Black Powder.  We have been planning this game for several weeks.  We wanted to step this up from our last game in December.  More players, more table, more figures, more everything.  I think we pulled it off.

Part one is about the table.  We used a 12'x6' table for this game.  There was a river cutting diagonally across about a third of the table.  Roughly in the center of the table was a road with a Y intersection.  At the intersection was a small village.  The arms of the Y encircled a large hill.  There was also a second road that branched off the main road.

Each end of the table had woods and hills.  Scattered across the table were fields and fences.  I really think the table looked great and was a step up from our first game.  Take a look at the pictures below.

One thing I have heard players (or potential players) express is a concern about the potentially rapid movement in the game.  I believe this is a legitimate concern but it is an issue that is easy to manage in the game.  First of all, use a big table if you can.  This alone will fix most movement issues.  Second, use lots of terrain and make movement penalties for much of it.  In this game we allowed formed units in the woods but only at half move and only one move.  This meant that an unit in the woods would be severely impacted on movement.  We basically used the same rules for the river.  The bridge was treated as road and only units in march column could use it.  The ford was considered open ground but, again, only march columns could use it.  The large number of fences and walls also slowed movement considerably. 

Stay tuned for part 2 where we will discuss the forces.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


I have finally decided to take the plunge into this game.  Like most gamers (that I know at least) my age I am huge fan of the original Star Wars films.  When this game first game out I was tempted but managed to talk myself out of jumping in.  I usually like to wait on new games for a while to make sure they are good enough for me to spend my money on.  So far this game really seems to have some legs.  Is everyone playing it?  It sure seems that way.

I really don't have much more to say about this as I just got the game and have never played.  I will have more to say once I know what I am talking about.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Wargames Factory Saxon Thegns

I picked up a box a Wargames Factory plastic Saxon Thegn models a while back from a friend.  As has been known to happen they went straight into a future project pile and nothing happened with them.  Then I got bored and decided I should build them.

The box included 4 different bodies along with several different heads, shields and weapons.  I was not real happy with the thin spears that are included.  They seem more like javelins so I used some old Gripping Beast spears.  I also mixed in a few spare GB shields to add a little more variety.

I think this set is really a great value.  You get 32 figures for about $20.  They may not be the best figures but they are worth the money and I think they will look very nice once I get around to painting them.  This is a cheap way to get a big army together for Hail Caesar!