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.


Dagreenskins said...

Great write up Rob. These rules really work out great in big games like this one. Can't wait to play again.

Robert said...

I am really enjoying these games. It has been a long time since I have had fun in a multi-player format. This game works perfect for that. I can't wait to get a big Napoleonic game on the table.