Showing posts with label acw. Show all posts
Showing posts with label acw. Show all posts

Monday, 31 July 2017

Battle Cry - Antietam

Last month I played  couple of games of Battle Cry, took photos and then forgot to blog it. Unforgivable.

Anyway, here they are. To be honest I've forgotten the details of exactly what happened, so you can just enjoy the terrible pictures without too much text.

I used 6mm figure, two bases to a unit and small stones marking casualties.

Here's the initial setup, with the sparse Confederate defence line at the bottom of the picture.

Attack across Burnside's Bridge.

A doomed attack on the sunken road.

Foothold over the bridge.

The attack on the road is driven back.

A.P.Hill's division comes to the rescue.

Union troops filter through the northern woods.

Confederates defend the cornfield.

The Union driven back at the bridge. I think they lost quite badly.

A second game. In this oe the sunken road was quickly cleared.

Burnside's bridge was still a tough nut to crack. I think the Union won this one in the end.

Sorry about the terrible lighting on the photos; we get glorious bright sunshine even in the winter here.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Battle Cry - Glorieta

Fired up by my ACW game on Thursday, I found a Battle Cry scenario I'd downloaded years ago on my hard-drive and decided to give it a try this afternoon. It's for Glorieta, one of the actions fought during the New Mexico campaign of 1862, and therefore within my favoured Trans-Mississippi theatre.

Here it is:

I ran it solo, using a Battle Cry variant of the rules I tried out HERE. The rules for each player turn were:

Draw one card.

Roll D6 equal to Command Cards - 1
+1 Dice if you played a Scout card last turn
-1 Dice for each Fight Back card you currently hold.

Each 5 or 6 gives you an extra card draw. Choose one card to play. Discard the rest.

If you choose Fight Back as your card, keep it to one side, then play the top card from the deck (regardless of what it is, but discarding it and drawing again if it is another Fight Back). When a side has at least one Fight Back card, and it is possible for them to play it, you decide if they will or not. However roll a combat die. If the die is a Star, then your decision is reversed. So if you choose not to play it, but roll a Star, then it is actually played. If you choose to play it and roll a Star, then it isn't played. So long as a side has a Fight Back card, they roll one less dice per card when determining how many cards they draw (see above).

The rules worked pretty smoothly, and gave a couple of good games. The first was something of a walkover for the Confederates; they got good rolls for cards, rolled some excellent combat dice and beat the Union by six flags to two. Their artillery in the centre proved especially effective.

In the second game the Union put up a better fight, and the Confederate advance was less organised. The Confederates managed to push up to the ranch, and almost took it, but a counter move by the Union saw them driven off. towards the end both sides were rolling sets of combats that could have won them the game, but the Confederates just managed to pull off a victory, five medals to three.

I took photos during both games, but not really with a view to writing a report, so they're posted here just to give an idea of how the games looked. Here's the scenario set up.

I used my 6mm figures. I have enough bases to substitute for the original plastic figures one-to-one, but I wanted to see how the game would look with a lower density of bases

I used two bases for each unit, and small stones to mark hits.

This meant that units didn't completely fill the hex, so there's room for terrain pieces as well, if I decide to go down that route at a later date.

I don't think that the look of the game suffered with the lower figured density, and the markers were unobtrusive and no problem to use.

I did consider two guns for each artillery unit, but decided that they looked nicer with a gun and limber.

I'll try some of the larger scenarios with this setup, and see how they look.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Regimental Fire & Fury

Last night Gary and I tried out Regimental Fire & Fury. Some twenty years ago I was a big fan of the original brigade-level Fire & Fury, but we played it less and less at my UK club, and I never really got the chance to play it in Australia. So this was, in some ways, a trip down memory lane to visit a new version of an old friend.

As the name suggests, Regimental Fire and Fury takes the regiment as the base unit, so is scaled down one level from the original game. This means that it includes details which are abstracted out of the original game; weapon types, for example, and more detailed troops classifications. For our first game we kept things simple, though, making all troops trained and reliable, with rifled muskets. We had ten eight-stand regiments each, and three pieces of artillery, and I set up a simple terrain.

I didn't really take pictures with a view to a detailed narrative of the game, so I'll just let them sit between various comments. Here's the Confederates advancing down a road towards the defending Union troops. Formations are similar to the original game.

Union troops. Command and control is different in this game, with a single roll being used for all regiments within command radius of a particular officer. Only one officer can affect a given unit. This single roll does speed up movement a lot. There are some additional modifiers to create extra command tension, however; units take a penalty if their side has sustained a certain level of casualties, if key objectives are occupied by the enemy, or if they are outflanked.

As with the original game, movement distances and firing ranges are generous, and the game rattles along. We used troops on 20mm square stands, with each stand actually representing two stands in a supported line. We tracked odd casualties with markers. It wasn't too hard to keep track of.

Firing is the same as the original rules, with the only major change being that the number of fire points is now simply a modifier to a die roll, rather than there being a large matrix to cross-reference them against. Again, this speeds up play. The firing results are a little more detailed, with the score affecting whether charging units make contact, and some results scoring hits on units which are already disordered, instead of just inflicting redundant extra disorders.

Our game saw the Confederates on the offensive, pushing across a stream and into a farmstead, as they drove down the road towards a Union-held church. But a lot of the game is about inflicting casualties on the enemy.

Charge combats are the same as in the original game, which will disappoint some, as the wide range of results possible from an opposed D10 roll seemed to be a sticking point with some. I liked it. There is the option to charge in with cold-steel at this level; you have more chance of completing the charge, and get a bonus in combat, but don't get to fire as you go in. A useful thing to use against an opponent who is shaken, or if your own firing is limited in some way.

Going low on ammunition in this game is more of an issue, since you can't just replenish with a simple withdrawal. Both sides had an ammunition train, and a unit must perform a movement action within a certain radius of it in order to remove the out of ammunition status. On the plus side, going low on ammo isn't quite so easy to achieve.

Supporting units are still a thing in this game, but are at more risk from adverse results, both in charge combat, and from firing where they take a reduced version of any damage the front unit receives.

Anyway, we blazed away at each other, charged back and forth and both armies took roughly the same level of casualties. I was happy to concede, however, when one of my charges was repulsed with heavy casualties, seriously compromising my centre, and adding to the discomfort of my already wobbly right.

It was fun to play Fire & Fury again, despite the work of having to deal with the changes to core mechanisms, and the addition of regimental-level chrome. Apparently a new edition of the brigade-level game is out as well; it will be interesting to see what changes have been made to that. I'm certainly looking forward to playing one or other of the games again.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Arkansas On The Yazoo

On 15th July 1862 the ironclad ram CSS Arkansas was proceeding down the Yazoo River, when it ran into a squadron of Union vessels; the armoured gunboat Carondolet, the timberclad gunboar Tyler and the ram Queen of the West. In the action that followed, the Carondolet was run aground, and the other two ships ran back to the safety of their own fleet back on the Mississippi. The Arkansas followed them, running the gauntlet of the whole Union fleet before finding safety under the guns of Vicksburg.

I thought that the action deserved a scenario, and reasoned that it would be an interesting exercise to try and run it with Galleys and Galleons. I laid out a river terrain, with a couple of offshore islands for extra navigational difficulty, and came up with the following ship stats:

CSS Arkansas - Q3 C4 - 110pts - Steam Engine, Ironclad, Ramming, Heavy Bow Chasers, Heavy Stern Chasers, Fiddler

Carondolet - Q2 C4 - 82pts - Steam Engine, Ironclad, Heavy Bow Chasers, Stern Chasers, Shallow Draft

Queen of the West - Q4 C2 - 29pts - Steam Engine, Unarmed, Ramming, Chasers, Shallow Draft

Tyler - Q3 C3 - 48pts - Steam Engine, Reinforced Hull, Chasers

The Union have a distinct points advantage in the scenario so I added in a bonus for the Confederates. At the start of each of the Arkansas's turns it rolls a D6. On a '6' it may deploy a group of Confederate troop on any river-bank or island, not within M of a Union ship. They are then considered part of the Confederate force for the rest of the game. 

Confederate Troops - Q4 C1 - 23pts - Bastion
Special Rule - Treat ‘Heated Shot’ as 'Sharpshooters'. Any critical has a 50% chance of being Captain Killed and a 50% chance of Rudder Hit. Criticals from normal shooting are determined normally; it's assumed the troops have a gun or two with them.

In addition I applied the Edge of the World rule from the basic rules. The Union ships were set up 2xL from the Edge of the World. The Arkansas was set up 1 x L from the other end of the river. I didn't set any victory conditions; destroying or damaging ships seemed to be the obvious objective for both sides.

A blurry shot of the Arkansas.

The Union flotilla: from foreground to background, Tyler, Carondolet and Queen of the West.

The Confederates got lucky some soldiers deployed on the first turn. However they were the only ones to appear all game and, although they kept up a steady fire on the Tyler, it was at too long range to have any effect on the game.

The ships approach each other, and build up speed.

The Queen of the West turned to try and swing around and ram the Arkansas which, meanwhile, was turning in on the Carondolet and Tyler.

The Carondolet turned out of danger, and the ships exchanged broadsides. The Arkansas' gunnery was abysmal, but the Union gunners were shooting better and damaged the Confederate vessel's engines.

The Arkansas rammed the Tyler, but it was a glancing blow and inflicted only minor damage.

The Arkansas now came under a steady and accurate fire from both the Tyler and Carondolet. An early shot hit its engines again, disabling it and leaving it a sitting target. The Confederate gunners seemed to be asleep, inflicting no damage in return.

Eventually the Tyler forced the Confederate ironclad to strike.

I decided to run the game again, but with some adjustments. There's a real feeling in this action that the Union were floundering a little, so I downgraded all of their ships to Q4. This would reduce their ability to react, and to fire full broadsides. In addition I added in the reload rules, forcing the Union to spend precious actions to bring their broadsides into action. Finally I added Carronades to the Arkansas, to reflect the fact tat in this, and the subsequent fight against the Union fleet, the Arkansas could fire wild, knowing that all ships in the area were enemies.

No troops appeared in this game. It wasn't long enough.

The ships closed again.

The Queen of the West turned towards the Arkansas. The Confederates decided to risk the ram, and fired at the approaching Union ship, once again inflicting no damage at all. The Union vessel fired its bow gun. A fire started on the Arkansas ...

... which started a second fire in the powder magazine. The Arkansas exploded.

Despite the Arkansas losing badly in both games, I still think that this scenario has some potential. Galleys and Galleons does a great job of reflecting unpredictability and misfortune in naval actions, and when you only have one ship unfortunate events can end the game quickly. But they can also apply equally to the opposing vessels as well, and with Q4 enemies there's plenty of opportunity for these to run aground or collide. I shall give this action another go at some stage.

The ships are 1/1200th, mostly from Navwar, except the Tyler which is from a long-dead company called Zodiac Miniatures. The 6mm Confederate troops are from Heroics & Ros.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

The Battle of Hampton Roads

I have enjoyed 'Galleys and Galleons' so much that I decided to download the supplement, 'Fayre Winds and Foul Tydes'. As well as a few extra ideas for conventional historical games, it includes a lot of character- and fantasy-based additions. These include the ability to add steam-engines to your ships, as well as make them ironclads. Whilst the rules assume that these features are somewhat primitive, it occurred to me that it might be possible to try out an American Civil War action using them. And what better action to try than the classic Monitor vs Virginia fight in 1862?

Here we have the Monitor
Q3 C3 - Steam Engine, Ironclad, Reinforced Hull, Turret (72pts)

And the Virginia.
Q4 C4 - Steam Engine, Ironclad, Sluggish, Heavy Chasers (Bow and Stern), Ramming, Trained Gun Crews. (71pts)

I tried to minimise the number of features I gave each ship in order to keep the game simple. I didn't try and factor in the Monitor's big guns, reasoning that she could only fire one of them at a time. Its Reinforced Hull represents the thick turret armour and its low profile and deck overhang. The Trained Gun Crews on the Virginia represent it being equipped, in part, with rifled guns. Strictly it had lost its ram the previous day, but I kept its ability to do it for the possible entertainment value.

This was the field of battle. The opposing ships entered from the two bottom corners. A sandbank dominated the centre, two areas of shallows the sides and the far edge was all land.

The ships steam into action, Virginia from the left and Monitor from the right. The Virginia got off to a bad start, failing all of its activation rolls for two turns, which meant that it didn't move. With a better quality and agility the Monitor headed for the shallows, where the Virginia would be less able to bring its ram into play.

The Virginia fires the opening broadside. It bounced off the Monitor's armour.

The Monitor returned fire, also with no effect.

The Monitor approached the Virginia, taking another ineffective broadside as it did so.

At this point, both ships had an appalling series of activation rolls. They fired a series of wild shots, but then got so close that both ships had to throw their helms hard over to try and avoid collision.

They failed. The Monitor slammed into Virginia's broadside. The Confederate ship took series damage. The Monitor was barely scratched.

The Virginia's crew managed to organise themselves, and fired a raking broadside at the Monitor, but once again its armour deflected the shots.

The two ships scraped past each other, and the Monitor found itself in a perfect position to fire a potential game-winning raking broadside into the Virginia. And it go no activations with which to fire it.

A long mid-game now ensued, as both ships slowly turned in the restricted waters. They reloaded their guns where required, and the Virginia repaired some of the damage from the collision.

The Virginia really struggled in the confined waters, so moved back between the shallows and the sandbank in order to gain some sea-room for a turn and attack on the Monitor. The Monitor piled on all the speed it had (not much, historically), and went back into the attack. As it steamed towards the Virginia, the Confederates inflicted a long-range hit with their rifled cannons.

The Monitor positioned itself broadside on the the Virginia, and the cannonade commenced.

The Virginia got the worse of it; her crew rolled truly badly for their firing, whilst the Monitor managed a crushing critical which left the Virginia crippled.

The firing continued. To stand a chance, the Virginia needed to roll all of its activation dice each turn, despite them all being coloured.

A poor roll, and the Virginia struck its colours.

To be fair, I would say that, for the purposes of saving face, the Virginia's crew chose to break off the action, leaving the field to the Monitor.

So how did the game feel?

It felt good. It even felt right for the style of action. Yes, the rules didn't cover the rivet-counting and gun-calibre detail that some people like for this era, but the activation system added a level of uncertainty that is often missing. As you can see from the report there were a couple of moments where things went wrong for both ships, and there were a couple more where things could have gone even worse; both ships were saved from running aground only by scoring a single activation. The reload rules made the firing more interesting in this game, as both ships were forced to manage their meagre allocation of activations.

I might consider making the Virginia Q3 in a future game, as the Q4 really hampered it, but I'd have to improve the Monitor a little to compensate.

The new rules were easy to use. The only query I had was whether a vessel with a steam-engine can spend activations to turn if it is currently stationary (I decided that it couldn't, but a strict reading of the rules doesn't forbid it and I may allow it in a future game.). And, if I did decide to do more ACW games, I'd eventually look at working out how to factor in moving in reverse or covering double-ended ships.

6x6 - Game 6-5
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