Showing posts with label longstreet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label longstreet. Show all posts

Friday, 7 August 2015

The Mule-Shoe

It's a while since we've played Longstreet, so in order to give us a reminder how to play Ralph put on a small scenario based around the 1864 Battle of Spotsylvania. As seemed to be the norm for that era, huge lumps of Union troops would be hurled at Confederates in defences, in a preview of WW1 but without the classy aircraft.

The Union had six infantry units with which to take the two Confederate defensive lines. The Confederates defended with two infantry and two artillery units.

The Union assault, all formed up. They were forbidden to fire until they had assaulted the first line of defences.

We both had personalities in command which gave us bonuses. I had a Fire and Brimstone Preacher, which gave me a defensive bonus in close assaults..

The Union advanced rapidly, and didn't take as many casualties as I'd hoped from fire as they came in. However the shatter-point, which determines when an army was beaten, was quite low in this scenario, so maybe it would be enough.

The Union reached the defences, in relatively good order. The Confederate commander was wounded at this point, so the cuing plans he had for repelling the assault were lost, leaving the boys in grey defending with nothing but bayonets and determination.

Their commander. He was looking at lot better at this point.

The Union took the first line of defences, but at that point their morale broke. Technically that was game over, with, according to the victory conditions, the game ending in a draw. However we still had a good hour of play left, so we rewrote the victory rules and carried on.

The final gamewas close, with the Union morale still wobbling as they took the second line of defences, causing the Confederates to withdraw in good order.

In the end we allowed the Union to temporarily reduce the number of casualties they had taken by two for each line of Confederate defences they had sole control of. This gave them incentive to push forward, and a bonus for success. Thinking about it o the way home I realised that you could achieve a similar effect by counting the defensive lines as Confederate units, thus increasing the shatter-point for both sides (it's based on the number of stands in the smallest army). If the Union have uncontested control of a line then the Confederates count it as lost stands (two per line, say) when the Union come to determine victory at the end of their turn.

Thanks to Ralph for putting together what was a fun little game.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Battle of Boonville - 17th June 1861

We payed a small Longstreet scenario this evening - the Battle of Boonville (fought in Missouri, and not to be confused with the Battle of Booneville, fought a couple of weeks later in Mississippi). Although small, this was one of the first significant land actions of the war.

We played it through twice. In the first game I took the defending Confederates, whilst Ralph took the Union.

The Union columns march into battle.

The Confederates await the attack. Virtually all units were Recruits, with the Union troops being rated Seasoned and the Confederates Cautious.

As the Union stumble into an unmapped patch of rocky ground, the Confederates fire their first volley. Caesar (umpiring) forgot the cotton-wool, so we used torn-up tissues as smoke.

The Union continue to push forward under fire, and a second unit comes up in support.


The Confederates held and the casualties they had inflicted on the Union force (including a firefight on the other flank) were sufficient to cause the Union commander to order a retreat.

In the second game Ralph took the Union again, and Caesar the Confederates. A confused Confederate unit left the cover of a fence to engage the advancing Union army more directly.

The Union attacked.

The Confederates retreated.

Confederate cavalry. Didn't do anything.

The Union attacked again and the Confederates retreated again.

A Confederate unit broke, and with it the morale of the army. The second game was a Union victory.

This was a fun and very quick, scenario, although the balance was suspect, with the Confederates ensconced behind a network of fences that gave them a bit of an edge when it came to close combat, plus in position of a deck that favoured them in terms of cards that could totally bugger up the opponent's plans. Great to see Ralph playing a battle set in the Trans-Mississippi theatre though.

Dave, Peter and Geoff played DBA - Greeks vs Sea Peoples.

It featured Goliath, seen here taking on some Greek light horse.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Monocacy Revisited

Last night we had a go with our Monocacy scenario for Longstreet. This is a five-player (well, five-deck) game - two Union and three Confederate, so a fairly ambitious undertaking.

We played in 15mm, and tried a tighter table than before; the last time we did this some troops barely got into the fight because the armies started too far apart.

This is a shot of the battlefield. The Confederates are attacking across the river in the right foreground, and with a main force at the far end of the table. The Union defensive line is the curve on the main part of the battlefield.

The Confederates prepare to attack across the river.

The main Union line.

The Confederates had a large force of troops on the Union side of the river. The Union had to decide how many troops to leave in position to meet this threat and how many to divert to the bridge and ford.

The Union marched a fair number of their troops to meet the Confederate attack across the river.

This was worth doing, as the troops they had defending the bridge were significantly outnumbered.

Meanwhile the main Confederate force launched a rapid attack in order to tie up as much of the Union force as it could.

And as the battle really got going I seemed to have stopped taking pictures ...

We ran out of time as the Confederate attack broke against the Union line, unlikely to force much of a breakthrough. There seemed to be a fair attack developing against the river crossings, however, and both sides were taking plenty of casualties. It would be touch and go who would reach their shatter-point first, so I guess we could call it a draw.

The biggest problem we had with this game was that most of the players hadn't played it before. So it was not only a large scenario to fit into an evening, but had a steep learning curve. Add in the fact that we played some of the multi-player rules incorrectly for part of the game, leading to some confusion about who could do what, and it was obvious that we'd be unlikely to finish it on time.

I still don't know if I actually like Longstreet. The core mechanisms are simple enough, but I'm beginning to wonder if they could be used to create a cardless game; it's the card-management that seems to cause the delay and confusion. Yes, they add a little friction and uncertainty as well, but maybe that can be created some other way. It's fine for one-on-one play, but then that limits you to games with a brigade a side. Perhaps Longstreet is too ambitious for a battle of this size; we fudged it into five commands, but in fact there were ten to twelve brigades on each side. Simply put, I don't think that Longstreet, straight out of the box, is the ACW game I'm looking for.

Thanks to Caesar and Ralph for setting up the game, and keeping it running as smoothly as possible, in the face of considerable adversity at one point.

Meanwhile there was also a game of Flames of War, featuring these lovely Bishops ...

... whilst Dave and Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Picture played DBM.

I'm back on the secret project next week, so pictures may be limited.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Monocacy (9th July 1864) - A Longstreet Game

This was our first attempt at running an historical scenario for Longstreet. Four of us had a go at the 1864 Battle of Monocacy, where Lew Wallace delayed Early's Confederate troops for just one day but, in the process, probably saved Washington from Confederate attack. Playing historical actions is always a good test of a set of rules.

Caeasr adapted the scenario from one in the old 'Bullets and Dirt' booklet by George Anderson and Ryan Toews. We used 15mm figures based on 1" stands. Mark put together the lovely terrain.

Caesar and I took the Confederates; he took Ramseurs's force and assaulted the bridges over the Monocacy, whilst I had Gordon and Breckingridge's flanking force. Ralph and Mark took the Union.

I think this was an ambitious scenario to play in a short evening; it took a while to set up before we even started playing, some of which was sorting out the card decks. But once we started it rattled along very nicely. Caesar assaulted the bridges, and the Union shifted troops to meet him. My troops had a long march across some rough ground, and barely got into action before we had to call time. Caesar had taken quite a lot of casualties by this stage; the Union didn't have to worry too much about my troops and were able to concentrate their efforts on him. It turned out that our plan - Caesar demonstrating against the bridges whilst the flanking force went for a concentrated assault on the Union far left - wasn't far off the original.

If we played it again we would have the main Confederate force starting closer to the Union lines, so that it would be harder to defeat them in detail. This is always an issue with adapting scenarios from one set of rules to another; issues of timing and distance based on ground-scale and movement rates. Regardless it was a fun game, and playing an historical action was very satisfying.

There is, of course, a gallery of photos.

A view from behind the Confederate flanking force, looking across the rough ground to the Union lines. Caesar is just deploying his troops in the distance.

The main Union line. Their cavalry did lots of marching to and fro, and no fighting.

Mark studies the oncoming Confederate hordes from a distance.

Ramseur's Division prepares to assault across the river. Just by the railway bridge you can see a Maryland regiment which held off several assaults during the course of the battle.

The Confederates continue to advance.

Fierce fighting across the fords and bridges.

A close-up of the Confederates.

Union and Confederate lines.

And a view from behind the Union lines, as the Confederates begin to concentrate on their left.

An artillery duel across the river. This was the final position in that area.

At the top of the picture the Confederates had just got into action. Otherwise this part of the battlefield was still quiet at the end of the game.

A final shot of the battle when we had to call time, showing the great terrain set-up. The pictures actually don't do justice to how nice everything looked.

So, did Longstreet work for an historical game? I would say that it did. although I think it's always going to be hampered by the One Brigade to One Player nature of the card play. As I said earlier, the only change I'd make to this particular scenario is to reduce the distance between Gordon/Breckinridge's troops and the Union line; they probably need to start a couple of turns close. This will force the Union to decide how best to deploy their troops to meet two nominally coordinated Confederate attacks.

Thanks to all involved for putting on a great game.

(A second report, on the night's Blitzkrieg Commander game, will follow later.)

Friday, 22 November 2013

'Longstreet' - River Crossing

Last night we tried the river-crossing scenario from Longstreet. The union, under Ralph and Austin, defended, whilst Caesar and Bryan attacked with the Confederates. I took photos.

Here are the Confederates.

And here's the table. The river could only be crossed at the four fords.

The Confederate right, under Bryan, offered a diversionary attack ...

... but somehow it became the main attack, as Caesar's flank made less headway.

Caesar finally got his act together, and assaulted the ford on the Confederate left, throwing back the defenders.

A view down the table, with the Confederates starting to push forward at both ends.

A Union counter-attack threw back the Confederates on the left.

At that point we ran out of time. The Confederates had taken more casualties, but still had plenty of fight left in them.

It was interesting to see how much more confident people were with both card-play and handling the units. Our plan for the next game is to possibly try an historical scenario.

Meanwhile, across the room - Full Thrust.

This was a convoy action, but I forgot to find out who won.

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