Thursday, November 29, 2007

Back to some WARGAMING !

After a short hiatus/detour I have finally gotten back to doing some wargaming (as always, click on the picture for a bigger view- sorry for some blurriness, still can't seem to get a full measure of the camera I'm using).

I dusted off my American Civil War rules (DSRACW) which I wrote for 10mm scale using 3" hexes. I hadn't used them since back in 2000. Although I'd typed them up nicely, I'd forgotten a few things I had added which I scrawled on the back of the last sheet (and reading my writing is always a chore- Case in point, read this blog).

The rules are pretty straightforward, Brigades broken down into Regiments, each base about 80-120 men, each gun casting 2-3 guns, each hex about 100-120 yards. The one thing I did with this game was make CASUALTIES ! They definitely add to the battle (when a base is lost, I place a casualty figure down).

I used some cardboard hexes I'd gotten from somewhere. I also have some nifty 3" hexes of flocked plywood but my road pieces are minimal, as are stream parts. So I cheated and used the pre-printed stuff for the board base. The disadvantage (as you can see from the pictures) is that keeping them aligned can be a bit problematic, unlike the plywood hexes, which are easy to shove back into alignment. Of course a box of those suckers ways like 50 pounds, so as with all things, it has definite advantages and disadvantages, if I were to haul it to a convention.

The situation is mid 1863, somewhere in Virginia. There is a railroad station that the yankees want captured, and of course the rebels do not (it is in the top left of the picture which would be SouthEast). The Union has a brigade of 4 x 5 base regiments, with orders to quickly proceed to the station and destroy it. The Confederates have a cavalry regiment (4 bases + 1 holder), one 4 gun battery of rifled artillery on board at start. They also have a small brigade of 2 x 4 base regiments coming from the road at the south by the station on a reinforcement roll of 56 on d6 per turn.

The rebels chose to place their artillery in the walled field to the upper right, which had a good Line of Sight to the road. The cavalry dismounted at the woods on the hill just to the right of the walled farm. Their object was to delay until the reinforcements arrived (the infantry "riding" to the rescue as it were....)

The Union troops had to come up the road, and did so in column, choosing speed to close and overwhelm the defenders. The above picture is the situation after turn 2. The lead column was taken under long range artillery fire, which caused some casualties and forced it to rout. In a quick re-evaluation of the plan, the Union brigidier decided that caution was the better part of valor, so changed to line formation.

A word of note- in my rules, things that can stop your forward momentum(firing, changing into line from column, moving a line through woods) causes a unit to be marked with what I call a pause marker. In order to move again, it must either do nothing for a turn or announce its intended move and roll to be able to move (if it fails it can still fire, but suffers moving fire penalties). This tends to make battles that start out with wheeling brigades around the battlefield to wind down and get "stuck". Getting them moving again can be problematic, and even then they tend to move forward again in fits and starts. It can be frustrating but it does make for some very interesting battles.

This caused the whole rush down the road to stall, and a good reinforcement roll for the CSA allowed the reinforcement brigade to come on board. To top it off, the guns and dismounted cavalry continued to pester the advancing units, not allowing them to get "on line" quick enough. The USA brigadier started side-stepping to the left, aiming to take the farm and thus outflank the cavalry and bull his way to the station (as well as getting out of the line of sight of the rebel guns).

Unfortunately, the getting those regiments through the woods and to the farm took too long, as the dismounted cavalry and long range artillery continued to gall the Union troops (notice the body markers along the road). The CSA brigade, unhindered beat the USA troops to the farm.

The rebel artillery, with their targets getting out of their Line of Sight, limbered up and started to head to the right of the Union advance. Meanwhile, a fierce firefight occurred around the farmhouse, where the weight of Union numbers began to take a toll.

The CSA brigade must have been tired from its quick advance to the farm, because it could not hold on (they took casualties and rolled BAD on morale checks). To boot, the Brigade commanded was injured, causing the brigade to be shaken. The rebel artillery managed to unlimber and double fire into the advancing union troops behind the wall, but ran out of ammunition doing so, and despite causing signifigant casualties, the Union troops passed all their morale checks.

The CSA brigade routed, and the rebel artillery was out of ammo. The cavalry unit had not choice but to fall back as well as it was taking more fire than it could dish out from the Union troops in and around the farm. Fortunately for the CSA, the Union troops were exhausted and bloodied and where in no condition to immediately exploit the battelfield. The final result: A Union Tactical win (they drove back the covering CSA units), but a Confederate strategic win (the USA did not get to the station).

Final toll: USA lost 6 bases equivalent, CSA 3 bases equivalent (including 1/2 base of dismounted cavalry). The game took about 1.5 hours for 10 game turns.

All in all, a fun battle- easy to set up and play. I now know I have to do even more ACW stuff now......