Wednesday, 13 December 2006

The Bridge at Springfield, ACW

The december game played in Phil's Attic in the series Schild en Vriend Revival Games was set up in back-to-basics philosophy, and this because of 2 reasons:

1. We used unpainted, plastic 20mm ACW figures. This is a throwback to our old days when we just started with miniature wargaming. But in some way, I do feel there is something very attractive playing with these figures -- as long as there is a nice terrain setup.

2. The scenario came out of BattleGames issue #2, a magazine that regularly prides itself on its 'Old School Wargaming Spirit'.

For the ruleset, Brother Against Brother was used, but hexified of course, since we use the Kallistra terrain as our terrain of choice. The rules can be used as-is, dividing all ranges given in inches by 4 to get a range in hexes.

The scenario saw a force of Confederate rebels against an army of Union soldiers. The Union's mission was to capture a bridge, whilst the Confederacy had to defend it. Eddy and Frank played the Union, while Phil and Bart took the roles of the Confederate commanders.

After the initial deployment of the defenders, the Union had to divide their force in three attack columns. Each force has an officer, able to give orders to squads belonging to that company.

The game started pretty smoothly. The first Union troops where shot at by a Southern artillery battery placed on the centre hill near Devil's Rock. On the Union left flank, progress was smooth, with a Confederate cavalry squad wiped out after a gallant charge by the latter. The central artillery battery near Devil's Rock was routed by return fire, and the Union right flank exchanged shots with Southern troops cleverly hidden in woods on the Southern left flank.

This was all without the involvement of the defense line of Confederate infantry near the Springfield Bridge, which Engineers were busy preparing for demolition.

Alas, near turn 10 a morale card had to be drawn by a squad on the Union left flank, indicating their Officer was shot by a sniper. THWACK. This meant all squads could only load and fire, as long as no replacement officer was found (30% each turn). Unfortunately, all the Union squads were in cover and unable to exchange shots with the Confederate troops, which led to much frustration on and near the battlefield. In the mean time, the central Cavalry of the Southern Rebels, led by Jubal Early, wanted to charge over the central hill. After some initial hesitation, they were unable to reach their intended target, an out-of-command Union Cavalry squad, so they took out their carabines, effectively causing their opponents to skeedaddle.

This was the final straw, and the Union conceded -- sort of -- since it was late already in real time.

Everyone agreed it was a fun game, and the BaB rules are really working well, but in hindsight, the Officer Thwack morale card was the wrong card at the wrong time, and probably too devastating as a random effect.

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