Saturday, August 31, 2019

More Shiloh ...

the seemingly never ending scenario has had two more game sessions done with it, one with just Nate and McLean, the other was just last Friday, with five of us there to keep the action moving and the result was holding at pretty much the same ... the Union was just clinging to a tiny corner of the sunken road.

I predict a draw will be the result, though interestingly enough Sherman was dead, and Grant had been in two close shaves, one that killed an officer near him another that put a hole in his coat.  (must have been from branches shattered from the artillery that were firing at the nearby regiments on othe Union left flank.

Chris got a great shot of the critical engagement on the flank of the hornets nest and the edge of the sunken road
 Nate was able to TWICE ROLL a 10! to 'throw back' Confederate charges on the critical corner of the sunken road ...

game end for the day, still holding that damn tiny section of the road ... the next time the Confederates would have artillery to POUND them at within the limited 4" range (due to the woods in the entire area).

overview from the confederate center

the seambattlestar gunboat (with a hand nearby to show how large it is), indeed wider than the river in the area (must be using crawler tracks to stay out of the mud)

view across the table looking towards the galactic battle cruiser stuck in the mud

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Union and Confederate fingering in the dungeon

The title of this post is at the request of our host McLean in his 'War Dungeon', where he hosted another ACW battle game, this time Shiloh.

the 'fingering' is used to calculate the bonus or penalty to opposed die rolls in melee combat

Nate gives a briefing of the deployments

Union troops muster near their cam locations as the battle drives other Union forces fleeing through their camps that morning

Fleeing Union troops (top) from Sherman's Division.  Sherman held ground at the cost of his own life and the entire division was eventually surrounded and defeated in detail, leaving no survivors

view of the center and left of the 'hornets nest' as some Union troops had been driven out from the sunken road, though they still held a small portion of the west side of the road

a view just to the right of the earlier one of the 'hornets nest' (as built by Rob) where the advancing Confederate forces could be seen

Confederate artillery was racing INTO the Hornets Nest, to give fire cover to the sunken road

last stand near Shiloh church as the Union lines were stretched, then shattered in close combat

Hornets Nest filled with troops of both sides as the Union desperately clung to the last tiny part of the sunken road (a critical game objective), already the Union were now loosing more troops than the Confederates and facing large movement penalties, which were causing divisions to retreat from contact.  With the sunken road lost there would be a permanent further penalty.

the lines closed in for one more close combat action

my phone managed to capture some great shots of these 15mm miniatures

Overall field at the end of action - approximately 2 pm in the 'day' but not the end of game time available

at this point there was a 'second line' in the Hornets Nest and it was filled with artillery to cover the sunken road, further artillery was moving to the right to secure the other end of the terrain feature

while the sunken road was not 100% in Confederate hands, only a worn Union brigade held on to a tiny portion of the road and three fresh Confederate brigades were closing in

Rob, Chris and my son Alex in the War Dungeon listening to more details from Nate.

We ended the battle action technically at a draw, however the loss of the sunken road was going to happen, whether the Union could take it back, or indeed hold off the Confederacy from pressing the Union off the table within charge range of their river landing site is a matter of conjecture.

Casualties were heavy on both sides, with AS Johnston being KIA, along with WT Sherman and at least two other Union and Confederate division commanders being shot (though one only lost his horse).

Not much 'movement' here it was all battle right from the start.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Campaigning season nearing an opening?

recently reviewed titles
I have been away on a road trip with family, during the little down time I had (#1 driver on a 7800 km round trip over 14 days), I managed to get in a re-reading of the Grant and Bath titles.

While Tony Bath did have some interesting input for just the ACW period, sadly most of his work revolved around the details of a long-running Hyborean game that he had run in the 1970s and was very much an ancients and points system tour-de-force.  GDW must have been happy with any 'uptick' in sales after his product hit the shelves.

Grant was more of a generic approach and touched on loads of subjects in all time-periods and even some of the speculative fiction in high-tech and fantasy realms.

The Nanaimo group has been discussing a campaign in ACW for some time now and I have put in a few immediate observances from my 21+ years of running Napoleonic (100 Days and Campaign of Nations) and Sci-Fi (Battletech mostly) minis campaigns on written postal, email and electronic forum systems as well as playing in at least three 'local' campaigns with Jeff Hudelson (of BlueBear fame).

The responses prompted me to review these titles so as to come at the resolution from a text supported point of view.

As this is potentially a local based game with email as a control factor, two methods come to the forefront by Bath and Grant:

Mini Campaigns (p61. of "Setting up a Wargames Campaign")

For this a series of teams of twos or threes were used.

While Tony did it with ancients and Wars of the Roses, we could just as easily use this for ACW:

Each 'side' breaks their available forces into three parts, then decides on the strength of forces to engage on one of three battlefields (which could be blind random or known by both sides and thus make overall plans for), with retreating forces kept track as well as the surviving winning forces (with each side having some recovery of wounded and routed troops, as well as the winning force on a field getting better re-supply) for a 'final push' game where the winner of the best of three takes on the looser of the best of three with the surviving attacking forces against the surviving retreating forces.

Thus you could see the first two battles going to one side and the third battle simply conceded, with a sacrificial blocking force to allow the majority of the troops to retire to the 'final battle' to attempt to shore up the final defender forces.  Alternately the first two might split and make the third an all important tie-breaker and deciding battle for who will be having a chance to conquer and who will need to last-stand defend.

Okay, so much for something quick, as this will only take four table-top encounters to come to a conclusion, Bath writes about 'mini-campaigns' as something to fill in while a larger one is being organized or when a larger campaign has 'gone quiet' and isn't generating the expected field battles.

four battle mini-campaign

The Use of Board Games (Chapter 23, p134-136, "Wargames Campaigns")

Here Grant uses a full chapter to expound on the value of using already existing board-based war-games to conduct the 'strategic' or 'operational' level of movement on the board map system, then convert the 'encounter battles' to the appropriate tabletop system that you may already be using to run the miniature battles.

While Grant admits to not having used the system himself, he vouches, as do I, for the effectiveness of using such games.

Columbia Games has a pair of games to simulate the American Civil War from the grand strategic point of view in Virginia, with Bobby Lee and in the west with Sam Grant

Here I leave a copy of the map from Sam Grant, as the discussion has been revolving around using the war in the west as the basis for a series of connected battle actions, hence a campaign.

Sam Grant map from Columbia Games

What campaign effects and systems have you used?
What were the results?