Last night was fight night at the club, so we threw down an ACW battle with FoB2. This time we played with 7 players – 4 Yankee and 3 Rebel. We also had more units available, as Doug brought some Yankee infantry and guns and some Rebel guns and Jeff brought a couple of newly painted Texas regiments. Each player commanded an infantry brigade with 3 to 5 regiments. The Yankees had 7 batteries and the rebels had 5…both sides allocated their batteries in an uneven manner – some brigades had no guns and some had 1 or even 2 gun batteries. There were 11 Confederate and 18 Union infantry regiments. The Federals had 20 AMPs and the Rebels had 15 AMPs.
Four of the seven players played in the FoB2 game two weeks ago, the other three were newbies or near newbies. Steve and Larry had played First Edition in the distant past. I did not play, just refereed the game. The battlefield was 5X8 in size. Once again, all of the players created the field on the fly then we divided up and I gave details.
The Yanks were once again on the attack, this time commanded by General John Wharrier. The Rebs, commanded by General Jeff Caruso, readied themselves for a defensive battle.
Once again, as an expediency, I gave the Yanks one advanced deployment zone. I also allowed the Yanks to decide that the first time they use their initiative points that they could pull a “virtual movement card” – this assured that they can jump off to the attack. I also added a fourth movement card to their deck. Other than that, I used the same decks from the previous battle, were the Yanks had an inferior command rating than the Rebs.
So, the battle began and the Yanks advanced along the entire front. Doug’s right flank, the largest brigade and containing some fine troops was to be the primary assault force, supported by Rick’s brigade. This force would fall onto Jeff’s Rebel brigade and drive it inwards. Nate and Dan’s Federal brigades were to push forward and engage Larry’s and Steve’s brigades respectively and prevent them from aiding Jeff’s defense.
The Yanks started taking some heavy losses on the march in, they lost about 8 AMPs in short order and I got a little nervous that the game might end really fast and be a little unrewarding. I seriously contemplated adding 4 or 5 AMPs – but I did not – I said to myself “just see how this plays out”.
Finally, the Southerner’s fire slackened and the Yanks piled in, but faced a really dogged defense. Doug and Jeff had an incredible slugfest going on! Desperate melee, routing units, all sorts of hell going on. Later in this segment of the battle, Rick’s brigade general was taken out of the fight by a sniper! To make matters worse, he never got a Leadership card! So his command was a bit hamstrung and as a result only lightly engaged.
Nate’s command, advancing in lines, moved to threaten Larry’s brigade and several sharp exchanges and melees were fought. Larry, in this observer’s opinion, got the better of it and was making some progress in stopping Nate’s boys. To some degree I think this was due to the presence of a Rebel battery and that Nate’s battery was engaged in a different sector. Larry, with his blood up, even advanced a couple regiments and took some ground from Nate. It was a tough order for Nate’s men and he handled them very well.
Dan’s command also had a tough time. He advanced in attack columns across an open section of field. Awaiting him were Steve’s Confederates in a wood line – and they had a supporting battery of guns. One of Dan’s regiments beat a hasty retreat (recovered eventually, but played no role in the fight) as the others continued to advance in heavy fire. To make matters difficult for Dan, his three regiments were generally of lower quality, with D4 defense dice (I randomly distributed the regiments, so it was just unfortunate that this happened – but so it was in real history too!). Eventually, Dan got his boys into the Rebels and drove away one regiment and had for a dogfight in the woods. Steve’s boys held on and did well to do so and Dan got his “rabble” into the action even though it looked bleak early!
The tough fighting took its toll on both sides and soon the Rebs were out of AMPs and the Yanks were down to about 4 AMPs. The Rebs were in no danger yet – the 3 Army Morale cards flipped by early in the deck! They were playing with “house money”! But inevitably, a tie initiative roll caused a reshuffle. Never the less, the Yanks were able to gain a few AMPs during this stretch of the fighting. Oh yeah, they were letting the Rebel players have it too! “Oh! We get ANOTHER morale chip?!?!” and shaking the bag to hear the chips clink against each other, etc. Fun stuff, taunting in good jest!
Then, the Yanks rolled a 10 and the Rebs rolled a 1 for initiative…and…the Yanks decided to let the Rebs go first – a fresh deck of cards and 9 points, no doubt that an Army Morale card would pop up! Well, this is where things fell apart – no Army Morale card popped up, but firepower cards did and the Rebs – backs to the wall – let them have it. Soon, both armies were out of AMPs! The Rebels even gained 2 in the process.
With the fickle Gods of war, wouldn’t you know it…as soon as the Rebs had those 2 chips, they drew an Army Morale card! Oh they laughed and ribbed the Yankees about that! Then – the Yankees had to draw 9 cards from a fresh deck…with 0 AMPs. The tension was palpable. Yep, you guessed it – the second card was Army Morale and the test was failed with a score of 5 to 11. Game over! The howls from both sides was simply incredible!
With this game, as with history, you just don’t count your chickens until they’re hatched.
Essentially, the Union assault made some fine gains but experienced heavy casualties. When the Confederate forces unexpectedly held out the Federal attack faulted. Both armies, severely battered, happily settled into the night’s sleep. Of course, given the ferocity of the day’s battle, that sleep was not a sound one with the moans of the wounded filling the air.
Everyone caught on to the rules right away – as a referee I was busy but not swamped - folks were working out their own movements and combats and such. People grocked the concepts and the game moved along. We played for three hours (8 to 11) – ending when the Yankees failed army morale. I felt that all the players handled their commands very well, Rick’s was hamstrung by the loss of his leader, but he still managed to get into some action!
Really fun evening fellas, thanks!