13 September 2019

An ACW Campaign for Pickett's Charge

Myself and my friend Adam have decided to play another ACW campaign. We already played a campaign with the Longstreet ruleset some years ago. Our ACW figures have been languishing in boxes and it was time they saw the table again.

I have really enjoyed playing the two rulesets put out by David Brown in the last couple of years as published by TFL under the Reisswitz Press banner. I have played quite a bit of Général d'Armée with my friend Iannick in Montreal and have become quite comfortable with the ruleset. Pickett's Charge has similar mechanisms but the overall game is a little simpler. I liked playing Longstreet but I find that Sam Mustafa's rules, although superbly written in a very clear fashion, are pared down a little too much for my taste. I really enjoy the complexity of decision making that is the main characteristic of TFL rules in general. Yes, they are a little less clearly written (both Rich Clarke and Dave Brown use a much more conversational style of writing than Sam Mustafa) but if you do not overthink what is written, I actually find them quite intelligible. They are my first choice for Napoleonics and ACW.

I initially planned writing a historical campaign and I still do but Adam recommended that we use the campaign system in Longstreet. George A. had given me an excellent pamphlet he had written surrounding the Pea Ridge campaign which I plan to work on. But impatience and finding time has lead me to agree with Adam, especially after I saw the preliminary work he had done on translating the Longstreet campaign system in such a way that it can be used with the Pickett's Charge ruleset. I generally do not like playing a-historic or points based games but I think this is going to be OK.

The first step in making the Longstreet (LS) campaign work using the Pickett's Charge (PC) ruleset was dealing with the fact that LS is at the brigade level while PC is at the divisional level. Also LS uses the number of bases in a force to make a lot of decisions in respect to victory points, attrition, and reinforcements. In respect to PC, the most important command decisions are made by the ADC function which does not exist in LS. LS also has a set of campaign cards which are fun to use which we wanted to keep for our campaign.

Below, I will go through the LS Campaign section as laid out in the rulebook with our modifications. I will keep this updated as we go through the process. I think if you are unfamiliar with LS some of the following maybe a little puzzling but of course if interested you can always buy the ruleset.

Campaign Overview
The campaign will be 9 turns and will cover 1861-1865 with a varying number of games per year. The 10 scenarios in the LS book will be randomly selected to play each turn. We are still deciding what will determine victory in each scenario and in the campaign.

Starting Forces
PC is a multi-brigade game but we are going to start with a small force that will increase as each game is played. Each army will have 6 large green infantry units, 1 standard green cavalry unit (the USA may  subsitute another infantry unit) and 1 three base mixed artillery battery. The player will arrange his army in 2 brigades with a composition of his choice.

In PC, each brigade gets an ADC as well as extras as determined by CiC. We have decided to double the brigade ADC complement for the first 2 years (3 turns) of the war.  We will also add ADC's as follows:

  • CSA 2 extra ADC's in 1861 (1 Battle)
  • CSA 2 extra ADC's in 1862, USA 1 extra ADC (2 Battles)
  • CSA/USA 2 extra ADC's in 1863 (3 Battles)
  • CSA 1 extra ADC, USA 2 extra ADC's in 1864 (2 Battles)
  • USA 2 extra ADC's in 1865 (1 Battle)

This is to reflect the changing fortunes of each side as the war progressed.

Epic Points
LS uses a system of Epic Points to accrue experience. A lot of it is based on the number of bases in combat etc. etc. I have to say that I always thought this was overly complex. This has been simplified as below.

  • 2 points for each game played
  • 1 point for a victory
  • 1 point for each enemy dispersed unit as per PC
  • 1 point for each scenario objective as per LS

We are planning to use this system as a tool to increase the size our forces. Still not 100% on how to do this but presently considering 1 extra standard sized regular or green infantry unit (experience as per year but probably regular graded units after 1862) for each half Epic Point rounded up.

Dealt with by the ADC system as above.

Battle Losses
In PC, each unit acquires casualties points with a standard sized unit being dispersed after 12 casualties. If the unit is dispersed it is lost but at the end of each game the number of casualties in the non-dispersed units will be reduced by 2/3 rounded up for each unit.

Not in use.

Campaign Cards
At the end of a turn each player has a deck of campaign cards pertinent to the year and his army. Each player draws 4-6 cards depending on the year and can use them to improve or increase his army. We can not use all of them but can use most with some modification as below.

  • New Artillery: as it written or add 1 standard unit of infantry
  • Hail to the Chief : add 2 standard units of of regular infantry
  • Sharpshooters: add 1 three base unit of regular skirmishers
  • Transfer: add 1 standard unit of Veteran infantry
  • CS Replacement:  add 1 standard unit of Regular infantry
  • Rebel Cavaliers: as written
  • See the Elephant: Promote 1 unit from Green to Regular or Regular to Veteran and so on
  • US Coloured Troops: add 1 large Green infantry unit
  • Union Repeaters: +1CD to unit when firing

Artillery is limited to 4 batteries with a maximum of 6 guns (3 bases) but the CSA may only have one 3 base unit. One base artillery units are not allowed.

Maximum Army Size
LS lays out a maximum number of bases that each army may have, this was converted to units as below.
Units include artillery, cavalry and infantry batteries and regiments. The player may have a maximum of 6 brigades, each having a minimum of 3 units.

So that is where we are now, I suspect a few things have been missed and some changes will be made.

updated 9-19-19

07 September 2019

Pickett's Charge- Battle of Chickamauga

Last Friday, myself and Adam had our first Pickett's Charge game in about a year. I have a nice Blue Moon ACW Union army which does not get out often enough and Adam has an even nicer Confederate army. We have been playing quite a bit of SAGA but maybe a break was due.

The 2018 TFL Magazine had a nice scenario with 4 brigades per side so was an obvious choice for our next game. Essentially the scenario involves a confederate attack on a somewhat entrenched Union army. The Confederates were mostly classified as veterans and regulars while the Union infantry were half green and half regulars. No cavalry but a fair amount of artillery was available.
The Union line on the right flank
The Union left fkank, the Confederates make their advance, I decided to send out my largest brigade to meet them. I could stay in cover in the forest but Adam had a lot of Veteran and Elite units that could do damage with extreme range fire. We both kept our centre brigades in reserve.
Adam advances is small but elite brigade on his left flank.
Adam has a great looking Confederate army.
The Confederates move in and 2 of my regiments are in trouble as they are suffereing Fire Discipline. I have to say that Adam was extremely unlucky in getting the Initiative as I think I wone the dice toss for every turn. I decided to charge Confederate C with Union A with Union B in support. In kind Adam decided to charge Union C with Confederate A supported by C. Suffice to both Confederate C and Union C ended up being Whipped.
On my left flank, I decided to charge and although somewhat inconclusive the Conderates were wavering, so I sent in my left centre brigade in support.
By now my Rifled Artillery were being threatened by Confederate skirmishers to their front and Confederate Infantry to their flank. It is tricky however to attack artillery as their cannister fire is lethal. By now however the Conderate attack was crumbling and my 4 brigades were largely intact. Adam had been unable to bring in his reserve brigade. The Confederates decided to withdraw.
We had some minor questions about the rules early on but the game actually flowed quite quickly and I think we got in 9 turns whih is really quite good. I have played a fair amount of GdA recently and although there are some differences the mechanisms are quite similar. It was clear by the end of the ninth turn that there was no way the Confederates could meet their Victory Conditions so a clear Union victory.

I really enjoy these rules, I find them quite straightforward and give a good game with a lot of decision making. If I had one criticism it would be that using 4 ADC's aside really does not give you as many tactical options as are available as they are being used as Brigade Attachments to insure that they do not become hesitant. This is easily fixed by increasing the number of ADC's though which I think we will do in the future.

We are now considering playing a ACW campaign utilizing these rules. Any ideas?

29 August 2019

All American-Turn 3

We had our 3rd turn in the All American campaign last night in Lachine. We played 2 games in our last outing, Pierre-Yves won the first and I won the second. I decided to re-defend table 2 rather than attack table 1.

After 2 turn
German Platoon: Unlimited platoons so not tracked
American Platoon 1: 3 dead.
American Platoon 2: Intact

Campaign Tracker
Commander's Opinion 0
Men's Opinion 0
Platoon Leaders's Outlook: Affable (+1FM)
Commander's Opinion +3 (+1 Support)
Men's Opinion 0
Platoon Leaders's Outlook: Content

82nd Airborne 2 Platoon (FM 11)
Core (Elite 5+1)
SLx2 (carbine and SMG)
Bazooka Team
Squads x 2 (JL/SMG, M1919 LMG Team/3 crew, Rifle Team/8 men)
Supports (6)

Grenadier Platoon (FM 9)
Core (Regular 5)
Panzerschreck Team
Squads x 3 (JL/SMG, LMG Team/3Crew, Rifle Team/6 men)
Supports (10)
Panzer IIIG 
FO w/ 8cm OTM

So on we go to some photos.

American POV
German POV
German Advance
More Germans
M1 ATG- got a CD roll of 3d6 so put down the gun. It took 3 phases to take it out but was able to drive the crew out.
PY shocked me by laying down a barrage. Luckily I had only 1 squad down in the field in hard cover so they withstood it quite well. By now PY had 2 squads advancing behind the barrage on my right flank.
So I place my 2nd squad on my left flank to advance up the road. There was an unguarded JOP in the field with no Germans to respond aside from those in the walled farmyard. They were able to take a pot shot at me as I passed the gate and wounded my SL. But another double phase came up and I was able to drag him up the road.
JOP captured, turn ended, Barrage lifted. I was now in good shape but then made a fatal mistake. I ran back down the road and entered the farmyard, I had another double phase (I probably had 10 double phases to PY's 4). I fired at the Germans in the yard, lots of targets including a SL, JL and FO with the squad. Did not cause a whole lot of damage and foolishly charged. I lost 9 men to PY's 6. FM down to 4 with the German FM at 6. I withdrew. German victory!

Well it was a fun game, I blew it at the end and now have a pretty torn up platoon 2. We will have to see how the next game goes. Great game by PY!

After 3rd turn
German Platoon: Unlimited platoons so not tracked
American Platoon 1: 3 dead.
American Platoon 2: 6 dead, 4 wounded (1 SL 6"CR w/2CI)

Campaign Tracker
Commander's Opinion +1
Men's Opinion+2
Platoon Leaders's Outlook: Sociable (+1FM)
Commander's Opinion +3 (+1 Support)
Men's Opinion -3(-1 Support)
Platoon Leaders's Outlook: Thoughtful


28 August 2019

SAGA: Age of Crusades

I played my first game of Age of Crusades last night at L'Abyss in Montreal. Had a great time and met a new gamer Luis F. who has a great sense of humour and was a lot of fun with whom to game. He appears to be quite an experienced gamer and had some great looking figures. L'Abyss is quite a gaming shop with a lot of fantasy figures but also some Bolt Action, Flames of War, Gripping Beast SAGA books, dice and figures and an enormous selection of multiple brands of Fantasy miniatures. They also have a lot of terrain and gaming supplies available including paints from Vallejo (superb Model Air collection), Citadel, Army Painter as well as Scale75. They also had a lot of mdf terrain from a Quebec company called XOLK, which I will have to explore further.

The gaming area was quite impressive with I think 20-25 tables, all sit down with an enormous selection of terrain tiles, mats and terrain to use. The place was blocked (this was a Tuesday night) with all tables in operation. They even had specialised 4x3' SAGA boards. Very nice.

We set up using the Book of Battles Chaos method, Luis was not familar with this game setup as the  French version of the BoB has not yet arrived in Montreal.

Game Set-up (BoB Chaos)

Scenery-Rough Ground
Deployment-March Column
Special Rule-Forced March
Victory Conditions-Targe
Game Length-Cautious

The Levantine Crusaders (6 SAGA Dice)

Mounted Warlord
3 units of Mounted Hearthguard in 2 groups
1 unit of Crossbow armed Warriors
1 unit of Bow armed Archers
1 unit of Fanatical Pilgrims

Saracens (6 SAGA Dice)

Mounted Warlord
1 unit of Mounted Hearthguard
1 unit of Mounted Warriors
1 unit of Composite Bow armed Mounted Warriors
2 units of Warriors
1 unit of Bow armed Levy

I could tell pretty quickly that this was going to be a challenging game, I was quite unfamilar with the Saracen BB and seldom play mounted warbands. I was helped though by the fact that the special rule Forced March limits movement to half of normal in the first 2 turns, and we had a 5 turn game because of Cautious.  So on to some photos......
Initial Set up from the Saracen end
Beautifully done Crusader Warriors. Luis has the cavalrymen attached to the horses using tiny magnets so he can change out the riders, but more amazingly so the shields are also magnetised to the figures so he can change them out!
Crusader Bowmen, the unit I targeted for my bonus.
Fanatical Pilgrims, they are quite interesting as every time I killed one Luis can to add a SAGA dice to his BB. This is a very interesting ability as he really does not have to set up his BB defensively for the next turn.
My Mounted Warriors, Luis targeted this unit as his bonus.
My Levy Bowmen
This is about half way through the game. My targeted unit was the Bowarmed Warriors so I moved my Levy bowmen as well as my composite bow armed Warriors to take them out as well as the Fanatical Pilgrims on my right flank. At the same time Luis focused on my left flank and took out my Blackrobed warriors. He also forced my mounted Warriors back and threatened my Bluerobed warriors.
Luis moved in for the kill on Turn 4, it was looking bad for the Saracens
I was down to 3 SAGA dice, so I sent my mounted Hearthguard in against 1 unit of Crusading Hearthguard, I was able to kill 4 of them, I then followed up with Warlord attacking the other Crusader Hearthguard unit, I had only 1 of my Hearthguard in S of the Warlord but I was able to survive with 2 fatigues taking out 3 more Hearthguard. In turn 5 Luis sent his Hearthguard into take out my Warlord, he just succeded he wanted to follow up with his Warlord to take out my my 2 remaining Hearthguard but he had fatigue so I was able to slow him. End of turn 5, game over!
So we totaled up the Massacre Points and it was 25 to 23 for the Saracens, a very close game. It was a fun game and I look forward to the next. It was the first outing for my Moorish figures since I painted them several years ago, it was nice to see that they won their first battle. More importantly of course, I have met a new gamer in Montreal who was a fun and engaging player.

25 August 2019

Hobby Bunker Games Day-8-24-19

Hobby Bunker had it's annual summer gamesday yesterday, there seemed to be an excellent turnout with lots of good looking games. Unfortunately I got wound up into the two games I played and completely neglected to take any photos of the other games.

This was a fan based WWII Tactical ruleset  on the Napoleonic Boardgame Manoeuver. Gabriel from New Hampshire put together the ruleset and from what I understand is hoping to get it published. I really thought it was a lot of fun, a lot of decision making but mechanics were quite simple. Definitely would play it again, so I hope he gets it published.

Microarmour with each element representing a believe a company.
Hex based movement
Eas=ch unit was combined arms with 1 infantry company and 1 armoured company allowed in each hex.
I got crushed!
Sharp Practice
My friend Mike put on a great game  of SP2, I believe set in 1813, just prior to the Battle of Bussaco.
He really has fantastic figures and put on a great game. The other two players had not played before and although I have played it was not for some time. Mike did a brilliant job on teaching the rules and keeping the game flowing.
Do not let the 95th get in hard cover!
A failed but glorious charge of the French Dragoons against the British Red Line.
I really had a great time, and thanks to the Hobby Bunker owner, Matt Murphy for hosting such a great event. 

23 August 2019

Now for some Terrain

After painting 20 AB figures for the last couple of months, I needed a bit of a break, so in the past couple of days I painted up some terrain. Our next game in the Von Luck campaign require a lot of high stone walls. In CoC speak these are 10-12' high and are treated as major obstacles. So for 20mm figures, I needed something around 40mm high. I had some Mediterranean walls from Brigade Games on hand, and although 28mm scale they were exactly 40mm high so I said why not. We are also of course talking about France but again it is difficult to get everything perfect. I liked how Rich Clarke had painted walls in his recent Blacksmith Build, so I decided to try to copy it.
Rustoleum Espresso: 50:50 Mixture of Yellow Oxide-Raw Umber: Yellow Oxide

Naples Yellow: 50:50 Mixture of Naples Yellow-Parchement: Parchement

Table 5 in Von Luck....
......forests not yet laid down
The Collection so far
Brick x 2 with Carroburg Crimson, Drybrush of Flat Red on tiles
Gate with Caliban Green, Drybrushed with warboss Green, washed with Camoshade
I realy enjoyed this project, I would like a few more straight sections so I will be contacting Brigade Games to see if this is possible, I really do not need any corners or gates.

I am off to Montreal this Tuesday, have my first game of SAGA planned there for many years. I linked up with a Montreal SAGA Facebook group and have arranged a game à Boutique de Jeux L'Abyss, this looks like quite a place so I am looking forward to seeing the shop and meeting some new players. On Wednesday, we are having our next turn in the All American CoC campaign, so lots of gaming. Maybe, I might be able to get in another SAGA game on Thursday.

I am playing a Saracen Warband in my first Age of Crusades SAGA game, taking on some Levantine Crusaders so it should be interesting.

My next project is something completely different, so stay tuned.