J. R. Tracy(jrtracy)United States
We had nine players Tuesday night for wargaming and a little Ameritrash.
Dave, Herr Fuchs, Steven, Bill, and Natus tried Cyclades, a mythology-themed game where players players compete for the favor of the gods. I don't know much about game play but it looks good on the table. Natus continued his personal winning streak.
Beseeching the gods
Pulling for the far shore as Perseus looms in the background
Another Natus triumph
Scott and John wrapped up TACW's Edgehill, with Scott's Royalists struggling to overcome a steep VP deficit. The Royalist infantry managed to close with the main Parliament line after laboriously working their way through Rally, Make Ready, and Charge orders. It wasn't enough to produce victory, however, as John persevered for a two point win.
The Cavaliers ready themselves for one last charge
The Roundhead right holds steady
The final positions
John, Sean, and Scott knocked out a game of Quarriors for the nightcap, with John taking another win.
Quarriors, with not quite all the fixin's
Inspired by Markus Stumptner's CSW post a few weeks ago, Dutch and I broke out Fury in the West, on the Battle of Shiloh, my Rebs against Dutch's Yankees. This is a brigade level game with lot of tactical detail. Facing matters for movement, with three hex zones of control that represent firepower projection; optional rules allow for flank attacks. Units can be in either column or battle formation - the former moves more efficiently and importantly, prevents straggling. Leaders are necessary for a unit to move its full movement allowance, and provide a die roll modifier in combat. Artillery is difficult to use on offense, dies on a Rout result in combat, and can interdict the few open patches of terrain.
Hardee and III Corps get set to jump off against the sleepy bluebellies
A. S. Johnston and the Reserve Corps test the Federal left
For me, the straggler rule is the heart of the game's flavor. Any unit moving in battle formation generates a straggler, and several combat results generate stragglers as well. If a unit sits still for a turn out of an enemy zone of control, it can recover a straggler, but that's a tough call in the heat of battle. With units ranging in size from eight to fourteen strength points, a few turns of movement begins to hurt your fighting power. The Confederate is moving to contact and has to get to Pittsburgh Landing, so tends to suffer movement-generated stragglers more than the Union. Timing your pauses to maximum effect appears to be a key to Rebel success.
The centers meet
The CRT is attritional, with key supplemental results of Withdraw, Rout, and Pursuit. The first forces a one hex retreat and a straggler, the second a four hex retreat, two stragglers, and loss of a player turn, and the last allows an advance after combat. All appear on both attacker and defender results. Pursuit is a great result as it allows an advantaged unit to remain engaged, instead of expending another straggler point to chase its opponent.
Sherman and Buckland in a pickle
In our game, I engaged the sleepy Union camp in the left and center, and sent the Reserve Corps in column down the right edge of the map. Dutch scrambled to form a defense - I think the burden is on the Union player to grok the game, since the Rebel objectives are pretty clear. I was able to reach the Sunken Road before the Federals could establish a line there, and we had a general engagement a few hundred yards beyond instead. While odds were pretty even in the center, I had the advantage on the left, and after Sherman's division was destroyed, the power curve was in my favor. We called it when it was evident I'd beat the Union reinforcements to Pittsburgh Landing, the Golden Snitch of the game (worth 75 VPs to me, compared to one VP per strength point lost).
McClernand drives back Riggles but his flank hangs in thin air
We loved the chaos and confusion of the action, and the force management demanded by the straggler rules. The rules are a little rough around the edges, with occasional interpretation necessary. The Union defense demands some study to determine the best opening move but after that I think its a very straight forward play. The first day scenario is good for an evening sessions, but I'd expect a full day for the two-day battle. Thank you, Markus, for persuading us to dust this one off.
Rebel Kraken off the starboard bow!
Next week, Virgin Queen, and maybe Samurai Battles!