Friday, 8 June 2012

ACW with Fire and Fury

My deployment on my left, a division just started to move in column to take the  hill in front
 Having completed both my American Civil War armies last year, it recently occurred to me that I had only so far got only one game out of them. A couple of week's ago, with Steve's encouragement, I got them out for a participation game, inviting Mac and Martin in. A number of things conspired to slow things down - I turned up a little late, Mac and Martin were new to the game, I didn't have a scenario prepared as such, and Fire and Fury games take a while to set up as all the units have different numbers of stands which need to be counted out etc., and halfway through ref'ing I got a business call and had to disappear for 15 minutes. The net result was that by time we came to pack up we had barely got through three or four moves and the armies barely got to exchange a couple of musket balls. It wasn't a total disaster, I was pleased to see having mastered the playsheet and my two page rules summary, Steve after just one game played a year ago, had no problem taking other the ref'ing for two new guys, who got the hang of the mechanisms very easily.

Anyway, both myself and Steve, who was sufficiently enthused by the first game to start work on making 'worm-fences' and talking Martin into very generously giving him a huge stash of unpainted plastic figures to put together his own armies, thought we'd at least like to have a go seeing if we could get a decent game done in a club night.

As in our previous game we just used the army lists from last year's 'Antietam: First Attack' Scenario from the excellent website, mainly because I'd made all the unit labels, with a division of cavalry thrown in each on top. In theory, these scenarios are designed to be played in a couple of hours.

For the battle itself I'll let the pictures and captions tell the story:
Deployment in my centre. William's two strong brigades in front of shot were my reserve 

Close up of some Zouves in Double Day's Division

Steve deploying the Reb's, he sneakily kept a significant force off-table

Steve moves up a division with cannon onto a ridge in front of his position

Steve's division in place on the ridge. Having placed his cavalry division in the centre he shifted them right across to his right flank. Cunning devils these Reb' generals!

I take the hill with Doubleday's division planning to simply bombard the farm. In fact, my shooting was lousy all night and I don't think I killed a single stand with cannon or musket

My Cavalry division on my right proved very troublesome, several times it failed to move properly then the first brigade broke and ran as soon as they came under shellfire

Steve then brings on his reserves in battle columns in the centre where he originally deployed his cavalry, threatening to break through my weak centre/right. With time slipping away I ordered a general advance backed up by my reserves

Steve advanced an infantry brigade against mine, and gets his cavalry ready to charge down the flank

Overview of my left flank as I change plan and get ready to assault the farm

The first brigade sent into assault the farm got wiped out, so with a Rebel yell they get up and  charge my brigade, as part of a general assault across the left flank

While I charge in the centre

Steve throws in his cavalry into the attack on the left

By the next turn battle was joined across the line, on the right and centre I took a lickin'...

...But on the left I was more successful and sent him scrambling back to the cover of the farm walls...

...and drove back his infantry and cavalry!

...out of time again! Damnation! But at least we got to grips this time. Just two more moves and we reckon some sort of conclusion could have shaken out
So again an unfinished game! At least this time we could examine things closer to isolate what slowed it down and what could speed things up next time. Set up was a big issue. Counting out all the stands for each brigade and sorting out the divisions, labels etc. meant it took nearly an hour to set up, not great when you've only got three hours at your disposal. Next, in the Antietam scenario, I'd noticed that the battle kicked off with the lead brigades of each army virtually running straight into each other. At the time, I'd thought that unsatisfactory because it gave the generals limited scope for manuever. But in retrospect we started the armies too far apart. Too much time was wasted in getting into position, especially as just moving a Fire & Fury army takes a while as you need to dice for each brigade before you can move it (which ironically and unlike most games makes it quicker to complete a turn with multiple generals not slower). If we could cut half an hour off set up time, another half an hour off through putting the forces closer and maybe having some 'trained generals' able to set up and move their own divisions without supervision, we might just get a game cracked in an evening yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment