Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chancellorsville - Black Powder Style

About a week ago I was invited to participate in an ACW Black Powder game.  This group of guys usually puts on 1 or 2 "big" games per year.  I was able to watch last year's game and was pretty impressed, so I was very happy to be included this time around.  Especially since I didn't have any troops to contribute - other than the VMI Cadets I recently finished.  I'm iffy on some of the organizational details because I had nothing to do with the planning.  I basically showed up, was handed a brigade, and got to playing.  I think there were 9 or 10 brigades in total for both sides with 7 players.  We estimated the number of miniatures on the table at about 500+.  The table was 8 x 16 and did a decent job of representing Chancellorsville and the ground to its west.  Command values and and brigade commanders were randomized.  I wound up with Colquitt's Georgians with a command score of 8.  In this game, Jackson has already made his famous flank march and the action begins as the Confederates charge the Federal right from the woods.  The game was scenario based - The Confederate primary objective was to get to the crossing within 12 turns.  An additional objective was to exit a unit from the eastern table edge.  The Federals started the game with only 2 or 3 brigades, mostly in line along the Orange Turnpike.  They would get reserves in turn 6.  Their job was hold up the Confederate advance long enough to prevent the Rebs reaching Chancellor in 12 turns.
Confederate positions as they exit the woods on the Federal flank.

Federal positions at the start of the game

Confederate lines.  The woods are also full of troops.

Orange Turnpike

View from Chancellor

Confederates step off

This brigade was apparently tired form their arduous march - they had some trouble getting started
Confederates have a fair amount of difficulty dislodging the bluecoats from their prepared positions

Finally the advance resumes

At this point the Federals have adjusted their facing and gotten into  a semblance of line of battle

General! Please bring up your brigade as soon as practicable!

The Rebs drive on, but very slowly due to stubborn defense

Will they make it in time?
Yankee units are swept aside one after another, but the Federal reserves are now on the field.

The Confederate left is able to achieve a breakthrough

The center and right are still bogged down - moving forward - but just.

Finally the Federal center is forced to withdraw.  But we're on turn 11 with a lot of ground to cover.

Turn 12 - 1 chance left.  The dice are kind and the Rebs are able to exploit the breakthrough on the left

Union artillery brilliantly repositions to try and blow the Rebs off the objective

But the Confederates are able to hang on and achieve a minor victory

Great, great game.  Lots of fun.  I shot a few more short vids, but they take longer to upload than I feel like waiting, so this'll have to do.  I think everyone thought the Union troops would be able to hang on from about turn 6 or 7.  The Confederate advance was hampered by stubborn resistance and a lot of failed command rolls.  The game came down to the last roll of dice.  Everyone had a good time, followed by libations afterwards.  My long-term plans for an ACW brigade have moved up a few notches in my painting queue.