Meet Alex and Tyler. They are the participants in my Simulation Games mini-course. Both are new to miniatures game, though both are bright young men with a solid interest in history. In our first session, I laid out the basics of the Black Powder rules in about ten minutes and described the scenario to them. Then they were off and running.
The first turn went quickly, mainly because the Alex, the Union commander, botched the command roll for his reserve brigade. He tried to move his right around the Confederate flank, but his troops moved at a creep. Worried about being enveloped himself, he pulled his remaining two regiments back to where they could be better covered by the reserve. Above, we see Tyler making one of his many excellent command rolls. Apparently, the Confederates were issued with Segways in 1862, allowing them to motor around the Iuka battlefield. Tyler wanted to cover a larger front, so he ordered two of his front-line regiments into skirmish, while he tried an envelopment move on his own right flank.
Above is a shot of the battlefield after a turn and a half. The Union reserve on the far left remains stuck in the mud. However, the retreating Union artillery (the Ohio battery, if you're being historical) was able to unlimber and deliver a devastating volley into the Confederate center. Confederate return fire was weak. All move and no shoot, one might say.
This is the scene after two and a half turns. We have only forty-five minutes in a class period, so it is amazing what smart young novices can do with the Black Powder rules in a short period of time. I have very little tactical advice, and both were willing to accept the consequences of their tactical blunders.
Here, we see the reserve brigades finally responding to the sound of the guns. Most are bolstering the center, but Alex still has plans of making a strong push on his right, detaching a regiment to support his earlier flanking attempt. Tyler's flank march moved quickly, but the regiment found itself with nothing to fight. His ring of skirmishers seems to be holding, but the regiment in the center has already been shaken by artillery fire. We will pick up next week with the third Confederate turn.