Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Battle of Iuka: The Bloody Finale

Today was our third and last session of ACW Black Powder.  My two novice players got to the crisis point, and when a Confederate brigade routed, they realized that Price's army was in an untenable position.  For kicks, they fought until bitter end, even after the Tyler, the Confederate commander, said he would pack it in to save the lives of his remaining troops.

Tyler began this last session with a skirmish line protecting his second line of defense.  While the Alex, the Union commander, declined to clear the skirmishers away with a mad charge, he was able to bring enough firepower to bear to blast the skirmish line away.

After the first Confederate line evaporates, Tyler contemplates his next move. Now outnumbered 2-1, he needs to make his remaining resources count. Unfortunately, devastating fire from the Union left his troops disorganized, and there were few maneuvers available to him.

Finally a charge!  However, it was stopped by a volley of musketry that theft the attackers stunned and disorganized.  Tyler was able to concentrate fire on a shaky regiment, whose loss caused one of the two Union brigades to break.  Though both sides had equal numbers on the battlefield, two of the Confederate regiments had been shaken by enemy fire. It was just a matter of time before Union firepower showed them off the field.

The Confederate left found itself flanked, and the shaky soldiers turned and bolted for safety.  Here is the situation at the end of the game, before the remaining two Confederate regiments got picked up and put away.

The kids had a good time. They have told me that their gaming sessions are a high point in their week.  Next, we are going to do some Napoleonics, again with Black Powder.  I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Battle of Iuka: After the lull

Holy smokes! Has it really been two week since my last mini-course session?  A brutal winter and a brush with a stomach bug meant that our game was on hiatus for a very long time. My students are troopers, however, and with only a minimum of review, they were ready to knock each other around again.

This shows the situation after three and a half turns.  The Confederates, on the right, have been able to bring up their reserve brigade. Forming a second line behind the first to provide defense-in-depth is more complex than Tyler thought, and he is racing against time to prevent a Union breakthrough.  The lonely Alabamans on his right (at the top of the screen) did not receive the order to perform a bold flanking maneuver until it was too late.  However, the Confederate artillery fires a devastating close-range volley at the Union Zouaves in front of them.  In response, the Union finally moves up their reserve brigade.  Their front line puts pressure on the Confederate crescent-shaped defense. The rebels, spread thinly to hold a wide front, manage to disperse many of their casualties, but a hard push by the Union will cause them to evaporate.

The Alabamans finally execute a move to fire down the Union flank.  The battered Zouaves break and run.  Meanwhile, Tyler forms the second line of his defense.  And not a moment too soon. Steven gangs up on the regiment holding the center of the Confederate line.  The Confederate regiment evaporates, leaving just a thin skirmish line behind them.  Neither side has felt confident enough to risk a charge against the enemy yet.  I have a feeling that is about to change.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Perhaps it's a subtle attempt at British irony. Very, very subtle

Got this in my email today.  The BBC is having a President's Day sale, in which they're flogging merchandise emblazoned with images of the royal family.   Britain, I love ya, but we fought a war against this sort of thing.  If you don't want us shilling special McMonarch burgers on the Queen's Birthday, you'll just back off, right now.

You're welcome.