Wednesday, January 22, 2020

A Clearing in the Wilderness; a RFF scenario

Continuing on with ACWary, I present to you a RFF scenario.  It's called:

A Clearing in the Wilderness

This is the ACW scenario I ran at The Gauntlet.  It's a fictional one set during the time spent in the wilderness campaign, when Grant's and Lee's armies were fighting in the deep woods. I'm posting it by it's lonesome / separately so this terrible blog can act like my cloud storage.

RFF does a great job at taking a section of a large battlefield and bringing it to life.  In this scenario, the Union is gathering a bunch of artillery on a ridge that juts out over the thick trees.  The CSA don't like this and advance into some clearing to set up some counter battery fire.  The USA then counter attacks to secure this part of the line... but that's all useless backstory that only serves to increase the historic ambiance.

Lets get into the nuts and bolts of the scenario

While fighting in the thick woods where visibility was limited, men naturally gravitated towards clearings where they could see around them.  These areas became magnets for conflict.

The green areas represent the heavy woods of the wilderness, which dominates the board.  The yellow ish areas are clearings. There is a small hill on the right and the top left is the beginning of a larger ridge where the federal artillery is massing.

The woods are Dense and count as Rough terrain and limit LOS and command radius to 4”.  Units in the woods gain light cover during fire combat, or full cover if in extended line, and have favorable ground if charged through the woods.

Fences are Broken terrain to cross.  Units only in extended line gain cover while aligned behind a fence.  Otherwise fences do not affect fire or charge combat.  Units aligned behind a fence in any formation receive a +1 to maneuver checks.

Union artillery batteries on the ridge cannot join up and mass fire at CSA units, but each must select a separate target.  Union artillery batteries on the ridge may conduct Plunging Fire into CSA units in the woods that are out of LOS with the usual -2 for full cover.

Victory conditions:
2 Objectives:  The Union have to clear the...clearings of CSA troops.  Both of the bottom two fields count as an objective held by the CSA.  If at any point there are no CSA troops in one of the clearing then it's lost and gives the CS a -1 to further maneuver checks.  If the CSA take back the clearing then the -1 switches to the USA.  It is possible that each side may have a -1 applied.

Heavy Losses: Each side has heavy losses threshold.  The CSA gain one victory condition if the USA lose 35 stands. The USA gains one victory condition if the CSA lose 27 stands.  When a side reaches it's heavy losses it suffers a -1 to maneuver checks for the rest of the game.

Greater losses: When Heavy losses is reached for both sides, assess which side has lost the greater total number of stands, this side has Greater Losses and suffers a -2 to maneuver checks. Only one side can have Greater Losses.

Order of Battle!

Everyone has Rifled Muskets, it's 1864 for Pete's sake

I DIV - Arthur (Able)

I DIV Artillery (under Arthur's Command)
RI Battery C, 3 bases, each Vet Light rifle (LR)
9th CT battery, 3 bases, each Vet Light rifle (LR)

I DIV / I BDE - Bless (Gallant)
101 PA Green, Reliable 14/11/7
101 PA Brave Colonel Terry
87 PA Green,  Reliable  15/12/8
71 PA Trained, Reliable  12/9/6
61 PA Veteran, Reliable, 10/8/5

I DIV / II BDE - Crukis (Able)
54 NY Veteran, reliable, 10/8/5
103 NY Veteran, reliable 9/7/5
95 NY Veteran, reliable 9/7/5
83 NY Veteran, Reliable, 8/6/4

II BDE Artillery (Under Crukis' Command)
US Battery 10, 3 bases, each Vet Light Smoothbore (LS)

I DIV / III BDE - Daring (Able)
5 OH Veteran, reliable, 7/6/4
7 OH veteran, reliable, 8/6/4
29 OH Veteran, Reliable, 8/6/4
64 OH Veteran, Reliable, 10/8/5


1 BDE - Ellert (Gallant)
42 VA Veteran, Spirited, 11/8/5
45 VA Crack, Spirited, 8/5/3
48 VA Veteran, Reliable, 7/6/4
52 VA Veteran, Reliable, 10/8/5
58 VA Crack, Spirited, 9/6/4

I BDE Artillery (under Ellert's command)
Graham's Virginia Battery, 3 bases, Vet Light rifle (LS)

II BDE - Hotchkiss (Able)
26 LA Veteran, Reliable, 10/8/5
47 LA Veteran, Reliable, 9/7/5
53 LA Veteran, Reliable, 8/6/4
55 LA Veteran, Reliable, 10/8/5
61 LA Veteran, Reliable, 8/6/4

II BDE Artillery (under Hotchkiss' command)
John's Virginia Battery, 2 bases, Vet Light Rifle (LS)

Side Discussion: Battles by Graph Paper

Way back when in played BFF for the first time, the GM (the unconquered Mr. AS) handed me a map of the battlefield drawn on graph paper, with each square representing 2 inches or something like that.  I looked at it and instantly thought, "This is so simple it's Genius, and I'm an idiot for not  thinking of doing this before, because here I was drawing my battlefields on regular paper like a SUCKER." 

Using graph paper made it so much easier...  

ACW Scenario Thoughts

So since this is a fictional scenario that I just made up that I think gives a pretty good game (having played it once so far).  Here are some of my thoughts behind it.  It represents the classic ACW trade off; where the Union has more of everything, but is constrained by terrain, some green or inexperienced units, etc..while the CSA has less but battle hardened.  Which I like in a game but more importantly is matches what people expect out of the ACW, so the game feels more historical.  
I've also made the attacking Union powerful enough to attack with a good chance of success but not steamroll the CSA.  In the ACW, the attacking side needs to be stronger because the tactics and technology of the time really favored the defense.
Plus, the scenario provides a little bit of maneuver for the players i the beginning, and then fight to the death!  Then of course I would say that.  Lastly, I think that all units starting on the board is a good set up for convention games.

You Said You Played This Once So Far... I Say Pics or it Didn't Happen

Very well.  Here are some pics from the game I ran at the Gauntlet convention last weekend.  Full ARR is in the works.  

Set up pics

The road through the Wilderness is empty for now

Union artillery on the ridge.

Union begins the advance.
CSA forms a defense
The road is full of Union soldiers now!

Union trying to take the clearings

Thanks for reading.  See you next time.

This ACWary might bleed into February, but that'd be alright.  The word mash still works. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

I Declare this Month to be: ACWary

That's supposed to sound like January, but the 'Janu' part is replaced with ACW.

I meant to get this posted awhile ago, but I was plagued with computer and other problems.
But you know what they say;
Mo Money,
Mo Problems.

And I got that half right....


Alternative heading: Suck it Zombies

Every October, a lot of bloggers participate in Zombietober, where every week they post about zombies and all things undeady.  It looks like a lot of fun but I don't participate because I don't have any miniatures zombies nor do I do a lot of zombie wargaming.  And let's face it; zombies are kinda lame.*

But why should they have all the fun when there are plenty of other more worthy genres that deserve their own month of blogging coverage.  Therefore; with the power invested in me by having an internet connection and a blog, I declare this month to be ACWary!  dedicated to all things ACW.
Join in with me if so inclined and convenient, and flood the internet with ACW posts. 

Let's begin the ACW goodness.

(* Zombies are not actually lame, and I have enjoyed my occasional Zombie themed games).

First You get the Men

To start the month off right I've started 20 bases of union infantry.  The plan is by then end of the month have these done.

When I started writing this post, these miniatures were just primed black.
So looking at the state they are in now, and judging by the speed in which I paint,
you can tell this post has been delayed 5 years.

Thank You Jonathon for the Unexpected Reinforcements

It never ceases to amaze me how us bloggers really are an online community of friends. 
Jonathon Freitag of the most excellent blog  Palouse Wargaming Journal, which is a blog we all should be following if you like miniature wargames but be WARNED: His monumental and ceaseless posting of completely painted miniatures will make you feel like you never paint anything.  I secretly think that the Palouse is actually located in some third world country and he has access to very cheap labor / painting sweatshops... and that I should move there.

He sent me these!

Mr. JF knows of my love for the ACW, and offered to send me a unit of 15mm Union Zouaves for the low low price of saying "yes please."   The hardest part was learning how to spell Zouave properly. I'm still not sure that's right. 

I'll have to rebase them.  Not because they are based poorly but just because they are not based consistently with my other troops.  Then when they take the field I'll have to make sure they have a brave colonel named Freitag.

Thanks again Jonathon.  You are such a Zouave guy.   (That joke is just too obvious).

Then You get the Terrain

In the continuing effort to beautify my ACW games, I've been busy with the terrain.  These are just simple jobs that didn't take too long (which fit nicely with my limited hobby time these days).

I finally got around to painting up some houses, which is nice as I barely had any before.
These are the TimeCast 15mm ACW range. 

I haven't painted a building since.. well never before actually.  Just never had a need to.  These came out alright, but I quickly saw that I could put a lot of effort into them and make them look amazing or do a quick job and get them painted and done.  And since no one looks too hard at 15mm buildings anyway I went with the latter.  If there is an opportunity for me to be lazy, you bet that I'm going to take it, as long as it doesn't mean much work. 

Field experiment
I also found some time do to a little Field experiment.  While at the dollar store so that the kids could buy junk (the 6 year old daughter #1 is starting to learn that cheap also means crappy) I saw a white terry cloth that I thought had some good texture to it, and thought that for a dollar a might give it a try.

The original material on top,
the result of my efforts on the bottom

I cut out some squares, spray painted it brown and then dry brushed some green on top.  The result is....not terrible.  It does make pretty good rows and will probably look nice next to one my new houses, posing as vegetable garden.  maybe with a little white fence..

Get Stoned
One never seems to have enough stone walls, so I painted some up to add to the amount that I have  already painted.  (that is a poor sentence, WHERE is my editor??)  These are from Battlefield Terrain Concepts.  Easy paint jobs with grey dry brushes over black primer.  After I painted I was curious about just how much stone wall I had available for scenarios...

5 feet of stone wall or thereabouts.  Probably will need about twice that in total.  It seems that ACW battlefields either had no rock walls or had them everywhere. 

With some men for scale

Make Like a Tree and Leave
One also never seems to have enough trees.  I made some more.  It's kinda a short story. 

Not Quite an Entmoot...
(what's a LOTR joke doing in an ACW post??!!!)

These are Woodland Scenic premade trees that come in packs of like 14 or so.  It's just a matter of sticking the base on a washer, adding some ground cover (I use concrete patch because it heavy and helps make the tree stable and bottom heavy, like most wargamers), painted brown with a highlight, and stick the tree back in.

And Then You get the Games

The first ACW outing is on the calendar in the form of an upcoming weekend convention (March 18th and 19th) called The Gauntlet. 

I think their logo needs work.
It's a little on the nose.

This is an all historical only wargaming convention.  This is only the second year that this convention has existed.  It's got an odd format, but I'll discuss that more in the inevitable convention report.  But the theme for Sunday is the ACW, and holding a convention with an ACW theme is, as I take it, just begging me to come and host an ACW game.  Just asking for it really.
The game that I'll run will use Regimental Fire and Fury, be for 5 players, and is called "A Clearing in the Wilderness."  Good thing I made those trees. 

On Saturday the themes are WWII and AWI, so it looks to be a good weekend of wargaming. 
A new year, and the third weekend is scheduled for 2 days of wargaming?  Not Terrible. 

I should start calling the blog 'Not a Terrible Loss...

Frivolous Purchases

I need another set of ACW rules like a need another tattoo on my face.  But I got one anyway when a gentleman was selling "Brother Against Brother."  This is an older rule set that is designed for 28mm Man to Man skirmish, so it's very useful for me ACW collection which is 18mm, many figures to a base, for mass battles.  Though like a lot of miniature wargamers I moonlight as a miniature wargame rules collector.  I've played these rules once or twice at conventions, though strangely not in set in the ACW, but in the AWI.  

How many rule sets does one need for playing the ACW?  let's see:

Regimental Fire and Fury
Brigade Fire and Fury
Picket's Charge
40 Dead Men
Black Powder (will pick up the ACW supplement eventually)
Sharpe Practice 2
Brink of Battle
and now Brother Against Brother

So 9.  Least I played all of them at least once....

More ACW goodness to come!  Thanks for reading, but for now we shall end this post abrupt..