Tag Archives: 15mm

Tumbling Tumbleweeds…

Hello anyone still following this decrepit dusty old blog!

I’ve been super busy with all sorts of non-wargaming things for the bulk of this year, but recently I’ve been studying for architecture exams, which involves me listening/watching online lectures and taking notes whenever the talking head behind the videos says something interesting.

There are hundreds of hours of these videos, but the positive side of that (other than me becoming a licensed architect) is that painting miniatures is the perfect accompanying activity to consuming the lectures. I have lots of time for painting.

I’m going to be concentrating on finishing up a couple of projects that I started long ago, namely 28mm Napoleonic skirmish forces, and some 15mm WWII. I will try to blog, occasionally, but I’m also giving Twitter a shot. If it proves to be more convenient/engaging, this blog may go (even more!) dormant. If you’re on Twitter, and think you might be interested, I can be found at @arkiegamer.

Here are a couple of shaky, badly lit smartphone camera photos, just to re-break the ice on this hoary collection of bits. Nothing but quality for my dear readers!

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M8 Greyhound. I somehow managed to lose the AA MG off the back during the two years this thing rattled around in a random plastic bin. I think I’m going to try to keep my vehicle painting for this project fairly clean, with no weathering. This scout car was simply block painted in base colors, decaled, sealed with Future Floor Wax, and then I applied a filter and wash of oil paints. The oils add complexity, shading,  and a certain luster to the base colors. I like the look of it, anyway.

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M8 Greyhound as seen from a descending artillery shell. This is a Battlefront model. 

 

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Cacadores the 1st

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1st Cacadores in line. No skirmishers.

With unparalleled swiftness (unparalleled by myself, anyway), I’ve completed another battalion for the Lasalle project. Ladies and gents, the 1st Cacadores. This is a four base unit (24 figures) with a couple of skirmish bases. Much like the 3rd Cacadores, they are very brown. And black. With a dash of light blue.

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The 1st, with skirmishers out.

This battalion of Portuguese lights completes the core brigade of my Lasalle division. Well, sort of. I’m supposed to have two more battalions when on the offense, and support brigades can be added to flesh the division out.

My additional on-the-attack battalions will be red-coated regulars, if for no other reason than it will put more flags on the table. I may do a brigade of light dragoons for my first support force, but I’m also tempted to do a brigade of Portuguese regulars in their sweet barrentina headwear. Decisions, decisions.

In any case, here’s the infantry portion of the core brigade. The artillery is beyond the hills, still advancing into position.

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From left to right…52nd Oxfordshire, 43rd Monmouthshire, 3rd Caçadores, 95th Rifles, 1st Caçadores.

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Now with Photoshopped sky!

Huzzah for Hussars!

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1st KGL Hussars for Lasalle

I’ve completed another unit for my Lasalle project. This is the 1st KGL Hussars. My Osprey stated that the 1st KGL Hussars were mounted on horses of an “assortment” of colors and markings, and certainly they would have had a variety of horse colors while on campaign, but I kind of wish I’d gone with all one color, just the same.

Next up, I’ll be painting a bushel basket full of 95th Rifles. I’ll be happy to paint something dull, after the cornucopia of color and detail these Hussars had.

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Sooooo many details to paint!

Tazewell II: The Shellackening

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Me and the Scarlet J convened for our first miniatures game of the year on that blackest of weekends: Valentine’s Weekend (I kid. Sort of.).

We replayed the Battle of Tazewell, a small engagement in Tazewell, Tennessee during 1862. I’ve described the particulars of this excellent small (and, more importantly, quick) Potomac Publications scenario in an earlier post. Go read it, if you’re interested.

In the meantime, here are some captioned pictures for your enjoyment.

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State of play at the beginning of the battle: A lone Union regiment, watched over by a section of Parrot guns, is deployed in extended line just in front of a woods line. Two Confederate regiments are just out of musket range.

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View toward the initial Union deployment.

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Union reinforcements begin to file in by road column. In the distance, Brigadier de Courcy watches over his men.

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Starting off with a bang (or a shout and sound of bayonets being fixed). I take advantage of my early advantage in numbers and charge the single Yank regiment in position to fight. The two Georgia regiments push the bluebellies back into the woods for the moment.

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Elements of Rain’s brigade push into the woods, only to be met with fierce Yankee resistance.

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Rebels massing for the charge.

 

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Defending agains oncoming Yankees. For once my artillery gets the best of the Bluebellies, and managed to damage all three sections of the northerner battery.

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Lots of shooting, as the Yank battery retreats to safety. Notice the disordered Greycoat regiment at the bottom of the screen-they’ve taken 70% casualties, but have somehow managed not to flee the battlefield.

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The Yankee brigade charges en masse from the woods, making contact all along the line.

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The charges do not go well for yours truly. TSJ managed to roll no less than three (3!!!) 10s in a row, while I rolled a 1, 2, and 3. Dismal! That Tennessee regiment toward the top has been flanked, and is in serious trouble.

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For some reason it always lifts my spirits to damage Zouaves.

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The remnants of my line.

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TSJ having to remove casualties. A rare sight, this game!

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The lone bright spot at end game for the Confederate forces. Brig. Rains and a North Carolina regiment capture a wooded hilltop, but wonder where the rest of the brigade has melted off to!

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My brigade essentially ran away after the big Union charge. Here we see the humiliating disparity in casualties!

Obviously this was a major Union victory, and illustrates what a disaster a streak of bad luck can be when receiving a mass charge from the enemy! Despite being bled white by The Scarlet J, I had a good time. This is a challenging, fun, and quick scenario, which is an excellent combination!

 

52nd Oxfordshire

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The 52nd leads, 43rd in the middle, 3rd Cacadores in the rear.

For my first post of the new year, may I present to you the 52nd Oxfordshire? The 52nd is a large elite unit for the Lasalle project, consisting of 6 bases of close order infantry, and 3 bases of skirmishers.

 

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Deployed in line.

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In line, skirmish markers deployed.

Progress Report

I haven’t been super productive over the past weeks, but I have accomplished a few things. See pictures below.

Test basing for Spearhead (1/285 microarmor)

Test basing for Spearhead (1/285 microarmor)

Microarmor bases for Spearhead

Microarmor bases for Spearhead

The Spearhead bases were a lot of fun to put together. I’m using the direction the turret (or fixed gun) is pointing to indicate the front of the base, which gives me quite a bit of freedom to run roads and other terrain features against the grain. Should keep things from getting too samey. The towed Pak-40 is too ambiguous, in regards to front-of-base; it was a dumb idea to point the prime mover directly at a corner.

Based a few of Thomas's extremely well painted Essex figures for Regimental Fire and Fury command stands.

Based a few of Thomas’s Essex figures for Regimental Fire and Fury command stands.

Leader stands for Lasalle. Divisional commander on the left, and a sub-commander on the right.

Leader stands for Lasalle. Divisional commander on the left, and a sub-commander on the right.

I’m supposed to be working on finishing up my battery for Lasalle, and have, in fact, painted limbers and a howitzer, but I’m dragging my feet on painting crew and horses for the limbers. I don’t know why, exactly, but painting artillery is my least favorite part of horse and musket gaming.

Lasalle Project: 3rd Cacadores

3rd Cacadores in line, skirmishers deployed.

3rd Cacadores in line, skirmishers deployed.

I’ve completed my second full battalion for my Lasalle project. These fellows are the 3rd Cacadores, who were brigaded under Beckwith with the 1/43rd Monmouthshire and portions of the 1/95th rifles, at the time of Bussaco (the order of battle I’m loosely basing my Lasalle division on). All figures are AB 15/18mm.

The Cacadores (cacadore means hunter) were Portuguese light infantry trained after the Portuguese army was reformed. They were trained in the manner of British light infantry, and would prove reliable troops over the course of the war. Cacadores were largely armed with smoothbore muskets (particularly early in the Peninsular war), but would usually have at least a company of sharpshooters who bore the famous Baker rifle. I’ve depicted my skirmishers with said rifles-you’ll notice their hunting powder horns, as well. A truly superb article (and by superb I mean it has everything the lazy wargamer needs to know in one place) can be found at academia.edu. I have no idea how long the article will be up, so get the information while you can!

They're brown.

They’re really brown.

The 3rd had black facings. Black facings, along with the black trimmed hussar-style jackets, and dark brown uniform make for an extremely dark battalion! In the pursuit of contrast, I lightened and warmed my base brown color considerably (Vallejo German medium camo brown, mixed with about 30% bright yellow), but unfortunately I can say I erred on the side of caution. I’ll probably shoot for the tone of chocolate milk for my other battalion of Cacadores (the 1st), and hope that they don’t come out so dull. It may be hopeless.

3rd Cacadores, with their friends in the 1/43rd.

3rd Cacadores, with their friends in the 1/43rd.

I’ve acquired limbers, and a howitzer, so I’ll be finishing up Ross’s A Battery next, as well as painting high ranking officers (Black Bob Craufurd, himself, Beckwith, and a dashing Aide-de-camp).

3rd Cacadores eating dust (note poorly painted blanket roll straps)

3rd Cacadores eating dust (note poorly painted blanket roll straps)

Once the battery is complete, I’ll be faced with painting up a large battalion of British rifles, made up of an amalgamation of the 1/95th and 3/95th. This will require 36 figures in close order, and I’ll need 6 skirmish bases, as well, because in Lasalle, large battalions with a high skirmish value can be split into a half battalion, and companies of skirmishers that can be distributed as desired throughout the division.

That’s all for now. Thanks for casting your eyeball this way!


Edit: I’ve painted this battalion incorrectly for Bussaco. The Cacadores had yellow chest cords, and the 3rd had yellow facings, until a change of uniform that occurred in 1811. Bussaco, of course, occurred in 1810. Whoops. That’s brown egg on my face! Rather than try to repaint these guys in-situ, I’ll switch my Light Division OOB to Fuentes de Onora. Theoretically, this would add the 2/52nd to my second brigade, which would break the Lasalle generic OOB structure, that I’ve been trying to adhere to. I’ll have to ponder how (or if) to incorporate this change.


Edit the Second: Well, now I’ve realized that the brass badges at the base of my cacadores plumes should actually be red and black ribbons. I’ll get this fixed on my figures, but wanted to leave a note here, in case anyone is trying to use my efforts as a painting guide (a dubious prospect, at best).

1/43rd (Monmouthshire) Light Infantry

To celebrate Labor Day, here are the fruits of some of my labor: my first completed battalion for Sam Mustafa’s Lasalle! Ladies (yeah, right) and Gentlemen, I give you the 1/43rd Monmouthshire.

Skirmishers out!

Skirmishers out! That’s the 1/52nd, with their fancy-pants mounted colonel, approaching in column, and a bit of Ross’s Battery is off to the 43rd’s left.

In Lasalle terms, this unit is a “normal” four stand regiment, with a skirmish value of 3. The skirmish value means that the unit is capable of fighting as irregulars (useful in BUAs and woods), and can be completely broken down into skirmish bases to be distributed among the players forces as supplementary skirmish points. Each base has 6 figures, for a total of 24 redcoats in the unit. As you can see, the 43rd had white facings. A practical note for you Lasalle players…18mm AB figures barely fit on a 40mm base, especially when they’re marching with their muskets in trail. Stick with figures with shoulder-arms (is that right?) poses.

Line formation

Line formation

I’m basing my force, which will eventually be a division with attached elements, on the Light Division under Bob Craufurd at Bussaco. At this battle, the 43rd was brigaded with the 3rd Cacadores, as well as four companies of the 1/95th Rifles. They were lead by Lt. Col. Sidney Beckwith. Interestingly, depending on how I approach the attached brigade that is part of the standard Lasalle force, I could end up with a British ‘army’ with only two battalions of redcoats.

Form square, lads!

Form square, lads!

I’m going to concentrate on finishing up this brigade, which means I’ll be painting Cacadores, or rifles, next. Probably Cacadores, as I already have the figures!
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The Scarlet J has decided to join me in this project (huzzah!), and will be building a French force. We’ll start giving the rules a workout, once we have three or four battalions and some artillery to put on the table.

YANKEE INVADER REPELLED! A GLORIOUS VICTORY!!

INTRODUCTION

Ahem. I apologize for the hyperbolic post title, but I haven’t had an ACW victory in months and months, so I have to vigorously exercise my bragging rights when the opportunity arises! In fact, I think The Scarlet J has beaten me (soundly) a half dozen times in a row, before this most recent outing. In any case, on to the battle report….

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AFTER ACTION REPORT

This battle was to be yet another meeting engagement, played using Regimental Fire and Fury; however, there were a few key differences between this game and our usual set-up.

We used random terrain placement, which consisted of strips of paper with types of terrain on them pulled from a hat and laid down on a grid. At that point, terrain was applied to the board as directed by the papers.

Somewhere in Mississippi... The terrain was laid out randomly, using slips of paper pulled from a hat (the Frank the Arkie Method (tm)).

Somewhere in Mississippi…The Yanks over on the right are there temporarily, while TSJ organizes his brigades.

I would NEVER have set up a battlefield with all the terrain in the center of the board. I mean, who would choose to give battle in such a place? Having to deal with whatever came out of the hat was an interesting challenge, and would provide unusual opportunities, as well.

We then rolled a die each, and whomever (or is that whoever) rolled highest had to make a choice: pick your side of the table, or choose who moves first. The Scarlet J won the roll, and chose his side (hereafter called the north side of the table). I chose to make the Yankees deploy first. This would let me see their starting disposition before committing my own forces.

The other significant change was in the order of battle. For these fictional scenarios, we typically put out six ten stand regiments each, with cavalry and a couple of batteries. This time, I wanted to spin things a little differently-we went with 60 stands of infantry, arranged however you like. TSJ stuck with the large 10 stand regiments, but I broke mine down into a mixture of sizes, and ended up with a total of eight regiments. These eight regiments consisted of two ten stand regiments, two eights, and four sixes, all in two brigades. The smaller regiments would be brittle, quickly going from fresh to worn to spent (these three states have significant effects on maneuvering in Regimental Fire and Fury), but I thought having more maneuver elements might prove to be an advantage.

Confederate forces take the battlefield. My right-hand force faces light resistance (two regiments, one of which is cavalry, and a battery)

Confederate forces take the battlefield. My right-hand force faces light resistance (two regiments, one of which is cavalry, and a battery). They’ll attempt to brush this resistance aside, and roll up the Yankee flank. Nothing but 6 stand regiments on this side of the field!

The blocking force is screened by a hill, for now. They'll be fighting for their lives once the Yankees come 'round the mountain.

The blocking force is screened by the central hill, for now. They’ll be fighting for their lives once the Yankees come ’round the mountain. My larger, more resilient regiments are on this wing.

Blocking force sits, while thing heat up on the center and right flank. I really should have dismounted my cavalry, at this point. Later, they'd pay for my dereliction.

Blocking force sits, while thing heat up on the center and right flank. I really should have dismounted my cavalry, at this point. Later, they’d pay for my dereliction. My largest regiment holds the center, and occupies the north end of the wheat field.

A warm action...Weight of fire begins to tell on the Yanks, though I'm taking some casualties, as well.

A warm action…Weight of fire begins to tell on the Yanks, though I’m taking some casualties, as well.  My artillery is considering advancing into the corn field, to take the advancing Yanks on my left under enfilade fire. Note that I’m deployed in depth (well, sort of)? Unheard of!

Thinning them out, before the big push.

Thinning them out, before the big push.

Yanks advance on my left.

The fight in the center.

Over on my right, it's looking mighty thin for Billy Yank.

Over on my right, it’s looking mighty thin for Billy Yank. The cavalry has pulled back (I think they were out of command, and rolled poorly on a rally check.) Time to charge!

At last, the northerners crest the screening hill on my left. Bloodshed ensues.

At last, the northerners crest the screening hill on my left. Bloodshed ensues. Screaming horses!

Fighting all along the line. My poor cavalry is still mounted, and now is within range of a couple of full strength Yank regiments.

Fighting all along the line. My poor cavalry is still mounted, and now is within range of a couple of full strength Yank regiments.

My assault force rushes forward, and pushes the Yankee Zouaves back. Not pictured, tissues for drying TSJs tears.

My assault force rushes forward, and pushes the Yankee Zouaves back. Not pictured, tissues for drying TSJs tears.

Victorioius charge. The Zouaves would route off the table at the next rally phase.

Victorioius charge. The Zouaves would route off the table at the next rally phase.

The main battle line has shifted nearly 45 degrees.

The main battle line has shifted nearly 45 degrees.

The Yanks are doing well on my left, and have pushed me back a considerable distance. You could even say they’re threatening my lines of communication (represented by a supply wagon). Still, I have decent forces there for defense, which are in good order.

Shot from the observation balloon.

Shot from the observation balloon. Opportunities abound for Johnny Reb.

State of the game, at end of play

State of the game, at end of play. I had pulled back on my left to get a little distance from the Yank onslaught. On the right, I moved a couple of shot-up regiments to deal with the Yankee cavalry (waaaay up there on the right). I was a little concerned that, unattended, they might mount up and make a run on my artillery.

The Scarlet J called the game after four or five turns. I had eliminated one of his regiments, had greatly reduced his cavalry, and was about to take his batteries on the northern hill, or at least drive them away. This would have uncovered TSJ’s supply wagon, and I most likely could have captured it.

Major Confederate victory!!!

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DEBRIEFING

I think having the additional infantry maneuver elements DID help me. At one point I was able to drive a wedge between a couple of Yank regiments, and push one of my small units up to get enfilading fire on a flank exposed by aforementioned wedge driving. This simply wouldn’t have been possible with larger regiments. Plus, I was able to deploy in depth, and could pull (or push) regiments from the second line up into the front to plug holes, or just use them as support in charges. It was very nice to have that flexibility, and made the game much more interesting tactically.

The terrain really worked to my advantage. Having that screening hill in the center of the battlefield gave me a couple of turns to prosecute my attack plan on the right, without having to worry about what The Scarlet J was going to do to me on my left. Once he DID move to contact on the left flank, I knew I’d be able to hold at least a couple of turns. Having initiative, and choosing to let the Yanks go first helped me out with this, too.

If TSJ made a mistake, I think it was in leaving his Zouaves and Cavalry out-of-command the entire game. Those units were in trouble from the start, and it can be difficult to make rally checks, when there’s no commander there to offer support.

Here’s the real reason I won, though: Luck. I started off very hot on the dice, and made at least a dozen good rolls right at the beginning, while TSJ struggled along with a bunch of ones, twos, and threes. AS I KNOW FROM LONG SUFFERING EXPERIENCE it can be very difficult to overcome a streak of luck.

Have Game, Will Travel

An embarrassing number of weeks ago (embarrassing, because I’m just now getting a post up about it), Frank the Arkie (no relation) invited me to play an ACW game with his crew down in Little Rock. Frank supplied all figures, and terrain, and we played using a set of Neil Thomas rules. I believe they were the ACW section from “Wargaming: an Introduction,” along with a few choice house rules.

I arrived a bit early, and we ate delicious pizza and set up the game. Frank has developed an ingenious method of populating the table with random terrain. He divides the table up into sectors (8, if I recall correctly), and develops an equal number of slips of paper. Each slip of paper has a type of terrain (open, rough, woods, water, etc) written on it. The slips of paper are shuffled and placed face down on the table in the appropriate sector. Flip the labels over, and “voila,” random terrain! I dig it.

Frank being Frank, the forces were, shall we say, unique. I ended up commanding a brigade whose general was actually a commodore, and the two regiments were made up of sailors and marines. I had a third regiment from Ohio, and a battery of rifles. I’ve forgotten the Commodore’s name, but maybe Frank will fill us in in the comments. My ally (Rhett. I hope his name wasn’t Brett, and I was just calling him Rhett the whole time) had four regiments and a battery. One of his regiments was the Corps d’Afrique, which has a really interesting history.

Frank and Jeff took the part of the Confederacy. I had made the choice to be the Federals (for a change), so Frank and Jeff got to choose table sides. They settled on the side with all the juicy terrain. Each force had an objective in their area to defend. A cornfield in the center of the table served as the third objective, and became the focus of the fight (especially as time began to run low).

Confederates in the good terrain...

Dastardly Confederates in the good terrain…

The valiant boys in blue form up.

The valiant boys in blue form up.

Rhett had the bulk of our forces, and it turned out that I would be facing the greatest mass of the Confederate army. Interestingly, the Confederate generals decided to mass their artillery on their right. It proved to be effective (as massed artillery often is).

The STEEL JAWS of the Union aquatic forces.

The STEEL JAWS of the Union aquatic forces.

This may be nearly impossible for regular readers of this blog to believe, but I decided to sit tight and defend! Yes, you read it here, first. Arkiegamer defends. General Jeff attacked in depth, and hot fire from my marines and sailors saw him off again and again. The Confederates would try to rally up after taking losses, but this caused a traffic jam that held up the fresh full strength regiments in reserve and allowed my fellows to fight at 1:1 odds, instead of 1:2. This caused the Commodore to cleverly quip “Looks like a dollar waiting on a dime, to me!” Redneck saying aside, I was impressed to see how strong defense when attackers approached across an open field. It felt right!

Eat lead, Sesh!!

Eat lead, Sesh!!

Confederate forces maneuvering, trying to bring their strength to bear.

Confederate forces maneuvering, trying to bring their overwhelming strength to bear.

The Commodore leads from the front! Frank never believes me when I say this, but I really like these block painted figures. Especially the Confederates (which I didn't get a close up of).

The Commodore leads from the front! Frank never believes me when I say this, but I really like these block painted figures. Especially the Confederates (no close-up, I’m afraid). My sailors, who don’t even belong on land, have finally lost a base in the process of killing hundreds of elite Confederates.

Hey, Sailor

Hey, Sailor

In the picture above, you can see my marines waaaaay off in the distance. Dusk was falling (we were nearing the turn limit), and Rhett needed help against Frank’s Confederates, who had taken up position on the south end of the cornfield objective behind a rail fence. My fellow Union general suffered some of the same problems that my opponent faced: attacking with no cover while facing largely static troops. Additionally, Rhett had to deal with a tricky bit of terrain (a pond), and a massed battery. He was never able to bring the weight of his force to bear. Frank’s tactical acumen might have had something to do with it, but let’s be sure not to give him too much credit!

Over on the Union Left

Over on the Union Left

This was the state of the game at the end of play. This shot is on the Union left, where Rhett had four regiments. You can see he’s pushed Frank’s Confederates back all the way to the Farmhouse objective, but energetic fire from the Confederate regiment at the cornfield in the center has forced the Union regiments in that area back away from the objective (and really cut up the Corps d’Afrique, as well).

Yes, we finished the game, with time to spare. It was a Confederate victory, as they held on to the objective in their rear, and also held the cornfield at end-of-game.

The Neil Thomas rules are far less detailed than my usual rules set, Regimental Fire and Fury, but I have to say, I felt more like a general during this game, than any other I’ve played. Not having to worry about a billion different fire factors, formations, different rates of travel, and such, really lets you concentrate on the matter at hand. Playing a low overhead game like this was really refreshing (and fun). And the company was great, too!