Sunday, May 16, 2021

Solo ACW-Battle of Allegheny Mountain, Dec. 13th, 1861

 I had a little extra time so I brought out my home grown ACW rules that I call "Brigadier." The inspiration for the rules was from two sets of rules titled Rally Around the Flag. The first set came out in the 1970s or so while the second came out 30 years later. I took the ideas from both sets that I found useful in order to produce a solo game, although, they would work just fine with two players.

My game board is small at 4' by 4' and the figure scale is 20-24mm. Games on my board usually have 2 brigades per side at the most, with each brigade having between 3-6 units included.

I use a command point activation system (CPs) that limit how many actions units within a brigade can perform in a turn. Brigade commanders dice each turn to see if their base CP allowance is modified. Wild cards allow for interesting twists in the game.

Regiment sizes range from 4 bases to 8 bases with 6 being average. Some special units have only two bases.

This is the second time I'm play testing my rules. I selected a scenario from the Potomac Wargame Club , Across a Deadly Field, titled The Battle of Allegheny Mountain, an early war battle. 

I use a dark green "blanket" from the fabric store to cover hills. This battle was fought basically on a mountain so I added rocky out crops for effect. It is my view that most ACW battles were fought over terrain with gave limited visibility. A situation like Pickett's charge was probably a rarity.

I think my game table captured the effect I was looking for. 

Historically, the battle was a bust for the Union and so was the game! I played as the Union player while the Rebs were the AI.

Although, the game is solo, my AI is not truly fully automated. I always play the weaker side and tend to stack the deck with the AI, but when it comes to making AI decisions, I make the most likely and when in doubt dice for the decision. It works well. I have a good "feel" for the period and I've had interesting and fun results.

Combat is resolved on the basis of total base removal, a step down system that works for me.

The Union's orders were to clear the heights and take the camp\fort-a tall, not very realistic order, but that's the way it was!

The OB for the game was:


Colonel Edward Johnson (who would be nicknamed "Allegheny Johnson" for his victory) +1 competence

12th GA, Veteran, RM, 6 bases

Reger's Va. Bn., Average, RM, 4 bases

9th VA Bn., Average, SB, 4 bases

31st VA., Average, SB, 6 bases

52nd VA., Ross's Bn., SB, 3 bases

Lee's VA., Battery, 6lb SB, 2 gun models, Green (in camp\fort)

Dabney's Cavalry, Green, BLC, 2 bases


Brigadier Robert Milroy, average competence in this battle, later pounded by Stonewall Jackson in the Valley Campaign)

13th IN, Average, RM, 4 bases

25th OH, Green, RM, 6 bases

32nd OH, Green, RM, 6 bases

Bracken's Cavalry, Green, BLC, 2 bases

Colonel Gideon Moody's Command, average competence

9th IN, Green, RM, 6 bases

2nd W. VA., Green, 4 bases

One of the advantages of a solo game is you can take detailed notes of the the action. I played the game over two days, taking the time to document the major actions. Although the game only lasted four turns the card sequence and variables made for a lot going on in those four turns!

Game summary, more detail with picture captions (cards determine sequence)

Turn 1: Moody's 9th IN and 2nd W. VA advanced on Union left; Dabney's cavalry reacts, moves and fires on 2nd W. VA getting a lucky hit. 2nd VA survives morale toss. Dabney's cavalry gets to move again to cover this time and fires, but misses. 9th VA Btn advances. Milroy confused, orders 25th and 32nd Ohio to advance on Union right. 25th Ohio gets to advance again into cover, but target is obscure and misses.  Reger's VA Bn. moves into cover opposite 25th OH but also misses. Johnson was confident this turn. Action on both flanks with the Union getting slightly the worst of it.

Turn 2: Moody confident, 2nd W.VA advances into cover, 9th IN wheels to fire at Dabney's cavalry but no effect. Dabney's cavalry fires and moves (to cover) getting a hit on the 9th IN. 9th IN survives morale toss. Johnson confident, 31st VA wheels and fires at 2nd W.VA but NE, Reger's VA. Bn fires on 25th Ohio,gets hit and 25th OH skedaddles. Milroy "bumbling about" but moves to rally 25th OH and succeeds. Reger's Va Bn moves and fires on 25th OH again and the 25th skedaddles again. Moody's command "gets their dander up" and charges ahead firing at 31st VA but NE. 2nd W.VA ends up in a bad position, Union right badly pushed back by Reger.

Turn 3: 2nd W. VA withdraws back into cover, fires at 31st VA but NE. 12th GA (rated vet) advances out of fortification to support Reger sensing victory on CSA left. Johnson confused but enough CP to fire the 31st VA at 2nd W. VA scoring a hit. 2nd W. VA survives morale but is at 1\2 strength. Milroy's dander is up, rallies 25th OH again, 32nd OH charges and fires at 31st VA scoring a hit, 31st VA skedaddles. 13th IN advances. Moody indecisive orders 2nd W.VA out of harms way. 12th GA advances to threaten Union center.  CSA general advance sensing victory but 31st VA sets the advance back a bit.

Turn 4: Moody confident, 2nd W.Va. continues to move out of harms way, 9th IN fires at Dabney's cavalry to NE. Milroy stable, 32nd OH wheels, flanks and fires at 9th Va Bn and hits, 9th Va Bn, passes morale. 25th OH fires at Reger's Bn, NE. Bracken's cavalry moves to support faltering Union center. 12th GA fires at 13th IN and hits, 13th IN passes morale toss, 13th IN fires at 12th GA NE., 12th GA charges 13th IN inflicts one hit, 13th IN misses, melee continues for three sequences before 13th IN skedaddles. Milroy moves to rally 13 IN and rallies the badly battered unit. Johnson rallies the 31st VA, 12th GA poised to smash remnants of Union center while Reger presses on Union left. Confederate right is stable and could advance on Union left. The Federal forces cannot possibly obtain the victory conditions at this point and withdraw. Union loses 8 bases to the Confederate 2 bases.

Nice view of the Confederate initial deployment

Union initial deployment. The skylight is messing with my lighting! 

The 25th and 32nd Ohio. The 25th will advance to the cover directly ahead. Reger's Va Bn is opposite of them headed in the same direction.

The Union left and left center. The unit in the lead on the far right of the picture is the hapless 2nd W. VA. 

Most of the Confederate units patiently wait.

The nasty fight in the cover between Reger's VA Bn and the 25th OH. The OH boys skedaddle 2x from the intense fire from  Reger's VA Bn.

Dabney's CSA cavalry are content to skirmish with the 9th IN.

Reger's VA Bn cracks opens the Union right.

The 2nd W. VA is in a tough spot as the 31st VA bears down on them!

Dabney's CSA cavalry lets the 9th IN have the position (wisely).

The 13th IN routs the 31st VA in the only bright spot on the Union side.

The 9th IN is content to hold their position while the rest of the Union army is n trouble.

The 13th IN cannot follow up the rout of the 31st VA.

Reger's VA Bn really got things going for the South!

This picture captures the rolling terrain of the mountain. Most of the fire fights were at very close range due to sighting restrictions.

The veteran 12th GA delivers the final blow and is poised to roll up the Union center.

A rallied 31st VA and 9th VA Btn are ready to deal with the 13th IN who are very much alone!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Mongols Versus the Livonian Knights (Sword Brethren)

After a long drought due to Covid my friend and I got together for a game of Lion Rampant. It was his new Mongol Army against my Livonian Knights army.

We both had 24 points which worked out to 6 units on a side. The scenario was the Bloodbath scenario out of the Lion Rampant book.

The Mongol Army was unique and it featured one unit of Korean cavalry and another of Chinese cavalry. Both units added much finery to more drab Mongol types.

The game itself went remarkably smooth since we had not played in over a year and neither of us had played LR much prior the plague.

The game was officially a draw and I was happy to get that. The Mongols are a horse archer army but their melee ability isn't half bad either. Western style knights will always have trouble with horse archer type armies because they are hard to catch and this game proved it.

Having said that, when they do catch the target it can be lights out for the lighter Mongol types.

I should point out that I have remounted my Livonians since this game. I originally thought of using them in more than one rules system but have since decided to just go with LR. The single bases look better imo and it enhances the "feel" of the game itself.

I took some posed shots before my friend arrived and that starts the picture sequence below.

I had one unit of mounted knights in the game.

My other mounted unit were sergeants. They would get shot to pieces before they could close.

I had one unit of dismounted knights. They survived intact and were the only unit to do so. Unless you really have to hold some ground they are pretty useless against a mobile enemy that has no need to close with these bad boys.

My combined unit of Crossbows and Spears. They with the dismounted knights held their ground until almost the very end. The crossbows did some damage but would have been more effective in a 12 figure unit.

Baltic militia functioning as bidowers. They are effective in tough going terrain and half of them actually survived the game.

My enraged peasants. They were not sure who burned down their village, the Mongols or Knights. They occupied space until the Mongols fired on them with devastating effect. The remainder sensibly ran away.

My friend's Mongols are true works of art and my pictures do not do them justice. I really like the snow effect on some of the units.

The Mongol left. I believe the fancier unit is the Chinese unit-just gorgeous! 

The Mongol center and far right. The variation in the Mongol horse armor was most impressive.

I decided that once the Mongols got close enough I would not the typical western knight thing and charge supported by the sergeants. 

The Mongol left which would engage my combined CB\SP unit, the Baltic militia and the unfortunate peasants. It actually turned out to be a trade off and I was pleased with that.

The Khan's unit featured a couple of camels. The Khan would lose his life in a duel with my Grandmaster but the Khan's bodyguard did not seem to care. My Grandmaster would later die doing what grandmaster's do. 

The only Mongol foot unit. The knights rode them down but they did their job by drawing out the Livonian horse units.

Horse archers are a pain in the you know where.

I believe this is the Korean unit. Beautiful! 

The stand off. It remained that way for much of the game. The terrain favored the knights over all.

Oh, oh, terrible mismatch coming.

The militia did well in the cover until the Mongols could gang up on them after the peasants fled.

The knights on their death ride. Cool!

The knights trying to roll up all the Mongols in the center and left. They got pretty far.

The brave Baltic militia!

The doe means two knights are dead but the Mongol units are not in great shape either.

So close, but yet so far

Remarkably, the combinedCB\SP unit held until the last turn when charged by the Mongol unit to their right.

They do look better on single bases. Knights need to be in a wedge!