Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Blazing Saddlebags - Civil War Skirmish AAR

Although he had to cancel his Halloween game last in October, like any good wargamer, Bob's perfectly happy to move on to the next game. So, over the past weekend, Bob put on another big community game, based around the following historical scenario:

"In February, 1862, Sibley’s Texas cavalry brigade is advancing up the Rio Grande toward Yankee-held Fort Craig. A mail wagon is dispatched from El Paso under the protection of the Second Texas Mounted Rifles. But word has reached elements of the Union army that the shipment contains the Confederate payroll."

As usual for Bob's scenario games, the players started with individual objectives and "plot cards" that could be played at any time.

The Union started on the Northern half of the map, with four troops of regular cavalry and some irregular scouts on their flank.

The Confederates began on the Southern half, with four troops of regular cavalry, one unit of mounted Confederates spies, and a cannon.

The Confederates moved up, and fighting broke out when the Confederate commander raced to the front, dismounted, and readied a volley against the oncoming Union force.

After suffering some casualties from the enemy infantry and cannon, the Union cavalry did manage to drive in a charge against the Confederates...

But were immediately forced to break off as the combined storm of lead from over a dozen rifles, shotguns and pistols nearly wiped the Union troop off the battlefield.

Meanwhile, another Union troops dismounted and positioned itself on the hill. They were forced to retreat, however, when they were flanked and fired upon by a third Confederate unit.

Hoping to make some inroads against the Confederate position, the Union launched another charge with two more cavalry troops.

This second charge was much more effective, with the Confederates forced back to the southern edge of the village. This left the spy troop out in the open, but their pistols and shotguns forced the nearby Union troops to retreat again.

While all this was going on, my own troop of Texan soldiers were skirmishing with the Union scouts. For all of both mine and Carl's (the scout's commander) efforts, we couldn't seemed to come to grips. Carl had gotten his scouts on top of a hill, but my usage of a plot card forced them to come back down and engage me in hand-to-hand combat, negating their rifles (which easily out-ranged my unit's shotguns and pistols).

With one of the Union troops killed to a man, the unit's commander was allowed to come back on as an independent group of Mexican villagers, infuriated by the battle that had been brought to their previously quiet homestead. Their initial volley wiped out a weakened Confederate unit (who's commander would then come back to command an independent unit of Apache raiders). The Confederate cannon did take the opportunity to lay down some shells into the buildings, killing a few of the newly arrived enemies.

Finally, with the Union attack seriously blunted, the wagon with the Confederate payroll was brought up.

At this moment, the Confederate spy troop decided to act on their own secret objective - stealing the gold and getting the wagon off the Western exit, across the river! Luckily, the ford slowed their retreat enough that the backstabbing spies couldn't make it off the table in one turn.

This placed them at the mercy of their former comrades, who eagerly turned on the spies. A round of shooting from the nearby Confederate troops, and a canister round from the cannon, sent the spies running. Luckily, they left the wagon behind!

The Mexicans, seeing the opportunity arise, ran over and took control of the wagon.

An early activation in the next round let them escape with all the gold, effectively ending the game as a draw for both sides (apart from the jubilant Mexican commander).

As for my fight with Carl, a lucky Confederate volley put down seven out of the ten-strong Union unit, and the remaining three were wiped out in the subsequent melee.


  1. What a beautiful table, nice looking game!

    1. Bob always puts together a great looking game!