Wednesday, August 4, 2021

First Halting Steps - Glory: 1861 AAR

A couple weekends ago, Keith and I finally met up for our first in-person game!

Keith had joined the SJGA during the pandemic, while we were only meeting over Zoom and had stopped our physical games. So it was nice to finally get a chance to meet him in person and roll some dice. 

While we had originally planned to play Mythic Americas, we were both excited to get our regiments for Glory: 1861 (which I have reviewed in a previous post) on the table and try out the game instead of just reading the rules. 

What followed was a fun, if frustrating, experience. 

Having already randomly generated our regiments, with Keith commanding the 5th Texas Infantry while I commanded the 2nd New Jersey Militia. 

We also both randomly rolled on the Aggressor scenario table, seeing this game as a fairly standard meeting engagement of two regiments during a larger battle. Keith's deployment saw him place two companies in skirmish order in front of the rest of his regiment's companies, which were in close order. His objectives were the two houses and the road exit on my side of the table.

My companies were ordered to deploy fully in skirmish order along the table edge. My objectives were the field, the barn, and the small copse of woodland on Keith's side of the table. 

We ended up ignoring the missions section of the scenario table, since they didn't seem to have any bearing on the game apart from flavor. 

I decided to put the better part of my companies on the left flank, sending them towards the field that was my main objective for the game. Keith sent his two furthest companies into and through the stream to establish a foothold on the other side. 

My other companies moved to defend the various objectives that Keith would seek to try and capture. 

We both had to deal with Slow and Useless company officers in our regiments. Slow officers took a phase to enact any orders given to them (so giving a company a Move order that normally only took 1 phase took 2), while Useless officers were even worst and ignored their orders on a d6 roll of a 1 or 2. 

Realizing that crossing the stream would take forever and force him to re-order his lines, Keith instead decided to push the bulk of his companies towards the single bridge that crossed the stream. This meant getting his men into March order before sending them over. 

My own companies were set up in Close Order, but the range was too long to have any real effect, since both sides were working with old smoothbore muskets. 

The same result happened on the other side, as I pushed towards the field that was only defended by a single company. The Confederates were saddled with some Terror, however!

We only played through turn 4, since most of the early turns went long as we worked out how the various rules transitioned from the books to our heads and then actually onto the table. 

I had gotten closer to the single company defending the extreme right flank of Keith's regiment and fired at them again with two of my companies. This time the fire was far more effective - half of the company's bases were killed and the rest routed.

Meanwhile, Keith was continuing to push his companies over the bridge and into a firing line to oppose my defending companies, who had reloaded and aimed at the oncoming Confederates. Had we continued, either side might have had the chance to fire first and deal the other a decisive blow. 

While we both enjoyed the framework of the game, Keith and I unfortunately came away with a page's worth of questions, concerns, and problems with the rules that weren't evident when we read them before having practical knowledge. Some aspects, like fixing bayonets, moving into March Order, and the use of the regimental commander's Combat Experience, are missing entirely. Other feature we decided to remove entirely, like the orders section of the scenario or the additional movement restrictions of terrain (instead deciding to make them rough ground or not).

It's a shame, because there's definitely something worthwhile in these rules, and they cover an aspect of wargaming that not many other rulesets do. After some discussion, Keith and I may either work on clarifications to the rules, or may write an entirely new set of rules to suit our purposes. 

On the positive side, this game did fire me up for more ACW gaming! While Keith and I hash out what we can do to improve Glory: 1861, I'd like to play some other rulesets, maybe Fire & Fury (Brigade or Regimental) or Pickett's Charge, and finally get to use those 10mm miniatures I've worked on. 

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