Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Brawl at Brawner's Farm - Pickett's Charge AAR

This past week's game at Ted's place was my first chance to finally play Pickett's Charge. I've had a copy of the rules for a while (and have slowly been working on 10mm minis to play with), so I was looking forward to finally getting a chance to throw some dice. 

Ted had set up a fantastic looking table to play on, and we were using Chip's well-painted 15mm collection that, as I learned to the other players' lament, were mostly made up of miniatures that are older than me! 

The scenario was adapted by Ted and Chip from the first volume of Regimental Fire and Fury scenarios. For anyone else looking to do the same, we added 5cm to the 15mm movement rates to make sure that the various brigades could get into the fight before the sun set. 

Chip and I split the Confederate command, while Ted and Steve commanded the Union. 

There were three objectives behind the scenario. Both sides wanted control of the central field and to cause casualties, but wanted to keep their own casualties to a minimum (I believe it was 30% of the total bases per side). 

The game started with a bang as Chip's tiny regiments from the Stonewall Brigade clashed with Steve's massive regiments from the Iron Brigade. 

Steve's initial volley ran hot and forced one of Chip's regiments back. 

Unfortunately my first roll of the game resulted with a Hesitant brigade. So Lawton was a turn late to the game when his regiments first started turning up. 

Chip was managing to stick it out against the massive Union regiments. In Pickett's charge, elite regiments get to roll 2 Casualty Dice every time they fire. This causes a casualty on a 4, 5, or 6. Chip's smaller regiments may not have had the firepower of the larger Union regiments, but they were able to steadily add hits to the boys in blue.  

Meanwhile, I had the two brigades from Ewell's division advancing towards the field. Ted's forces, led by Doubleday, seemed tiny in comparison. Their only advantage was that Lawton and Trimble had to advance through rough terrain, and would show up unformed unless I took the time to stop and redress the lines. 

Unfortunately, Steve's regiments ended up routing, unable to stand up to the deadly fire from the Stonewall regiments and a pair of supporting artillery batteries. This left the Union flank up in the air, and Ted had two full brigades to hold off. 

Luckily for Ted, I was commanding those brigades, and my abysmal luck meant that my regiments of supposedly "veteran" Confederate troops were stymied by a force one-third their size. 

With my advance stumbling to a halt, Steve brought up a fresh, massive regiment to hold the Union left flank. 

See that trading fire with the Union regiments wasn't working out, I decided to instead declare a charge, thinking that I could push through the Union position. 

To the table's surprise, not only did the Union hold the line, but half of the charge ended up retreating!

To reflect how, in reality, this battle took place late in the day, visibility on the table decreased each turn. This ended up saving both sides some major casualties as the artillery batteries became useless outside of a rapidly decreasing range band. 

With the decreasing light, Steve no longer needed to worry about the Confederate artillery (and I didn't have to worry about their Union counterparts). What he did have to worry about was Chip's reinforcements; Taliaferro's brigade showed up and extended the Confederate's line even further. Steve's regiment, which had been holding back the Stonewall regiments, was forced to retreat. 

It was late in the game when I finally managed to get a decent volley off and force one of Ted's regiments out of the central field. 

It wasn't looking good for the Union. While they still controlled the field, multiple regiments were in danger of being flanked. 

So Ted and Chip elected to pull back and castle up in the corner of the field, knowing that despite the near lack of light that their right flank was still covered by artillery and the Confederates couldn't reach the left flank soon enough. The fight trailed off as the full moon shown over a bloody battlefield. 

Afterwards, we tallied up the damage. The Union had managed to hold on to the field to the very end, but doing so had cost them dearly. Both sides had reached their casualty limit, but the Union had lost far more soldiers proportionally. So it ended up a deadly tie. 

We still managed to complete a scenario in around 3 hours that would take 4 to 4.5 hours with Regimental Fire & Fury. I definitely enjoyed the rules and I'm looking forward to finally using my 10mm collection at some point. I've got some smaller scenarios that they should be able to pull off. 

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