David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occassional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Long and Winding Road...

Phil, Jon and I got together recently at the Midlands Wargames Centre, hosted by Stafford Games, to fight out a larger ACW game than we could stage here in GHQ. While the better weather has been with us we've managed five or so games there and enjoyed the benefits and challenges of the larger tables provided. For this game Jon provided the figures, buildings, low hills and roads, with the other bits from the Centre's own stock. In this view, taken from the first floor mezzanine area, the Union forces are advancing from the top of the photo.

Jon and Phil were the Confederate commanders, each with two Brigades, while I took the whole Union command of three larger Brigades. I also enjoyed a superiority in artillery numbers. Jon had predetermined dice rolls for where and at what strength forces entered the table, having to be given orders as they wanted to move on table. I had the initiative for six turns, but sadly the order dice did not let me exploit this as well as I might.

My first Brigade entered the table on the Union right centre, looking to seize the houses in the settlement, which we'll call Stafford, Va for convenience! Unfortunately, Phil's Rebs also entered in turn one opposite my boys. In turns two and three I failed to achieve many orders, Jon achieved none, but Phil went marching on as they say! That left the Rebs in possession of one building, my boys the other and a prolonged firefight was to follow. In the meantime, Jon's repeated failure to achieve any orders kept his boys marching down the road to nowhere. I was able to station one regiment on my centre left to watch him passing, concentrating my first two brigades on the fighting for Stafford, Va.

Sensing a good opportunity to strike the Rebel centre and defeat the two forces in detail I ordered my Irish Brigade forward! Sadly the dice only allowed one move, not the three I'd hoped for, and a rather serious log jam was developing in the Union lines! Phil took advantage with some awesome dice to close the gap in his turn, leaving my grand plan in tatters!

Phil's Rebs holding parts of the town were proving very hard to dislodge, you had to see his saving throws turn after turn to believe them really! I continued to push on his left flank, hoping to turn his line, but repeatedly lost second rounds of combat when all looked so promising.

Finally, my boys could take no more and as the Zoauvres made a valiant effort to stem the tide, other units quit the field after spectacular morale failures!!! At the same time, Jon's boys finally got into action and I found myself having to commit my meagre reserves to stem the attack.

Although both sides on my right flank ended with broken brigades, the decisive action finally came on the Union's left and centre. Unable to make progress in the town and seriously flanked on my left, I took up defensive positions and prepared to weather the hail of lead thrown against my gallant lads! Sadly, once more, Jon's and Phil's dice throwing put mine to shame. Whittled away little by little, loosing a regiment here and there, my Army's morale finally broke and Useless S Bykleigh and his boys quit the field in turn 16.
As you'll probably guess, we were using Black Powder rules. The figures are all from Jon's extensive and beautifully finished ACW armies. They are mostly Renegade and Redoubt I believe, with most at seven bases of four figures for strength. The buildings are Hovells of course and the low hills from S&S I think. Our game lasted three hours in all and was wonderfully enthralling, even though I lost in the end. Outnumbered as I was I thought I put up a really good fight, only let down by those pesky dice again...


  1. David,
    First your reportage, continues to be top notch and the photos nothing less than totally stellar. But the thing that really impresses me that as I have looked over the last year of photos, there never seems to be a fall off! Why spend $30.00 a month for glossies when your blog is supported by superior photography and commentary that highlights what the reader sees. Keep up the good work! And I hope that your knee condition is coming along...we can't have you limping around the gaming table.
    A/K/A The Celtic Curmudgeon

    1. Thanks for those kind words, Jerry, much appreciated. Its nice to know at least one person enjoys the blog!

  2. Grand photo's and write up of the action, I think I used up all of my dice luck for the rest of the year during that battle. Very hard fought indeedy.

    1. "...all of my dice luck for a year." And the rest, if you ask me!