David Bickley's Wargames Blog

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

Wednesday 7 November 2018

“Stand fast, boys, stand fast!”

For our regular monthly game on the first Wednesday of the month Jon and I decided on an ACW game, giving Black Powder 2 another run out and incorporating some rule suggestions from the Glory Hallelujah supplement. The Rebels were commanded by Jubal E Whyte and the Union were lead by that military incompetent Useless S Bykleigh. As usual, a photomontage of the game to give a flavour of how things panned out ~
The Union artillery on the right flank opens fire to signal the
start of the action. The target is the Rebel Brigade closing on 
the farmstead in the distance.

The Brigade on the Union left marches out of camp to secure
the left of the line around the Brecher House.

The Rebels mass for an assault on the Union left while their
centre shows less of the aggressive spirit. Jubal E Whyte was
not pleased!

On the Union right flank the 5th New York steels itself for
the Rebel onslaught!

A fierce fire fight erupts all around the Brecher House, but the
boys hold fast and trade lead with the Rebels!

On the Union's right flank determined resistance holds up the 
Rebel attack amongst continuing Disorder!

Around the Brecher House the Rebels are taking casualties in
number. The boys are warming to their task it seems at this
stage in the battle.

By Turn 10 the fortunes of war had turned first one way and
then the other. It was too close to call now as both armies had
Broken and Shaken units across the whole field.

In Turn 11 it is the Union army which finally cannot absorb
its losses any more and streams to the rear. The exhausted
Rebs have won the day, but at what a price? All along the 
Rebel front men reflect n a victory hard one and count the loss
of friends so dear.
As ever Black Powder delivered an excellent game, with fortunes constantly turning first one way and then the other. In the final analysis the Union only succumbed in the penultimate turn, so close was the contest. Its not over until the fat wargamer sings it seems!


  1. Nice looking game David...nice to see a rebel win 🙂

    1. Thanks Matt, though I can’t agree with the pro Reb sentiment.

  2. Billy Yank will be back, good game.

    1. Thanks George, I just hope you are right!

  3. Lovely looking game David.Its not often I converse? with a wargaming celebrity. Nice meet the wargamer article in WI. Its also good to see someone who actually enjoys using BP which usually has wagamers complaining about the vagaries of the rules. Well done.

    1. Thank you Rob, though I am sure the epithet ‘celebrity’ does not apply to me! I find BP really to my taste in a game, as do Phil and Jon, which probably contributes to our general enjoyment of the games! Wargamers have grown up with rules which are far too predictable, which is where BP really throws them, but for me they are just the job.

    2. Thank you for another great after-action report from GHQ.

      I enjoy games with unpredictable sequences for so many reasons. However, in BP the vagaries can turn to vegetables when, for several turns a force is forced to sit idly by as their opponent runs circles around them due to a series of hopelessly unfortunate command die rolls. A by-product of the author's modified Warmaster system.

      This may at times or even often happen in real warfare but it is not that much fun in a wargame. I enjoy the social experience but watching static grass grow for extended periods can be difficult. Soup needs salt for flavor but too much salt can make the experience distasteful.

      This may not be everyone's experience but I have seen it happen (all too often from the inside looking out) in many BP games. A series of elevens for command rolls is universally disheartening. A twelve results in a Blunder which means you can at least do Something, even if its wrong. There are modifiers to help with command rolls and I noticed in BP2 that the CinC has one re-roll per turn so these go some way to mollify the wrath of the dice.

      Have your observations been at all similar or have I once again gone off the main road?

    3. Frankly I don't recognize your description of inertia for a whole force. I think that even in failed rolls many units get a freebie, not to mention initiative moves within 12". The new rulebook clarified many misunderstandings for us and the new role for the General's ADC is a good development in my view. But I accept that they may not be for you so good luck in finding a more congenial ruleset.

    4. David,

      Sorry I wasn't more clear - I DO like BP and I like your BP battle reports. What I didn't make clear was that in multi-player games when I was commanding a whole wing, I often was left holding the dice :(.

      I will have to take another look at BP2 and try and get back on the main road.

    5. Multi player games are not our forte in GHQ, never more than two a side really, and that infrequently, so I can’t really comment on your experience. For us BP does the job, as I said, good luck in finding a system that suits. Each finds his own way to wargaming happiness I’ve found.

  4. Yes, I also enjoy the Black Powder replays and positive comments.

  5. A fine looking game, nice to see your splendid ACW collection in action again. BP always delivers, unlike RM ;~)

    1. Thanks Phil, we shall refight a version of this on Monday if you like.

  6. Probably our best game of the year Mr.B. Just the right balance of troops to get a result and a interesting table to game it out on.
    Several times We both almost delivered the decisive blow but with the initiative passing quicker than an All Black scrum half the possibility of a victory was snatched away.
    I must say Mr.B rolled a heck of a lot of shooting 6's (especially for a man who rarely sees one) . I nearly demanded a urine test but thought better of it.
    In the end victory finally came Jubal's way courtesy of some dreadful Union shooting dice and some very fortunate "saves" on my part.
    I look forward to December's bash....

    1. I have to agree Jon, it was close and unpredictable right to the end. For me at least that is the beauty of BO as a ruleset.

  7. A close run thing is always fun! Lovely troops and terrain as always, always good to have a little unpredictability poping up in a game to my mind,keeps you interested to the end!
    Best Iain

  8. A very fine looking game David! I really do need to try the new version out.


    1. Give it a go Christopher it will surprise you pleasantly I’m sure.

  9. A splendid sounding game David...
    It’s a shame that the wrong side won...

    All the best. Aly

    1. Thanks Aly! It just slipped from my grasp right at the end!