Saturday, December 21, 2013

Stonewall Jackson's Way II: AGA Scenario II: Johnston Vs. Patterson

As much as the first scenario of "All Green Alike" presented a straightforward situation, the second scenario offers a far more complex series of decisions and victory conditions that belies its small scope.  "Johnston Vs. Patterson" recreates the situation of July 1861 when Gen. Johnston slipped away with his Confederate Army to reinforce Gen. Beauregard and tip the scales to a Southern victory at 1st Bull Run.  The is the only other scenario except for the previously reviewed Scenario 1 and the full Virginia campaign that will use the west map from "Here Come The Rebels."  The game is 3 turns long and musters roughly 5 brigades for the South and 8 for the North.

The Confederates are tasked with exiting the map, defending Winchester and attacking the Union army with the goal of creating panic.  The North achieves its objectives by also exiting the map, preventing the South from exiting, taking Winchester and causing the Confederates to panic.  Panic is a new game mechanic added to "All Green Alike", a far more comprehensive rule than the relatively simple concept of panic that was found in the original "Stonewall Jackson's Way."  Each army in the game is given a panic level.  Once enough units in the given army take retreat or rout results in combat the whole army may panic.  A panicked army suffers various effects, most notably a -1 modifier to all combats as attacker or defender for the rest of the game.  Each side has to carefully pick its objectives while planning both offensive and defensive possibilities, all under the fast moving 3 day time limit.  Be sure to read the victory conditions carefully.  On our first playthrough I failed as the South to account for the fact that all 5 brigades must exit the map or face a VP penalty.  That mistake cost me the game by a very narrow margin.
Johnston Vs. Patterson Setup

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stonewall Jackson's Way II: AGA Scenario 1: Across the Potomac

The first scenario from SJWII's "All Green Alike" focuses on the overlooked pre-Bull Run campaign in the Shenandoah Valley.  The game takes place from July 2-5, 1861 as Gen. Patterson leads the first major Northern invasion of the region.  The historical dates for this scenario are the earliest represented in the GCACW and even fall before the dates set for the AGA advanced games, making this scenario the unique starting point for the whole war.  This scenario does take place exclusively on the "Here Come The Rebels" west map, so ownership of that game is required to play.

This scenario provides an excellent introduction to the game system with low counter density and a simple set of victory conditions.  The Southern force contains 4 infantry brigades vs. the North's 6 brigades.  The Union objective is to secure a series of locations, the deeper into enemy territory they go the higher the overall VP reward. This sets up a nicely balanced meeting engagement as the Confederates move north to stop the incursion and take back objectives.  All the "green" restrictions are in play here as leaders have a limited ability to command troops to march and attack.
Across The Potomac Setup

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Setting up The Gamers 1st Edition Afrika for tonight with Dan K.  Rommel or Monty?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

It Never Snows Wrap Up

This week we finished up our "It Never Snows" campaign game.  The Allied effort ended a bit abruptly when they failed to dislodge a German effort to cut the supply line at the Veghel bridge.  My initial impression of the game centers on the game specific road march rule.  Both sides have the ability to make sweeping "strategic" moves along the extensive road net at the beginning of every turn.  This requires both sides to maintain a rigorous vigilance on unit placement at every possible crossroads where an axis of advance is possible.  One small misstep will see a large enemy force behind your lines cutting off supply or sweeping behind a defensive river line.  In the context of the design it makes sense, given the large number of security details available to cover all avenues and the effect the rule brings by allowing for a "surprise" counter-attack without difficult fog of war rules.  However, during actual play I found that this covering every crossroads element to the game dominated my thinking more than the actual operations.  Perhaps it was inevitable given that we were playing this with just two people manning all the various fronts.  The demands of maintaining security for all those sectors might have taken me out of the game a bit.  I should like to try this with multiple players next time to see how much it changes the experience.
Germans hold on by a thread at Veghel Bridge

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Military History Traveler

I am migrating all the posts about historical travel sites over to my new blog at  That way I can keep this site focused on boardgaming related activities.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It Never Snows On Tuesday

Spending the afternoon trying to squeeze in all the maps for MMP's "It Never Snows," the SCS treatment of Operation Market Garden.  Tonight I take the German defenders against Dan K.'s Allies.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Stonewall Jackson's Way II

At long last the newest entry in the GCACW has arrived: Stonewall Jackson's Way II.  It is unfortunate that MMP decided to market this game as SJW 2.0 because the box contains so much more than the original.  It provides two complete modules sharing one map set.  The "All Green Alike" module features scenarios and campaigns from the July 1861 1st Bull Run period, while "Stonewall Jackson's Way" contains those actions from the 2nd Bull Run campaign of 1862.  A more appropriate title for the game should have been something in the vein of "Stonewall Finds His Way to Bull Run - Twice!"   Well, perhaps something a little snappier, but you get idea.  With over 2x the content of the original game a little rebranding might have been in order.

The components use the new standard design established with MMP in "Battle Above the Clouds."   The manpower counters included now go up to 18 making it now possible to use the new informational counters in most of the older games.  The map is another GCACW wonder, with very crisp detail and lighter hues making it much easier to read than some of the older maps.  The maps have been completely updated to the standard rules, incorporating new terrain features such as hills and ferries.

The "All Green Alike" module contains 5 scenarios and 2 modules from the 1861 early war period.  The units here are all appropriately "green" with leadership values ranging from 1 to -1.  Even the mighty Stonewall himself rates only a 1.  It should be noted that two of the scenarios and one of the campaigns require the use of the west map from "Here Come the Rebels," which would be problematic for those without that edition.

The "Stonewall Jackson's Way" portion contains 7 scenarios and 2 campaigns.  This is two more scenarios than were included in the original.  The new scenarios are all rebalanced and Jackson is now leadership 4 as per the standard rules, down from his superman 5.  Mike L. plans on playing these all out with me over the next month so I'll report on the individual games.  All in all a worthy successor to the original.  Now, when can we expect Atlanta.....

Saturday, July 13, 2013

History Traveller: Fort York

Over the past year I have continued my exploration of the sites of the War of 1812.  A recent trip to Ontario allowed me to visit several of the major forts and battlefields in the region.  First up was Fort York.  Now nestled in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Fort once defended the harbor of York, as the city was then named, on the shores of Lake Ontario.  In 1813 its stone walls were sited right at the water's edge, but years of coastal development have claimed much new land from the lake and the fort now finds itself at a considerable distance from the shore.  In these modern times the Fort sits in a perpetual siege not of musket or cannon, but of skyscrapers and highways, outliving its purpose of physical protection while withstanding the forces of time and progress that would have us forget our common heritage.

Fort York was attacked by a combined naval and infantry force from the United States on April 26, 1813 as part of the ongoing battle for the Great Lakes.  York was targeted because it was both the capital of Upper Canada and a major depot of supplies and shipbuilding materials.  The Americans landed from the lake and attacked the Fort.  The British defenders and Native allies attempted to withstand the assault but were eventually forced to retreat.  One notable casualty was Zebulon Pike, the famous explorer of the American West, who was killed when the Fort's magazine exploded.  The US forces took the Fort and the city of York proper.  Over the next few days the occupying force looted and burned many local homes and government buildings.  It has been said that the burning of the White House the following year was in retribution for the plundering of York.

Today the Fort remains well preserved in its easily accessible location close to the Canadian National Exhibition fairgrounds.  Each of the standing barracks, blockhouses and other buildings contains various artifacts, displays and maps relating the history of the war, life and culture of the period and the specifics of the battle.  Currently, it is not a large park so it can be toured comfortably in a few hours.  However, the park is undergoing a major upgrade to enlarge the grounds and facilities, so it might be worth checking in on completion before planning a visit.  I hope to return once it is finished.  It is certainly an important destination for any War of 1812 traveller.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ASL - Silence That Gun, I Think Not

The latest episode of the 2 Half Squads features Jeff H. discussing our game of Silence That Gun a few weeks ago at PAASL.  It was the first time we've been at the same meeting in 5 years.  It turned into quite a disaster for me as the USA this time.  To counter Jeff's able defense I went for a sweep into the woods on his right flank. I smashed through his conscript screen and made it safely into the woods.  All that was left was to clean up the two remaining conscript defenders and rush the building line where his gun was located.  Those guys would not go down, surviving both PBF and returning fire with FPF successfully on conscript morale 6.  After a turn of recovery I made it into LOS of the gun and prepared to pepper it with the 4 Bazookas.  I rolled "12" on every shot!  The guy that issued that box of BAZ is in trouble.  With one turn to go my only chance was to blast 'em with old fashioned IFT....and a miss.  Down to the wire. Thanks for the tense game, Jeff.
You can hear it all here at:
The Two Half Squads: Episode 86

Monday, January 14, 2013

ASLCN January 14, 2013

Saturday marked our first meeting of the ASL Chicago Northsiders group.  Three combatants braved the Chicago January cold (all 45F) and made their way to Park Ridge for a very fine afternoon of conversation, food and ASL.  Jason and I played a quick classic, T4 Shklov's Labors Lost, while I gave pointers to Savva and Marc who are just getting into Starter Kit as they went with S28 Breaking Bread.  A very successful beginning that I am sure will be repeated in the near future.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

ASLCN January 2013

This Saturday, January 12th, is the first meeting our our Advanced Squad Leader Chicago Northsiders group.  Contact me for additional information.