Sunday, June 11, 2017

First Battle of Bull Run - Three Battles of Manassas

After much preparation, the opening shots of the Civil War with Dan K. have been fired. We plan to do a chronological play of all the battles from The Gamers/MMP Civil War Brigade Series.  Our first outing, naturally, is the historical Bull Run scenario from the "Three Battles of Manassas." Here is an after-action report of the battle.

Bull Run: June 21, 1861

Morning Action
McDowell orders Heintzelman's 3rd Division to attack Henry House Hill.  J.E. Johnston rapidly orders his Army of the Valley to march to the hill and successfully repulses the 3 Div attack. Hunter's 2nd Division is also under orders to take the Hill, but after probing the north edge of Henry House Hill, McDowell orders them to reverse march and secure the area around the Stone Bridge.

Johnston orders Cocke's Brigade to take the Stone Bridge but is turned back by heavy fire from Tyler's 1st Division.

Noon Action:
McDowell moves the 3rd Division from its rally point on Dogan's Ridge to help defend the Stone Bridge.
Beauregard begins to assemble the brigades on the Confederate right wing north of Blackburn's Ford for a planned attack on the Union 5th Division in a push on Centerville to cut the Union lines.

Afternoon Action:
McDowell orders Tyler's 1st Division to flank the Confederate defenses in a push on New Market. Johnston is able to quickly order some units from Henry House Hill to create a defense line north-east of New Market.  Tyler pushes through this line but the Confederates reform a second defensive line. The sun goes down and the day ends before Tyler is able to continue the assault and fails to take his objective.

Beauregard's assault begins on Miles' 5th Division. Noticeably absent is Gen. Ewell's Confederate Brigade who has been lead astray by the confusing local roads and fails to make it to the battle in time.  Brigades under Longstreet, Holmes, Bonham and Early charge hard into the Union defenses with heavy casualties on both sides.  Gen. Miles is severely wounded and carried from the field.  McDowell orders the 3rd Division to leave the defense of the Stone Bridge and secure Centerville in the event of a Southern breakthrough.  The Southern forces come close to breaking the Union line but eventually the toll of battle forces the Confederates to fall back in exhaustion.

Jones' Confederate Brigade attempts to flank the Union lines with a march up the Union Mills Road but is soundly repulsed by Von Steinwehr's stalwart defenders.

The First Battle of Bull Run has ended in a Draw!

Union losses: 3,400 men
Confederate Losses; 5,500 men

New Market Union Assault Final Positions  

Beauregard's Attack on Union 5th Division Final Positions

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Tonight Dan and I took another easy week while gearing up for the CWBS by playing a couple hands of Zero! I am reminded that I am not a fan of games with a lot of cards because I am shuffle impaired.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Defiance on Hill 30

It's always a good sign when they come back for more!  This week we continue Nils education by fire with the newly reissued Yanks 2nd edition version of Defiance on Hill 30. Nils will take the attacking Germans this time to gain some maneuver experience. Nine turns to wander over hills and fields, remember when they gave you so much time to close with the enemy?

US Paratroopers in Normandy June 8, 1944

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Guadalcanal - Smithsonian Edition

This week's Wednesday night session with Dan K. found us in the South Pacific, 1942 with Avalon Hill's Guadalcanal - Smithsonian Edition.  The "Battleship" inspired double-blind system remains a functional and fun simulation of aircraft carrier operations.  The Smithsonian edition rules, apparently designed to introduce new players quickly to the game, are annoyingly arranged on a over-sized single sheet. Scenario information, additional rules and historical tidbits are haphazardly complied into a separate booklet. What should be a fairly simple game is somewhat burdened by this layout. We played out the Santa Cruz introductory scenario and traded a few flattops for a draw.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Guards Counterattack

Today we celebrated a rite of passage by playing "The Guards Counterattack" with ASL newcomer Nils S.  It is always fun to introduce new players to the game. Welcome to the fold, Nils!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Star Wars: Rebellion

The First Annual "CasinoCon" was held on Super Bowl Saturday 2017.  There was only one event and two attendees.  While the ladies played the slots, Brian R. and I were lucky enough to find an empty conference room and set up a first try at Star Wars Rebellion.  It does a pretty good job of simulating the asymmetrical conflict situation of Rebels vs. Empire while retaining all the thematic elements one would expect from a Star Wars game.  We were a little pressed for time so I'm sure some mistakes were made.  I would like to try this one again soon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Chicago Wargamer In The News!

2016 was a busy year for our family here in Chicago leaving little time to get to the game table. The regular Wednesday night game with Dan K. was a year long campaign of Grant Takes Command frequently interrupted by real life destination weddings and emergency hospital visits (just to name a few events of a rather chaotic year).  We finally finished in December as the siege of Richmond came to a conclusion with a hard fought Union victory.

The Siege of Richmond - June 1864

As frequent readers will know, Dan is a regular weekly opponent when not authoring such fabulous works as his epic 2-part Zebulon Finch series.  Dan is also an editor and reviewer at The Booklist Reader.  He recently wrote a review of Shelby Foote's The Civil War: A Narrative which I had recommended to him as part of our transition into playing American Civil War games.  Dan was gracious enough to tell the story of his time here gaming as part of the review.  You can find the article at The Booklist Reader.  My thanks go to Dan for allowing me to "destroy" him and for his kind words and continued presence.

Next Up: Dan wants to "see the elephant" in the Civil War Brigade Series!