Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Fistful of Lead - Santa Rosa Bank Robbery

It was daybreak in the sleepy little town of Santa Rosa. The town was slowly transforming from a collection of small adobe huts and hovels to more permanant structures as Santa Rosa looked to the future. There was a sense of peace as Sheriff McNaughton and his deputies began their morning rounds. As the deputies greeted a few of the locals and proprieters there were a few anxious whispers of the notorious Sneaky Pete and his gang.
Sneaky Pete and his gang of thugs had indeed arrived in the town late in the night. They were staying at the bar and bunkhouse at the east end of town. The new bank at the west end of town was a target for Sneaky Pete's lustful greed. As daylight broke over the town, he sent his men out on both sides of the town to get into position to assault the bank and rob its vault.
Because of the rumors around the town, the deputies had a heightened awareness and noticed the strangers skulking down the back alleys of Santa Rosa. A deputy bellowed a challenge as Sneaky Pete tried to get behind him. Shots would soon ring out breaking the stillness and quiet of early morning.
As the shots rang out, the sheriff was shot right through his badge and died immediately. Revenge was swift as the cowering thug was shot through the head by a deputy.
A blood alley developed, as usual, close to the jail house.
With all the distraction going on, Sneaky Pete does what he does best and stealthily moves to the back of the bank building. Maybe that back door will not be guarded.
As the remaining deputies and thugs moved to action in the bank, one deputy eliminates a thug while suffering a wound.
In the final moments Sneaky Pete and a deputy have a point blank gun duel through the vaults outer door. Although Sneaky Pete was wounded twice, his final shot killed the deputy in the vault and he was able to escape with the loot.
John and I played this scenario twice yesterday. He played Sneaky Pete in the first game, I played him in the second. Both games were won by the bad guys. For the rumors we used an odd/even die roll on whether the sheriff's men were aware that Pete's gang was in town. Also we assumed that the deputies struggled to lock the vault doors because of the unfamiliar keys. A roll of 5 or better locked the door. In the image above, the deputy missed the locking roll and had to face Sneaky Pete with the door ajar.

I am slowly replacing my adobe buildings that I made years ago with models from 4Ground. The bank model is highly detailed and took me several days work to finish. I do like the results.
Happy gaming!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Fistful of Lead - The Looting of Santa Rosa

Taking a break from Longstreet, I put on a game of Fistful of Lead with my son John. The scenario was simple, a payroll had been hidden somewhere in town. Two gangs were coming in to find it and steal it. When a character entered a building a poker chip was drawn from a bag. Blue meant nothing was found, red was a surprise gunshot at the intruder and a white chip meant the treasure was discovered. Dawn breaks on the sleepy town of Santa Rosa.

John played Amarillo Shamrock and his gang of cowpokes. They started on the south road just outside of town. Amarillo's job was to find the treasure and exit on the north or west roads. Doing some harm to Nigel and his nefarious crew would be a bonus.

I played Nigel Cumberbund and his European mercenaries. My gang started on the north road just outside of town. Nigel's task was to find the treasure, neutralize Amarillo and his crooks, then exit on the south or east roads.

As soon as the gangs got within range of each other, gun-fire broke out. As in every game of FFoL ever played a blood alley began to develop.

One particular corner was especially busy. Lead was flying non-stop and members of each gang were pinned, wounded or DRT. (an homage to gentleman Bill McHarg - he coined "Dead Right There" or DRT many years ago.)

Most of the buildings have now been explored, the treasure must be in one of the last two. Both gangs started heading for the final confrontation and a chance for the loot.

One of Nigel's gang hid behind a barrel in a dark alley. When he got the chance he dropped Amarillo like a hot rock. Some say the shot was cowardly, others applauded the stealth.

John and I played this scenario three times that day. It was a ton of fun. This AAR was about the third and final game because it was the closest action and result. FFoL is my favorite skirmish game bar none. It plays clean and fast and John knew the rules in about two turns. We used the Horse and Musket card deck because of the additional special cards. However we stayed with the old hand to hand combat system. I had forgotten how brutal H2H was in the original rules. Next time we play the newer H2H combat system will be in effect.

John really enjoys post apocalyptic games, so Galactic Heros will be in our future plans. I realized that I have several new painting and scenery projects to do in order to get ready. I am looking forward to it! Thanks to Wiley Games for many hours of enjoyable and happy gaming.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Longstreet - Cornfields - 1865 Final Battle

The Cornfields scenario was the final battle for the campaign with my son. It was one of those where I had to make scenery like mad all during the week before the battle. The corn stalks are model railroading material that led me all over town looking for packages. I am pretty happy with how they turned out and now I have plenty for future games.

The cornfield scenario stated that this battle was Sanguinary. I had to look that word up. It was appropriate for the last battle as the Confederates would fight on desperately past their normal army break point. John's Union forces were much larger than my Rebs. Also this scenario brought some relief from his artillery advantage. It was exactly the scenario I needed to flip the campaign in my favor.

The best overview of the table. Battle is already in progress.

I really like the Longstreet system. After playing all 9 battles I have an appreciation how this game simulates the historical dominance of the Union supply over a number of years. Command cards become precious to the Rebel commander. By 1865 the Rebel command deck is about two-thirds of the Union deck. I became concerned about spending cards to soak up casualties because of the limited deck.

Union troops closing on the cornfields
Rebels hunkering in the corn, hiding from artillery.

There is one card in the deck that can be truly diabolical when played against a commander. The "They Couldn't Hit An..." card forces the unlucky commander to roll a die and discard that number of cards from his current hand of 6. John used his to perfection and caught me precisely at the moment when I was ready to unleash the hounds. I rolled a 4 and my plans went up in smoke.

Georgia 5th Mud Dogs moving forward. Lots of Union out there!
The Diagonal that developed between cornfields on the Rebel right.
Meanwhile the Union moves up more troops to engage the Rebel left center.
A spirited battle on the left.
The Mud Dogs awaiting their doom.

In the end, the Rebels were defeated soundly. The war is over. The final epic point total was Pellets McKenney with 40 points and the rank of 4 Eagles. Eustace P Marmalade with 37 points and the rank of 2 Eagles. The campaign system was a complete pleasure and I had a blast competing against my son. I highly recommend the Longstreet rules. Next up for will be some Fast Play Grande Armee. Happy gaming everybody.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Longstreet - Hilltops - 1864 Battle #2

John and I are nearing the end of our first Longstreet campaign. We have had three more battles since my last post and they have all been a sheer pleasure to game. I have forgotten to take a lot of pictures during those games in the heat of the battle. The pictures are also limited for this battle. These few will serve as a battle report on our second battle of 1864. We rolled the Hilltop scenario in the Longstreet campaign system. I rolled well on the scouting roll and chose defense of the hills.
The Rebs watch some Yank activity out on their left flank.
A desperate battle is joined in the woods. The Reb infantry was winning this battlefield hot-spot.
Meanwhile out on the Reb far right flank, the Union troops run into some dismounted Reb cavalry. The Rebs had the cover and were able to inflict some casualties in a fire fight.
In a desperation move, the Union cavalry charges the guns in hope to gain an objective point.

During this entire campaign we have both experienced hot and cold dice to one extreme or another. On this last battle I had been rolling hot and John not so much. I had been already rolling for victory checks and missing them while John had not inflicted enough damage to check. However when he charged my guns he was able to drive off my infantry, capture a gun or two and most importantly capture an objective marker.

The calculated army break-point was 22. He had done 10 points of damage so far but that objective marker allowed him a second die to roll. He shook his dice for a long while and cast them onto the table. Boxcars! Victory!

This is exactly why I game. For moments like these. John was so excited to pull a victory out of thin air. It was a terrific moment for the two of us. Our next battle will decide the campaign. After eight games we are only two points apart in the standings with John leading. Our next scenario is the Cornfields. I will TRY to remember to take more pictures.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Longstreet - Crossroads - 1863 Battle #2

The Longstreet campaign with my son continued with a second battle in 1863. The objective being possession of an important intersection of two roads.  Here are pictures of the table setup from the Rebel and Union perspectives.

The brigade of E.P. Marmalade has been given orders to defend the crossroads until reinforcements come up later.  Precisely how long that may be is unknown. All Marmalade can see is one hot damn mess of Yanks and their artillery.

Marmalade orders his cavalry reserve forward to plug the gap on his right flank as Pellets McKenney deploys half of his artillery.

At this point, the Union center has been stalled with decent Rebel cannon fire. For this battle McKenney was not as fortunate with his cannonade.

Since the Reb cavalry was dismounted and committed to a position, McKenney ordered his cavalry to sweep around the other flank at an attempt of encirclement. 

Marmalade immediately countered the maneuver by about facing his rear guard battalion and drawing two guns off the front line to meet the threat.  It was a risk but the Union center had taken a large number of casualties so far.

Pellets McKenney unleashed the fury in a cavalry charge. This time the southern boys were ready.  A quick vicious brawl resulted in the loss of one of his Cavalry units and the retreat of the other.  (Sadly, I forgot to take a picture during the charge.) As they tried to retire to reform, another Rebel gun was turned in their direction.

Marmalade retracted his right flank to protect his artillery and dismounted cavalry.  As this was occurring, he continued to snipe at McKenney's troops on his left.  With a few lucky shots he was able to break the Union attack and the battle was over.

This was also the second time where the phrase "Need a six, rolled a six." has been used in our campaign. Marmalade has gotten lucky twice on the victory check.  Whew!  Here is the final position of the battle.

After the game, we went through the campaign post battle process. There were no promotions, but John gets more artillery!  He is at the maximum now for the year 1863. We also rolled for the next scenario which is "Meeting Engagement".  The scenario describes an unplanned meeting on a pike out in the middle of nowhere.  It will be interesting.  I will post a report after that battle.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Longstreet - Clear the Treeline - 1863 Battle #1

This entry is more accurately described as the Tuesday afternoon butt kicking.  My son was finally over the crud and we got a chance to play Longstreet again.  We randomly rolled the Clear the Treeline scenario and I won the scouting roll.  My first and most fatal decision for the Rebs was to choose, Attack.  It was a massacre as John played his forces extremely well. He had a 2 to 1 advantage in artillery and used it wisely.   The scenario created a really pretty battle table and we used all my deciduous trees.  I had to break out a few conifers to complete the layout.  Someday I must remember to finish basing the trees.  Oh well.

Here is the overview of the table:

 If one looks closely, the objective marker is placed behind the small copse of trees above the plowed ground.  The Confederate columns and artillery marched slowly forward under constant fire from the Union guns.  None of the Reb columns were unscathed.  Here is early in the action as the columns begin their push forward.

Obviously Eustace P Marmalade did not have a good scouting report before the battle, otherwise he may have been tempted to return to the plantation and pen his memoirs.  Here Pellets McKenney is gleefully orders his massed artillery to open fire on the Rebel columns.
The Rebs were getting pounded and attempted to charge the Union guns.  It was not a pretty sight as ball-shot and eventually canister tore through their ranks.
Meanwhile out on the Rebel left some of the columns were about to make contact with the Union troops in the woods.  The Yanks were ready for the fight and had several successful volleys.
At this point, McKenney saw that the Reb forces were fully committed and he ordered his cavalry to sweep around the flanks and encircle the rebel forces.  It was a nice maneuver and sealed the fate of the Rebel attack.  The picture below does not show both flanks, but the Yankee Cavalry was there hooting and hollering.
As the Rebel attack closed to contact, it was being overwhelmed by concentrated volleys, canister and the very real threat of the Yankee Cav coming up behind.  Here the attack falters:
In the next moment we see the Union Cav complete their encirclement and start to press forward into the Rebel rear.
Although the Rebel attack was being halted,  the Union was bringing up more reinforcements at the end.  Here is a picture from the Union perspective.
Mercifully during the phase for victory check, John rolled what he needed and the game was over.  Army break point was 20 stands. Total damage, the Yanks had killed 16 stands, including all but one stand of the Rebel artillery.  The Rebs had only managed two kills for the whole engagement.  The battle was as lop-sided as it sounds.  My son is an artillery assassin.  He has been this whole campaign.  I am having a blast battling a very wily opponent.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Longstreet Campaign

My son and I were inspired by the Baron and his son to start a Longstreet campaign. I must say it has been an incredible amount of fun. We have played three battles now and our armies are starting to develop some character. I highly recommend the Longstreet rule set, by Sam Mustafa, to all. It is very entertaining and provides a chance for some quality time together.

The campaign system provides overall flavor for the individual commanders as well as lighthearted moments as the post battle process takes place. If one is rolling Ones on that particular day then a plague of camp fever is likely to produce more casualties than the actual battle.

My son is playing the Union side in this first campaign. His commander is a Mexican War Veteran and Drill Master named Jack “Pellets” McKenna. He commands a brigade of troops from Rhode Island. When we started this campaign, his troops were all eager recruits, after three battles his brigade is a mix of cautious veterans and new recruits. And after three battles, it is apparent that Pellets McKenna is an absolute assassin when using counter battery fire.

The Confederate troops are a brigade of rascals from deep in Georgia. A former Cavalry Officer and Drill Master, Eustace P. Marmalade, has been granted command of this fine and eager brigade. While George Pickett may have graduated last in his class at West Point, Marmalade may have been a close second. He has proven to be an offensively minded commander that loves to charge. After the second battle his antics were so brazen that he got his name in the papers back home.

We have been been using the random scenarios from the Longstreet rule book. Our battle in 1861 was the Walled Farm scenario. Pellets McKenna won that engagement handily, kill off most of the Confederate artillery in one battle. EP Marmalade just couldn’t quite understand that charging a walled defensive position was not a great idea. McKenna was promoted after that battle for meritorious conduct.

 Walled Farm - Overall table
 Walled Farm - Rebel Columns on the attack

 Walled Farm - Rebels press attack to their peril

The second battle was the scenario for the Railroad Embankment. By the Longstreet campaign system, this was the first battle in 1862. This time EP Marmalade had some room to maneuver and get his boys in a position to ram his charges home. The fortunes of war (dice gods) were smiling on Marmalade that day and it was a decided Rebel victory. Eustace P Marmalade was promoted after the battle and a picture of him astride his faithful mount Macaroon was shown in all the papers from Savannah to Atlanta. Pellets McKenna was also promoted by an act of congress because of his continued ability to destroy enemy artillery.

 Railroad Embankment - Overall
Railroad Embankment - Rebel Columns massing for a charge

The third battle was the Outflanking scenario. By the campaign system it is the final battle for 1862. This one had a bit of everything including some extremely poor surveying that completely missed a rocky out-cropping that appeared somewhat magically. This was a battle where Pellets McKenna seemed to have the advantage the whole game but EP Marmalade kept sniping at the union troops and snatched a victory out of thin air.

On the outflanking scenario, one objective is positioned outside of the confederate staging area to the left (Union right). The Rebs deploy first, but the Union gets the first move. Once the rebel position was observed, Pellets ordered his command to grab the exposed objective. He came around the rebel left flank like an avalanche. 

 OutFlanking - Overall

 Three Reb cavalry units orders to secure supply objective.  Are you nuts?

 The bulk of the Union force arrives to claim the undefended supplies

 Final position, the Rebs get one more kill that provides an outside chance at victory.

Longstreet has been a rare treat for my son and me. It has provided some great entertainment and a lot of projects for me to complete on a timetable. For example, my son’s artillery advantage beginning the 1863 battle is now eight stands to five and that is only because I got lucky on a campaign card after the last battle. I now need to paint some more union artillery. It has also provided for those priceless gaming moments where they become part of our gaming lore. “Needed a six, rolled a six.”