Sunday, February 10, 2008
RULES: Fire and Fury
Figures: Old Glory
Hosted by Jim Carpenter
The game was played on Friday 2/8/08 and we had 9 people show up for the game. The battle was a fictitious battle in a fictitious war. We played the first Civil War in 1815 in which New England decided to break away from the United States. They were supported by British and Canadian forces. The rebels set up defenses outside of Hartford Connecticut and decided to hold off approaching Federal troops led by Ole' Hickory himself, Andrew Jackson. The Federal troops approached from two roads from the south and consisted of troops from Kentucky, Tennessee as well as the regular army. There was a mix of veteran and militia armed with muskets and rifles. There was support in the form of 6lb guns and cavalry. The rebels were mostly green troops of militia quality supported by British and Canadian regulars. They also had artillery support and were entrenched waiting for the approaching government troops. Federal troops steadily advanced to the defenses and began to fire to soften up the defenses. The Federals had a distinct advantage as they had rifles instead of smooth bore muskets. Casualties were light on both sides as the exchanges went on for a few turns.The defenders remained static for as long as they could, waiting for reinforcements. The defenders enjoyed modifiers making it difficult to to hit them and giving them a favorable ground advantage for the upcoming hand to hand combat. Here the rebels troops can be seen exchanging fire with the federal troops in open field. Their veteran status of the federal troops gave them a slight advantage. In a wider shot of the battle you can see the rebel set up, reinforcements are staged in a town behind the battle. Canadian and rebel troops advance to the center in an attempt to halt the advancing enemy. British cavalry an be seen moving along the tree line trying to get to the flank in support. The red markers show disordered units that have already been engaged. As you can see the rebels had good coverage and a well organized reserve to act as a relief force if needed. Since this is an ongoing campaign it is important not to lose units completely, they will be needed for the next engagement.
Now he battle gets fully involved. Red markers are marking the disordered troops all over the field. The rebel militia (New Englanders) are taking the brunt of the attack. To the right you see British flags marking the the better quality troops, they were held in reserve. The blue and white chips mark low ammunition and silenced cannons. Andrew Jackson can be seen on the left on his command stand. Casualties began to pile up on both sides. On the rebel left flank you can see the rebel forces holding up inside the town and in their defensive position. Columns of federal militia stream to meet an approaching rebel unit. In Fire and Fury it is a huge advantage to have one unit supporting another. Riflemen in green uniform advance down the road with more militia to their right. Six pound cannons are coming up in support to deal with the rebel defenses. The federals stop the advance to stay out of musket range but remain in rifle range. The rebels use cannon fire to shake things up instead.
The rebel forces start to become disordered and have supply problems. A second line of defense starts to develop in an effort to stem the tide. Rallying green troops is very difficult. The disorder causes your troops to fire at half strength. The low ammo causes a half strength as well, so the unit with multiple color chips is very ineffective in its current state. At the bottom of the picture troops meet in hand to hand combat. It was a hard fought game indeed.
Federal troops poor over the top in an attempt to catch the disordered unit in a vulnerable state. The federal troops have broken through and are pushing the rebels back with the bayonet. In this game melee causes much more casualties than firing. At the bottom of the picture you can see another engagement. Canadian and British troops are waiting in the rear.
The federals have punched through the rebel defenses. The troops will need to reorganize before the next advance. With the flanks secured the rebels will need to establish another line of defense. Andrew Jackson is really pouring it on, but will the momentum carry on?
15mm is a great scale to see the detail of the figures and for gaming large battles. The rules are a club favorite and the night went very fast.
At table level the figures make an impressive sight. Here is the militia from Kentucky and Tennessee mixing it up with the boys from New England. The artillery is moving up in support and is having difficulty keeping up. They only move 8 inches compared to the 12 inches that infantry moves. When the infantry receives a 1.5 move rate (18 inches) they can leave the artillery in the dust. Militia and regulars hit the rebel line simultaneously. The federals are moving in support of each other and there just isn't enough rebel units to counter. In the rules you count all stands making contact and in support, this gave the federals a 3-1 advantage. The situation is critical for the rebels and they are being pressed. The defenders make a valiant stand but just can't hold the line any more. The federal fired and caused a disorder result to gain additional advantage before pressing the attack. If British and Canadian troops had been present, perhaps there would have been a different outcome.
The center of the rebel line is compromised. The federal militia scored high on the maneuver roll and were able to move at 1.5 time the normal rate. They hit the left flank of a rebel unit creating a delaying action. This unit was outnumbered 4-1 and took heavy casualties.
Rolling to maneuver adds uncertainty to the game. A low roll could just have easily been made causing the unit to halt for a turn. It was a bad day to be a rebel as the momentum stayed with the Federals. Here is an overview of the battle, federals are on the left of the picture. As you can see there is not a lot of clutter in the game. Maneuvering troops makes for a better game than just plowing straight ahead and hoping to roll well. The game started to wind down when Federal troops started to enter the town. The rebels had trouble holding on as the Canadian and British forces just looked on. Andrew Jackson had the rebel towns put to the torch as there was no room in this country for traitors. We played an entire game in about 3 hours and had a blast. The rebel troops were a outmatched by the quality and concentration of federal troops.
The rules are fun, but the trouble (and strength) with a club our size is that we never play the same rule s frequently enough to get really good at them. I may not ever master a set of rules but I am never bored and we always have a great time....barring politics.
I hope to have another post in 2 weeks.