Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shotgun Cavalry

 I got these are part of the same set as the Union cavalry but as they have shotguns a weapon used almost exclusively by the Confederates states cavalry.
 I thin these 5 men and one officer will make a good partisan cavalry unit something like Mosby's rangers 
The officer is very fancy and unarmed but he makes a good unit officer, scout or higher level commander.

Yankee Cavalry

These are part of a lot of Essex figures I got from my friend Rich in exchange for a bunch of unpainted Napoleonic figures(which I had gotten from John).  I got enough to make 14 stands for Longstreet. 
One thing I have always been a bit lukewarm on regarding Essex figures is the molded flags this one painted up pretty good I have to say.
Prepared to charge! Essex horses sometimes look weird like the one in the second rank foreground but most of this set were pretty good.  Over all I am pleased with how these scale with my Blue moon figures I do not think I could mix them in the same unit but they won't look out of place with them on the table.You can see more pictures on my facebookpage

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Post Battle Process (5)

Well the assault on the Wheat field went as well as any one could have hoped for Confederates.  I fact it probably went far better than did historically.  I presumes that this probably means the fight on Little Round Top was a little more desperate but some one on the Yankee side, maybe John rallied the last survivors of his brigade on the other side of the ridge and brought them back just in time. Its quite probable that General Carriere and others were wounded in the course of the assault leading to a lack of coordination fatal to the confederate cause. Regardless there was no great victory at Gettysburg for the Confederacy so sorry alternate history fans the war goes on its historic course.

As mentioned in my previous report I lost heavily in the post battle process but that mostly burned away the last of my recruits the loss of the extra cavalry will be missed. Robert E. Lee paid a personal visit to the 17th Georgia (Hail to the Chief) giving them a story they will tell their grandchildren and raising their Elan to Eager. I got a bunch of artillery cards which I used to build a new battery Pulaski Artillery and replace the guns of the 1st Texas Artillery (the last of my original army) I also got a new Heavy Rifle for the Palmetto Artillery.
I used my last two cards to bring the Louisiana Tigers and 20th Georgia up to 5 stands each.   I have new regiment of recruits from Alabama.  I now have a lot of powerful artillery probably more than John but he has all the artillery modifying cards.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hobby Bunker Campaign (5) Battle of The Wheat fields

John an I met again at the Hobby Bunker to play out the Cornfield scenario from the book which I have renamed the Wheat Field as this is the middle battle of 1863 which means Gettysburg to me.  I won the scouting roll (actually we tied but ties go to the Confederate player) and I elected to attack both because I felt it was the right thing to do from a role-playing stand point and because I needed to rack up some epic points.

 This scenario require the attacker to set up first so I did a classic cavalry on the wings, infantry in the center set up with the weight being more to the wings.
John put his main strength on my right put 3 regiments in the center and had one realy large regiment and a to the left of of the central fields. Above is the position after two turn of manuver.
I froze the Zouaves with old Rivals hoping I might be able to clip them in a charge on the following turn.
John was to careful for that to happen however bringing his horse up to defend. John in fact hit me with an attack of his own throwing back the 20th Georgia. After a turn of maneuver to set things up... 
I hit John with They couldn't hit an elephant and he rolled a 5...
I launched a Powerful charge(over 20 stands) modified with Rebel Yell...
I was victorious across the field savaging of Johns regiments and sending them stumbling back through the fields of wheat 
The 20th Georgia gamed a hero(so did the 17th in a latter action)
John would launch another desperate charge for Epic points that mostly ran up his casualty score but did net him a pair of epic points.   The 1st Texas gained on last moment of Glory taking the objective. John lost 19 stands total in the battle (including two guns to counter battery fire) while I lost 3 stands it was a terribly lopsided victory for the CSA. I had very good luck having the right cards at the right moments while John had poor luck in this regard. John's dice were also quite bad on this night.  Of Course after the Wheat field my men had to try an storm Little Round top and Cemetery ridge and we all know that didn't go well (in the post battle reduction I lost 13 stands and had 3 units reduced to the point they were broken up).  I earned 6 epic points in this game and John earned 5 so we are all tied up a the mid point with 25 Epic points each. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Longstreet Biography Cards (2) In game offensive cards

Today I will look at games that have offensive effects in the game. 
When I first looked through the Biography cards the one that immediately caught my eye was Mexican War Hero.  After all many of the most prominent Civil War commanders could claim this card Jackson, Longstreet, Grant, and even Robert E Lee himself would all have this in their deck.  In addition to associating one self with such august person the card lets you add 2d6 to a single infantry unit during a charge.  This comes with risk but one would expect that leading a battalion forward sword and revolver in hand (or taking the flag) would be risky and as you use this on the offensive you can pick your spot.   More over Charges are how you win Fame and Glory in the American Civil war (if you want to take issue with this remember Pickett is a name every school child in the US knows while only true grognards know of a man like Patick Cleburne).  Fame in Longstreet is tied to Epic points and you get one every time you order a charge with 10 stands or more... having a little extra edge to ensure a good out come makes you more likely to order those Charges.

I used Cleburne (as in exact as the example is, since he new well how to drive home a charge when needed) because he would carry our next card European Service (Cleburne served with the 41st Foot in the English army).  This card provides one infantry unit with a +1 too hit in Volley fire.  This can be especially valuable when you have a large unit in line and a menacing unit closing in with the bayonet.  The card comes with risk so while it wold be tempting to use this every time you shoot you'll probably cost your self a lot of cards in the process. The key is to figure out the right time and then remember to use it. Shooting doesn't earn you epic points directly but a well timed effective volley can turn the tide of battle.

J.E.B. Stuart

 The rebel Cavaliers gallantly lead by game-cock officers with plumed hats is one of the most enduring romantic images of the American Civil War. If following in the foot steps of the likes of JEB Stuart, Wade Hampton and (on the other side) Custer then Cavalry Officer is the card for you.  The card has two effect (which may be combined).  The first is you may have one Mounted unit move through other units (infantry or cavalry) with out causing disorder. Unlike Drill Master (see the first article) this can be done in either the movement or the charge phase (this movement does not require a risk roll when done by it self). This leads us the the second option if you use this option to charge the charging cavalry unit rolls two extra d6 (up to a max of 10) when it attacks. Cavalry has a hard time charging frontally but as our campaign has shown flank attacks by cavalry can be devastating.  In the campaign as written you start with one cavalry unit. Since you get to pick your recruit you could after a battle or two have a good cavalry brigade supported by infantry rather than the other way around.  Should that be your plan this card is a must, other wise its a good card to have but as Longstreet is mostly an infantry game not an essential one.
I love The Scout as a background from a roll playing perspective. Who wouldn't want to play a general who is also an explorer of the old west (the really old west, since most westerns are set after the Civil War). Its also a great battle field card because it makes you immune to the Poor Surveying Card (the one that lets your opponent place a swamp or rocky ground).  This is a powerful effect in one-on-one games (you must be the CinC to use it in multi-player games).  You also have taught your men something of Marksmanship because one unit per fire phase can skirmish at a range of 8 Base Width.  Shooting at some one who can't shoot back is always good but its subject to risk. I classify this as an offensive card because of the skirmish effect but its the protection form Poor Surveying that makes this card a strong selection.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Longstreet Biography Cards (1)

This is the first in a series were I am going to look at various Biography card options and evaluate their pros and cons.  Sam Mustafa did a great job creating a range of balanced options and all of them are useful but some are more useful than others especially when you factor in your play style. All card images are used with permission from the author.   I am going to start with the cards I  and my opponent john are am using in my current campaign.
For effect on the battle field Artillery Officer may be the most useful card option available. It gives you a +1 to hit with one of your batteries at long range (no effect on canister fire) Best of all it does so without exposing your officer to wounds (loss of action cards).  Moreover by the second Battle of 1862 most players will have at least one battery with guns that can fire 24 base widths meaning the card can probably start getting you hits in turn 1 or 2 of the game.  Forcing you opponent to loose action cards or bases early on helps win victories.  John also uses this card so I have seen it from both the giving and receiving end.
Who doesn't want a Friend In The State House?  Having your minimum army size raised by 4 bases doesn't sound like much until you realize that being one base short nets you a 6 base unit of infantry or cavalry recruits. For a Confederate player it helps equalize the numerical odds and a Union player well there is that old saying about God and the big battalions.  The extra d6 when checking for promotion that's just gravy.
My First two cards picked by me this last one was random draw as a result of getting the "valuable experience" campaign card.  It's not one I would have picked.  Political Savvy provides a handy bonus on the promotion roll which is great  if you care about being the highest ranking guy on your side for group games. The main advantage in most games is you can discard a campaign card you don't like an draw a new one.  That's a great option to have but not an essential one all of the campaign cards have their uses so at best your getting rid of a sub-optimal card in exchange for one that might be better.  That said from a Role playing stand point this card especially combined with the "friend in the state house" card makes my General a political operator a man of influence in both the political and military spheres.
From muarchives.missouri.edu
John picked Drill Master as his second card choice.  I think it may be second most useful battle field card in the deck.  It has two application and neither involve risk (loss of cards due to a wound).  1st one infantry unit per turn can execute a flank march(or march to the rear) up to its full movement rate(normally you flank march at half your movement). This doesn't sound like much but it really improves your armies foot work over that of your opponent. John has frustrated many a flank attack in this manner.   The second option is you can move one infantry unit through another without having to pay the extra card cost for disorder. This is very handy if you have a damaged unit in front of a larger and fresher unit and need to one out of and the other into the fight.
John also got the Valuable experience card and picked Fire and Brimstone Preacher.  This Card lets you add 2d6 to one unit that is defending in melee which may be just what you need at a critical moment.  The card does come with Risk so every time you use it you are rolling 1d6 if you roll a 4+ your fine but if you roll a 1,2 or 3 you loose that many cards. If you don't have enough cards in your hand your hand is reduced by one card (from 6 to 5 if this is the first time for example).  John's not a big fan of this card but it has been useful to him a few time.

One of the problems with any card that has risk attached is you try and save it for when you need it and the risk seems acceptable... but that means players may forget they have the option.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One year after the Boston Marathon Bombing

One year ago today a pair of brothers set off two Bombs near the finish line of the Boston marathon.
I had family running that day who never finished the race (they are running again this year).  Thankfully they where a mile or more short of finishing the race.  My parents had planned to go into Boston that day but thankfully didn't.  I won't claim I was an avid fan/follower of the marathon, honestly it was mostly a day to stay out of Boston to me.  Despite that I felt these attacks were very personal.  It was hours before I knew everyone was safe and the week that followed was difficult as we wondered if there would be more strikes until the two responsible were caught but not before killing a Police officer, Sean Collier from Wilmington MA my girlfriend's home town, and holding a city in lock-down for most of a day.
These flags flew from the tower of the Old South Church near the marathon finish line in the weeks following the bombing.  They had been put up as a show of support and solidarity to the runners and could not be removed after the bombing as the church was in the cordoned off area for the investigation. The were subject to the damage of wind and weather and while tattered and torn are still here now as a memorial, its a good a symbol of Boston as any.

Take some time today to think about the victims, the first responders and the ordinary people who saved lives that day one year ago. Thanks for reading we'll get back to the gaming and other fun stuff soon.