Monday, September 13, 2010

The Depot..

Seeing as my regular wargaming opponent DG was down for the weekend to attend the Colours show [click here] we also took the opportunity to have one of our all too rare games... I gave DG the choice for the game and he said either AWI or ACW; ACW if there was enough units... by putting everything on the table I think I had enough for an ACW game, DG agreed, so ACW was to be the game of choice.

So choice of game decided, the next issue was "what scenario"?

This one was also easy - while reading the "Wargaming in 28mm" blog the author happened to mention a scenario that he'd found called "No Room at the Inn [click here]", and I liked the idea's in it so much that I took it, shook it around it a bit, and renamed it "The Depot".... so here for your reading pleasure is what happened when the Confederates under the command of DG, met the forces of the Union (that would be me then), at "The Depot"..


A Union brigade comprising three regiments of infantry, a dismounted cavalry regiment (acting as skirmishers) and a 12pdr Napoleon has been given the task of holding a strategically important area on the flank of the main Union advance - they are faced by a similar sized Confederate force with similar orders.

The are is strategically important as it is dominated by three geographical features, and a logistics feature - specifically in the following, then hills labelled 1/. and 2/., and the bridge (labelled 3/.) and the logistical feature is the depot itself..

By the way, click on any of the pictures in the post for a pleasingly bigger view..
The hills are the highest points in the immediate vicinity and provide a commanding view of the surrounding area, the bridge provides an easy access route to the open country on that flank. The depot contains stores and equipment useful to either side, but garrisoned at the start of the game by the Union dismounted cavalry detachment..

We diced for table sides..

Orders of Battle:

All the following are Infantry unless otherwise stated. As we are still in learning mode on Regimental Fire and Fury (RF&F hereafter) rules, the brigadiers & colonels were all standard quality ie. no exceptional/distinguished leaders (which struck us both as being exceedingly apt!).

Confederate Order of BattleQualityFresh/Worn/Spent valuesComments
2nd VirginiaTrained8/5/3Rifled muskets c/w bayonets
4th VirginiaTrained10/7/4Rifled muskets c/w bayonets
5th VirginiaTrained10/7/4Rifled muskets c/w bayonets
7th Virginia Cavalry (dismounted)Trained8/5/3Breechloading carbines
Union Order of Battle QualityFresh/Worn/Spent valuesComments
14th IndianaTrained8/5/3Rifled muskets c/w bayonets
8th OhioTrained10/7/4Rifled muskets c/w bayonets
67th OhioTrained10/7/4Rifled muskets c/w bayonets
1st Michigan Cavalry (dismounted)Trained8/5/3Occupying the depot building. Breechloading carbines

Victory Conditions:

One point each for the terrain features, two points for the depot. Person with the most points wins..

The Game

Any mistakes in the following are purely mine - I neglected to take notes on the evening, so am remembering the gist of the action from the pictures!

Both DG and I set up with the majority of our troops at the far end of the table in the picture above - clearly hill #1 would be a heavily contested feature. DG as Confederate commander had one regiment facing hill #2, two regiments in the half of the table with hill #1 with the skirmishers as a screen to the regiment furthest on his right. His artillery started the game unlimbered, on the little hill within his deployment area.

I set up mine with two regiments facing hill #1, supported by the limbered gun. My skirmishers were already in the depot, and I had my third regiment on the road leading to the depot as I wanted to make sure I retained the two points represented by the depot.

The game started in fine style with advances on all sides, and with DG opening fire with his artillery as soon as he had a reasonable target.. as a side note we found the artillery particularly ineffective on the evening - one they were only 12pdr Napoleons (not rifles), but also we only had one each so lost the "battery" bonuses you get in RF&F

In the picture above, which is taken looking towards the Union left one regiment in column is moving swiftly towards the hill supported by the artillery. Between them and the viewer another regiment has already deployed into line to reduce the damage cause by the Confederate artillery (black flag - that unit has lost a stand). Nearest the picture the remaining Union regiment is hot footing it towards the depot to provide assistance.. DG had rapidly advanced the 2nd Virginia down the road to try a coup de main against the garrison. In this picture the Union troops are actually in the building - they're placed where they are to indicate their positions within the building..

With some quite superior shooting the Union skirmishers cause multiple hits on the 2nd but are eventually driven from the building - elsewhere DG had moved his infantry to the foot of hill #2 as well - things were not looking good for the Union side...

Happily this was the low watermark of their experiences on the night..

As the Confederate skirmishers reached the bottom of hill #1, the Union artillery deployed and opened up an (ineffective) counter battery fire on the Rebel gun...

while the Union infantry deployed into line and charged over the hill sweeping the skirmishers, and the following infantry off the field... got to love that "cold steel"!

With the attack by my remaining infantry on the 2nd Virginia in the depot being successful, I then opened up a withering fire on DG's remaining regiment on hill #2 before DG conceded that he didn't have enough strength left to stop me from gaining all victory points (if I wanted), and conceded...

Post match analysis:

  • An excellent game of swings and roundabouts - truly did swing both ways this game - but I had some lucky dice throws in the second half of the game that in the end swung it my way. I suspect DG might also have reconsidered his decision to sashay the 2nd Vg. up the road in light of the damage they subsequently took from the occupants..

  • RF&F is an excellent set of rules, and in fact I have now ordered the full version (up until now DG and I have been using an old beta version) but one of our bugbears is tracking the mods each move - a regiment might have to check modifiers up to four times within a move (for the move, for firing, & for possibly two rounds of melee) - what we would like is a way of noting this easily so that we don't have to keep working it out. If anyone has any idea's on this please leave a comment! In the meanwhile I think we're going to try using small index cards - one per regiment - laminated, so that we can make notes and cross off values with a foil pen...

Roll on the next game...


  1. Sounds like a brisk and enjoyable little encounter.

    Sounds like a good opportunity for some single figure markers. Depends on how long the list is though and what exactly the modifiers are.

    With BOFF (Basic Original F&F) we had loading figures for low on ammo, casualties for disorder, officers waving their swords around for breakthrough, that sort of thing. With other rules I have used things such as the position of drummers, colours etc to indicate that a unit moved (as in behind the unit if stationary, in front if moving full. For Armati, to track hits we used to use casualties with the edges of the base painted either red, white or blue for 1,2 or 3 hits.

    Of course Charles Grant recommended having an extra body around to keep track of such things.


  2. Thanks for the report . . . of course, since four of my ancestors served in Confederate units (one each: Texas, Arkansas, Georgia and Virginia) I would have preferred to see the South win . . . but I'll congratulate you anyway, Steve.

    -- Jeff

  3. Hello Steve
    Another interesting report. I suppose the issue of keeping track of mods is a problem. For various games my friends and I use little markers of cottn wool, either on card or small pieces of dowelling. For BOFF we put one by a regiment for worn and two for spent. I was going to suggest this in place of the black pin you use for a base loss and perhaps orange and red or black for the status. We think the white puffs look quite good but, as with all these things, it is in the eye of the beholder.

  4. Thanks guys....

    Jeff - I'm a not so closet Reb myself... you'll note the un-contained glee when they won the previous game - and I was playing solo!!

    Jim (good to hear from you) and Ross Mac - what I'm looking for is not morale or casualty markers (I can do those) but an easy way of remembering their firing and morale bonus... eg. every move before firing you go through a list of modifiers to the dice throw - rather than doing it every move it would be quicker just to have a note of it somewhere - I think an index card per unit is the way forward...... DG and I know the kind of things that would change the modifier and would just re-calculate it when such an event occurs......

  5. Hello Steve
    That will teach me to refer to the rules. I hadn't fully appreciated that there were so many modifiers to take into account, inevitable I suppose where dealing at regimental level. I play both BOFF and the Seven Years War version, neither of which have this problem. I was considering buying the rules but this has made me think again to be honest. Have to try actually playing the download version I guess but will also be interested to read how you get on.

  6. Steve

    Would you recomend the newline acw starter armies as a basis for starting a 20mm project off?



  7. Prince Henry - almost certainly..

    In "£" terms you save about £20+ on buying the parts separately...

    It would be even better if you can pick and choose which infantry uniform/pose choices are included.... but the guys are so helpful you may well be able to do that....