Thursday, August 29, 2013

Longstreet: the Battle of Smedley's Tavern

Longstreet came out last week. We have been playing the free, Lite version for a couple of months and now we finally got a chance to try the real thing. From my earlier post you can see we got into the spirit of thing by Photoshopping some portraits of our alter-egos. Part of the full version of Longstreet is the introduction of Biography Cards. These randomly drawn cards add flavor to Generals. I drew "Cavalry Officer". Any one who knows me, knows a kill little metal horsies whenever I get them (except for a bizarre string of cavalry victories lately). My alter ego would be a disgraced Prussian aristocrat recruited by the South named Karl Friedrich Wolfgang Von Schtuppe (in honor of Madeline Kahn from Blazing Saddles). I can add bonuses to my combat dice when using cavalry, but have a chance of getting wounded in the process.
I chose the Meeting Engagement setup from the book. Then, both sides rolled for scouting and the Union decided to be the attacker. Both sides randomly drew 3 Terrain Cards. You may either play these, or place a road, stream or wall. We stuck our 2 woods, and 1 swamp right in the middle of the Yankee deployment zone. We got swamps and standing crops in return.
The Southern commander, Jeremiah O.B. Hungwell's special ability as an Engineer was to place entrenchments, which he put in front of our guns in the center. Our mission was to hold the town of Smedley's Tavern.
The right flank of the Confederates
Rather than hold back and wait, the Rebs surged forward to meet the Yankee invaders. Cavalry quickly outstripped the infantry and guns. But this aggressiveness paid off. Reb cavalry caught 3 of the Union guns isolated out front of their troops. The gray cavaliers hacked the crew to pieces and spiked the guns. This was especially humiliating for the Union Commander, General Jonathan Vincent Fleckman, as he was a Artilleryman himself.
Rebs man the works.
On the Southern right, cavalry took a small hill. Going against everything in my being, rather than charge down the hill gloriously, I elected to dismount and hold the ridge. This worked for awhile, but eventually they were overwhelmed by numbers and swept from the field.
The real battle began, with it's slow grind of fire, charge and counter charge. This is where the mechanics began to shine. There were several instances where a charge could lead to potential heavy losses by the defender, but because they can burn cards to decrease losses, the attackers were forced back. This may seem seem like not alot happened, but it forced the defender to eat cards faster. A large attack along the line could really wear them down, and force actual casualties.
Two hours in, both sides were getting beat up. It was agreed the Rebs held their objective and thus won.
The Union lines

The post battle sequence is fun too. You check for promotion. Obviously there is bias against foreigners, because I didn't get a promotion. Then see if the Elan of your units changed. The bitterness of the fight changed my Missouri Volunteers from Eager to Seasoned. The entire Cavalry regiment had to be replaced so they came still eager.
Then you check for losses form campaign (sickness, desertion, etc). I lost 2 stands per regiment.
 Thank God for the final step, Campaign Cards. I got replacements for most of my units and 2 new guns fresh from the Richmond foundry.
Overall, it was a great game. Fire & Fury holds a special place in my heart, but this was way more fun. One thing we would change, though. In large games, only the C-in-C is allowed Interrupt cards. In one on one games this is part of the fun, and without them, defense becomes really hard. So, as a house rule, Interrupt cards may be played by everybody, but only the C-in-C can play the more powerful RED Interrupt cards which tend to have a more battlefield effect.
I tip my big feather cavalry cap to you Mr. Mustafa for another fine game.
General Hungwell


Loki said...

great report

Sean said...

Great report and looks like a really interesting game.