Apologies for my absence of late - I've been sick and recuperating from it. Today I had some precious quiet in the house and retired to the gaming bunker to finally play a game of Norm Smith's "Two Flags, One Nation"
American Civil War rules [click
]. As my readers know, I have always liked Norm's well thought-out, simple, and challenging rules including "Tigers at Minsk
" WWII and "Eagles at Quatre Bra
s" Napoleonics. His TFON rules have been rigorously playtested (Norm continues to play many games of TFON) and I have been wanting to try them for the last 2 years.
Well the wait is finally over as I threw a couple brigades of Union troops, and a single brigade of Confederate troops on the table today. The year is 1863 (this matters for gameplay - I'll explain). The Rebels must prevent the Union troops from breaking through and linking up with their comrades further down the pike.
|2 Union Brigades of 3 Regiments each - they face 1 single Rebel Brgiad|
All troops on the table are "seasoned" and all units save for 1 Rebel Regiment are armed with rifled-muskets. I will note that Norm's rules TF-ON use hexes. I have used squares here with flocked pennies marking the corners of the squares. The effect works and the squares are unobtrusive and dont', in my opinion, detract from the action or the visual spectacle.
|Rebel Regiment in the treeline. These fellows are armed with smoothbores. In Norm's rules, the armaments can be variable and fluctuate more with the year. Early on in the war, more troops are armed or have the possibility to be armed with smoothbore muskets.|
|Union Divisional artillery and the Division Command stand. Most of my ACW are a work in progress and need rebased badly!|
The rebels occupy key terrain astride the road, including a nice piece of forest that juts out and commands the approach. The rebels have a battery of artillery to cover the road approach, and have placed a regiment of troops in the woodline, backed up by another fresh regiment who are supporting the lead regiment in the treeline. In TFON, units offer support by being in command and directly behind.
|Rebel officers survey the yankee approach march. "The damn Yanks form well!"|
The Yankees approach their designated objectives on either side of the road. The Rebels have left a single regiment on the left of the road behind some rough scrub terrain. Their main effort is clearly weighted against the Union left where the approach is quickest and terrain is more conducive to a solid defense.
|Yanks march right up to the woodline.|
|Union Brigade on the Union left facing off against a battery of guns and a Regiment of troops in the woodline.|
The Union right sees much more success as the yankees send a flanking force to the rear of the Rebel Regiment in front of them. They advance into the scrub and trade shots with the rebs in the cultivated field.
|Regiment (left) is flanking the unit in the cropfield.|
The Rebel turn sees them hold their fire until the last possible moment to good effect - a Yankee Regiment is sent reeling back from casualties with 2 "hits" against them in the open. They fail their capability test and retreat 1 square. A hole in the Union line! The Union regiment is disordered for 15 minutes.
It's now the end of the first turn. I roll 2D6 + 8 giving me the result of "19". The clock advances to 10:19am. I'm playing until noon. The Union brigade on the Union right has made good progress trying to flank the single Rebel Regiment to their front. On the Union left, it's a much different story, and a single Rebel Regiment in the treeline and a single Rebel battery is holding up an entire Union brigade.
|using my yellow dice to track the advance of time|
The Union flanking maneuver on the right goes well, with 2 Regiments holding the Rebels while a third Regiment moves forward and flanks them, putting the Union in a perfect position to close assault the Rebels in their flank.
|successful Union flanking maneuver|
|A Union unit in close combat with the Rebels earns paydirt with 3 hits - and a flanking bonus gives you extra dice!|
|The Union Regiment on the left charges home! The flanking bonus gives even more dice to the attackers|
|The Rebel capability test forces them to retreat. They retreat towards the main line next to the artillery battery.|
|They'll be disordered for 30 minutes. Units take 8 hits before they break. |
The next turn I roll random events and a Union Brigade commander is killed. I randomly dice for the victim and it's the Union left (1st) Brigade, who have been having the worst luck for the whole battle so far. Not only have they been standing in front of the Rebel battery, but the shooting from the smoothbore-armed Rebel regiment has been incredibly effective.
|Casualties piling up with the yanks from the single Regiment in the treeline.|
|THey couldn't hit an elephant at this ....THWACK In TFON, a new commander is appointmented next turn in the rally phase. until then, the Union units of this brigade will remain disordered, without a commander.|
|The Rebel Regiment supporting behind the treeline moves up and closes the door on the Union 1st Brigade. |
|The Rebels did an excellent job of keeping the Union 1st Brigade bottled up on the left. Note the 2nd Brigade in the upper-center of the picture - their attack has been much more successful.|
|Better look at the attack by 2nd Brigade who pushed the Rebel Regiment out of the cropfield.|
I ended up quitting the game after this but overall it was great fun. I played through 4 total turns, ending at 1058am. The Union had alot of options with the 2nd Brigade's breakthrough, and the appointment of another commander in 1st Brigade. The Rebels, however, put in a fresh Regiment and their smoothbore-armed regiment who did such an outstanding job of holding off 1st Brigade only has 1 hit against them.
Lots of questions that I think I'll post in another blog post but I will definitely play TFON again soon.