Monday, March 25, 2019

The Battle for Oak Ridge: TWO FLAGS - ONE NATION ACW Rules ENDGAME

Following yesterday's dental appointment, I raced home for the epic, bloody conclusion of the Oak Ridge fight during Day 1 of Gettysburg.  This could have gone lots of ways with the Union clinging on desperately despite losses and the friction of many units in flight.  We are coming back on Turn 5 less than halfway to endgame for the battle.

Confederate Artillery sets up in the gardens behind Forney's House
 The Rebels continued their assault up and down the line, with O'Neal's Brigade pushing into the ridge.  The 12th Alabama takes pressure and finally relents, leaving their toehold on the ridgeline.  Fresh Regiments of Paul's Brigade take their place.

Quick thinking by one of the last fresh units of Baxter's Brigade moves into the hole in the line - effectively barring the door for the 12th Alabama and O'Neal's other Regiments!

Regiments of Daniel's Brigade begin to orient themselves on the other ridgeline objective.  They'll try to apply pressure to the Union flank while Iverson's men go up the middle.

The Rebel Artillery see an opening in the line and take full advantage, scoring an impressive 3 hits and driving off the New York Fire Zouaves from their positions.  Unfortunately, they beat a hasty retreat with nowhere else to run!  They drove off the Yanks for the cost of a crate of ammunition.

12th Alabama is disordered and would be for most of the rest of day.
 On the Confederate left, a sharp firefight breaks out with volleys being traded each turn.   Lots of leadership rolls here, and O'Neal is personally directing the fire of his Regiments.  The Union Division Commander, Robinson, is doing the same.  Guess what happens?

Baxter escapes the roll.  General Robinson is not so lucky.  The Division Commander is cut down in a fierce volley that also disorders the 88th PA, sending them reeling back.

Iverson's men move up to take position within the yankee lines.

Sharp fighting as the 147th goes out of the frying pan and into the fire, trading shots with the flank and the front.  They would reorient themselves to face repeated close assaults up the hill from the front.  They would also face the dubious distinction of fighting against elements of both Iverson and Daniel's command

The Union bolsters its position with Paul's Brigade.

General Robinson is killed.
 The 147th PA holding the Union left flank is defending itself gallantly, fighting off 2 of Iverson's close assaults.  It's worth noting that Iverson's Regiments are going in unsupported.  It's the best they can do at the moment.

Iverson's Regiments disordered from assaulting the 147th PA.  As you can see on the right though, it's only a matter of time before Daniel's Brigade moves in.  They are slowed by the Random Events Table but not stopped!

The Big Picture.  Daniel's Brigade is moving up to flank the whole position

O'Neal's men move up to the hedge and fenceline

 O'Neal is killed in a sharp exchange of fire on turn 7 and the Rebels alter tactics, opting for "the back door" of the position, instead of a direct, frontal assault against the ridge.  O'Neal's death puts his brigade in a tough spot as they are all disordered and only 1 of 4 would rally on subsequent turns.  Tough luck but they did their job admirable holding down Union reinforcements while Daniel's fresh brigade takes the ridge by storm.

O'Neal is cut down in the firefight!  Officers are falling everywhere!

A NC Regiment falls back, disordered with 6 heavy casualties!  They would fail to rally from disorder for the rest of the day.

The final of Iverson's assaults.  

The situation at the end of turn 8.  All of the 12th Alabama's hard fought gains melt away on the Union left however with the movement of the 147th shifting to fend off Iverson's assaults, it's bought crucial opportunity for Daniel's men to get into position for a crushing assault against the ridge.  The 147th is holding the "major victory" objective for the Rebels, by the way.  If Daniel's assault can knock out the 147th and he can capture the position, they rebels will instantly win by capturing the position and knocking out 40% of the Union Regiments.

Most of the units have casualties of some sort
Turn 9, with high drama, Daniel's Brigade goes in!
 Daniel's attack is fierce, garnering 2 x extra dice for flank assault and 2 x extra dice for supports he will assault with a crushing 9 dice!  The final tally would be 4 hits scored, and 1 hit scored against him (a single "1" rolled).  It's enough to cause the 147th to lose 2 more casualties (only 2 due to their cover) and force a Capability Test which they lose.  The position has been gained by Daniel's attack!

The McPherson-Wills forest in new hands!

Capturing the ridge after a day of hard marching and fighting.  The Tarheels are exhausted.

Union right.  O'Neal's Brigade is in rough shape.  A new commander has been appointment but he faces a tough challenge trying to rally all these Regiments under heavy fire!

Final dispositions
 Wow what a nail-biting slugfest.  I think the game captures the tension and high drama of the first day of Gettysburg accurately with a great "back and forth" see-saw to the fighting.  Victory goes to the force who has a convenient and immediate reserve to plug a gap and can take advantage of a hole that's opened up in the line or flank a unit that is distracted to its front.  The random events table adds a nice element of tension and unknown as well.  I would say O'Neal's Brigade did the lion's share of fighting, save for some brave Regiments from Iverson's Brigade who attacked the 147th PA again and again only to be repulsed again and again.

For a battle involving a total of 22 Regiments, I can say I probably spent more time planning this fight than playing it, which is a huge plus.  THe whole game probably took 2.5 hours which is great.  The squares made it a little bit fiddly and I wonder if it would have played easier with hexes.  Also, the use of my tablet forced me to constantly scroll back and forth between certain key sections of the rules and I still forgot certain rules like the casualty retreat test when a unit reaches 6 casualties.

Thanks to Norm who has created an outstanding game that captures ACW flavor, action, and drama with simple and elegant mechanisms that deliver plausible results.  Mission accomplished!


  1. Fine battle account, Steven, and your last paragraph sums it up nicely. Flavor, action, drama, elegance, and plausible results are all a player can ask for in a set of rules. I found creating a QRS helped greatly in eliminating repeated reference to the rulebook. With a comprehensive QRS, 98% of play is straight from this reference sheet.

    1. Jonathan i was thinking of putting a QRS together to use on my own. Any chance you'd share yours?

    2. You bet! If you send me an email via the Contact Form on my blog, I will send one out.

    3. Gotcha sir! Will send later this evening!

    4. Request received and QRS on its way.