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Subject: Never Assume The Game Is Over! rss

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Claude Whalen
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After playing "Stonewall's Sword" many times and both of the smaller scenarios of this game, I have got to say that these games never cease to amaze me.

As I have been slowly playing the "Full Historical Scenario" on a solo basis, I thought that the game was following a simple thread: the CSA attacks and pushes the Union forces back. The CSA attack runs out of steam and the Union forces come roaring back to rout Van Dorn's troops.

Even with both McCulloch and Van Dorn down, I have been surprised that the CSA attack has NOT died off. Yet, Union reinforcements have come in and by the end of Turn 11, I could see the tide turning.

Foolish me, I have finished Turns 12-14 and things have NOT turned out the way that I thought they would (thanks to the "Blind Swords" system).

Some turn highlights:

Turn 12 Artillery Phase
Tull/Gorham break Bowen (US)
Landis/Jackson hit Jones-A (US) MH/RA2

Command Rolls:
Van Dorn replacement fails his roll
Price gets 2 of 5 rolls
McCulloch replacement gets 1 of 4 rolls
Davis gets 1 of 3 rolls
Carr gets 1 of 2 rolls
Osterhaus gets 1 of 3 rolls

Rebel Yell chit allows 2nd ARMR to break Ellis 1stMO
Hebert-B attacks 18th IN (BW/2MH/RA2(P) 22ndIN panics)
17th AR (BW by fire combat) vs. 15thMO (who played a Tactics chit) (MH/RA2)

Turn 13 Artillery Phase
Davidson v. 3rdLA (BW/MH/RA2)
Tull/Gorham v. 9thIA (BW/MH/RA2/P; 25thMO panics)
Kelly/Guiber v. 59thIL (R1)

Command Rolls:
Van Dorn replacement succeeds
Price gets 1 of 5 rolls
McCulloch replacement fails all 4 rolls
Davis gets 2 of 3 rolls
Carr gets 2 of 2 rolls
Osterhaus gets 2 of 3 rolls

Fog of War chit: Asboth is down!

Combat
3rdMO/8thMO fires on 3rdIL-B (R1)
5thMOGD (MH/RA2) v. 35thIL
6thMSG (BW/MH/RA2) v. Weston
8thMSG v. Jones-B (MH/RA2)
3rdMSG (BW/MH/RA2) v. 4thIA
MSG-A Mixed (BW/eliminated) v. 24thMO (RA2)
Price activates 8thMSG again (BW/R1 in fire combat)) v. 3rdIL-B
5thMSG v. 3rdIL-B (Close Combat BW/Broken Track #3)

Turn 14 Artillery phase
Klaus/Hayden v. 16thAR (MH/RA2)
Jones-A v. Hughes (R1)

Command Rolls:

Van Dorn replacement fails
McCulloch replacement gets 1 of 4 rolls
Price, yes Price gets 4 of 5 rolls!!!!!!!
Davis gets 2 of 3 rolls
Carr gets 1 of 3 rolls
Osterhaus gets 1 of 3 rolls
Asboth replacement gets his roll!!!!!

Fog of War: "Possible CSA General Casualty" but a roll of 61 means "No Effect"

Combat

2nd/15thMO v. Texas Battery (BW/eliminated)
44thIL v. 1stARMR (BW)
3rd/5thMOGD (BW) v. 35thIL (BW/MH/RA2)
2nd/15thMO (Asboth replacement activates these units again) v. 2ndARMR (BW/MH/RA2)

The last chits of Turn 14 are played. "Rebel Yell" and "Tactics" for the Union:

The 11th Tx v. 25thIL on the refused Union left flank at Leetown. The Union plays the Tactics chit on its Defensive Fire phase but rolls a "14" for "No Effect". The 25thIL's gamble has failed and the "Close Combat" roll with the "Rebel Yell" plus 2 modifier is a "65"! The 25thIL is on the Broken Track #2 and the CSA has turned the Union's left flank at Leetown!

Though all of Hebert-B is battleworn and most of these units also have Morale Hits, the Union has to focus on saving its left flank. At Elkhorn Tavern, Price has become a Napoleonic motivator of men and rallied all of his men. What had looked like a Union "turning of the tide" has suddenly become a Union crisis!

No more predictions from me as this game is going to go down to the wire. With twists like this, you are glued to the table and like Van Dorn in the real battle, you never know when you are beaten!

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Trent Garner
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That battle is playing out in a very dynamic way, which is just fantastic work on the designers part. If a wargame feels too scripted, I quickly lose interest and find another game to focus on.

Living within easy driving distance of Pea Ridge Civil War Park, and others in the Ozarks, it is always s a fascinating daytrip to visit these battlefields and imagine what the conflict looked like as it raged on. They stage yearly re-enactments at the nearby Prairie Grove Civil War Park, if you really want to see what it might have looked like during the fighting. It is both awesome and terrifying at the same time!
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Claude Whalen
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Though I have just played a few chit pulls in Turn #15, the Curtis chit was pulled and Pattison was sent to save the Union's left flank at Leetown. Pattison's attack has failed as only one of his units had the movement points to get into "Close Combat" so it is up to Greusel's battered units to force the 11TX back before MacIntosh can get his remaining forces up to support the 11thTX!

Even worse for the Union, the "Rally" chit has revived one of Hebert-B units so the CSA center at Leetown is strengthening. At Elkhorn Tavern, Price succeeded on his first command roll but the MSG-A attack against Dodge was an absolute failure.

Talk about a dynamic turn of events! We are a long way from the "I go, you go" games of old.
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Richard Handewith

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Very interesting game.

Thanks
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Claude Whalen
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The First Day is rapidly coming to a close and the Union forces have some work to do in order to shore up their lines. As long as they can last this final turn, they have a chance to bivouac overnight.

Turn 15 Artillery Phase: Landis/Jackson v. Bowen (R2)

Command Rolls: Van Dorn+ gets his roll
McCulloch+ gets 1 of 4 rolls
Price gets 3 of 5 rolls
Osterhaus gets 2 of 3 rolls
Carr fails both rolls
Davis gets 1 of 3 rolls.

Turn Highlights:

Curtis sent Pattison to save the Union left flank at Leetown. Due to retreating units and heavy woods, only the 22ndIN has the Movement points to get to the 11TX. A great defensive fire roll hits with 22IN with BW/R1. Greusel is activated next turn and he sends 36IL-B/36IL v. 11TX(BW/R1). The turning move on the Union left flank is temporarily stopped.

Over at Elkhorn Tavern, the 3MOGD/8MOGD attack on the 4IA turns out poorly for the CSA. The 3MOGD is hit by defensive fire (BW/MH/R2) and then the 8MOGD attacks alone (BW/MH/R1).

The Union forces sense blood and press their attacks: 44IL v. 1ARMR (BT1/RA2(P) 3TX panics.

Sigel activates the 36IL-B who attacks the 11TX (BT3/BT/RA3). The threat to the Union left flank at Leetown is over.

Rally Chit for 15AR/3LA. Van Dorn+ brings back Rosser for Slack's Brigade.

Fog of War chit is "Union Chaos" and it is used on 4IA.

Mass attack on the "Fog"-bound 4IA. 3rd/5th/6th/8thMOGD all attack 4IA. Defensive fire causes the 5MOGD to R2 but the other three units roll a "65" on the "2" Column, which gives the 4IA (MH/RA2).

Hebert-B is able to bring 4TX back from the Break Track.
Rebel Yell chit: 4Ar (BW) v. 2MO (BW/RA2)

I then played the two night turns and since it is the first time that I have played these turns, I read the rules three times. Before I even describe what happens, I learned an important lesson.

Though it is only suggested in the rules, it is a VERY GOOD IDEA to not let units on the Break Track return to their "Fresh" side. I have been taking notes on this game and I didn't take the time to compile a list of Broken Units so if they return to this game, they can be flipped to their "Fresh" side. Next play, I will take the time to note who was broken and then prevent them from becoming fresh.

And here is why I am going to make that list (yes, the dice were hot for both sides):

Night Turn #1: Everybody that could do so took the opportunity to pull back into bivouac. Once in bivouac, the Union forces were able to flip the following units to their "Fresh" side: 2MO/35IL/18IN/4IA and the following units came off of the break track: 36IL-A/4MO

While the Union got six units into fighting shape or just back , the CSA got Rosser "Fresh" and Riggins off the Break Track. The CSA also removed a number of MH from units, which made a difference in Night Turn #2

Night Turn #2: As I said, the dice were hot. The Union gets 22IN/37IL to "Fresh" status. The CSA gets flaming hot dice and gets the following units to "Fresh" status: 3MOGD/5MOGD/Frost/4TX/2ARMR/4AR! That is right, six CSA units come back to Full strength and I would have to read through pages of notes in order to learn who had been on the Break Track. I now have about 80% of both armies on the field and almost everyone is "Fresh" after a day's worth of fighting.

KEEP A LIST OF WHO GOT BROKEN AND KEEP THEM "BATTLEWORN" WHEN THEY RETURN!

Turn 18 (DAWN): Another limited turn and I was able to play it quickly.

The first chit pulled is the "FOG of WAR" and it is a Wayward Union Move" but since range is limited to 2 hexes and no engagement is allowed, Fire Combat didn't hurt the 44IL as it advanced.

Command Rolls:

Van Dorn+ fails his roll
McCulloch+ fails all 4 rolls
Price gets all five of his rolls (5 for 5)!!!!!
Osterhaus gets 3 of his 3 rolls
Carr fails both rolls
Davis gets 1 of 3 rolls

With no engagement allowed, Fire Combat turns out to be rather ineffective. Most of the turn is spent rallying troops further. The Union rallys 36IL-A and gets the 12MO off the Broken Track. The CSA gets the 8MOGD to "Fresh" and 1ARMR off the Broken Track.

At the end of the turn, the CSA plays "Firefight/Tactics" together and Bevier gets 59IL to (BW).

Looking at the maps as the battle enters its second day, the CSA has a slight edge in guns and men at Elkhorn Tavern. The Union has a clear edge in guns around Leetown and its manpower advantage needs to get out of column formation. Once in line of battle, the CSA is clearly outnumbered here. The CSA forces have a clear advantage in Victory Points but Curtis has a reinforced army and 8 turns to get those points back or break the CSA forces!
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Thanks Claude!

Yes, the Rebuild Optional rule is a good one but logistically a bear to keep track of.

How about this for the two-day scenario ..... after the first Night Turn, no unit can be rebuilt to its Fresh side? You could use the logic that the forces are worn out from the previous full day fight and the weather - the night was a restless one for most units.

Herm
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Claude Whalen
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Hermann, I like your idea and I am going to clip that note into all of my rule-books including those given to the Carnegie Library (it helps being the donor).

I have to add in last nights play (Turn #19) because after 19 turns, the game is essentially back at "square one":

Turn 19 Artillery phase: Now that the guns have been moved into better positions overnight, the results are much more dramatic (some high rolls helped the carnage).

Guibor/Kelly v. 37IL (MH/RA2) (rolled a 65)
Landis/Jackson v. 1stIA-A (BW) (rolled a 63)
Higgins/MacDonald v. 3IL-B (R1)
2IL/2OH-A v. 4AR (BW/BT passed/R3) (rolled a 66)
Elbert/Chapman v. 4TX (BW/R2) (rolled a 61)
Welfley/Klauss v. 3MOGD (R1) (rolled a 65)

Command Rolls:

Van Dorn+ fails his roll
McCulloch got 3 of 4 rolls
Price got 2 of 5 rolls
Osterhaus got 2 of 3 rolls
Carr got 1 of 2 rolls
Davis got 1 of 3 rolls

What Happened:

Greusel rebuilds 12MO
Curtis pulled next and send Greusel forward on the Union left flank at Leetown.
Superior Artillery Chit: Klauss/Hayden v. Provence (BW/R1)

The next pull is the "Fog of War" chit. I roll a "6" which means "Possible Confederate General Casualty". I roll a "14"; I look at my chart then look at the dice again and finally back at the chart. The McCulloch replacement is dead but looking at the small print, it seems that a roll of 11-16 means that Ben McCulloch is strapped to his horse and returns to the battle!!!!!!

At least at Leetown, most of the troops are back (if not completely fresh) and they are being led by their original commander.

Feeling enthused at the news, Price then gets two activations in a row. He sends Slack against the 59IL. During the attack, defensive fire causes Bevier to R1 and so the remaining Slack units roll themselves into a Even Fight. Hughes (BW/AMH/R1) and Riggins (R1) v. 59IL (BW).

Price then has Little attack on the next pull. 2MO v. 59IL (Break Track#1) (rolled a 66). The 3MO v. 1stIA-A (RA2) helps Price achieve his goal of pushing back the Union left flank.

Dodge advances to stem the tide: 4IA/35IL v. 5MOGD (BW/2MH/RA2/P)
5MOGD used a "Tactics" chit with its defensive fire but failed. Union forces used their "Tactics" chit in the "Close Combat" phase successfully.

Using a Firefight chit, 4IA v. 8MOGD (MH/R2)

Vandever activates next and sends the 9IA (MH) v. Freeman/Schnable then the 25MO v. 6MOGD (R2)

Pattison maneuvers to the far left flank of the Union line at Leetown and the CSA forces pull back to the road running along hex #19xx

One last chit at the end of the turn is used, the CSA "Firefight" chit.
Freeman/Schnable v. 25MO (MH/R2/P). With Vandever's 25MO gone, the 4IA which started the game with a morale level of "5" is left unsupported and even though it has been fighting well, it still has a MH from earlier. The combination of a MH and unsupported status turns the 4IA into a "3" morale level unit and it PANICS (even after two victories earlier in the turn)!

As the game stands now, the stronger Union forces at Leetown are advancing but the addition of McCulloch gives the CSA a chance to fight well defensively. At Elkhorn Tavern, Price has a numerical advantage in what is turning into a see-saw battle. If Price can hold his troops together and keep Elkhorn Tavern, I see a chance for the CSA.

Still am shocked at the revival of McCulloch (yes, he had a 10% chance of coming back once I rolled a "6" on the Fog of War chart but....). You need to learn with the smaller scenarios but boy, oh boy is this "Two Day Scenario" fun.
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Thanks Claude!

Zombie McCulloch forward!
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Claude Whalen
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Turn 20 (You Have Got To Be Kidding)

I didn't play very long last night and I will post a full report once I have completed two full turns.

Following his recovery, Zombie Ben McCulloch led his troops for one full activation (McIntosh).

I pulled the "Fog of War" chit early on;

I rolled a "6" (Possible Confederate General Casualty);

I rolled a "23"; and so,

Zombie Ben McCulloch is dead again.....

When playing solo you only cheat yourself so I put the dice down and went to bed!
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Ha! He should have stayed in bed! Unbelievable.
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Claude Whalen
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I got another 3 turns done on President's Day and the battle has changed dramatically.

As I mentioned, Zombie Ben McCulloch came back to life in turn 19 and then got his head blown off early in Turn 20. I posted my shock at this turn of events but left out the usual turn summary so here it goes:

Turn 20 Artillery Phase:

Gun positions were set up during the nighttime turns and artillery fire continues to be very effective.

Klauss/Hayden v Hart (BW)
Chapman/Elbert v. 17Ar (R1)
Clark/Wade v. 4IA (BW/MH/R2/P) "rolled a "65"
Tull/Gorham v 37IL (BW/R1)

Command Rolls:

Van Dorn+ passed his roll
McCulloch+ 1 of 4 (replacement failed all 3 rolls)
Price made 2 of 5
Osterhaus made 2 of 3
Carr made 2 of 2
Davis made 2 of 3
Asboth+ failed

Infantry Moves:

Davis got 59IL off the broken track
Rally chit for 1ARMR
18IN (R2 from defensive fire)/22In v. 9TX (BW/RA2)
44IL (BW) v. 16AR (RA2/P 1ARMR panics)
17MO v. 2ARMR (D2/MH/RA2/P (4TX panics) a roll of "66" did this
17MO (BW defensive fire) v. 17AR (BW/RA2/Broken Track 1)
3LA v. 17MO (MH/RA2) fire combat
MSGD-A rebuilds 5th & 6th MSGD
2MO (BW) v. Bowen (MH/RA2)
1MO/3MO v. 9IA (BW/RA1)

Though Price is having some success at Elkhorn Tavern, the Union forces are slowly retreating but are still holding. At Leetown though, Hebert-B has been pushed back and Sheafer is set to split the CSA line in two. The combat rolls are starting to show more panic results and both armies seem skittish.

Turn 21: Artillery Phase

Klauss/Hayden v. Hart/Gaines (R1) These Union guns have played havoc with the CSA at Leetown.
Kelly/Guibor v. 24MO (MH/R2)

Command Rolls:

Van Dorn+ fails
McCulloch+ made 2 of 4
Price made 3 of 5
Osterhaus made 2 of 3
Carr made 1 of 2
Davis made 2 of 3

Infantry Moves:

2nd/3rd Mo v. 1IA Light-A/9IA (D all/R1)
1st/3rdMO v. 25MO (RA1)
22IN v. 6TX (BW defensive fire)
22IN/18IN v. 6TX (BW/RA3/P Broken Track3)
8IN v. 14AR (R1 fire combat)
Rally Chit rebuilds 4AR
Sigel CIC chit activates Shaefer: 2MO (BW)/15MO v 3LA (MH/RA2)
37IL v 2MO (BW/R2/ Broken Track2)
59IL(R1 defensive fire)/37IL (BW) v. 3MO (BW/RA2)
Curtis removes MH from Weston and rebuilds 59IL
Superior Artillery chit cause 15AR (MH/R2)
Fog of War chit: Rebel chaos on 1MO
McIntosh moves west to stop Pattison's flanking attempt
9IA/25MO v. 1MO (RA2)
Price advances MSG-A in an attempt to turn the Union right flank at Elkhorn Tavern.

The Union forces at Elkhorn Tavern have fought Price to a standstill but a CSA attempt to turn the Union right is a danger. At Leetown, the CSA forces have almost been split in two with Hebert-A around the road at Lee Creek (Hex #2417) by themselves. The other CSA forces have been pushed back to the cornfields just north of Leetown but they still look shaky.

Turn 22: Artillery Phase

Guibor/Kelly v. 59IL (BW2/2MH/R2) damage caused by a roll of "66"
Welfley/Klauss-B v. 3MOGD (R2)

Command Rolls

Van Dorn+ fails
McCulloch+ made 2 of 4
Price made 2 of 5
Osterhaus made 2 of 3
Carr made 2 of 2
Davis madw 1 of 3
Asboth+ made 1 of 1

Infantry Moves:

Dodge rallies 4IA
Curtis rallies 37IL
18IN/22IN v. 9TX (BW/MH/RA2/Broken Track1)
15MO (BW2/MH/R2 from defensive fire)/2MO/3MO v 3LA (MH/R2) Hebert-A has now been completely cut off from other forces.
Fog of War Rebel Chaos (again) on 3MO
Rally chit for 3LA
McIntosh retreats but 1TX (Broken Track2) due to opportunity fire
36IL-A (BW/R2/BrokenTrack1) v. Provence (don't charge guns with one unit)
Welfley/Klauss-B (BW/MH/RA2/P 35Il panics) v. 3MOGD (BW/MH/R2 from defensive fire)/8MOGD/5MOGD massed attack against guns worked but at a cost
Sigel CIC chit activates Shaefer for a major attempt to crush Hebert-B
2MO (R1 from defensive fire)/3Mo (BW) v. 4TX (BW) and then 15MO (R1 from defensive fire) v. 2ARMR Union troops have managed to get behind Hebert-B at the cornfields north of Leetown.
Firefight Chit 36IL-B v. Welch (BW/R1/survives break-test)

Over at Elkhorn Tavern 2ARMR v 3MO (MH/R2)
Rebel Yell and Tactics chit used 5MOGD v. 35IL (BW/MH/RA2)
A poor roll allowed the 2ARMR to survive the defensive fire of the 35IL and the Rebel Yell/Tactics chits finished the 35IL off. Price has managed to get a unit to turn the Union right flank at hex #1701

After 22 turns in the Two Day Historical Scenario, the strategy for the last few turns seems to be as follows:

CSA is now split into 3 groups and the group to the far western side of the battlefield seems to be on the verge of collapse. That far western group is at the North Edge of the Cornfields and needs to hang on while the other two groups do something to salvage the CSA cause. Hebert-A is isolated around Hex#2417 but still strong enough to menace the Union forces trying to hold him at bay. Price needs to finish his attack on the Union right flank and rout the Union rear at Elkhorn Tavern.

The Union forces need to finish off Hebert-B and the last unit of McIntosh quickly and then turn on Hebert-A before he can make a move. For the Elkhorn Tavern forces, they need to get back to Pratt's Store and safety.

Though the CSA forces have a big lead in VP, their army is about ready to collapse at Leetown, which will clearly make the battle a Union victory. Price cannot hold onto Elkhorn Tavern with half the army gone and the Union forces to his south and west.

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Claude Whalen
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I managed to lose my detailed posting of Turn 23 so a summary will have to do.

McCulloch and Price each made 3 of their command rolls yet their attempts to force the battle has failed both defensively at Leetown and offensively at Elkhorn Tavern.

Union forces sent the 2ARMR to the broken track and Hebert-B is retreated back to Hex #2309. Curtis sent Pattison on an attack and the "Command Confusion" chit was played against the attack . A roll of "4" kept the "attack" order in play and so the CSA right flank was crushed by Pattison. The 22In drove through the CSA eliminating Gaines and Hart's batteries. In the resulting panic, the 3TX retreated two hexes. A final CSA counter-attack using a "Rebel Yell" chit failed so the 22IN sent both the 6TX and 11TX to the Broken Track. Pattison controls the road (and western most retreat route) to Wiley Ford's farm. One small battleworn McIntosh unit is all that stands in his way!

Over on the Elkhorn Tavern side of the battlefield, Price had the MSGD-A attack on the right Union flank. A "Command Confusion" chit turned it into a "defend" order. This confusion left the way open for the 4IA to attack, the 8MSGD was sent to the BreakTrack and in the ensuing panic the 5MSGD had to retreat3 hexes also. Frustrated with his flanking maneuver's failure, Price attempted to breakthrough the center of the Union lines. The MSGD-B units Frost (MH/R2)/Mixed/MCBride (MH/R2 from defensive fire) v. 25MO failed. With the Mixed MSGD-B all alone in front of the 25MO, Vandever played a "Firefight" chit and sent that last unit fleeing.

In summary, the CSA Leetown forces are crushed and now looking for a route off of the map. Hebert-A is the last nearly full strength brigade left but he is cut off from other CSA units. Price's troops fought poorly, lost their flanking maneuver and then failed in a desperate attempt to force the center of the Union line south of Elkhorn Tavern.

The CSA has that large Victory Point lead and if enough of the CSA troops can run away, they may "win on points" but in reality, they are about to be routed from the field. At best, they will leave the field in good order.
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Claude Whalen
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Well the battle is over and the Confederate won on points. They only "won" because they held those Victory Point positions for a decent period of time. In reality, they had three units of Hebert-A cut off on Lee Creek Road and with a battle raging at the G.W. Ford Farm, they could only escape by slowly going through the heavy woods towards Elkhorn Tavern. As the CSA forces at Elkhorn Tavern were rapidly pulling back, the Hebert-A forces are doomed.

The CSA forces had no other troops on the Leetown map. They only held higher ground east of the G.W. Ford Farm, held half of the woods west of Ruddick's Field and were positioned west of Cox's Cornfield. Van Dorn and McCulloch are dead, as are a few replacement leaders.

The casualty point total was as follows:

The CSA lost:
4 artillery units eliminated (9 points for USA)
2 Fragile units eliminated (2.5 points for Union)
12 units on the Broken Track (45 points for the Union)
A total of 56.5 Union Victory Points.

The Union lost:
4 artillery units lost (8 points for CSA)
3 Fragile units lost (3.5 points for the CSA)
5 units on the Broken Track (17.5 points for CSA)
A total of 29 victory points for the CSA

A Pyrrhic victory.

Well, better luck next time...

Turn #1 McCulloch is still alive..........
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