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Battle Cry: 150th Civil War Anniversary Edition» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First Blood at First Bull Run rss

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Gil Hansen
United States
Portland
Oregon
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What a kick! I recently purchased Battle Cry 150 and was not disappointed. After going over the rules, I jumped right in with the first scenario. My opponent and I agreed on one minor tweek: a personal house rule I call "Council of War". We drew our hand and added one card for each general we had on the board (one for the Union, two for the Confederates). After discarding our extras till we had our requisite hand, we were ready to play.

As the Union commander, I wanted a strong center draw. This was where my strength was. I knew, however, that this was also the Confederate strength. I drew a good hand (Forced March, Counterattack, Fight Back, one strong center card, and two for the right flank - one strong, one modest). I discarded a Sharpshooter card - a long odds bag-a-flag card.

Starting first, I chose to strengthen my right flank against the Rebel cavalry and single infantry brigade. An Attack card enabled me to position my artillery with a good field of fire by shifting it left into the center section (I did not attempt to place it on the hill fearing it would be too vulnerable). I then moved one brigade into the lee side of the hill with my cavalry covering it's right flank. I decided to save the Probe card in the event my opponent challenged my position.

The Confederate player moved his artillery onto hilly terrain. He would evidently attempt to fill the ridge in my front with a wall of fire...but it would take him time.

I played my center Attack card to shift the three left brigades forward and right. Here I would wait until the time was right for a Forced March.

My opponent continued to move units adjacent to the ridge. I think he wanted to draw me in before blasting me at point blank range. Instead I brought up Gen. Hunter and attached him to the lead brigade on the left.

Over the next couple moves, the Confederate army was in position to climb the ridge all along its length. They had also moved the single brigade on their left forward...probably as bait. However, I had drawn a second Forced March card and an Assault card. I was finally ready to challenge for the ridge but dearly wanted my opponent to make his move first.

To play for time, I probed his right with two brigades taking position behind wooded terrain. He met me there on his right for what would be the first real engagement of the battle. I entered the woods with one brigade; the second positioned on their right. His two brigades closed rapidly. In the ensuing firefight I lost the exposed brigade. It was then I played my Fight Back card to turn the tables. At close range, my sheltered brigade, down two pieces, destroyed the first brigade and then, on my next turn, the second. This brigade was now in position to advance into the Confederate rear. To prevent this, my opponent played a Short Supply card and forced it to the back row. I didn't mind since I was itching to settle the matter in the center.

My opponent finally mounted the ridge and attacked. We took some casualties but the line held. Now for the first Forced March...Hunter's brigade forced the Rebel artillery off the hills completely and then advanced onto the hill into Jackson's right flank. It was close in fighting for several moves. True to the nickname he earned there over 150 years ago, Jackson stopped our advance and even forced a retreat in some places (he actually played a Stand and Battle card). But sheer weight of numbers and the liberal application of another Forced March card and a Counterattack card soon told on the Confederate line. After battling back and forth over the ridge, the Union blue finally managed to take it for keeps. The cost, however, was high. When the dust and smoke cleared, we had lost three more brigades and Gen. Hunter had been mortally wounded (that's five flags for anyone counting). The engagement had been equally brutal for Jackson. He had also lost three more brigades, though he himself was still free to wreak havoc with the one remaining brigade in the center.

We were deadlocked at five flags each. It was my turn and I needed a knockout punch. I played a Coordinated Advance which enabled me to give two desperately needed orders in the center and right flank. Two brigades assailed their badly mauled artillery and Jackson's wounded last brigade in the center. My one brigade on the right flank made a coordinated attack with my cavalry on the last remaining Rebel brigade in that section. When it was all over, the Union army had won the First Battle of Bull Run by bagging all seven Confederate infantry brigades and a battery of artillery (eight flags to five).

Jackson would survive. Curiously, Stuart's cavalry never saw action, remaining immovable the entire battle.

In assessing the battle, I am reminded of the critical importance of starting with a good hand, formulating a cohesive strategy and pressing it home. The beauty of this game (one of them), is that no two games will be exactly alike. Were we to play this scenario again, I doubt it would be so decisive...but I'm hooked!
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Steve Shockley
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Seffner
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Nice write up. This game doesn't get as much respect as its Commands and Colors cousins, but it's a good one nonetheless. Its simplicity is a feature, not a bug.
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"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
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Nice work. Looking forward to your next C&C article.
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Minot
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Out of curiosity, why were you playing to 8 flags?
 
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Mayor Jim
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Fort Wright
Kentucky
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Nice write up. Not sure I'd use the house rule though...
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Gil Hansen
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I wasn't actually trying for eight flags but simply wanted to finish my full turn by completing all battles I had initiated. We could have stopped after resolving the first of the three but I am a bit bloodthirsty, I guess.
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