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The Battle of Belmont – Paper Wars/Compass Games

Pregame reflections

This replay if of the Battle of Belmont. I ordered this game because of how much I absolutely enjoyed Ball’s Bluff by John Poniske. I have read through the rules and set up the counters. I did not read the specific history of this battle either in the articles in Paper Wars, the Designer’s Notes nor elsewhere. I did not want to give myself any preconceived notions of how to fight the battle, but to give it a try on my own. I also just purchased a copy of Huzzah! from OSS (One Small Step), which also has a Belmont game. This may make it to the table, also. I try to play games which do not have replays posted to BGG (boardgamegeek.com), but also play games which I think I will enjoy playing even if they do have AAR’s posted. I began writing AAR’s last year to memorialize the play and share the experience, since with solo play there is little other interaction available.

A read through of the rules shows more chrome and different mechanics than Ball’s Bluff, although I can visualize the starting point. I am sure I will make errors in play. The rules are well written and not that complex but with enough special cases to make things interesting. There is a definite modelling of the battle here, but with that room for exploration which I like as a wargamer. The first play has the added bonuses of both discovering the nuances of the system and battle; while offering me the chance to see if I see it the same way Grant saw it on first glance. Since the CSA forces are reactive, until they become the aggressors, I can also see how I do as them (hopefully better than the Bishop Polk, an officer with a less than stellar Civil War record). The nice thing about a chit-pull activation is that you really do not know what opportunities will present themselves, making the game exciting, replayable and solitaire-friendly. Confused orders chits further unbalance the ability to plan in detail.

As the Union sets up first I decide we will attempt the main road straight to Camp Johnston, but also try a strong flanking move through the right. There are better artillery lines of sight (3 hexes through brush) on that flank. I will screen in the north, the woods and slopes offering defensive advantage and costing movement points. We will advance rapidly to the attack in the center and south, slowly and spread out in the north. There is the possibility of smaller flanking movements using the two gunboats to each transport a company, which we will keep open. That will involve either sacrificing victory points to release the Union “reserve” or pulling units off of the line and sending them to the boats. I am curious about the naval rules and have not integrated them into my strategic thinking, but will give them a go, also.

I do recommend copying and laminating the charts to save some flipping through the magazine.

I also do love me some Rick Barber maps, works of art suitable for framing.

** Note, I misapplied the opportunity fire rules for gunboats, which probably had an effect on the CSA ability to pull off what they did. That being said, it made for a great game and I probably would have tried the same tactic anyway, the CSA being in the position they were. I think the casualties during transport would have been 30% higher. Will correct it next time.**

AAR structure notes

With multiple activations and phases per activation I have decided to use a more minimalist photography algorithm. I will photograph the first turn before it begins and then each turn after the end turn phase, providing commentary for each activation. Should I recognize key moments, I will pause to take a photo of the action, but this is sometimes more apparent later in the game after the situation on the board has irrevocably changed. I will do my best, even though sometimes I become so wrapped up in the action, I forget to pause for a photo even at the end of a round, the sign of a captivating game indeed.

Into the breach!

Turn 1

Rules note – although the verbiage states LOS (line-of-sight) is calculated from “hex center to hex center,” I am determining that in situations such as a unit firing from hex 3026 to hex 2825 is allowed. (Origin and destination hexes are woods, but are separated by a non-blocking single brush/road hex. The rules do state that adjacent hexes can volley fire at each other regardless of terrain, so I am extending that concept here. I may be wrong and apologize to John Poniske for this.

13th AR activates

We start with volley fire, Tappan spots Grant’s command flag and we target hex 2825, and our rifles belch up and down the line.
K/13/AR volleys and forces A/22/IL to retreat, which breaks D/22/IL as the see their fellows passing through them, COL Hart is steady and untouched by the fire.

A/13/AR volleys and retreats E/31/IL, GEN Grant is unharmed.

G/13/AR volleys and retreats E/27/IL, COL Buford in unharmed.

We will not attempt any melee combat, the bluebellies are think as briars in the woods.

27th IL activates

Struck by the rebel volleys, the troops will not be further restrained. The 27th volleys and will then surge forward into melee combat.
H/27/IL forces B/13AR to retreat. B/27/IL forces G/13/AR to retreat.
Now to close for melee, into them boys, into them!
The 27th IL takes some losses from defensive fire but wins all melees, Col Buford leading the assault on the rebs. All three assaults undergo unbridled fury and BDG Cos/13th AR are eliminated, unhinging the rebel left.

(Rules note: The instructions say to mark completed melees with the melee resolved marker and leave the markers to the end of the turn. Based on marker availability and game mechanics, I am assuming the meaning is actually end of the currently unit activation.)

Union Cavalry

Not powerful and unable to take on unbroken infantry, cavalry has to perform its traditional role in this game. I was hoping the road would be open for a quick romp into the CSA left, but it is not. The cav moves around the CSA left, seeking the rear. No combat.

12th TN

Lines are extended left and right, no combat.

Confederate Cavalry

Confederate cavalry swings into action on the shattered left, countering and charging the Union cavalry. Dollins and the Union cavalry repulse Miller and the CSA cav, who retire after taking a hit. Neither leader is wounded.

7th IA

The left flank activates and we move forward across the marsh and into the woods. No combat.

CSA Confused Orders – CSA HQ

All CSA HQ and Artillery move one hex to the east.

30th IL

No units in volley fire range.

Union HQ

Union Artillery rolls up the road and sets up ready to blast the 13th AR out of position next turn. Hopefully the 22nd IL will make this unnecessary.

31st IL

Melee shatters the 13th AR lines paving the way for the activation of the 22nd IL.

22nd IL

Time to shatter the rest of the 13th AR. We also have to make sure C/13/AR which is adjacent to both of our emplacing artillery batteries are pushed back. One company will collocate with our artillery to ensure it is protected should our assaults fall short.
The H/13/AR in hex 3321 beats off the second melee, it had already destroyed K/30IL with defensive fire and now reduces a step of K/22IL with defensive fire and reduces a step of H/22IL in melee, the Yankees retiring rather than facing their fury.

COL Hart leads a coordinated attack on the apex of the 13th AR line. COL Hart takes the position and is not wounded.

13th TN

To the sound of the guns! We will shore up the center. Waiting for the damned transports, we hear the battle, what is wrong with our commander?

Leader Movment and Rally

The USA forces rally better than the CSA (+1 bonus), but the 27th IL units are nonresponsive.

VP – USA 12, CSA 2

Turn 2

CSA Cav

Discretion being the better part of valor (and units becoming scarce), we retire to guard the flanks. After all, whoever saw a dead cavalryman?

CSA Confused Orders – 13th AR

Orders are deciphered (roll of 6) and unit moves normally, retrograding to positions to delay the bluebellies after volleying. A devastating volley by the retiring C/13AR reduces the B/22IL, both leaders survive the casualty check. Opportunity fire from 31IL units destroys the retiring C/13AR, brave soldiers.

13th TN

Cross the river, shore up the center. Release the damned transports, general!

27th IL

Continuing to turn the CSA left. Two broken companies of the 13AR look tasty all alone on the wing. We crack them, the cavalry will have free reign. (see what I did there?) Both defending companies are annhiliated, COL Buford again leads the attack in and is unscathed.

7th IA

Movement to contact in the woods on the right flank and a move around the shore. The CSA right shatters.

30th IL

Foulke attacks Russell in a coordinated melee demolishing the defenders, Russell retreats to the guns.

B/12TN repulses the second attack.

31st IL

Melee attacks on the road junction at 3522, the CSA left is all but gone.

Union Cav

A charge against broken infantry south of the point of the 31st IL attack, A/13thAR evaporates, Tappan survives and joins the I/13AR.

12th TN

Volley and withdraws, forcing retreats and wounding McClernand.

CSA HQ

Cannister drives back a company of the 30IL.

Union HQ

Grant relocates. The Artillery moves up. The gunboats move just out of range of Iron Banks emplacements.

22nd IL

Saving the best for last, perhaps. We will assail the heights fronting the woods between us and Camp Johnston. Through the pond, boys. C/12TN shatters.




Turn 3

Reflection – I may not have made the wisest choice defending forward as the Confederates. We have been savaged. As the Union I will try to take Camp Johnston and then head for Hunter’s Point as rapidly as able. It will be damaging to the Union if the CSA HQ is drawn early. This will allow the CSA artillery to blast away at point blank range and then also fire defensive volleys or withdraw after firing. Union units are adjacent to both batteries and ready to go in. We will see how the chit draw plays.

31st IL

We will finish off the CSA left and Tappan and attack across the pond, flanking the defenders.

12th TN

Time to get some licks in and reposition to help the artillery. B/12TN shatters I/30IL who flee to the docks. G/12TN hits with both volleys.

Union Cav

The infantry has done their job too well, there are no broken enemy infantry in sight. We charge across the marsh and approach the enemy cavalry.

13th TN

A Co double times towards our artillery and the transports bring over two more companies to shore up our left.

7th IA

Turning the right of the CSA, on to Camp Johnston!

Confused Orders – CSA Cav

Drifts adjacent to Union Cav.

30th IL

To the guns!
B/12TN and B Battery force a retreat and a loss on the 30th IL attackers, the guns are taken in melee combat, the CSA infantry fighting to the last.

Foulke leads in the second attack on Battery A. Defensive fire forces one retreat and the melee goes in with 5 USA vs 3 CSA. The guns are taken, the CSA infantry refusing to retreat until shattered. Belzhoover falls protecting the guns, the first leader killed in action in the battle.

CSA HQ

One chit pull too late. The artillery is gone, the Iron batteries have no targets. Tappan relocates to a less exposed position.

22nd IL

We will go strait up the road and over the ridge towards the camp. COL Hart leads a coordinated attack against Tappan and the defending company in hex 3915, almost to the camp now! The defending infantry shatters and runs.

27th IL

COL Buford scatters the CSA cavalry when he attempts to close for melee.
Union HQ

No targets, moving forward, emplacing to cover our withdrawal after the camp is captured. The gunboats move into position to engage the batteries and interrupt the transports. All Iron bank batteries fire opportunity fire, all miss, both long range batteries suffer malfunctions, with Stewart battery being eliminated. The CSA seems to be firing high. Gunboats fire on the batteries. Point Coupee battery is eliminated, Battery Bankhead is reduced, the transports will have to run the gauntlet to get across the river. (Horrible CSA rolls, ugh)

Rally phase is complete, a disaster for the CSA.

VP – USA 46, CSA 4




Turn 4

Reflection - Camp Johnston will fall this turn, the CSA needs one unit in possession of a camp hex at the end of the melee phase. So far the game is a Union walkover. As the CSA I should not have defended forward, but manned choke points designed to delay the USA and force them to flank or move through high MP terrain. I would have conserved forces this way and more efficiently spent my troops lives. Also, the CSA was beset by less than optimal luck thus far. Had the CSA HQ chit been drawn early last turn, I believe the artillery would have savaged the adjacent units, but it was not. (Yes, I know, if my grandmother had a beard and wore Confederate grey she would be Stonewall Jackson…)

22nd IL

Hart intercepts Tappan near the landing, being denied the glory of capturing the camp. Hart is repulsed with casualties, but Tappan is wounded leading the defense.

13th TN

Payback is a… Three companies cross the river, the Union gunboats missing them during opportunity fire. Tappan volleys at Hart, and D/22IL disintegrates with other units taking losses. Wright volleys at the 30th IL and will retrograde to defend the camp. Wright forces the 30th IL back, then forces the captured guns to retreat. Wright relocates to 3610, Camp Johnston may not fall this turn.

31st IL

The decision point here is whether to move the 31st IL forward or to assume we have enough strength bearing on Camp Johnston that we can set up a fall back line to cover our retrograde to the landing. I dislike this idea and Camp Johnston can become a hard nut to crack if reinforced, those felled trees are a significant barrier. I will probably use the 27th IL to cover our retreat, the 31st surges forward, E and D Cos reporting the cover the artillery near the pond.

USA CAV

After the rebel cav, charge! The rebels suffer a loss and retreat, neither leader is hit.

CSA CAV – Confused Orders

Miller leads the troops further into the woods, “nothin but a walk in the sun, Sarn’t.”

CSA HQ

Pillow hustles to the landing to help set up the defense, Iron banks fire on the USA gunboats, one hit on the Tyler, the rebs continue to fire high.

30th IL

Foulke leads a coordinated melee against Russell and the stubborn 13TN, defensive fire causes a retreat and a loss. Now the melee, the first round is a tie even though the USA had a 3 SP advantage. Russell beats a retreat and is struck leading the rear guard. Unbridled fury is triggered and Foulke chooses to chase the shaken rebs. Another tie costs the USA another loss, but Russell grimly gives ground, ending the melee. Russell is hit and killed, seeing him go down, Foulke starts forward and is struck by a rebel sharpshooter, wounded. This was some of the most intense close combat fighting to date, the 13TN proving itself a tough and capable foe.

12th TN

Or what is left of it retreats to the confines of Camp Johnston.

27th IL

Buford sends a detachment to start building a fall back line, but leads six companies forward, the smell of glory tainting his judgement.

7th IA

Three companies assail Wright defending the camp entrance in hex 3610, G/7IA flinching and retreating. The melee goes in, Wright takes a loss, falling back and is struck and wounded leading the defense. Unbridled fury takes hold of A/K/7IA who want to take the camp. A/13TN is eliminated, Wright is killed leading the defense.

USA HQ

About time, the gunboats lob their shells, McClerland relocate. One Iron banks battery is reduced, the river is aflame. The captured guns relocate to the growing fallback line just west of the pond/marsh crossing.

Rally phase, Grant, McClerland and Dougherty try to rally the remnants of the 30th IL.

VP – USA 53, CSA 6




TURN 5

Most likely Camp Johnston will fall this turn. There are few CSA forces left and almost all available reinforcements are across the river. Need the general to release the rest of the fellows.

30th IL

Foulke volleys and then leads a coordinated melee towards the remnants of the 13th TN. Both defending companies are eliminated, one falling to volley fire, one done in by bayonets during the follow on melee.

USA HQ

Gunboats attack the Iron banks batteries, missing. General McClerland relocates.

USA CAV

Charge! The rebs force a loss and choose to retreat, unbridled fury is triggered and Dollins takes the bluebellies in again! The rebs lose a company and retreat again.

27th IL

Three companies rush Camp Johnston, breach the felled trees, run a gauntlet of opportunity fire and seize hex 4110.

CSA Cav

Demoralized, heads for the river.

13TN – Confused Orders

Since Camp Johnston has fallen but it is not the end of turn phase, the confused orders chit is still active by rule. However, since all CSA units must move towards the river on the turn the camp falls, I am ruling that the confused orders chit is overridden by the demoralization instructions and am ignoring it.

I am ruling that units in Columbus are subject to the rule and they fail to board their transports.

7th IA

(Rules interpretation – the looting rule for the USA units only applies to units in or within 3 hexes of Camp Johnston at the start of the next Union turn. This would allow me to move units away this turn. That seems a bit “gamey” to me. I am freezing units within the Camp or three hexes of camp spaces, they will undergo the looting limitations. Other units will move as normal, unless they move within three hexes of the camp, and then they will also be subject to the looting rules.)
Units not near camp start their withdrawal.

CSA HQ

Shooting at the USS Tyler, hitting it two more times.

31st IL

Let’s go home, boys.

22nd IL

To the boats.

Rally phase

VP – USA 65, CSA 6




TURN 6

The camp is captured and the USA mission accomplished. Time to skedaddle. I do not think the CSA can get enough troops across as quickly as necessary to make up the difference. My fault, bad defense, will try a different strategy as the CSA next time. Looting rules in effect this turn and the USA forces take to the camp. Confused orders chit is not USA and morale bonus is now CSA, all CSA transports and units released.

USA CAV

Charging the CSA Cav on the riverbank, eliminating the unit and capturing Miller.

30th IL

To the boats

2nd TN

Load ‘em up, to the far shore, do you want to live forever? The 2nd TN heads for Hunter’s Point, going to catch the USA in a nutcracker.
(Rules ruling here – gunboat opportunity fire will be permitted once per gunboat per orders phase, each gunboat may fire once at each transport in range. Gunboats may fire once at each transport within range, at the closest range based on the path of the transport.) The transports run the gauntlet and deposit their troops at Hunter’s Point.

13th TN

Counterattacking the looters in the camp. (Another ruling, I am ruling no defensive fire for the USA units as these units have lost cohesion and discipline) Tappan leads a coordinated attack, causing a loss and retreat followed by Unbridled Fury, the defenders causing a loss and giving ground.

Pillow leads the second attack on the other looters, causing a loss and retreat, no unbridled fury.

31st IL

Trouble at the dock, we need to hustle to get home.

22nd IL

Stuck looting, our rear guard moves towards the piers.

USA HQ

Gunboats to the pier, artillery to the pier, Generals to the pier. Tyler takes one more hit 4/6 from opportunity fire from Iron Banks.

22nd TN

Awaiting transport.

11th LA

Awaiting transport

CSA HQ

Firing at 22nd IL, all miss, firing high, again.

7th IA – Confused Orders

Deciphered on a roll of 6, head for the boats, set up a rear guard. Volley fire at Cheatam causes two retreats, melee into the exposed unit D/2TN. Opportunity fire causes one retreat and one loss. Melee causes two losses.

21st TN

Need boats

27th IL

Back to the piers, no reason to stay way out on the right flank.

Rally Phase

VP – USA 69 CSA 6


Turn 7

Bloodlust. Time to extract a price as the rebels. We will land our forces at Hunter’s Point and run a gamut of opportunity fire to get there. (I am changing my interpretation of the opportunity fire rule for naval use. Adjacency does apply, but the river is narrow enough that this applies in many cases.) (I am also allowing higher level commanders to move with units they are stacked with and provide leadership when the chits of those units are picked, this counts as the leader chit being picked, house rule which makes sense to me.) Gunboats will position themselves to protect the landing, maximizing possible opportunity fire by locating in hexes 1119 and 1117.

22nd TN

To the boats, the gunboats (USA HQ) have not set up their blockade so we head to Hunter’s Point unencumbered by waterborne opposition.

13th TN

Pillow pressures the rearguard, Tappan has a go at Hart. Pillow demolishes F/7IA, unbridled fury carrying the troops forward. Hart directs effective defensive fire, Tappan withdraws after first assault, leaving wounded behind.

7th IA – Confused Orders

Move NE, C/7th walks into opportunity fire and Walker volleys, making them pay.

CSA HQ

Iron banks opportunity fire on 22IL. Firing high again, one unit retreats into opportunity fire by Tappan and retreats again. While trying to bolster the retreating unit, Hart is struck by shrapnel and wounded.

11th LA

Wants to swim the river to get into action, awaiting transport.

22nd IL

B Co makes it to the captured guns in the lead of the retrograde column, which could have been caputer by Walker had he moved first. Now he will have to fight for them if he wants them. Forward elements begin the withdrawal, acting as rear guard.

CSA CAV

Awaiting transport, the Mississippi Cav scattered and dead near Belmont. Dead cavalrymen, indeed.

30th IL

Sent down the road the 7th IA was supposed to secure to attack the CSA intrusion from the north.

USA CAV

Poop and scoot.

31st IL

Positioning to suppress and reduce the rebel incursion.

21st TN

My kingdom for a boat!


27th IL

Buford turns and the rearguard has at Pillow with a coordinated melee, the balance of the regiment secures the bridge at the mouth of the pond. Pillow is deadly, scoring three hits on Buford’s attacking stack, Buford is hit by the hail of fire. Union forces go it at +1, causing a loss, Pillow retires, no unbridled fury opportunity.

USA HQ

Time to blockade Hunter’s Point and set the guns wheel to wheel facing the rebel intrusion. The crops block LOS, but they will taste grapeshot if they try to break our lines.

2nd TN

Volley fire into Lauman. EI/7th IA are decimated with their officer. Melee into grant and the guns by Cheatham. Two regiments weather the opportunity fire, now for defensive fire. The defensive fire reduces another unit, Cheatham goes in leading a broken A/2TN against Grant and D/7IA, to the guns! SP’s are even. A tie (both roll 1’s) eliminates the Tennessee boys, Cheatham retreating to adjacent units. That might have been the high water mark.

Rally phase

VP’s USA 73 CSA 21




TURN 8

Orders to evacuate, but we will clear the docks. Grant will not leave until the expedition is safe. CSA generals, both near the landing will continue to push to cut off retreat. Order of chit pull will decide how close run a thing this becomes.

21st TN

To the boats, we will not run the gauntlet, but will land at 1318 and bolster our brethren.

CSA HQ

No opportunity fire chances, the generals are in the front lines leading units.

13th TN

Pressure on the rearguard. Pillow obliterates A/7IA with the help of an unbridled fury result. Confused orders last turn left them exposed. Tappan brushes by the cavalry and attacks the 22nd IL, defensive fire causes two retreats and a hit the attack goes in at -2, suffering two losses, Tappan is killed.

11th LA

No boats.

USA CAV

We’ve done what we can here, off to the dock.

USA HQ

The gunboats belch fire as does the artillery. Cheatham is driven back a hex, with a loss.

CSA CAV

More coffee boys, no boats for us this turn.

22nd IL

Continue our controlled withdrawal, our rearguard reaches the dock, bolstering defense.

7th IA

Withdrawing

2nd TN

A rush to the dock led by Cheatham is beaten back by opportunity fire directed by COL Dougherty.

22nd TN

Bishop leads a rush to the dock, opportunity fire forces one retreat, now through defensive fire. Polk makes it to melee, 5SP total vs Grant with 3SP total, the guns are up for grabs. First melee roll causes a USA loss, neither leader is harmed, Grant remains. Polk goes in at +3, another loss for USA, Grant retreats, the guns are lost, the dock is captured.

30th IL – Confused orders

Roll of 5, unit stands in place.

27th IL

Continued retrograde, defense at the pond crossing, advanced party to the docks.

Rally phase

VP – USA 81 CSA 25




TURN 9

The CSA controls the dock. In the game I am in no way obligated to retake the dock and evacuate, but this seems “gamey” to me. As the officer in charge I would want to get my troops back to camp, so the USA will go to the dock. (Side note, I have not used Grant’s Influence this game, I forgot about it for a few turn and never really felt I needed it. Maybe next game, I do not think it fair to start using it now.)

2nd TN

Defending the river road.

CSA CAV

Boats available, but this unit is not the one that has transport priority, it will not be helpful, brew some more coffee.

(CSA Unit)

Volleys at Grant and hex 1222, LOS is along hexside of crops, not through hex. Ineffective, no retreats, leaders undamaged.
22nd IL

G and C Co charge the docks and the guns there. C Co flinches, retreating, G Go is hit and goes in at -4 and is obliterated.
Hart leads an attack on the river road defenders H/2TN inflicts a loss and retreats, no unbridled fury.
The balance of the unit A,E,K Cos go in against Pickett and G/21TN, defensive fire misses, one loss and Pickett withdraws into opportunity fire by Hart, eliminating the unit, wounding Pickett who limps to the nearest rebel unit.

22nd TN

Volleys into hex 1222, wounding Grant. Freeman’s units volley at Hart, missing but killing the wounded Colonel.

Freeman coordinates a melee attack against Grant, calling in the balance of the units. Defensive fire at Polk’s stack stops his infantry, Freeman goes in with the rest. Dougherty coordinates the defense with Grant injured, the attack goes in at +1 for the CSA, the USA absorbing a loss and retreating. No unbridled fury, leaders unharmed.

7th IA

L’audace, l’audace, Toujours L’audace. Attack. H/2TN evaporates, Pickett is killed.

30th IL

Same orders, to the attack!

Foulke leads a coordinated melee against Cheatham, opportunity fire drives off one attacking company, defensive fire inflicts two losses and a retreat. The melee goes in at -2, the USA inflicts a loss. Foulke is killed (a CMH recommended for him), Cheatham is wounded, the CSA gives ground. Unbridled fury is triggered, angry at the loss of Foulke the troops go in at +1, taking a loss. Cheatham stands his ground and they go at it evenly. A roll of 2-2 causes another loss to the USA, who continue at -1, taking another loss on another roll of 2-2. The USA troops retire. Cheatham falls from his horse, dead from volley by the retreating bluebellies. Furball!

CSA HQ

Iron banks are silent, but the guns at Hunters point sing, targeting the C/22IL, annihilating the unit with double cannister.

31st IL

COL Logan leads an assault on Polk at the docks, while the rest of the regiment takes on Freeman. Defensive fire misses for Freeman, the attack goes in a -4, with one loss the Yankees retire their mission accomplished, diverting any opportunity fire chances.

For Logan, double cannister causes three hits and volley fire causes one company to flinch and retreat. Logan takes the troops in at -1. Two losses eliminate the attackers, I make a rules interpretation that Logan dies leading these assaults. Costly.

13th TN

To the sound of the guns. Pillow leads an assault at the pond crossing. Two units flinch and back off, the attack goes in at -2, and Pillow takes a loss and retreats.

USA CAV

Riding through the countryside.

USA HQ

Closing to the piers to shell Bishop Polk and the guns there. One hit reduces the defending infantry

11th LA

To the boats, let’s get them boys. Two transports run the gauntlet to the pier, one takes two hits, losing their passengers, the other makes it through unscathed and bolsters the defense

Confused Orders – 27th IL

Unit rolls a 5, standing pat.

Rally phase

VP USA 91 CSA 46


TURN 10

Like a reverse Malvern Hill (although in the frame of the game, Malvern Hill has yet to occur). Attacking artillery gun to gun is not healthy. Lots of dying left to do before this one is over. (Maybe I did need to use Grant’s influence!)

USA CAV

Useless command, will wander near the pier and try to stay out of the way while the men do the fighting.

27th IL

3 companies charger through the corn at E/22TN, defensive fire misses, 22nd TN suffer a loss, standing fast, no good retreat options that will not either suffer opportunity fire or possibly demoralize a stack of friendlies, the rebels evaporate.

22nd IL

Melee against 21st TN in 1320, repulsed with a loss.

USA HQ

Gunboats and leaders, artillery wheels into better positions. (Another ruling here, I moved the artillery adjacent to CSA units, but a USA unit was already in the hex. I ruled that opportunity fire does not apply in this case since the hex was already occupied. My best guess as to what makes sense in this situation.)

Gunboats miss the units on the piers

30th IL – Confused orders

Figures, the arty just moved to 1319, now the unit there blunders into a melee and the unit behind it occupying the hex is subject to opportunity fire. Could lose another set of guns here, ugh. A loss and retreat to the melee force and a loss to the opportunity fire, so it works out and the guns are somewhat protected.

21st TN

Walker coordinates an attack on hex 1319 on the two broken companies and the guns. The guns miss, just having unlimbered, no defensive fire by broken units and the attack goes in at +11, the die roll goes no better, the guns are captured and two companies of the 30th IL evaporate. Having run out of “captured artillery” markers I will remember they are the rebel guns, being in a rebel stack.

2nd TN

All units which crossed are gone, waiting to activate the 1st MS for the boats.

13th TN

Pillow maneuvers the boys into a coordinated melee after a volley. One company flinches, leaving two to defend the melee. Two hits and two retreats leave it at a -1 melee for the CSA, one strength point being deducted for attacking from swamp, first round is a union loss. The union remains and inflicts two losses on the CSA units. Pillow retires, having lost a company.

22nd TN

Volleys at the emplaced artillery force a retreat, Freeman sends forces to capture, subject to opportunity fire, the guns are taken, the USA has lost all guns.

7th IA

An assault on Walker and the guns goes in at -3 after defensive fire, two losses cause the USA to retire.

CSA Cav

Drink some more coffee, attend a cotillion.

CSA HQ

The captured guns are rolled to Freeman.

31st IL

Taylor leads in an assault, inflicting a loss on A/22TN. No retreat path, stand and fight. Two losses in a row eliminates the defenders.
Defensive fire from Freeman eliminates the other melee before it reaches his lines.

11th LA

Attacks towards the pier, trying to breakthrough. K/7IA fires another volley and then breaks.

1st MS

(Side note, I just realized that I do not have a command chit for this unit. It is probably within my stacks, but I will check the counter scan to make sure it exists.) Two units run the gauntlet, the other three land next to the 11th LA. Found the chit after the game, I had removed it because I am old and absent-minded, apparently.

One unit makes it through the gauntlet, broken, the other is demolished in transport.

Rally phase

VP – USA 99, CSA 52


Turn 11

I am wondering if the USA could win this with no units left. Units start adjacent in crops and within two hexes elsewhere so volley fire for unbroken units will become a factor. This is a blood bath (Again, I know the Union could sit back and make the CSA come to them, but that seems disingenuous. Perhaps there should be consequences or victory points if the CSA controls Hunter’s Point.)

22nd IL – Confused Orders

Moves 1 hex north, some units stand due to stacking limits, all opportunity fire misses (must have surprised the rebels as well.

7th IA

Minor adjustments, pretty much combat ineffective.

21st TN

Three companies transported to hex 1713. Volley fire in the perimeter.
22nd TN

Volley fire, no assault, cannot uncover the landing.

27th IL

Volley and then the bayonet. Rearguard drives Pillow back, repulsed at the landing.

1st MS

Two units to the boats with the cavalry commander.

A co expands the perimeter at the dock.

Blythe leads an assault on the River Road. Union loss and retreat, unbridled fury triggered, two more USA losses and further retreat.

USA CAV

Worse than useless.

CSA CAV

Grooming their steeds, getting ready for tonight’s dance with the ladies.

13th TN

Volley, no melee, one hit.

11th LA

Samuel feels the need for glory, volleys and melees. Volley hits three times, destroys two units, melee goes in, mixed results, two hexes taken, one repulsed attack.

2nd TN

Longwood leads an attack from his horse, taking a loss and securing the hex. Unbridled fury applies (ironic that a cavalry officer is leading an “unbridled” attack, but who am I to judge?) The defenders are eliminated, the Yankee force is being demolished.

30th IL

Withdrawing, combat ineffective.

USA HQ

Gunboats. F/11 LA destroyed by fire from USS Tyler, Samuel wounded. B/11LA reduced by USS Lexington fire. Wish they could have hit the piers this hard.

31st IL

McClerland leads a coordinated assault on Freeman after volley fire. Attack goes in at +6, one loss, CSA retreats, unbridled fury applies, McClerland killed leading first melee. Guns taken. Unbridled fury applies, CSA takes another loss, stands ground, cannot allow dock to be isolated. (Melee raging in hex 1221), USA suffers one loss in second round, retiring to 1222.

CSA HQ

Double canister with cut fuses defending the dock, sweep them, boys.
The artillery stands alone, manned by Yankees. The turn ends.

Rally – Many USA troops rally, including both companies with Grant. Polk has been the “Rock of Belmont” during the battle. Let’s see how it ends…

VP – USA 109 CSA 73


TURN 12

Last turn, USA HQ pull will be key, as well as getting an infantry unit to those guns by the dock.

US HQ

Double-cannister, fuses cut towards the dock. A whiff of grapeshot for Bishop Polk. Then gunboats, always gunboats.

One artillery unit is demolished by combined fire from the USS Lexington and USS Tyler.

13th TN

Pillow volleys then closes, driving the Yankees before him, no unbridled fury opportunity.

USA CAV

Barely has enough MP’s to ride through the captured artillery and run down the CSA units and Polk on the pier. Freeman fires opportunity fire through both ZOC hexes transited, causes one loss and wounds Dollins. No defensive fire, no unbroken units. An even attack as the cavalry runs down the pier itself into the defenders, 6-2 in favor of USA, the infantry drowns, Polk is taken.

2nd TN

Two units embark and disembark into Missouri.

22nd TN

Volley fire cause a loss to artillery in 1121, Freeman leads a melee in. Defensive fire misses, the artillery is recaptured. Three more units embark and disembark in Missouri.

27th IL

Volley fire and an assault at the dock area. Retrograde after volley near Pillow

31st IL

Taylor coordinates a melee against Freeman and the captured guns, defensive fire is effective, but not crippling. The attack goes in at +5, to CSA losses, Freeman retreats the guns and hex 1121 are retaken the path to the dock is open.

22nd IL

To the transports, time to go home. Withdrawn are A, E, K Co’s

21st TN

A rush for hex 1121, one hit from opportunity fire, another retreat from defensive fire, the attack goes in at 6-3, one union loss, another union loss and the guns are retaken, Taylor retreats.

7th IA – Confused orders

Moves one hex northward

30th IL

Repositioning, not enough strength to assault 1121.

CSA CAV

Drinking coffee, singing songs, curling their hair.

CSA HQ

More cannister. All miss.

11th LA

Attack on USA right destroys two companies, Samuel dies gaining the glory he was seeking in a melee in the cornfield hex of 1421, unbridled fury applies and another hit is taken by the USA.

1st MS

Finishes off G/7IA in a melee in hex 1615.

Rally phase, some units rally, broken USA companies are VP’s for CSA. Grant, Dollins and Buford survive their wounds to live another day.

VP – Final – USA 116, CSA 93.5














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Wayne Hansen
United States
Springfield
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You should charge by the word.

Great AAR, the game continues to look interesting.
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Bill Koff
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North Carolina
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Thanks for the AAR. Interesting to see the VP swing!

I too was a fan of Ball's Bluff. I've got my copy of Belmont, but haven't gotten it to the table...yet.

Come to think of it, I've also got a copy of Huzzah! on the shelf that I haven't played yet either. It'd be interesting to compare the two games on the battle.
 
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