The American Civil War probably needs no introduction. Call to Arms is the annual weekend long wargaming convention hosted by the Wellington Warlords here in Wellington, New Zealand. The 2012 version of Call to Arms ran over the weekend of the 18th & 19th August. von Peter himself and The son & heir were happy to accept an invitation to partake in an ACW demonstration game on the Saturday as organised by Craig & Raymond.
Figures were of the 28mm variety from several manufacturers but mostly Perry Miniatures. Craig, Raymond and Terry put in Herculean efforts to provide the vast majority of the figures for the game. von Peter himself and The son & heir each made minor contributions some of which were freshly minted for the game. These will be displayed on this here blog in a few days time. Flags were all from GMB Designs.
The buildings and several meters of fencing were provided by Raymond who scratch built most/all of it!
The rules used were the Hallowed Ground supplement for Piquet. Every player had their own sequence deck, morale chips, opportunity impetus and rolled for their own impetus. The sequence decks all contained a stratagem card. When this card was turned a stratagem event was pulled from a custom deck as created by Craig. These were generally humorous and came with some sort of minorish effect on the game.
We were expecting a six foot wide table but ended up with an eight or nine foot width to play over. It sure was a stretch moving and fighting in the middle of the table and the extra width meant extra distance for General Michael’s troops to cover before reaching the town – a crucial factor in the mind of von Peter himself who is hardly biased at all! 8O) But in war one must play with the situation that one is dealt so no complaints.
Craig developed the scenario and ran the game. Three Union players (Colin, Michael & von Peter himself) were sitting around holding the line and believed that the bridge was the only way across the river. Amateurs! Political appointees if there ever were any. Four Confederate players (Raymond, Terry, Brent and The son & heir) knew that there were several fords available and were rushed via the railway to the scene to make the Union forces pay for their inadequate reconnaissance. The Union were outnumbered but started in possession of the buildings and were mostly hidden from view.
All players had their own briefings which included some insights as to their relationship with their fellow generals just to spice things up a little. Not all were truly brothers in arms as the petty rivalries were detailed.
Initially everything seemed to go the way of those damned Reb’s. The masses of them were seemly unstoppable and casualties hardly mattered – mainly because the boys in blue weren’t causing many! And worse they were casually splashing over the unfordable river all over the place. Surely they had paid well for some southern backwoods witchcraft to ensure the dice and cards went their way.
The game had started with a bang. von Peter’s Union battery – yes, the one he had just finished the night before <grrrrr> – supporting the cavalry in the town immediately came under accurate Rebel artillery fire which required it to be removed from the game and put back in it’s box under the table. Sometimes you just have to cry but you can’t because you’re in public surrounded by manly men. So you laugh instead!! 8O)
The remainder of the Union cavalry brigade under von Peter’s inspired command were holding the town at the end of the bridge on the Union left. They too were soon taking casualties and would soon be giving up buildings. Something was definitely wrong with their new fangled repeaters. And their brigade commander – not von Peter himself who was needed elsewhere doing important high command work away from where it was too dangerous – quickly went the way of the supporting battery as he was removed from the game by some more under hand Confederate activity. This threw the whole cavalry brigade out of command. Damnation! But hold on lads – help is coming.
General Colin was quick to offer comforting words to the cavalry brigade commander – at least while he was still alive – and promising succor came rushing out of the woods with his command to secure the river line to the left of the town. What looked like a grand advance soon turned into something a little less grand as potential cavalry attacks threatened, darned Rebel troops got on the flank and artillery and infantry fire was poured on.
The only secure – and safe – part of the Union line was way over on the isolated right. Here von Peter himself in person was brilliantly commanding the troops holding a farm complex. And it was here that The son & heir aimed his brigade of Rebels. They just hadn’t arrived yet!
It was looking like we’d be able to replay the game in the afternoon. von Peter himself quietly cursed his incompetent fellow Union commanders. Wait till mummy and daddy hear about those buffoons. They’d surely call in some favours and spend a little money to get him higher up the chain of command. Somebody has to save the Union after all!! 8O)
backwoods southern witches Confederate commanders seemed to loose their focus for a blue revival occurred … temporarily anyway. General Colin managed to corral his men into something that actually looked like a line. They even managed to get some rebel units to reappraise their decision to fight the Union. The cavalry in the town were still getting a pasting but there was a Union line to their left so they wouldn’t be getting attacked from that direction. And General Michael was beginning to reach the town with his Union infantry. Perhaps the day would not belong to those southern snakes after all.
But of course it was not to be. The rebels in the town were far too numerous for General Michael’s counter attack. What was left of the Union cavalry made a dash for their horses and safety only to be gunned down by artillery and small arms fire. The reality of the situation rapidly dawned on General Colin’s men and the trickle of men to the rear rapidly became the proverbial torrent. And the ungrateful son & heir was taking chunks out of the farm that had been hosting von Peter himself and his troops … despite the unit of vengeful ex slaves that appeared in his rear and had started wrecking havoc.
The game was called and the call was a Confederate victory. Darn! On the plus side however all of us had enjoyed the day and many were the complimentary words spoken about the game. And von Peter himself still had a virginal battery of Union artillery. They really weren’t on the table for very long at all.
A big thanks to the Wellington Warlords for hosting Call to Arms and for providing the facilities for the days gaming.
A sad postscript: At some stage during the day some low life thieving type made off with three stands of Craig’s Confederate infantry. Thankfully this is not a common occurrence in the experience of von Peter himself but it is still VERY disappointing and a little aggravating. May nasty things happen in the region of the culprits genitalia!!
Oh, and don’t forget to ‘click’ on the photos to see larger versions.
Until we meet again