Sunday, April 10, 2011

Little Wars - April 9, 2011

For Little Wars this year, I decided to host Gettysburg - Day 2. The ruleset is a homebrew version of Command & Colors: Civil War that I cooked up. Here is a shot of the table as we were just getting going on the first game. I scheduled 3 games for Saturday: 10:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 5:30 pm. Game 1 lasted just over 3 hours and ended with Union victory. The Southern Commanders were determined to smash the Union left flank and sent Longstreet's Corp forward. Their initial attacks went in somewhat piecemeal and were driven off. The Union player reinforced the left with Sykes Corp and launched a successful counter-attack. The desperate Southern commanders fed in reinforcement's from A.P. Hill's Corp and the losses mounted. Eventually the Rebel army could take no more and retreated from the field: A Union victory!

After awarding the medal for the victory, setting up the table again, and taking a hurried bite of a beef sandwich, we were ready for the second group of the day.

This time, the Rebel players started out with what looked like a similar plan. Longstreet's men moved forward and began to attack Rose's Woods. After the Union player moved their Reserve (Syke's Corp and the reserve artillery) to their left to support Sickles, the rebels shifted their attack to the Union Right and began attacking the saddle between Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill. The attacks started out slow, but quickly grew in intensity. Attack; counter-attack...charge; counter-charge. The Confederate leadership was fiercely determined to take and keep Cemetery Hill, and eventually did, but their losses were terrible the Union organized a final assault on the rebel units atop Cemetery Hill and drove them off. The depleted rebels finally admitted defeat and left the field: A second Union victory!

I was pretty tired after running two full games, but there was a full crew signed up for the third game, so after takign a short break with my wife and kids, I set it up again and off we went. Pictured above are the Union players, and below are the Confederate players. This time, the rebels were a bit more circumspect and after some skirmishing in the Peach Orchard, they began a grand assault on the Union right. It initially went badly, and Johnson's boys opposite Culp's Hill were rooughly handled and fell back into Gettysburg. However, once A.P. Hill's Corps deployed forward and began a slow, steady pounding of the Union position on Cemetery Hill and Ridge, the battle began to turn. Once several units of Union artillery were driven off the ridge, the Confederate Infantry began to advance. Their advance crested the Hill and swept down to Meade's HQ were a final desperate struggle erupted. The battered Union army quickly ran out of fresh troops, and the rebs had the victory!

It was a great day, but man was I tired. It was going on 10 pm and I had been on my feet for 14 hours. I slowly re-packed the armies and prepared to head for home. While I did so, several groups of players and judges stopped by to chat. Everyone had very nice things to say about my tabletop, which I appreciated. The star was the amazing paint job on the figures by Scott Mac Phee. Throughout the day, many gamers wanted to know who painted them, and the praise for the paintwork was unending. They are, truly, magnificent (Thanks again Scott!)

I had a great day, and really enjoyed putting on the games. The players all seemed to have a great time as well, with smiles all around after each match. Little Wars is a great Con. Well run, with many amazing looking tabletops (I was right next to a super-cool 54mm Alamo game that sprawled across two tables), many great vendors, and well attended by hundreds of very polite, and happy gamers. I was especially happy to see many younger gamers in their 20's and 30's...the hobby is very much alive in the Midwest.

Lastly, the new venue for Little Wars, at the DuPage Expo Center at the Pheasant Run Resort is perfect! It was enough space all under one very tall roof...and most importantly only 30 minutes directly north of my house!