Yes that’s right, an ACW game of find the lady… although in this case it was find the President!!
Mr Abraham Lincoln was travelling along what should have been a safe river when his convoy runs into a Confederate patrol, the Union ships try to make a run past these two ships but they run straight into another heavier force so must try and fight their way past them.
Lots of ships on the table for this game, about 2,200 points per side, which was five ships for the Union side and six ships for the Confederates although only two of the Confederate ships started on the table in turn one.
The Union force –
USS signal, USS Essex, USS Miami, USS Indianola and last but not least the very scary USS Miantonomoh
The Confederate force –
CSS Planter and CSS General Sumter were the two ships in the starting patrol
CSS North Carolina, CSS Baltic, CSS Tennessee and the CSS Nashville
So, I was to be playing the Union side tonight and so put Mr Lincoln secretly on the USS Indianola and set up my ships close to my starting end of the table, and on the half way mark was the two ships for the Confederate patrol.
Note: I have to say at this point that I really wanted to put him on the USS Signal, it looked more appropriate for him to be on a paddle steamer sitting in his luxury cabin or in the casino playing roulette or watching dancing girls! Rather than hiding in the relative safety of a big ironclad.
Turn one saw a slight split in my force as the USS Essex and the USS Signal moved above the middle islands and headed for the CSS Planter while the rest of the Union ships steamed to the left of the islands and headed for the CSS General Sumter.
The two small ships of the patrol never turned around and ran, like I thought they would do, they steered their tiny wooden ships straight at the Union force!!!
I was not sure what my opponent was thinking by doing this, it seemed crazy to me! His two small wooden ships were going to get pummelled by my heavy Ironclads, they were totally out classed… but all he was trying to do was slow my ships down, which he did, the USS Essex was forced to stop and destroy the CSS Planter while the rest of my ships moved off down river.
Turn two and the CSS General Sumter did its best to block the lower half of the river, and almost succeeded in causing the USS Miami to collide with it, but with some really fancy ship control the big wooden ship managed to slip through, then the powerful USS Miantonomoh moved in for the kill, twin heavy guns in two turrets, the poor little CSS General Sumter looked likely to be blown to pieces as the big Ironclad moved in for the kill… then I rolled the dice!! Yep it was like Odd Ball in Kelly’s Heroes firing paint!! I needed 3’s to penetrate the wooden ship and I rolled 2’s!!! oh I do so hate dice…
Turn three I finally managed to penetrate the super strong wooden planking of the CSS General Sumter!! and she sank slowly to the bottom of the river.
But this turn the rest of the Confederate force arrived and promptly formed a road block ( ok river block ) right in front of my ships, oh this just got a lot harder.
Turn four, my opponent seemed to guess really early on in the game that Mr Lincoln was hiding on board the USS Indianola, and he would not take any notice of the hints I was giving about him being on the USS Signal, almost all of his shooting was aimed at the big old ironclad with Mr Lincoln on board, but luckily for me his aim was off.
Turn five saw my opponent desperately trying to manoeuvre his ships into positions to try and hit the USS Indianola again, at one point I thought he was going to block the USS Indianola in with the CSS Nashville, or worse still ram it… either through luck or just slightly bad positioning it never happened and the big old ironclad moved steadily towards the table edge and escape.
Turn six saw a huge amount of accurate firing from both forces, almost all the ship on the river had fires burning on board, the scene reminded me of many old pictures I have seen on the internet of ACW river battles.
Almost every fire but the one on the USS Miantonomoh was put out, so another turn of the Union ships running and the Confederate ships trying to get themselves around and into better positions, and with the CSS Nashville the only Confederate ship close enough to fire on the USS Indianola it was all over for my opponent… which meant I had won!!
Well that was great fun, we had some very exciting moments and very funny ones, my dice rolling was as rubbish as ever, but my opponent did have a hard job of stopping my ships, also not being 100% sure which one he needed to stop made it harder for him.
But there were a few moments in the game that if he had managed to have a little luck and had managed to get his ships into the right positions it could have gone so wrong for me.
We also managed to sort out a couple of small rules issues for ramming and collisions which was great, I just need to get them written into the rules now.
Oh, and did I mention… I won!!!!