I had a great game at the club last night playing one of my favourite scenarios for Blood Sweat & Iron, “Find the Lady…” this is the scenario where one side ( Confederates ) are transporting a VIP on board one of their ships, the enemy ( Union ) hear of the VIP travelling along this section of the river so ambush the convoy and try and stop the VIP… the only problem is they have no idea which ship is carrying the VIP!!!
This scenario is always fun and is a great intro game for new players, rather than just a straight up fight, in last nights game I had two players who had never played the game before and one who had played a couple of times.
So after letting each player pick the side they wanted I was left with playing on the Union side, I had already picked the ships for the game and gave each side their force, and for this game the Confederates would be the ones with the VIP.
For the Union side the ships were –
USS Onondaga, USS Canonicus, USS Essex, USS Miami, USS Switzerland and USS Signal.
And on the Confederate side the sips were –
CSS Huntsville, CSS Arkansas, CSS Charleston, CSS Baltic, CSS General Sumter and CSS Planter.
The Confederate team decided to randomize which ship was carrying the VIP, this was unusual as players would normally either put the VIP on one of the faster ships in the hope of getting it off the table as quick as possible, or they sometimes put it on one of the heavy armoured slower ships thinking that the VIP would have a better chance of surviving the battle.
But by randomizing they actually made it a tiny bit harder for the Union side to know which ship to go for!!
So now we would have to try and see which ship the Confederate players seemed to be protecting or trying to keep safe from our guns… it wasn’t going to be easy! ( although to be honest it is never easy! this scenario like all of my scenarios does slightly favour one side over the other, in this case it favours the side with the VIP )
Oh well the battle has started and the two Union wooden ships made a move to try and stop three of the Confederate ships, my partner moved the USS Miami at full speed in amongst the Rebel ships and fired off a full broadside into them causing considerable damage and set one of the ships on fire! a great start for the Union side.
I then saw the Confederates pound the Miami so decided that my ship the USS Switzerland was better off waiting a while before moving in amongst all those enemy ships so I moved it in close behind one of the small islands and kept out of the way!!
Two Confederate Ironclads on the other side of the table moved at full speed ignoring the fight going on the other side of the small island and steamed towards the end of the table, with them was the CSS Planter, was the VIP on board one of those ships… they were going to be a real problem, Ironclads can take a lot of punishment and there were two running with that small paddle steamer, I only had two ships between them and safety, could I stop them?
The USS Switzerland decided to move out from behind the island and fire at the enemy ships and actually caused a fire on one of the Ironclads!!!
The wooden ships were starting to take heavy damage on both sides, then the USS Onondaga started to move into the battle with here heavy guns and went after two Confederate Ironclads, but the gunners were not having any luck, so many misses!!
We were going to be in real trouble if our big guns don’t start hurting the enemy ships.
Ignoring the battle behind, the CSS General Sumter steamed towards the table edge and safety.
For a couple more turns our shots were doing damage on the Confederate ships, but probably not enough to stop them, things were looking bad and then we got our first bit of luck, the Captain of the USS Switzerland saw his opportunity and rammed the CSS Arkansas.
The CSS Arkansas unfortunately had just collided with the USS Onondaga and had been shot up badly over the last couple of turns, so it was only going to end one way for the Confederate ship… she sank within a few seconds and we hoped that the VIP was on board 🤔
Things on my side of the table were getting very exciting as the three Confederate ships were still running at full speed for the table edge and safety, but after some crazy point blank shooting the crew on board the CSS Planter raised the white flag and took no further part in the battle, the ship was still burning as the crew jumped into the river and swam for safety!
We spent the last turn or two trying to stop those two Confederate Ironclads but we just couldn’t do enough damage to stop them, the USS Miami made a final run at them and fired off a final full broadside into the CSS Baltic doing some more damage but couldn’t stop the heavy ship from escaping…
Well that was great fun and everyone seemed to enjoy the scenario, all we needed to do now was see if the VIP was on either of the ships we had managed to stop…
NO!!! the VIP was on he CSS Baltic and it got off the table, it was badly damaged but that didn’t matter in the end as it had escaped, so a victory for the Confederates.
As I said earlier the scenario is hard for the stopping force, but our bad shooting didn’t help, as the stopping force you really have to do as much damage as you can and as quick as you can to have any chance of stopping the enemy ships.
In the end four of the six Confederate ships made it off the table which put the odds in favour of the VIP getting away safely.
My dice rolling was at it’s normal level of complete rubbish!! and to be fair my partners dice were not that great either! so we were struggling from the beginning, but I can’t take anything away from the Confederate players they did everything right and got a deserved victory,