Solo ACW Ironcald game…

As I am stuck here in doors for the foreseeable future, I thought I would get a solo game of ACW Ironclads in while I had the chance.

I thought that I would just go for a simple meeting engagement between two forces with about 1800 points each, the forces are as follows –


USS Essex

USS Miami

USS Signal

USS Switzerland

USS Indianola


CSS Neuse

CSS Tuscaloosa

CSS Planter

CSS General Sumter

CSS Arkansas

So, I just set up the two forces as if just meeting on the river…. I hadn’t laid my cloth out for long enough to get rid of the folds in it, so sorry if the river looks slightly odd with its ridges! I need to find something to roll it around instead of folding it…

Well turn one just saw the two forces moving at full speed towards each other, there were one or two long shots as they moved closer, but no one found their intended targets.

Turn two saw the first real shots in anger, the Confederate ships steamed straight at the Union ships but the Union decided to peal off the Miami and the Switzerland one way and the Indianola and the Signal went the other, while the Essex went straight towards the Confederates hoping that its armour would keep it safe.

The Arkansas decided to split from the main Confederate group and headed towards the Indianola and the Signal.

Turn three and things were starting to hot up, the Essex took three hits two of which actually managed to get through her armour and caused a critical hit!!

She had damage to her rudder and could only manage to turn to port until her crew could get a quick repair done, this was not good this early in the battle.

The wooden ships were starting to take several hits as the two forces moved in closer, but like the Essex the Indianola took a lucky long range hit from the Arkansas which also managed to get through her armour.

Turn four and well the Essex was not having a good day her crew could not get a repair done on her rudder and two more hits got through her armour and this time one started a fire on board!!

But this couldn’t shake her crew they held fast and carried on firing.

The Arkansas hit the Signal and ripped large holes in her side causing a fire on board, but she was still afloat and not out of the battle yet.

Turn five and the Essex was in trouble she was still burning and taking damage and still hadn’t managed to get her rudder fixed.

The Miami was pounded by the Neuse, Tuscaloosa, Arkansas and Planter and she was on fire but the Miami’s crew didn’t falter they carried on and actually managed to get a hit in on Neuse!

The General Sumter was hit by the Switzerland and the Indianola but somehow limped on.

Turn six, and the Essex finally lost her fight against the fires and what was left of her crew left her to sink and swam to the shore.

The Miami managed to get her fire under control and managed to get a full broadside into the Switzerland showing that she was far from out of this fight.

Not many shots found their targets for the rest of the turn, the General Sumter managed to get away from the shooting by hiding in behind the Neuse.

Turn seven and the last turn, I think all the crews on both sides were exhausted, the only crews that seemed to be still able to get their guns on target were those on the Indianola and the Tuscaloosa they both managed to get one hit each on enemy ships but that was it a minor victory to the Confederates.

Well that was great fun, and so close at the end, four ships on the table were down to their last damage point or two so if I had managed to roll well on that last turn it might have been a different ending altogether.

During the game my dice rolling was not great ( as always ) plenty of chances to take out ships but I rolled so badly I did hardly any damage.

I did have some interesting moments though, getting through the armour on the Essex with some of the smaller guns was great fun!

And the turn that the Miami was pounded by the four Confederate ships and still survived was nail biting, she went down to five damage points left and shrugged it off.

Well I might try a scenario next time and see if I can have a little better luck with my dice rolling…

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    • Mac

      Thanks Harry,

      I had only played about two games using a friends ships before I got talked into writing the rules, after doing tons of reading about the era and the battles I was hooked.

      It is also ( thankfully ) a fairly cheap period to get into, I first started using top-down print outs of ships from the ACW wars just so I had something to move around on a table while playtesting the rules.

      I then brought a few ships from Peter Pig ACW range of ships and now I even 3D print a few, compared to some of my projects it was a nice cheap one!


      • Diego

        Hi Mac, do you mind if I ask where did you get those top-down print outs? I am quite new to ACW and naval wargames, I would like to try if possibile 🙂

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