Wednesday, July 13, 2011
It's better to be lucky than good
After a long dry spell, Game Store Tony and I were able to resume our Civil War series of Battle Cry (150th anniversary edition) games.
As usual, he was the Confederates while I took the Union force as we squared off at Oak Grove, Virginia. This was a skirmish just before the beginning of the Seven Days battle. The USA forces were 10 infantry units and three artillery under three generals. (A cavalry unit later appeared as a reinforcement by card play). The CSA side was identical in starting strength. The Federals under Hooker had a hand size of 4 command cards and moved first. The Rebels, under Huger, had a five card hand. d
The biggest handicap for the Federal side is it's small hand of just 4 command cards. The awkward thing about the 4-card hand is that it can feel like a curse if you get a bunch of good cards. You'd like to be able to hold onto them to play at an opportune moment, but you really have to keep cards churning through your hand or you risk being stuck with a dead hand and unable to really act at all for a few turns.
As it so happened, in our game I was blessed with a long string of very useful cards such as a Battle Cry, a Call For Reinforcements, three Leadership, a Bombardment and some others and was not forced to play them too inefficiently. Helping out as well were the dice, which seemed unusually deadly for me in the early going.
The basic outline of the engagement were moderate advances by Robinson's and Grover's brigades on the Union left and center, respectively, while Sickles made a more aggressive push on the right. This was exactly the opposite of the historical result, which saw Sickles being held up while the other Union brigades progressed. Every attempt by the Rebels to advance, in contrast, seemed to wither in the face of heavy fire.
By the late game, although each side was tied at 4 flags apiece, this was misleading because the Confederates had a whole slew of weakened 1- and 2-figure infantry brigades while most of the Union troops were at full strength. The final CSA losses came at the hands of Robinson's infantry on the left and a reinforcing cavalry unit under Sickles on the Union right for a final score of 6-4.
Time wise it was a longer than usual battle, taking more than an hour to play