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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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The Battle of Perryville, 1862

The American Civil War, Ever Victorious Armies, 28mm

First off, my apologies for the fuzzy photos. I was having camera problems. Now, on to the game. This American civil War bash was a real multi-player affair, organised by Jack Glanville. My contribution was two brigades of Confederates, supported by artillery, including Braxton’s Fredericksburg Btty. (pictured above). The scenario was very loosely based on the Battle of Perryville, fought in the wilds of Kentucky. The only difference was that the sides were switched (the historical Confederates became the wargaming Union troops), and there were thousands of Yankees on the table. Worse still, most of the heavily-outnumbered Confederates were classed as raw, while the Union troops seemed to be average, veteran or elite! Switching sides can be a bummer.acw-009Anyway, with so much lead (and an awful lot of Perry plastic) on the table, the battle started with the two sides within spitting distance. Even by ACW standards this was a crowded game, with Union units stacked up behind each other like walking logjams. There wasn’t much tactical finesse involved either – the Union regiments advanced for a turn or two, the Confederates sometimes managed to fell a few as they charged home, and then it was a swirl of melee, fought right across the table! You see, this wasn’t my usual gaming crowd – most of these were Warhammer (WAB) players who’d changed periods for the evening. Consequently tactical nuances went out the window, and it was more akin to Gaugamela than Gettysburg!acw%20018In almost every case, the outnumbered Confederates were slaughtered. Due to a loophole in the rules (this was a variant of a Chris Peers set after all), the whole logjam got to count in melee, which meant that melees were often fought with 20 defenders against 80 opponents! The result was largely inevitable. The only bright spot as far as I could see that my guns performed sterling work, cutting down swathes of the enemy before half of them were overrun. By the time the dust settled there were very few Confederate units left on the table – my own command (the reserve) deciding to skedaddle than face the ravenous Union horde advancing like a Zulu impi on speed!acw-015Clearly the rules need a lot of tweaking. Firing and movement needs to be tightened up, we need to introduce a test for charging into contact (a rarity in the war), and then the melee procedures need to be rewritten. That said, it produced a fast game, and everyone seemed to pick up the rules very quickly. They have potential, but they need work – plus a smaller and less unbalanced scenario to try them out in.acw-004This game involved about ten players, each commanding a brigade-sized force. Some of them were first-time wargamers, having been tempted from the dark side of fantasy gaming. I hope the experience didn’t put them off, although I can’t blame them if it did, especially if they were Confederate! I watched one veteran gamer and owner of a wargame related company (who’ll remain nameless) shamelessly cackling as he pulled apart the brigade of one of these “newbies” without showing any mercy or trying to be gentle about it! That’s why I don’t have any truck with the cutthroat world of competition gaming – faced with gentlemanly rules with loopholes, it sometimes brings out the worst in people!

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