Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fire & Fury ACW Game

As an interesting diversion between Napoleonic games, I got to play in an ACW game using a modified version of Fire & Fury. This version used a single D6 versus the normal D10. The charts were of course modified as required in order to accommodate the different dice used.

The battle was not a historical scenario and had two mirror image forces playing in order to test out the modifications. I played on the Union side with two divisions of four brigades and two batteries of artillery each. This is the command for each of the four players.

Union left and Confederate right. Much of the build up for the Union was for a center push and the Confederates tried for a turning of the flank style. Having mirror commands opposing each other, this was going to be down to luck of the dice more than strength of numbers of reserves.

The Union right and Confederate left commands. The Union combined battery in the center knock out a Confederate brigade, directly opposite, in two turns of sustained fire with some good rolls. My stacking the center for punching a hole and then splitting off left & right was going to be a bit easier now.

One the Confederate left, the player was more aggressive and didn't wait for the Union to soften up his lines with artillery bombardments. Seeing the "D" for disordered, you can tell things were bloody quick on this end. Artillery turned out to not be of much use here due to the close proximity of the two forces.

As I made contact for melee, I made sure to leave a couple of brigades in reserve to fill any gap that might appear should my attack go badly. The Confederate brigade on the right in contact with my men was pushed back with some loss. The Confederate brigade on the left did better and pushed my leading brigade back with some loss.

My left front brigade suffered some well aimed artillery artillery fire for a second time and failed their subsequent morale test and broke. The second brigade was hit and I decided to pull back and use the artillery to keep some pressure on the Confederate wing so it would not close in on the center.

Here on the Union right, they managed to hold the Confederates off. Both sides manage to lose a brigade, but the Confederate attempt to push on was stalled. A couple of Union brigades attempt to "L" the Confederate line on the far right. The weakened Confederate brigade left to deal with them won't survive long on its own.

With the Confederate center not open and the artillery battery silenced and about the move to the rear, my left center attack is not going as well. Time for the reserves. The center double artillery battery is broken up and I pull my battery over to my center to aim it at the approaching Confederate right that now sees an opportunity.

Another Confederate brigade breaks and the line pulls back to play defense. The Union line is a bit scattered over here but still intact. The Union have a 2:1 artillery advantage that could be used if the other battery can be brought up into the line.

The Confederate right decides to swing shut just as my second battery unlimbers. My battery at the bottom is low on ammunition and will have to move to the rear on the following turn. I manage to silence the aggressive Confederate battery so it too will have to go to the rear. The Union attack here is also wheeling forward.

In this final photo, one can see a Confederate division reached a breaking point and is gone. The Confederate brigade on the right also had the same problem and so what was left of it and the battery of artillery attached to it leave the field. All four Union divisions are still present, but just barely so. The Confederate players throw in the towel. It was clearly over at this point as we still had all of our artillery and they had only half of their batteries remaining.

Fire and Fury is a difficult set of rules to fall in love with in its sanctioned form. This modification dealt with limiting formations for infantry, upped the fire points for infantry at close range and modified the unit effectiveness by giving a brigade a mandatory removal point. Official Fire and Fury had brigades staying on the field until they were literally slaughtered to a man or they somehow fell out of command range, were spent and rolled badly. That arrangement always prolonged the game play out to the point of fatiguing the players rather than the commands. To avoid fatiguing the players, limiting the number of turns was about the only way to conclude a game with some meaningful closure.

D10's tend to provide crazy results, which I'm sure was the author's clumsy way of dealing with games that tended to wear out the patience of the players. I've not played the regimental version, however hearing the general dissatisfaction with that set of rules, it appears to still be a lagging problem. I enjoyed these modifications as we got through the game in about 2.5 hours and had a clear and obvious conclusion to the game. In August there will be another game with this modification and I'll write that up with some higher quality pictures.

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