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Pickett's charge and the Light Brigade revisited

We played an ACW game using Black Powder rules (with several necessary amendments). The players divided into three per side. It was just an encounter battle with roughly equal forces and no specific objectives. It turned out to be both enjoyable and a bit of a laugh.

On the first turn, as a result of a blunder roll (and not one of his adventurous moves for which he is known), one of Mal's infantry brigades went on a hell for leather charge across the table. The volume of fire from the target (the Louisiana Zouaves infantry) and their supports stopped the charge just short - Pickett's charge replayed perhaps.

Two Confederate brigades then closed in around the halted brigade and shot it up and the remnants retreated and broke. These two brigades advanced upon a nearby farmstead Mal had occupied with his other Union brigade, which ultimately caused that brigade to break as well.

Across the rest of the table it seemed the other players were just playing “handbags”. Elsewhere the defining incident of the game was at hand..

Rob (who was walking wounded) opted for a small role in the game concentrating on his command of a single Confederate cavalry regiment. Whilst all the attention was on the disaster of the Union infantry charge, he sneaked them around the flank of the Union right.

Avoiding his all too frequent terrible dice rolling history, and more than helped by the peculiarities of the Black Powder rules, his cavalry regiment went on a charge of the Light Brigade ride. Taking fire from the left and fire from the right, they rode down two gun batteries and destroyed an opposing Union cavalry regiment.

They ended up on the far side of the table behind the Union left flank and unlike the Light Brigade, seemed to be little damaged by the experience. It was then that it was pointed out that they were the Black Horse cavalry – Jeb Stuart would have been proud.

With over half of the Union brigades broken (3 out of 5) the Union army was broken and a decisive result was declared – something not always achieved on a club night. In all, an interesting game but not one that suited my purpose which was to make amendments which promoted firefights and discouraged charges.


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