Sunday, March 20, 2022

Down Mexico Way

On Saturday a group of us got together for the first big battle with our Mexican - American War figures. We started the project late last summer (I talked about it some in this blog post) and there was a smaller battle in February (from Kevin’s blog), but this was the first time most of us had gotten figures on the table. We were using the Rebels and Patriots rules from Osprey for the game. 

Dragoon charge at Recasa de la Palma
U.S. Dragoons charge Mexican artillery at Resaca de la Palma (U.S. Army in Action series from wikimedia commons)

I set up a game area loosely based on the Battle of Resaca de la Palma. We had six players, three on each side. The Mexican left set up to defend a small trail, the Mexican center was on the southern side of the Resacas, near the small hacienda, and the right was set up in front of the Americans. On the American side, the right flank set up to engage the Mexicans defending the trail, the left flank moved to engage the Mexican right, and the center group (me) was split between the two.

Initial setup for the Mexican left

View from the Mexican center

The game started inauspiciously for the Americans, with my first activation roll for my artillery went badly, forcing my artillery to shoot at American troops (I only caused 2 casualties, but at the end of turn 1 I was the best Mexican General).

The Mexican left played aggressively on the trail, trying to cross the resacas. This tied up the American right flank troops and some of mine. The Mexican right effectively stood their ground, inflicting casualties as the Americans advanced

Americans attacking the trail defenders

Americans moving up the road

Fairly early in the game the Mexican right rolled a double activation and used his light cavalry to charge my artillery. The cavalry killed forced me back with no losses. But the next turn my gun did some damage and then the American dragoons finished them off.

Mexican light cavalry on the charge

The Mexican center patiently waited for the Americans to come into range.

Mexican center waiting for the Americans

While the Mexican left tried to advance but was met with a steady wall of firepower from the Americans.

Mexicans advancing up the trail
Americans taking on the Mexican left
More fighting near the trail

The Americans continued to move up on their left and center. I had difficulty with my activations most of the day (I even rolled another friendly fire incident with some of my infantry firing on my artillery). I did get a few good hits in, but could never force the Mexicans back, they always bent instead of breaking.

Americans advancing into the Mexican right
More Americans trying to get into action
The Mexican right waits for the Americans

As we were approaching the end of the game, the Mexican cavalry in the center tried to charge my disordered infantry but came up just short and then stalled while I rolled off my disorder and shot up the cavalry with infantry and artillery, forcing them to retreat.

Mexican center sniping at the Americans
Mexican cavalry barely fails to make contact
American fire drives off the cavalry

On the American right (Mexican left) the American finally cleared out the trail. But the Americans were not able to clear out the crossing with the main road. 

The Americans clear out the trail
Game end, the Mexican still hold the main road

The Mexican right and left were pretty decimated at the end of the game, but the Mexicans held all the objectives. So, it was a Pyrrhic victory for the Mexicans. 


Overall, the game played well. The Americans are sort of squeezed at the start, but the Mexicans have a lot of area to defend. We did use equal forces, which gave the Mexicans an advantage (most Rebels and Patriots scenarios only give the on-board defenders 2/3s of the attacking force points). But even with that everyone seemed to think it was worth trying again sometime. 


It was fun to see a project start and come to fruition before petering out. I expect we’ll see these troops out again for some more battles.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Battle at the Bridge

A few of us got together for a Rebels and Patriots American Civil War game today. The scenario was a variation of the Widow Creek Bridge scenario from the rules, adapted for more players. The Union force was still advancing to take a defended bridge, but we added a ford downriver to allow for a little more maneuvering. The Confederate starting had a hasty breastworks at the bridge, but had to spread out forces to cover the ford. Confederate reinforcements would enter on turn 2.

The bridge defenders behind their breastworks
Holding the bridge was worth 3 VP, holding the ford was worth 1 VP, and holding the farm was worth 1 VP. To hold an objective, no enemy force could be within 12" of the objective. At the start of turn 10, the Confederates would roll a die to determine if the game would end. If the die roll plus the turn number was 15 or more, the game would end at the end of the turn. 

I was on the Union with some veteran line infantry and a medium artillery piece. My job was to take the bridge. The other Union player had lighter forces and would take the ford. 

Confederate defenses at the ford

My artillery aims at the breastworks

Things went well for the Union for the first few turns. I used my artillery and veteran line troops to fire away at the bridge defenders. My fellow Union player got to the ford and was holding off the Confederate reinforcements.

Plunking away at the defenders

Rebel reinforcements

Facing off across the ford
After being battered by my artillery and troops, the bridge defenders failed a morale check and headed for the hills. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't able to take advantage of this before the Confederates moved an infantry unit up to cover the other side of the bridge.
Getting across the breastworks and onto the bridge

Same shot from the Confederate point of view

My Colonel was taken out by a rebel shot, which delayed me from charging across the bridge. My partner at the ford was starting to take heavier casualties as the Confederate reinforcements advanced. 

Trouble for the Union at the ford

At the beginning of turn 10, the Confederate player rolled a 6, so the game would end at the end of this turn. I charged across the bridge, hoping to take it for the win. I was successful in driving off the Rebels.

My veterans drive off the rebels
But the Confederates got the last move and moved troops within 12 inches of the bridge. So my victory was negated. The game ended with a minor Confederate. Overall, it was a fun scenario, with each side having good and bad die rolls. Everyone had good time and we are looking forward to getting in some more Rebels and Patriots games.