Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Two Flags - One Nation: BatRep

Face-off at Mill Creek
Having been following Norm Smith's progress of his grid-based, ACW game, Two Flags - One Nation rules on his Battlefields & Warriors blog, I finally took the plunge and downloaded his latest edition (JUN2017).

Even though Norm provides the rules freely, "free" is no indication of the quality of the writing, layout, or game play.  First rate effort loaded with helpful diagrams and descriptions.  

After having read through the rules and making annotations as I went, Norm quickly provided answers to questions raised.  With those clarifications settled, I set up my hex mat used for Commands & Colors: Ancients, pulled out my 10mm ACW collection, and deployed figures to refight Norm's introductory game of Action at Mill Creek.  Now, mistakes were made in my initial game.  Nevertheless, the game was enjoyable and game play subtlety surfaced early on.  None of the mistakes likely materially effected the outcome and errors were probably made equally for both combatants.  The exercise provided a good, first glance, understanding of the game mechanisms.   

This posting is not a rule review since that requires more than one game to allow the system and proper tactics to evolve in my mind.  What follows, then, is my stumbling through my first game of Two Flags - One Nation.

At start, the Federals have free deployment on the north side of the creek while the Rebels begin off board.
10:00: Confederates march onto the battlefield in line.  The chit labeled 'A' denotes a unit with smoothbore muskets.  All other units carry rifled muskets.  Weapons are randomly assigned for each regiment before play begins.  Federals remain silent as the enemy is beyond range.
10:12: Confederates roll an event of "Confused."  One unit is Out of Command denoted by yellow ball.  Not off to a coordinated start for the Rebels.  Remainder of Confederate command advances on Federal positions.  Federal guns on heights take a shot and score one hit.  Reb unit passes its Cohesion Test (CT). 

10:24: Notice that the turn interval has been 12 minutes for the first two turns.  Purely coincidence.  Turn duration has a fixed and random component.  An interesting design twist, I think.

Reb artillery fires on Federal positions to no effect as one regiment wades into the creek in an attempt to outflank the Federal right.  Federals roll an "Adjust Line" event and artillery continues to pound the center Rebel unit.  The Reb regiment suffers two more hits but continues to hold its ground.
10:36:  Event "Inspiring Federal Leadership" drawn.  With no casualties, no effect.  Rebel artillery targets drives the defending Federal regiment back from the creek and into the woods.  The unit falls back one hex in disorder having suffered one hit.  It will remain disordered for 15 minutes.  Confederates splash into the creek near the bridge.
Schenk rides over to join the disordered Federal regiment hunkered down in the woods as Federal fire erupts from the woods causing two hits on the approaching Rebel regiment.  The Rebel regiment in the creek takes three hits but passes its CT.  On the Rebel far right, a regiment takes three hits first from artillery and then from musketry.

10:49: Feds roll "Confused Order" and the Confederate player chooses to move the Federal guns back from the military crest of the hill.  Not sure manhandling the Federal gun is allowed in "Confused Order" but I figured it best to get those guns off line for awhile. 
Rebel artillery continues pounding the disordered regiment in the woods as a Rebel infantry regiment prepares to attack.  The artillery causes one more hit and the Federal regiment's disorder duration is extended to 11:01.
Two Rebel assaults:
In the assault against the Federals in the woods, the Federals suffer one more hit while the Rebels suffer none.  The cover offered by the woods held the Federal casualties to only one when three could have been inflicted in the open.
In the assault across the creek, Rebels suffer one hit from fire bringing the casualty count to four.  In the close assault, the Rebels take three more hits while the Federals suffer two. The Confederate Brigadier is killed in the close combat.
With the loss of their leader, the Confederate brigade becomes shaken.  Having manhandled the guns back into a suitable firing position, Federal infantry come down from the heights to confront the weakening enemy.
In the post combat CT, the Rebs in the stream fail their check, take one more hit and are dispersed having sustained a total of eight hits. 
11:07: Reb artillery targets the regiment near the bridge and inflicts two hits. Seeing the Federals at four hits, the Confederates charge.  The defender fails his CT becoming disordered but holds his ground. 
In the close combat, the Rebs take one hit to the Federals three.  The Federal regiment is on the verge of collapse with seven hits. 

While the Federal regiment holds on by its fingertips, the Rebs fail their CT and fall back taking one more hit.
Rebs on the north bank of the creek come under heavy fire, taking three hits.  They retire to join their supporting comrades.
11:22: Having sustained heavy casualties in the advance and ensuing clash with the Federals defending the stream, Confederate BG Elzey calls off the attack as Federal reinforcements are flowing towards the bridge to shore up the Federal center.  With little chance of breaking through with additional assaults, BG Elzey makes a reasoned choice.
That was a fun, interesting, and tense little game fought in tight quarters!  With a small battlefield and less than ten units per side, every unit's performance was important.  The Confederates took too many casualties on closing and while it looked like the Federal right flank might collapse, it held.  Coupled with punishment taken by the Confederate center and right, little chance of success when game was declared a Federal victory.

To better plan and familiarize myself for my next game, work on a QRS is in progress.  During this first game, I found myself thumbing through the rules in search of answers. Norm provides a functional QRS but it helps solidify game concepts to build a QRS myself.

Nifty game that I will return to again.  I wonder if more prepared ACW scenarios exist?  Norm?


  1. Jonathan thanks very much for taking the rules for a spin and for your continued unstinting support for other bloggers. Your passing of a fresh eye over the rules was very helpful.

    The scenario puts pressure on the Confederates to do what they can before the Union reinforcements can swing the game to their favour. Looks like your Conferederates took a lot of casualties on the 'way in'.

    For those without hexes, anyone who has the 'Battle Cry' hexed boardgame, could use those game parts to try the rules.

    I have a very small scenario close to putting on the blog, but it is really only a slice of the action from the McPherson Ridge scenario (included with the rules) to add to my 6 x 6 grid series.

    Again Jonathan, thanks for taking the time to give them a a spin and comment. Norm.

    1. Norm, the first playing of mill Creek did not go so well for the Rebels. They suffered many casualties on the way in and the guns on the heights were a nuisance. Perhaps next time out the Rebels will fare better?

      Fun little scenario posing challenges for both sides.

      Thank you, Norm, for making the rules available. Great little game!

      I do need a more efficient way to track disorder duration...

  2. Nice looking game, sounds like an interesting set of rules.
    Best Iain

  3. Fascinating. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I've now added a link to the Commanders Compact Wargames on my blog. Although I had discovered the Battlefields and Warriors Blog, I had missed Norm's other site.

    1. You are welcome, Ed! I recommend giving them a try.

  4. I will have to pop over to Norm's site, looks like an interesting set of rules. Good looking little game.

    1. Thanks, Matt! Do pop over to Norm's for a look.

  5. Great report. Am very keen on giving Norm's rules a go myself. Looking forward to more! Could it work as a play by email game, distance game, do you think?

    1. Aaron, if I could add a comment here, my initial thought is that there is too much die rolling for an enjoyable e-mail game, but I will await Jonathan's thoughts on this.

    2. Aaron, certainly give Norm's rules a try. Quite a good game for a small space.

      As for VASSAL play, I don't see why not. As Norm suggests in his comment at the top, a player could use a Commands & Colors or Battle Cry board as the foundation. Having played a number of games via PBeM, most systems can be reduced to a playable process regardless of number of die rolls needed. I think the number of die rolls in this game not too onerous. If more granularity is needed, simply exchange files more frequently. My caveat is that I have only one game under my belt and that was solo....

      Norm has a better grasp on logistical issues issues than I.

    3. Norm, feel free to chime into any comment at any time!

  6. I was curious about that game board when I was over last time. It looks like an interesting ruleset for playing some compact games. I would like to give it a try sometime if you are game?

    1. It is a nifty system and the Mill Creek scenario is a good one. Of course, I am always up for a game! It would make an excellent topic for a Friday Night at the Fights.

  7. An interesting report, Jonathan. The organiser of our Friday night game sessions is keen on grid based systems. I will pass on the link to your post.

    1. I am sure Norm will enjoy more visibility to his rules.