Sunday, October 10, 2021

Battle for Brawner's Farm BatRep

After having sent out a call for players willing to participate in a remote ACW hex-based game in 10mm, juggling time zones proved difficult.  I received two volunteers from the same time zone so Brawner's Farm would be a two-player game.  Jennifer from Florida would command the Federals and Ivan from Michigan would command the Rebels.  This would be both players' first sampling of moderated, remote wargaming.  The game was fought on 09 October.

Prior to game day, each player received a scenario packet including the initial game map shown below:
Battle Overview
Only a few Confederate gun sections begin on table.  Elements of King's Union division were caught in column marching along the Warrenton Turnpike when battle begins.  Startled by the sudden arrival of incoming artillery from the higher ground to the north, Federal brigades of Gibbon and Doubleday snap into action to address the situation.

Let's see how the battle developed.
Gibbon's Iron Brigade swings off to skirt
the east end of Brawner's Woods
while a gun section unlimbers to cover Brawner's Farm.
As Gibbon turns into the woods, reports are received
 that Rebel troops are approaching the farmhouse.
View from the Rebel, overhead webcam.
Doubleday peels off to advance upon the farm.
Baylor and several batteries arrive as Lawton approaches.
King brings up more Federal guns into the woods.
The Iron Brigade working through the woods.
Both combatants take up positions along the fence line
 with a No-Man's developing between them.
Rebels position guns to the east to harass Gibbon.
View from east end of battlefield
The lines are drawn.
While Gibbon distracts Rebel reinforcements,
 Doubleday prepares an attack with artillery support
 upon Jackson and Brawner's Farm. 
Double prepares assault on farmhouse.
The Federals assault!
2 WIS charges Rebel guns positioned at the edge
 of the woods.
With devastating volleys from Lawton's Brigade
 almost on its flank, the 2 WIS wavers.
At the farm, Doubleday takes fire from the west
 and his assault loses steam.
With heavy casualties,Doubleday calls off the attack.
Lawton's Rebels eject the 2 WIS from the field
 as the Federal right is threatened.
As darkness falls, Rebel forces are heard working their way around the Federal left.  With the Federal right also in jeopardy, Doubleday and Gibbon call off the attack and retire into the growing darkness.  What was gained by this action?  Well, besides heavy casualties, Federal troops now know where Jackson's command is situated.  Today, Jackson (Ivan) is victorious.  Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday's gaming session was quite enjoyable.  Having two players unfamiliar with both rules and remote gaming, both took to the challenge with ease.  After a brief introduction and a quick work through the technology, Jennifer and Ivan dove in with little difficulty.  Within two turn turns of play, both players had command of both the rules and technology.  Having conquered those two hurdles, Jennifer and Ivan concentrated on tactics.  I could see tactics developing as the battle progressed.  Quite enjoyable to watch as the battle unfolded.  Well-played by both.  In a post-game retrospective, we discussed adding in additional troops to bolster the Federal position.  King's division had two brigades nearby that could have thrown their weight into the fray.  Perhaps a rematch may be in order?  I would enjoy that.

Thanks to both players for a very enjoyable Saturday gaming session.  That was fun!

For Jennifer's battle account from the Federal perspective, please see Brawner's Farm at her Librarian Gamer blog. 

45 comments:

  1. That was quick! Best about this report is the closeups that we didn't really get from the game itself - now I have a better idea what the men at the "sharp end" were going through! A good game, well presented. Even with minimal terrain the right sort of feel was there. I encourage everyone reading to try this sort of game at least once!

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    1. My report out is not nearly as fast as your battle account made publication!

      I suppose, where terrain and presentation is concerned, I am somewhat of a minimalist.
      This tendency is especially true when playing a game on a hex grid where the grid must still be visible.

      Thank you for participating!

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  2. Looks like a good fun game for the players

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  3. Very well organised and nice report.

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  4. Great that the gam e was an opportunity to introduce two players to both remote gaming and the rules!

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    1. My goal was to provide an easy introduction to both. Post-game feedback was positive. Thanks for your comment, Peter!

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  5. Nice tight scenario. It looks like the Union guns are difficult to get into position early enough to ‘ruin’ the Confederate line prior to the Union charge going in.

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    1. Thank you, Norm. You make an interesting observation about Federal gun placement. Artillery ranges are quite long. For preparatory support, Federal guns could unlimber on the turnpike practically on Turn 1 and bring enemy positions around Brawner's Farm under attack. Different tactics may yielded different results.

      Say, did you attend Partizan today?

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    2. No, I was itching to, but the planets were not aligned. I have just seen a YouTube video by Storm of Steel. And the tables look to have been of a really nice high standard.

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    3. Steve’s report-out confirms the high quality of games presented.

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  6. It was tremendous fun; thanks Jon and Jennifer for a great afternoon of gaming and conversation.

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    1. It was a pleasure, Ivan! Thank you for joining in.

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  7. Nice looking game, and well done for getting two players new to the rules up to speed remotely. I find it hard enough trying to do that when we're in the same room.

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    1. Thanks on both counts!

      Keeping the rules uncomplicated and taking the rules' burden off from the players, themselves, are keys to bringing new players up to speed. Both Ivan and Jennifer grasped the game concepts and mechanisms quickly so my job was easy.

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    2. I have to admit I was largely relying on Jon through the game; I got up to speed on the rules slowly even after a couple readthroughs of the QRS, and wasn't confident until near the end of the game. With a good GM, it's not always necessary for players to know the rules; they'll internalize them eventually, but until then it's okay for the primary rule to be: "The GM tells you what to roll."

      You do need a patient GM, and Jon was certainly that!

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    3. Jennifer, your response is surprising. You seemed confident in your decisions from Turn 1. Thank you for your encouragement!

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  8. Nice looking troops and table Jonathan! Have you tried Battle Cry with your 10mm ACW?

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    1. Thanks, Mike! No, never played Battle Cry but play CCA with miniatures often.

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  9. Looks like a great game and as several others have said, kudos to you Jon for introducing two new recruits into the mysteries and joys of remote gaming!

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    1. The game and session were very enjoyable for me and it seemed the players enjoyed themselves too. We will know how much they enjoyed the game if they return! Thanks for your support, Keith!

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  10. It's a good sign they were able to pick up the game so quickly, even with the remote dynamic in play. Nice work.

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    1. It is a very good sign when players can acclimate quickly to new environments both in rules and game delivery. Both players were a pleasure to have at the remote gaming table.

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  11. Although the ACW is not one of "my eras" in the hobby, hailing from Wisconsin the Iron Brigade and it's stand at Brawner's Farm/Gettysburg has always held a special interest for me: I've even walked the ground when visiting the site. Thanks for the excellent battle report!

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    1. Ed, I am surprised with your primary interest in mid-19th Century European warfare that interest does nor bleed over into the ACW.

      One gains a greater understanding of the tactics by walking the ground. I enjoyed my walk at the Manassas Battlefield too including a walk a t Brawner's Farm.

      Glad you enjoyed the battle report and thank you!

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  12. Good looking and entertaining battle report and testament to your GMing that both parties enjoyed it in spite of their lack of experience in remote gaming or the ruleset!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thank you, Iain! Your continued support and encouragement does not go unnoticed.

      If offered a chance at another remote game and Jennifer and Ivan accept then we will have a better testament to my effort...

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  13. Hey hey! Nice ACW action and I like a good Brawner’s Farm scenario. It’s a fun little battle and the whole point is just fir Jackson to pick a fight. Was the Iron Brigade Irony enough this time around?
    I’m pretty sure that you and I are in the same time zone. So that gives me hope for next time. 😀

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    1. Brawner’s Farm is a good little fight but as Ivan (the Confederate player) in this game noted, the historical action was an exercise in futility. What did it accomplish? Well, besides letting the Federal army know where Jackson was positioned and providing wargamers with an interesting, smallish scenario maybe not much.

      The Iron Brigade fought well. The 2WIS withstood a tremendous amount of firepower before eventually retiring in good order.

      We ARE in the same time zone and the battle is still on table. Hint, hint…

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  14. Great initiative Jonathan! Nice little scenario and kudos to Jennifer and Ivan for their quick adaptation.I would have loved to participate but doubt the time zones would have been kind enough. And with a flight to catch the next day it would have been even more problematic. Well done again to all.

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    1. Thank you, Mike!

      Maybe next time you will have the time to participate? I think doing something like this once a month is a reasonable goal.

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  15. Another successful event! Both for participants and blog readers.

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    1. Much appreciated, Ross! Participating in your remote game back in May seems a long time ago.

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  16. Interesting; thanks for the detailed write up. I hope to try some remote gaming in the not too distant future...

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    1. You are welcome! Report back on your remote gaming experiment.

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    2. Will do! It will be some time yet as I need to sort the armies first...

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  17. Great batrap Jonathan. Hoping to do some face to face gaming soon as well as setting up more virtual games.

    Cheers, Ross

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    1. Thank you, Ross! Good to see you have more gaming planned.

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  18. Great looking game Jonathan. I especially like the fact that you, now the veteran of many online encounters are helping others to experience it for the first time!
    Regards, James

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    1. Thank you, James! I have enjoyed gaming remotely and I want to share the experience. Maybe others will enjoy it too.

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  19. Nice to see the scenario play out Jon. I would welcome another go with the rules perhaps I need to get my hex system sorted out. The 10 mm seems to work ok with the units fairly recognisable

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    1. Yes, fun to see the scenario play out. Willing to have another go with the rules is excellent! The 10mm figures worked OK via Zoom.

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