Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rebel Raiders Replay
Designer Mark McLaughlin as CSA; Naval Historian Brandon Musler as USA

My old friend Brandon knows more about naval warfare and naval games than just about anybody I know, and as he had invited me to NYC where lives to hear a lecture at the Soldiers and Sailors Club that night, we decided to make a full day of it by gaming Rebel Raiders.  Although the Playbook offers many optional rules for advanced and enhanced play that “spice up the game considerably with added variability,” as Brandon put it, we decided to stick with just the basic game as this is where all new gamers should start.

 Turn 1 – April 1861

As the Confederates I open with Card 96 – “The Most Daring Blockade Runner” Francis Nathaniel Bonneau.  This gives me a free Blockade Runner in Havana, loaded with a 2 VP cargo and immune to interception this turn.  I also play Card 94 -  To the Dark Shores, putting bonus VP cargo on three foreign ports ..AND then I also play Card 83 - Trent Affair – a prerequisite for play of cards that can be quite detrimental to the Union (Royal Navy and Maximillian) should I draw them.

Playing my entire starting hand at once is lot a shot across the bow to Brandon, letting him know this game is not going to start slow.

My first move is to take the Raider that begins in New Orleans (historically Raphael Semmes and his CSS Sumter) out into the Gulf – and she is immediately caught and sank!  (A bad opening omen for the South). I send out my six Blockade Runners to load cargo, and hover offshore in international waters rather than use up all of their movement points just to leave them vulnerable to Union searches in the Blockade Stations or Coastal Areas.   Bonneau, of course, does come home to deliver his cargo.

The Confederacy places batteries at Louisville (taking Kentucky) and Wilmington, to guard a Blockade Runner I built there.  Two other Blockade Runners are built in other fortified Atlantic ports, and another Blockade Runner and a Raider are built in Europe..

The Union moves to reinforce the blockade but eschews land combat, preferring not to risk losing VPs in attacks where the Union rolls only 1 die and the South 2 – and where the South wins ties.   As Brandon put it:  “I’m a numbers kind of guy, and the odds aren’t even 50-50.”

He plays Card 30 - Gustavus Fox to get some free gunboats for this and subsequent turns.

To be continued…..

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