Sunday, June 16, 2013

Rebel Raiders Replay  (Turn 10 –April 1864) -The Alabama and "Damn You, John Wayne"

Designer Mark McLaughlin as CSA; Naval Historian Brandon Musler as USA

When last we saw our valiant gamers at war, the North had swept the seas of Blockade Runners and had every Raider covered and surrounded.  Forts Jackson and St. Philip, the gateway to New Orleans, was burst open, but despite a massive force of Ironclads the Union could not blast away the Batteries at Memphis and assaults there and at Atlanta were both repulsed – narrowly, in ties, but repulsed still.

The South Holds and Now Alabama is in Play!

Although the old Blockade Runner fleet is no more, there are four new ones to try to bring home the desperately needed Cargo, along with five Raiders – four at sea and the Alabama ready to join them.

CSS Alabama is represented by a counter and a card (63).  Raiders get a plus 3 to the Speed Die Roll – making them hard enough to catch as it is – but Alabama gets one better!   There may be four Union Screw Sloops waiting off the Spanish port where Alabama has been readied for her maiden voyage, but Confederate confidence is high.

“Raphael Semmes is a Pirate We Say…”

Alabama was captained by the legendary Raphael Semmes, who had commanded the very first Raider (and only one to be armed in the South).  The Raider that begins the game in New Orleans at set up, is that vessel, the Sumter.   Unlike the real war, Sumter was caught on turn 1 (see turn one replay).  This time, however, Semmes has a better ship.

….unfortunately, Mark rolls a “1” when Alabama comes out to sea.  This is modified to a “5” – and while three of the four Union Screw Sloops roll less than that, one gets a “6” – and worse, it is no less a warship than USS Mississippi (Card 23), which, as the card correctly denotes, is the “Largest Ship in the U.S. Navy.”

Naval combat ensues.  Raiders get a single die, Screw Sloops two – although with Yankee Guns (Card 3) giving a re-roll of one die, this effectively gives the USS Mississippi a three-to-one dice advantage.  Worse, the most Alabama can score with her one shot is one hit – and Mississippi can ignore one hit in a battle.   Semmes’ only hope is that the Union ship misses and Alabama can then retreat and slip off into the night…

So how did the battle go?   Here is the song Brandon made up on the spot:
“Raphael Semmes is a pirate we say!
And we can prove it with his dead bo-day!”

More Bad News for the Confederate Navy

Their hearts broken by the demise of their hero and his fateful ship, the remaining four Raiders manage to scare up a mere two VP.  The four Blockade Runners fare worse: two get through with one VP each, and two others are captured.

Damn You, John Wayne.

In April 1863 Grant directed a Union colonel to take a brigade of cavalry behind Rebel lines to tear up railroads and burn supplies.  Grierson’s Raid was quite successful and one of the books written about it became the inspiration for the John Wayne 1959 movie, The Horse Soldiers.   Card 42 bears the same name.   Brandon plays it successfully at the start of the Confederate Turn 10 Build Phase, and as a result the South will build one fewer Battery this turn….

That single Battery goes – where else, but New Orleans.  Mark builds one Raider and buys a Counterattack, suspecting he will need it.

No comments:

Post a Comment