Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Rebel Raiders Replay  (Turn 11 –August 1864) -- Yeee...haaaaw! & the Navy at New Orleans

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

When we left off, Memphis and Vicksburg had fallen – and New Orleans, though battered, repulsed a Union Assault.  The fabled Raider CSS Alabama, a picture of which appears on the cover of the game, however, was caught and sunk by USS Mississippi…

Yeeee…haaaaaw!  Fix Bayonets, Boys!

Mark bought a Counterattack for a reason, and plays it to try and take Vicksburg back.  Grant, whose Card 8 is still in play, however, has other ideas – and once again his re-roll ability snatches victory from the jaws of defeat.

Undeterred, like the Southern boys in Faulkner’s Alas, Babylon, for whom it is always 1 p.m. on that July afternoon, with that long, low slope stretching before them up to the copse of trees and Marse Robert waving them on, Mark tries again – playing Uprising! Rouse the State Militia (Card 103) launch a second counterattack at Vicksburg…but it fares no better.   The South loses Victory Points in both fights.

The Raider fleet, however, fares better.  Although one is sunk, they gain 9 VP for the South, and one plucky Blockade Runner actually manages to sneak in with 2 VP Cargo, bringing the South up from negative 5 to plus 6 VP…even after losing VPs for the Supply roll the South is in the positives, thus gets all three cards (it gets only two if in the zero or negative VP area).  Due to loss of cities, however, builds are down to four –which is enough for a Raider and another Counterattack.

The Battle of New Orleans – Ironclads vs. Screw Sloops

Brandon opens the ball for the bottom half of turn 11 with an attack on New Orleans.  Five Screw Sloops and a Gunboat go against the single Battery – but it is a trap!   Mark plays THREE Cards:  Infernal Machines (56), Manassas (71) and Virginia (75).   Up pop two mighty Ironclads!  Brandon responds with Black Terror (Card 25) which will at least draw away some fire as the Batteries fire at a dummy target.

The Infernal Machines give the South one die vs. each incoming ship – on a 5 or 6 that ship retreats and does not take part in the fight.   Mark misses each ship.

“This is what you get for making your slaves work on them Infernal Machines” says Chris, an onlooker who is sitting beside us and openly rooting for Brandon to win.  Or, as another kibitzer adds, “Confederate Infernal Machines suck swamp water!”

The Manassas is a ram; it can target one Union ship and if it wins a die contest send it to the bottom.  Manassas, it seems, was made by the same people who make the Infernal Machines – the Acme Corporation, Atlanta division.   It fares no better in shooting, although Virginia with its added pip on the die does sink a Screw Sloop. 

It is not enough.  The Battery is destroyed and Manassas sunk; Virginia is hit and uses its special ability to limp away to Baton RougeNew Orleans falls, and with it, the Mississippi; the South’s only consolation is that the additional loss of VPs do not hurt much, as the South bottoms out at negative 5 VP.

To be continued....

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