Monday, June 10, 2013

Rebel Raiders Replay  (Turn 7 –Mid-game Pause and Assessment)

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

When we last left off, the South was reeling from the loss of Nashville – whose capture took no less than three assaults (two by river and one by land) in one turn to secure. 

The fall of Nashville means more than just battering open the gates to the largely unprotected heartland of the Confederacy.  It also allows the Union player to declare the Emancipation Proclamation.  Here is a brief note as to what that means, and an assessment of the game’s overall situation as the players cross the midpoint.

Emancipation Proclamation

The capture of a city in 1863 allows the Union to declare the Emancipation Proclamation – which Brandon does.  This removes the Trent and Royal Navy cards now in play – and forever removing the threat that the North will again have to send three Screw Sloops that had been placed on the later earlier in the game.  Maximillian is also removed from the deck, and both sides reshuffle all discards.  In addition, two of the six 2VP cargo markers are removed from play, which, combined with the nearly complete destruction of the Blockade Running fleet, and the tight inner and outer blockade, all but put an end to the Confederate blockade running option.

All hope for VP to keep the South in the war now rests with the Raiders, who are being hunted mercilessly by killer packs of Screw Sloops… pack of which finds but misses one Raider, while another pair of stacks sinks two more Raiders.

The Union builds two Ironclads and buys a third attack for next turn….

OVER THE HUMP – Mid-game Situation

Rebel Raiders normally has 12 turns, although a 13th is possible through card play and die rolling.  Seven of those turns are now over, putting the game over the hump and past the midpoint.

In terms of cities, as August 1863 (Turn 8) dawns,  the South is not doing badly at all.  It has lost Island No. 10 and Fort Henry, and Louisville. It is not the loss of this shield but the capture of Nashville that truly hurts – for this opens up the Confederate heartland, which Mark has ignored in favor of building a strong outer ring.  It also allows the Union a shot at Memphis from the land side.  This means that even if the Union fleets do not manage to sink the Rebel ships (two ironclads, two gunboats) the Union Army can take its chances against the Batteries.

On the coast, only St. Augustine has fallen, but the blockade is solid.  Every Blockade Station on the Atlantic and most on the Gulf has one or more ships on patrol, and there are one or two Screw Sloops offshore in each zone as well.  There are very few Blockade Runners left, and with Emancipation Proclamation reducing the number of 2 VP cargo available, things look very bleak for the smuggling trade.   The Raiding fleet has been decimated, and the Union has strong forces sweeping the seas.

While the South has a long way to go before falling,  the tide has turned…..

To be continued…. (Illustration below is a (fuzzy) bird's eye view of the situation)

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