Saturday, September 5, 2015

Altar of Freedom: First Thoughts , and more BBB Terrain

Since I had laid out my Gaine's Mill setup, I decided to sit down and run the Altar of Freedom scenario so I can get hang of the rules.

The game ended with a Minor Tactical Defeat for the Union, close to the historical outcome. The Union lost two brigades, one being Cooke's cavalry (which as in history made a desperate charge to plug a hole). The Confederates lost one.

All in all from a first view I can say this is a fun set of rules for grand tactical battles, but I cannot say I have gotten their measure yet. Unlike BBB, BP and NT 19th Century Warfare Rules, this is not a game that gives you it full in solo. The bidding process and Turn Clock truly makes the game very tense, and there were moments were I said to myself "if I did not know what the other side was bidding, I would be toast". It nicely creates a feeling of Fog of War. The General traits really make each commander unique, and require careful management of personalities, an element I consider important to simulate in grand tactical games.

Game wise Brigades are really hard to kill here. Thus massive victories will be rare. Especially units situated in good ground are really hard to dislodge. Artillery is a killer if you can get in canister range.

A good comparison with BBB points out the following. BBB has a more sophisticated terrain system. AoF a more sophisticated CnC system. Both produce good amounts of friction, but I think AoF is a bit more tense. BBB has a more sophisticated combat resolution system, while AoF a more simpler one. To be frank part of this is due to the fact that BBB covers many more wars and tactical styles then AoF. I cannot be sure 100% but I think AoF produces the faster game.

I have a feeling that a mix between AoF and BBB would be the best representation of 19th century grand tactical warfare.

The field around 8 o'clock. Porter will order the steady withdrawal of his forces in the cover of the night.

The disposition of forces at the end and axis of Confederate attacks (Boatsawain Swamp as in history became a major obstacle for the Confed).

The breakthrough point!

Boatswain Swamp full of 9 Confederate Brigades

AP Hill's division was check by Syke's throughout the battle.

I also worked more on terrain for BBB and other battles. I flocked a bit the cardboard's and built a system for designating steep slopes. I dare say it starts looking serviceable. 

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