In what has become an annual event, Chris Palmer and I supported Sam Fuson and Ed Duffy in running a wargame for the 114th Signal Battalion Officer Professional Development (OPD). This time Eric Schlegel joined us.
In the past, Sam, Ed, Chris, and I ran WWII games using Look, Sarge, No Charts: World War II. We’ve found that a bunch of folks unfamiliar with wargaming can easily pick up the rules.
This year’s event was the battle of Chancellorsville, involving 45 players and 5 game masters. Each of the senior leaders in the battalion assumed the role of one of the historical division commanders. The overall commanders could determine their own battle plans and did not have to stick with the historical plan. The Confederate commander played a cautious, delaying game, rather than the audacious plan of the actual battle.
We used A Union So Tested: Look, Sarge, No Charts: American Civil War. Sam did a tremendous amount of work preparing for the event. He mounted over 4000 plastic 1/72-scale figures onto stands and made all the labels for the bases. This took him over 400 hours of work in preparation.
We arrived at 0730 and were busy setting up the tables, terrain, and troops until 1000. It takes a long time to get that many figures laid out. This was a big game! The pictures don’t really do justice to the size of the game.
In order to partially compensate for the numerical superiority of the Union, the Confederate forces were located off the table. For the first three turns, the Union had to spot the Confederates. This caused the Union players to be more cautious. It also diverted a corps of Union troops to be diverted hunting for Rebs on their flanks.
Sam didn’t have time to paint all the figures, so most were unpainted. Painted figures were organized into the elite regiments and brigades. Purists might object, but even with unpainted figures the board was impressive.
Chris and I were happy to see that LSNC: American Civil War rules hold up in a game with 45 players. The officers, senior NCO’s, and civilian leadership of the battalion seemed to get a lot out of the event again this year. The event will be followed by a staff ride of the battlefield in which the officers, senior NCOs, and civilians will compare their actions in the game with those of the actual commanders.