Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The Battle Of Galveston - The Game

In my previous post I outlined the setup and scenario for my 150th anniversary refight of the Battle of Galveston. In this post you can see the results.

The scenario plays quickly; I documented three games, although most of the photos are from the first.

The game opens with the Union vessels supporting their troops in Galveston as Confederate infantry attack the port:

The Union moved first. Sachem and Corypheus moved closer into shore in order to increase the effectiveness of the bombardment. The Owasco moved to support the Harriet Lane who, in its haste to meet the Confederate gunboats, had run aground:

The Confederate gunboats close on the Union vessels. Bayou City heads for the immobilised Harriet Lane, whilst Neptune aims for the Sachem:

Gunfire is exchanged:

A bad start for the Confederates - fire from the Harriet Lane sinks the Neptune:

The Bayou City rams and captures the Harriet Lane:

So far things are going very much as the actual battle did.

Indeed on the other side of the table, fate is steering the game even further down the historical path. Moving to support the other Union vessels, both the Clifton and the Westfield have run aground off Pelican Spit:

As the Bayou City moves away from the Harriet Lane, the Owasco takes it under fire. The Bayou City returns it, and soon both vessels are disabled:

This leaves the Confederates with no ships, but victory is still possible for them. And it comes closer when the captain of the Clifton, hard aground, panics and orders his vessel destroyed. The Confederates have 3 of the 4 VP they need to win, and the Union still haven't stalled the Confederate attack on the port:

Unfortunately the Sachem and Corypheus are slowly driving the Confederate land troops back:

As the Westfield refloats, preventing the Confederates scoring their last VP for another ship stuck on a sandbank, the Confederates call off the assault:

Vessels from both sides burn in the approaches to Galveston:

It was a close game. The Union got lucky when they sunk the Neptune early on, although this was offset by losing the Clifton to a panicky captain. Effective gunfire against the shore-action also helped.

In the second game I got to see just how effective the supporting fire could be. In their first roll of the game, the Union pretty much stopped the Confederate assault on the town. Remember - you need a 4 or 5 for 1 hit and a 6 for 2 hits, with 4 hits stalling the assault and anything over 4 permanently reducing it. Their first broadside scored 7 hits!

The Confederate gunboats had their work cut out for them this time. Their job was made harder by the Harriet Lane, sensing a quick victory against the land forces, moved astern to join the main firing line:

The gunboats' second round of firing was as effective as the first - 6 hits. That was enough to defeat the Confederate assault and give the Union a victory:

I opted to finish the turn - both Confederate gunboats attacked and destroyed the Harriet Lane, but it was more out of vengeance than anything else. Leaving it burning, they withdrew:

On to the third game. The Union bombardment was, once again, fairly effective, but the the assault was still viable. The Neptune and Bayou City closed on the Union ships, guns blazing:

Then closed with the Harriet Lane and Owasco. Both had their decks swept clean by sharpshooters, but kept fighting on:

Disaster! A hurricane swept in, and destroyed not only all of the ships but the town as well!

In reality I learned that if you play a game with a mounting paper board by an open screen-door, the breeze may be an issue ..

So, three games, with two Union victories and a draw. In fact in some test games earlier today and yesterday the Confederates had a far easier time of it. Really It's a function of the rules, with the gunnery/ramming dice offering a wide spread of possible results. In the games I played today they very much favoured the Union. If their support fire is not so effective then the Confederates can quickly seize the port, and their shore-batteries soon take the fight out of any surviving Union ships.

Still, regardless of the results it was good fun researching, designing and putting together this game. I hope you have enjoyed reading about it.


  1. Dang Blue Bellies!! Nice battle. I like the fire and smoke effect: IMO, it is a simple marker, but very effective!


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