By Claude Whalen:
Anyone can be a hero in this game, not just Sickles!
McLaws unleashes Barksdale at 5:20 pm and he slams into the Peach Orchard under, what else, an Attack Order. Defensive Fire stops the 17th MS but the 13th and 21st MS hit the Union artillery and its infantry support. As the smoke starts to clear, Bucklyn has been eliminated, the 2nd NH is on the Break Table #2 and Clark’s guns flee one hex. A “Rebel Yell” chit allows the 21st MS to finish the job. Clark is eliminated, the 141st PA panics and retreats 2 hexes. A “Confident” chit allows the 21st MS to deplete the 141st PA and force them back another two hexes. Barksdale has three battleworn regiments but he has turned the Union’s left flank!
By 6:40 pm Barksdale has rebuilt his forces with “Regroup Orders” and the “Rally Round the Flag” chit. Once again, McLaws lets Barksdale off the leash and the Union carnage begins anew. The opening volley depletes the 120th NY and they flee two hexes. An all out charge puts the 57th/191st/105th PA on the Break Track and depletes the 12th NH (not enough bullets to maim everyone). Once again, the “Confident” chit is ideal for Barksdale and he uses it to cause the 63rd PA to flee, which allows him to capture Trostle Farm.
At 7:20 pm, Longstreet finishes rebuilding all of Barksdale’s units and the current “Minor CSA Victory” looks like it could become a rout. At that moment of near victory, a bullet hits Old Pete (probably fired by General Early). To make matters worse, the first chit drawn in the 7:40 pm turn is the “Fog of War” and now McLaws is hit. The ANV is in crisis and I comment to my fellow playtesters that “they (CSA) will be lucky to keep their “Minor Victory”.
Barksdale will not accept that and he leaves his men with orders to hold Trostle Farm “to the last MAN” (Chamberlain stole the line). Barksdale rides over to Anderson and tells him, “there is no tomorrow (at least in this game), crush them NOW”. Who is going to argue with a man waving a sword with his long white hair flowing like a mane? Anderson obeys and sends in Wright and Wilcox on successive chit pulls. The 71st/72nd PA are finished off in the attack.
At 8:20 pm, Anderson can still hear Barksdale’s commands ringing in his ears so he continues to send men in every chance he gets. Posey charges the Union guns at Codori Farm but veers away at the last moment to crash into Hays’ supporting infantry. Posey suffers from supporting defensive fire (those powerful artillery units) but he manages to capture the Emmittsburg Road exit hex for more victory points. Anderson also sends Wright in and he pushes his way through the Union line to the edge of Trostle Thicket. Hays’ chit is pulled, he activates Smyth and launches a desperate counterattack to recapture the Emmittsburg Road entry hex and save the Union guns at Codori Farm from being flanked. Posey looks doomed but a “Command Confusion” chit is played and Symth’s assault becomes a “Maneuver Order”, which allows the CSA to keep the Victory Point Hex and just inch into a “Major CSA Victory”. “Blowtorch” Barksdale has saved the day (as an aside, he challenges Sickles to a saber duel that night and chops Dan’s leg off).
I have played this scenario multiple times and the chaos factors have made every play different. I was sure that the CSA was in trouble when Longstreet and McLaws went down but as you can see, I was absolutely wrong. As a solo player, the system allows me to play the scenarios/game knowing what both sides want to do but I truly cannot be sure that any plan will actually come to fruition. I want to keep trying different approaches and the game allows me to play it over and over again without getting into a strategic rut. Since I first started playing Gettysburg games in 1972 (Avalon Hill), one would think that I would grow tired of the same old battle but games like this one keep me coming back for more!
[“Longstreet Attacks: the Second Day at Gettysburg” is designed by Hermann Luttmann and will be published by Revolution Games. It is the same game as the one known as “Hammerin’ Sickles,” when it was on GMT’s P500 list. It will be available in 1Q18. – Fred]