Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Reduction of Fort Powell

Today the Truants met in Tacoma for an Ironclads game.  I decided to build a scenario around the aftermath of Mobile Bay.  It's a semi-historical scenario centered on the reduction of Fort Powell near the southern entrance to the massive bay.
Rhode Island trading shots with Fort Powell.  Rhode Island suffered considerable damage including a level 5 fire, which Dean extinguished just before the ship exploded.
I designed the scenario for five players, and as luck would have it we had six, but that worked out fine.  The Union players, Mark, Dean and Chris had a difficult job.  They had two missions to pull of successfully.  They had three wooden vessels, a sloop and two small 90 day gunboats returning from a mine clearing operation who needed to make it off the south edge of the board, some 64" away.  They also had the monitor Chickasaw, the captured Confederate ram, and wooden vessel Rhode Island that were pounding away on Fort Powell, a brick fort with eight guns.

Confederate forces consisting of the ironclad ram Nashville, the semi-engined Tuscaloosa, and the gunboat Morgan appeared on the north board edge at daybreak, not far behind the retreating minesweepers.  These were run by Scott, Bruce, and Tom respectively. Tuscaloosa immediately began firing on the trailing 90 day gunboat, Huron, and set her afire.  Chris was able to do little as the other two vessels also began effectively shelling her.  Huron caught fire and on turn three sank. The other two wooden vessels also struggled.  Towing small boats that served as minesweepers, Dean and Chris had to decide whether or not to cast them adrift to increase their speed, and hence sacrificing victory points.
Chippewa is madly burning, while the ram Nashville races toward Kearsarge

The same view from a different angle.

With the wooden vessels in danger of being rapidly overrun, Mark, commanding the Union ironclads, chose to pound the fort circling it in a clockwise fashion and effectively silencing Powell's guns as he traveled.  The scenario rules indicated the fort would surrender when six guns were knocked out or their crews killed. Unfortunately his direction of travel took him away from the minesweepers.
Union ironclads are beginning to peek around the corner of Fort Powell.  Nashville is visible in the background

Nashville is headed toward a ram with Kearsarge.  Kearsarge avoided the ram, but the two ships collided with both suffering damage.

 Chris's second 90 day gunboat, Chippewa suffered a fate very like Huron's.  Starting with a small fire, the little vessel quickly absorbed all the Confederates' attention and it sank in a few turns.  Chris had a generally bad day with lousy luck shooting and absorbing fire. Kearsarge, the larger sloop, began to lose guns,  suffered critical steering hits, and just missed being rammed by the massive Nashville. Things looked very bad for the Union minesweepers.

 At about this time, with the fort looking largely subdued, the the monitor Chickasaw emerged from the shelter of the fort and began lobbing 11 inch shells at Morgan.  With the wooden gunboat beginning to take serious damage we agreed to end the game and tally up the losses.

 The Union agreed the wooden minesweepers were likely lost.  The Confederates conceded the fort would surrender and the Morgan probably lost as well.  The ironclads could safely retire.  The fort also did significant damage to Rhode Island, setting her seriously ablaze and doing considerable damage before forcing her to withdraw.  With that, all recognized a minor Confederate victory.

 Though all struggled with the rules at first, everyone eventually seemed to get the hang of it.  However, this may be my last Ironclads game.  I'm looking forward to Sail and Steam Navies and determining whether it is a useful substitute.

I'll be away most of this week in Ellensburg for journalism camp.  Hope to reconnect when I get back.


DeanM said...

Kevin: Thanks for another great game; I think I may be getting the basics of the rules down ;)! Although you may be switching to another set. Best, Dean

The Angry Lurker said...

Very good report, nice miniatures, rules can always be a bit of an issue.