Monday, 1 July 2013

Gettysburg 150 Project MegaGame - Day 1

From Friday 28th June to Sunday 30th June, 17 Australian wargamers replayed the 3 days of Gettysburg to commemorate the 150th anniversary of that Battle of 1-3 July 1863. 
 The game was played in a suitably grand manner! We used over 4,500 28mm model soldiers, and the action ranged over 240 square feet of professionally modelled terrain, reset for each days action to suit that particular scenario.  Reaching across an 8 foot wide table was facilitated by stepped platforms allowing players increased height to reach across.

The mega game was a little under a year in the planning, with monthly games held to hammer out consensus and play test local adjustments to the Black Powder rules, and to decide on scenarios which were both playable and historical. And lots of painting, and terrain making, went on. And on!

Scenario design is not as easy as it sounds with Gettysburg. How do you persuade the Confederate Team to attack superior numbers over highly defensible terrain?

You want us to do what?!

Well our solution, at least in the preparations and playtesting, was two fold - give the Confederate Regiments an additional pip of stamina, and force any Union infantry they charge to have to take a break test - our 'Rebel Yell' special rule.

 The other aspect to try to discourage the Rebs from benefiting from 20/20 hindsight was ask both teams to conform to historical moves and strategies for the first 4 moves of each day, after which freeplay would be allowed....
Any Infantry Unit subject to the spine chilling 'Rebel Yell' would have to  pass a break test to stand....
For Day 1, essentially a meeting engagement, this seemed to work reasonably well, and it was just a question of researching where and when troops arrived.   
Heth's Boys looking for shoes...

With our resources we were just able to represent each and every Regiment and Battery involved, albeit on a 1:20 figure scale, with most Regiments averaging 24 figures.

So the troops arrived historically, and fought historically for the first 4 moves, as agreed. Of course I wasn't privy to the Confederate plan, but whatever Jason, Bobby Lee for the weekend,  cooked up was steadily put into put into effect by the team on Day 1...
Jason urges caution - he doesn't want a major action until the army is united - but check out the body language!
I Corps March On

East towards Herr Ridge

And then it all went horribly wrong as our irrepressible US Cavalry commander just had to mount up his Regiments, which until that point had been doing a tolerable job of forcing the Rebs to deploy.

Mounted Charge! Umm...
His mounted attacks met with the sticky end that such tactics deserved! His club nickname of 'Rommel', has now changed....

XI Corps fending off the Rebels N of Gettysburg
to 'Custer'!
I Corps swing left to shore up the Cav...will they get there in time?
 However, an exhilarating and nail biting game for the Union Defenders, at least, as I and XI Corps raced to try and establish a credible defence North of Gettysburg. And, as Union CinC for the Day, I can honestly say - we failed!
Lions led by donkeys?
By the time we had stabilised a line along the XI Corps Front against  Rodes and Early, the Confederates had established a huge massed battery all along Herr Ridge, which was just beginning to find the range of our I Corps.  
Confederate Guns about to enfilade I Corps...
Time to withdraw to the Fishhook Position!
I and XI Corps flanked and about to be rolled up!Time to leave....

One regrettable aspect of this scenario was that many of the Confederate team pretty much spent the whole day marching, deploying, reforming march column, deploying, etc! Still, their efforts were crowned with victory, and it certainly got their danders up for Day 2!
Hell Boys! Shure could use some movement trays!
Day 2 presented more of a scenario conundrum. Would we stick to a historical refight, and force the Confederate players to spend most of the day marching and counter-marching? Or would we allow free play from their dawn positions? 
Day 2 - The view out across Devils Den and the Wheatfield to the Peach Orchard - those Rebs sure do like their marchin'!


  1. A very impressive looking game. Well done!

  2. Awesome looking game. Great to see what a club can put together with a project in mind.

  3. Wow - very impressive - great photography too. Dean

  4. Great was truly a wonderful weekend....thanks Sparker for being the driving force behind it....Jason

  5. Dearest Mr Sparkles

    Another impressive panoply of a well executed large refight. Bravo and top marks to that man and his team.

    And extra marks for the period head gear and extra bonus marks for the gentleman at the end of the table in the top photo for his period beard.

    I'm looking forward to the Day 2 report ... and am earnestly hoping for an improved effort from the Union commanders! 8O)

    There is a similar refight in Christchurch this coming weekend. It will be interesting to compare the two efforts.

    von Peter himself

  6. Excellant table, terrain and figures. I would have loved to have been there

  7. Great looking game, table and mini's Sparker, looking forward to the rest.


  8. impressive guys,

    Very annoyed I could not make it........


  9. Very very impressive guys. Great looking terrain and troops!

  10. Fabulous battlefield and great pics!!

  11. Thank you all very much Gentlemen for your kind comments.

    Needless to say I can only take credit for the coordination work. Everybody contributed something, and it was good to see that those that were unable to furnish model troops put in extra efforts with helping Matt with the terrain, for example!