The first part of our playthrough of Avalon Hill’s Bull Run can be found here.
My dad & my first play through of Bull Run is turning into a big flanking battle: we’re each delivering a strong punch from our right as our lefts collapse. The question is who will deliver the knockout blow first?
We’ve made it into early afternoon and don’t anticipate the battle reaching evening. Bee and Bartow’s brigades were surrounded and routed from hillock just northeast of New Market, but they managed to slow the Union advance just enough to allow a number of highly beneficial pieces to fall in place for the Rebs. EK Smith arrived by train in time to ensure that my camp in Manassas won’t be a gimme. Stuart along with some of Smith’s rear-guard regiments have been able to pick off the union men who got too far ahead of their column. Meanwhile, Longstreet and “Rolling Thunder”(as he will be known hereafter in this alternate universe) Jackson have been making a coordinated push through the woods towards Centerville as Beauregard has ridden out with Ewell to attack the Union HQ from the East.
Early game, Command Path rules did not seem like a huge deal, especially when regiments were being automatically activated by proximity to enemy units. Mid game, this turned into a real game changer. With Confederate troops suddenly eliminated from Henry Hill to Flat Run, the Union commanders suddenly found themselves at a loss for what to do. McDowell had ridden out back across the river down Warrenton Pike to shepherd a desperately needed relief brigade towards Centerville that had four brigades bearing down on it, leaving the bulk of the Union Army without orders. McDowell literally spent two hours riding back and forth while three and a half divisions of Union troops sat with virtually nothing between them and Manassas!
My own issues with Command Path seem rather minor in comparison. With both Jo Johnston and Pete Beauregard respectively leading the charge and flank through the woods south of Centerville, my batteries overlooking Blackburn’s and McLean’s Fords, as well as the infantry guarding the Union Mills Ford, have been left without orders.
“First Bull Run July 21 am” by Hal Jespersen, cwmaps.com CC by 3.0 via Commons
Troop movements from morning until early afternoon. Crosses where Confederate Brigades have been routed. (original image from BGG).
My dad thinks I’ve won. I think he may still have a chance to dislodge Smith if plays a hurry-up offence. I’ve gone for an all or nothing gambit, as there’s no way I can hold that little church (red starred hex, lower portion of 2nd map board from left) for another 10 or so turns. I’m hoping I have enough numbers I can overcome even the relief forces reaching Centerville, but a series of bad rolls could stall me out. We’re already talking about setting up Malta next time we get together, so this game will hinge on the next few turns around Centerville I’m guessing.
One last note, It turns out that there’s very little “rallying” going on. It could just be the way we’ve been playing, but by noon, all of my commanders were too busy driving towards the enemy or too busy being dead/captured/fleeing for their lives to spend a turn rallying a regiment. The great mid-day stall-out of the Union advance gave my dad a chance to pull a few guys from the Rally-box, but the overwhelming majority of guys who go there are probably gone for good.