Monthly Archives: September 2012

Sword and Secession – Play Test

We played this game at Jay Stribling’s home in Jackson MS. on September 15, 2012. It was a 25mm Semi-Skirmish game set on the Florida Coast, near the small town of Cedar Key. The rules were a second play-test of The Sword and Secession a variant for Larry Brom’s The Sword and the Flame rules set.

A number of years ago, Mark Stevens and Jay Stribling, on a trip to Tampa Florida, took a side jaunte to the charming little town of Cedar Key on Florida’s coast. While we were there, we visited the local museum, which had information about a Federal Raid during the Civil War, the purpose of which was to destroy a salt producing works. This secnario is the result of that visit.

The Gamemaster for the game was Jay Stribling. The photos and their captions are by Jim Pitts.


Union Marine raiders encounter Confederate militia


Union Marine raiders advance against the Confederate militia defending the salt works. We used a mixture of Union Infantry and some dismounted cavalry from our “Plains Indian Wars” forces, to portray the Federal raiders.


Confederate militia cavalry rides to the succor of the salt works defenders.


Confederate militia cavalry rides to the relief of the defenders. And yes, there are two dark faces among the militia cavalry, either free blacks or armed servants. We made use of gray-clad mounted figures from a number of armies, including irregular horse from the Zulu Wars!

Union Marine raiders advance against Confederate militia defenders of the salt works.


Federal Marines, landed just up the coast, encounter Confederate militia defending one of the outlying buildings of the salt works. In the misty background, another unit of Union raiders is moving onto the battlefield.


Unfortunately the Federal navy was unequal to the task of landing the troops together, right at the town. Apparently they had been confused by strong winds and currents and the boats scattered the landing party up and down the coast. For each unit which arrived at the battlefield, the Union commander had to dice to see where it entered the game table. The navy’s boats were also only able to land two units per turn.

The salt works are under attack from two Union units, one of US Marines (first rank) and the second of sailors


The salt works in the center of the field were threatend by two Union units uner the command of Ed Sansing – shown above. One unit was composed of US Marines (first rank) and the second of sailors (being played, for this game, by British Victorian naval brigade figures). After suffering from the volleys of the two Union units, the Confederate militia defenders morale failed and they fled from the field.

Confederate militia attack the Union Marines. The Southerners failed to close and fell back into the woods.


Bill Hamilton’s Confederate militia charge out of the woods to attack the Union Marine raiders. They would fail their “To close” morale test and fall back into the woods again.

Another unit of Confederate militia, having arrived as reinforcements, exchanges fire with some of the Union Marine raiders.


Another unit of Confederate militia, having arrived as reinforcements, exchanges fire with some of the Union Marine raiders. All of the Confedrate reinforcements (2 milita units were allowed to start on the field) had to come up the road, entring from the exreme Confederate right rear. While the Rebel units were twice the number of the Yankees, they dribbled onto the battlefield.

After advancing closer, the Confederate and Union units trade another volley.


After advancing closer, the Confederate and Union units trade another volley. This time the Confederate attack is supported by a unit of dismounted militia cavalry (right background).


In The Sword and the Flame as well as this variant, 20-sided dice are rolled, one per firing miniature, to determine fire casualties. The brightly colored dice are being pointed to by one of the players: “That’s a hit! – No, you are not reading the dice properly….”

Regular confederate infantry advances to recover the salt works from the Union occupiers.


The single unit of regular confederate infantry advances to recover the salt works from the Union occupiers. They are also supported by a unit of dismounted militia cavalry (left background). Between the two Confederate units, they were able to reduce the Union raider’s strength significantly enough that the Union troops could not complete their destruction of the salt works.


Confederate Player Briefing


The blasted Yankees are landing on the coast to destroy the salt works at Cedar Key. You must stop them. Your forces are four militia cavalry units, two militia infantry units and one unit of regulars that happened to be in the area.

Only two of the militia units may be set up on the battlefield, anywhere that you like. The other units must come on from the edge of the table on the road. You may roll a D6 at the start of each turn. If you get a “1” then you receive no reinforcements. If you get “2 – 5” then one reinforcing unit may come on. If you get a “6” then two reinforcing units may come on, again, on the road.

There are three buildings on the table, all part of the salt works. You must safeguard them all. The enemy will try to destroy them. It will take more than one turn of work, as the vessels in which the salt is rendered are quite sturdy.


And the Winner is…

The result of the game was that the Yankees were too hard-pressed by the constant flow of Southern Militia units to destroy the buildings housing the salt works. Their requirements of “Three turns work by ten men” (unkown to the southern defenders) was too much for the Federals. In the future, the salt works will be more lightly constructed!

New TSATF Rules Variant Play Test

The Jackson Gamers gathered at Jay’s house today, Labor Day, to test a new variant of The Sword and the Flame rules which Jay calls The Sword and Secession.  From the title you would be correct in presuming that it is an American Civil War variant.

As Jay states, “This is an adaptation … for use in gaming the smaller actions and raids during the War of the Rebellion.”  And he further states, “But for every great Bull Run or Wilderness, there were a hundred small cavalry actions, naval landings, and foraging expeditions.”

Continue reading

The (Very) Short Life of a Battle Tech Mech

Today my son ran a Battle Tech game for our group. Even with the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, there were six of us there. The scenario was a gladitorial arena type game where all of us were against each other.

Continue reading