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I paint small metal and plastic figures and rarely get to play with them. But that is fine with me.

26 April 2016

My first game of Longstreet

I found out about Longstreet via the excellent blog by the Mad Padre and his wonderfully written and flavourful battle reports.

Longstreet is arules set by Sam Mustafa for battles of the American Civil War. It’s a little different from your regular run-of-the-mill wargames rules set in that it uses both a dice mechanic to hit & damage and a card deck to make different things happen, modify dice rolls and/or just mess completely with your opponent’s turn in general. I played yesterday with my mate Stewart for our first time through with the rules using our (WIP) 15mm miniature collections – Stewart playing the Federal troops in their fine Blue uniforms and myself as the Confederate rebels in their motley browns and greys.

*Due to our limited (for now) ACW miniature collections, white foamcore was cut to the basing size as proxied regiments. Apologies.*

We decided to set our game in 1863 as it would be the most balanced of the years from the Civil War, meaning ruleswise that neither had any real advantage over the other. It was a learning game afterall and we just wanted to try to learn the basic mechanics of the rules. Each force was made up of 4 infantry regiments of 10 stands each, a 3 gun artillery battery of 2x 6-pounders and a howitzer and a Cavalry Regiment of 8 stands. (These force lists are also the same starting armies used in Longstreet’s campaign rules – which we certainly plan to get started…sometime in June I believe.)

The table was set up right out of the book using the Meeting Engagement scenario, with a road running diagonally from one corner to the other, a couple of forests, a corn field and a hill. We then chose to draw 3 terrain cards or choose a fence/wall, etc or a mixture of them and added a couple extra features. In this case, we added more fences and a small swampy area.

The game took a while as we had a little rules searching to do throughout, but the basics were easy enough to pick up and the card deck really added a lot of flavour. We did forget some of the rules, like when Heroes are added and so forth, but we had a blast anyhow. I’m excited to get another game in!

Per usual, instead of rambling on turn-by-turn, here’s pictures from the game with a caption or seven to tell you what went on. Next update will be in the following couple of days, as I’ve just the basing to do on that second regiment before it’s called “done”.

My brave boys set up in their deployment zone. We both start with our cavalry and 2x infantry regiments on the field with our artillery batteries limbered up on the road for faster travel. The General mini is just there for fun as there are no rules for General miniatures in Longstreet, figuring they are far too small a unit at this scale to require a miniature to represent them.

Stewart's Union boys at the opposite corner of the table with a suspiciously similar setup.

This is the 2nd turn. Nothing interesting to see here aside from some small maneuvering and then we get some reinforcements. (I bring on only one of my regiments - the ugly white bases.)

Stewart's Union blues marching up the road, his Artillery heading to the hill for better vantage, BOTH of his reinforcing infantry regiments are on, one in column making it's way up the road quicksmart.

Artillery on the hill. I was scared of it, until we realised that artillery doesn't shoot as far as one might hope, so they later had to limber up again and redeploy to a place with better lines of sight. And in range.

My artillery are set up on the road, figuring that it's better to wait out the Federal forces and pelt them as they advance. Yeah, that was the plan anyhow - only one gun ended up having clear line of sight and my dice were uncooperative and quite possibly paid off by Federal sympathizers. 

More fire as the Northern infantry advance. 

My fast moving cavalry dismount in order to hold the left flank and unload their carbines into the Union regiment marching along the corn field. 

The Feds get closer, opening themselves up to all of my cannons. My dice are still traitorous.
The Federal return fire from their massed rifles is murderous.

My own infantry regiments are now engaging in rifle fire with the enemy. On the right here, Stewart's dismounted cavalry (The right-most white bases) duel with a regiment.

My last infantry regiment snakes along in column behind my artillery to help my now seriously diminished cavalry on the left side.

In the center, I start charging the federal lines, pushing them back!

This leads to some rough point blank shots.

My regiment in column is in position. This turn then leads me to drop a card on  Stewart that forces him to have to discard d6 cards from his hand (A hand is never more than 6.) and.... I roll a 6! This means he has no cards to activate his phases and so effectively misses a turn. 

So my turn again and I play a card that allows my regiments to change formation and then maneuver/charge. My infantry do this, then charge Stewart's boys in the corn field against the fence and my dice roll like champions fully sweeping his regiment from the field!

With stalemates on the right flank and the middle all back and forth, we count our losses and realise that I've won! The Northerners are forced to retreat from the field of battle and the Southerners lick their wounds. A victory, but a costly one 25-19 stands lost the final tally.

Stewart's "Dead Box"

And my own (Ignore the mounted figs top right - I had no where else to put them!)
In honour of this famous first victory, we supped some fine English whiskey, hosted by our resident bartender, Bert.


  1. Sounds like a great game...I do like games that use card decks to add twists!

    1. The cards really made the difference on this game. Fun to bugger over your opponent's plans at the last minute!

  2. English whiskey ? I'm pulling a face. No, not that one. There, that one.

    1. The one smiling with wanton whiskey desires I'm hoping? (The distillery is not far from my Mum's in Norfolk. It really is good stuff.)

    2. There's a place e in Norfolk called Long Stratton. It pretty much means 'Long Street'. Just sayin'...

    3. I've been there too. Not much to see really. Aside from a stretch of road. :)

  3. It certainly sounds like you had a top time with the rules Dai, and they made the game enjoyable for the pair of you - always a good sign. Plus you won as an added bonus :-)

    1. Always good to win! Though more games ahead and losses in a campaign count, so this even affair will turn into something altogther trickier for us when we take to the field again!

  4. A great game! I've Been looking forward to this for a while, seems like you had a good time of it.

    How does the morale work? Is it a warhammer-style 'morale check' that results in your men running away, or a more graduated affair with intermediate effects like shock and hesitation?

    1. Ed, I'll reply to your question via email. Far easier.

      Cheers mate.

  5. A good insight into the rules and card driven games tick my box.
    I think Bert needs to stock up with some good ole Southern Whiskey for the victors.

    1. I'd say you were right, if I could drink the stuff. So sweet...

  6. Looks like a great time!

    Out of interest (having never played any black powder stuff) is the smoke simply decorative or is it part if the mechanic?

    1. It denotes when a unit shoots so one can remember you cant also use them to charge that turn as well.