On 24 February Matt, Ian and I played a game of Longstreet, using a scenario based on Yellow Tavern, available here. It only focuses on the first stage of the battle, when Lomax's Brigade was assaulted by Devin and two of Custer's regiments as he stood facing West along the Telegraph Road. We chose this because as the battle progressed, the Federals came to outnumber the Confederates by more than two to one. They still had the advantage in the first stage but not by so much. Also, we don't have the figures for a bigger fight. As it was, I was painting Federals late into the previous evening.
The battle began with the Federals trying a wide outflanking attack on their right, while pinning the Rebels to the front with Custer's regiments. But the main attack went too wide and lost contact with the Federal left. This allowed Matt, commanding the Rebels, to bring his only reserve regiment out to maul the Federal left before the main Union attack struck home or was able to help out. The Confederate reserve then turned about face and went back to improve the odds against the Federal right.
The result was a decisive win for the Confederates. Of course, as Federal numbers grew there would have been no option but to withdraw to join Wickham as happened on the day, but within the confines of our slice of the battle, the Federals were whipped.
This was an absorbing game and one of the smallest we have played with Longstreet. But it was every bit as challenging as others we have played and a reminder that more units don't necessarily make for a better game. Once again, the rules provided a clean, fast-moving game with plausible actions and a clear outcome. Would a more detailed rules set represent cavalry combat more faithfully? Perhaps. But as with other Sam Mustafa systems, the elegance of Longstreet is its capacity to provide period flavour and tactical choices without bogging down in chrome and spurious detail.
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