Fall-In Report: Happy Birthday General Grant by GASLIGHT game

Chris Palmer   Friday night at Fall-In I ran my “Happy Birthday General Grant by GASLIGHT” game, using 25mm figures and GASLIGHT rules.   I had only run this game once before for a friend’s birthday gaming day, so was a little unsure going in to it how it would turn out.  I shouldn’t have worried…

Union Dignitaries, and proud Army Cooks, pose with the huge cake prior to the Confederates crashing the party.

      The set-up for the game is this:  Union Army Cooks have made a huge birthday cake to celebrate General Grant’s birthday, and have shipped it via railroad car to a small town near the front, where a small celebration is being held; with troops on parade, along with the latest steam-powered technology, and assorted honored dignitaries.

The surprise is sprung: Rebel Mole Machines burrow up from the earth, with the Whiskey Wagon right in front of them.

      The Confederates have caught wind of this event, and see it as a golden opportunity; so they plot an assault to break up the celebration.    The game was designed for 6 players, and I got three folks registered who showed up, and was able to corral three HAWKs into filling the empty spaces.

The mobile part of the Rebel force enters from the nearby woods.

      The Confederates were tasked with three objectives: kidnap General Grant,  steal the wagon full of whisky that had been brought to the celebration, and steal the train carrying the cake.   To help them, they had two steam-powered Mole Machines that would allow two thirds of their force to enter very near the Yankee celebration.

An overview of the table as things get underway.

     At the beginning of the game the Confederate players could put their Mole Machines anywhere on their side of the table behind an imaginary line drawn across the table from the top of the corn field on the Rebel left.  They placed the two machines, one right of center and one further right.  They then rolled a scatter d10 for each machine to determine where it actually came up (its tough navigating underground!) and ended up with both of them almost side by side on the far right.   They then were able to disembark one unit per turn.   The remaining third of the Rebel force needed to enter from a woodline along the Confederate table edge.

Rebel troops start to drag away the Whiskey Wagon, as the Wagon Master charges into combat with them.

    With the Whisky Wagon directly in front of them, it became the obvious first target for the Rebels, and both sides began to converge on that area.  From that point on, all heck broke loose.  A rebel unit got its hands on the Whisky Wagon, but the Wagon Master was right there, and charged into them with a vengeance, dropping Rebs left and right.  Nobody was taking his whisky!  This running battle continued for a short while, but then  a bad die roll and a rebel bayonet, and the Wagon master fell.

The Army Cooks melee with the Electro-Cannon crew.

    Meanwhile, the Union Cooks had charged the crew of a nearby Rebel Electro-cannon, and engaged the crew while they were setting up the weapon.  A multi-turn melee ensued.  With one cook, and a cannoneer locked in continual combat for almost the whole game.  Eventually the remaining cook perished when help arrived to aid the cannon crew.

Another table view as the action reaches it’s height. 

      Meanwhile, General Grant had arrived to help regain the Whisky Wagon. Nobody was taking his whisky!  He charged his horse into combat, only to roll a 20 for his Scuffle and so promptly fell off his horse.  The Rebel he was fighting promptly wacked him with his musket butt, knocking him out.  A long battle for control of the unconscious general now developed.

General Grant wades into the fray (in a kepi for a change!)

    As this was going on, the Rebels had the bright idea to bring up an officer in a steam-powered mechanical suit to help pull away the Whiskey Wagon, only to have the mechanical suit fail its Sustain roll right as it reached the wagon. So, it now not only couldn’t pull the wagon, it was blocking the troops that were pushing it.  Eventually the crew from the nearby Rebel Volley Cannon had to come and push the immobile officer out of the way of the wagon so it could continue to be pushed by hand.

The Air Cavalry (and Bicycle Dragoons) to the rescue! (Note the lone Union Cook still meleeing in the lower right of the photo!)

      In the end, the Rebels had gotten the Whisky Wagon safely away, but had lost General Grant to a very strong Lady Zouave trooper in the final moments.  Also, the train crew that the Confederates had brought along to drive the train away, had been ambushed and killed by the Union Dignitaries.  So the game was deemed a Union 2-1 victory.  General Grant ended up with a sore head, and no whiskey for his birthday!

The chaotic scene near the end. 

     I have to say, as a GM, this was one of the most fun GASLIGHT games I have ever run.  A perfect combination of players and events.   The outcome of all the victory conditions was up in the air until almost the end, and the many catastrophes and near-catastrophes made for much hilarity.  I look forward to running this game again at Cold Wars.

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