Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Chancellorsville and Glory II

If there's one thing I love about boardgames, it's setting them up. I may not get through a whole game, but I do like to get the maps on the table, weight them down for a couple of days to sit flat, leisurely put the counters in place (in consultation with appropriate reference works), and then admire the scene. 

I got Richard Berg's Glory II: Across the Rappahannock about ten years ago, I would guess, when I was in Japan. I set up a couple of one-mapper scenarios, but the whole battle of Chancellorsville is a three-mapper, and I didn't have the dedicated space over there to tackle it. 

The first thing you appreciate is that three maps do the terrain justice. Here we are looking from the west towards Fredericksburg, with the Union forces in the foreground converging on Chancellorsville itself.

Moving east, we see Anderson and company digging in around Zoar Zion Church and waiting for support to come up.

On the heights overlooking Fredericksburg, McLaws stays in prepared positions (for the moment, at least).  

Further south, Early observes Sedgwick and his command across the river. 

It is 7:15am on May 1st, 1863: Hooker is at Chancellorsville, the Federals are massing, and the action is about to commence. Shelby Foote provides commentary and atmosphere; we are all set.

With the prospect of playing this out solo in front of me, I re-read the Foote account and traced it out on the map. I planned to come downstairs the next night and start the game.

But I didn't. 

And that is all we got to.

A week later, I still have not started. Back into its box it goes.

It was a nice project to a certain extent, but I'm a touch concerned, looking at the vast numbers of boardgames on my shelves, how little I actually play them. I wonder if this is what my relationship to the meatier boardgames has come to: are they now just a tool to visualise action, rather than to play it out? 

Or maybe I just need to start pulling chits and rolling dice rather than opening my phone!


  1. I don't have a lot of board games, I got Washington's War one Christmas (6 years I think!) and got as far as setting up but yet to play it!

    At least you can appreciate the visuals and art of it. One day the opportunity may present itself to have the full play through!

  2. I’m the same, at least half of the board games I own, I haven’t played and a really big battle is quite daunting for solo play.

  3. Cheers Aaron,
    Would remark that I can empathize and sympathize . . . Although, I have never been to Japan, nor have I purchased the Berg version of Chancellorsville you mention and display in all its boardgame glory. (Our phones can be or are too often a "time suck.")

    Years ago, I had a small collection of boardgames: Avalon Hill and SPI or Strategy & Tactics. Anyway. I wonder if it would be too bold to suggest a Marie Kendo (sp?) approach to your collection?

    I did not visit Little Wars this year (just last weekend), but recall the shocking sticker prices on the boardgames (both new and old) displayed in various booths and on various tables. I do suppose such an investment could be stretched over a number of years and so, justified or rationalized. But . . . This would require setting up and playing at regular intervals. Something that "real life" and again, our phones, seem to conspire against.

    Somewhat related, I have been looking at the WoFun models for ACW (and other periods) and drafting mental wish lists. To be certain, exploring the ACW would be a significant change for me. Also, just to my right, under a stack of other books, I see the paperback of GETTYSBURG - THE LAST INVASION, by Allen C. Guelzo. A very good read.

    I hope this brief and wandering post finds you and yours well. I wish you good gaming, when you get to it.

  4. You are spot on about the malign influence of phones on time to enjoy hobbies. They have a lot to answer for!

  5. Aaron, I am hopeless with boardgames though I only have a few. All sit unused in storage. It is a shame.

    As to Chancellorsville it is I feel a fascinating battle and I suspect hard to replicate on the table either in miniature or perhaps using a boardgame. Simply because of the surprise element. That is at least using two or more players. I suspect it would be extremely rewarding to play solo. I do hope you are able to try it at some time in the future.

  6. Nice looking solo gaming - something I'll likely do a bit of in the future too.

  7. It's a fantastic looking map! Difficult to find the time and phones are a time sink( he says writing this on his phone!) Maybe it's just the solo element and you need an opponent?
    Best Iain caveadsum1471

  8. Sorry to be late on the replies with this one. Still slightly annoyed with myself for not following through and playing out the battle!


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