Group game at Johns today using RFF and one of the excellent official scenarios 'Battle of Salems Church' set in May 1863 during Chancellorsville campaign.
Mr P and I commanded the Union forces tasked with attacking the Reb positions around Salem under John and Le Duc (with Stephen yet again taking on umpire role).
Scenario seems tough to win for both sides over course of its 13 turns with Union lacking numbers and punch to take the entire defence line around the church and the veteran Rebs lacking time to beat the arriving Union reserves to the point to threaten (ie get within 12") the Tollgate House position in Union rear.
Union pretty much committed to attack (whilst initially more numerous Reb are fixed in place for 4 turns) and so it transpired with 2 Regiments being sent against central church area which they eventually took (forced out of later).
Mr P advanced on our left engaging the Reb line in a fairly to and fro battle that fell into a sort of stalemate for rest of battle.
On the right I did manage to pierce the Reb position but with only 1 unit (7th New Jersey IIRC) which had to withdraw as soon isolated.
My extreme right was lucky to survive a couple of charges by more numerous Reb units which helped slow their progress.
We played 10 full turns and called it a draw as both sides had several Spent units and whilst Union nearing heavy casualties level and centre close to collapse, the (possibly too cautious ?) Rebs were too far away from the Tollgate objective to advance and then deal with fresh deploying Union Brigade in remaining turns.
Much discussion of the 'Charge with Cold Steel' rule which our ACW experts (Stephen and John) dislike on a purely historical basis if taken literally, but which is I fear part of the dynamic of system and hard to tinker with without potentially upsetting scenario balance and playing time.
I think I performed maybe 16+ charges in the game and at early stage used the 'Charge and Shoot' option with a couple of units but after seeing them repulsed disordered all others were 'Cold Steel' with all subsequently charging home, this seems a more effective tactic to inflict damage on enemy than by shooting with or without a charge (?).
Mr P and the Rebs performed dozens of exclusively 'Cold Steel' charges and only 1 failed to make contact underlining how this tactic is pretty much the default in our games.
As with any rule set there is always some 'problem' (I know others dislike the D10 system) but with RFF I personally find that overall it generates a fun game with plausible outcomes that plays reasonably fast and models the see saw and attritional nature of ACW warfare (at least as I understand it) and is a rule book that is comprehensive, fairly well written and period specific.
It also works well for multiplayer games especially with use of the excellent and numerous published scenarios.
Usual excellent hosting by John and all figures and kit on show from John and Stephens extensive collections.
Initial advance on Union left with Brigade on right about to enter broken ground 'wilderness' area with Union batteries on Tollgate Knoll firing in support
Initial Reb position (fixed in place for 4 turns or Union come to 4") with one Brigade in march column ready to deploy
The two streams/ravines delineated the area Union reserves would appear between.
Quite an extensive area of broken ground on Union right
Salem Church has been 'removed' in centre after capture by Union force with NJ Regt pushing across Reb defence line. Union force to left and right deploy to engage
Closer shot of high point of Union advance before Rebs counterattacked in force
Salem about to be retaken by Rebs as initial Union attack on left is repulsed.
First Union reserve Regt pushes ahead in column. Note several sections of Union batteries low on ammo after throwing excellent number of 10s (a double edged sword effect)
Reb counterattack in full swing across the field.