Ballamoy: The Fight For Control

In solo play I have one side (the Irish Insurgents in this case) more or less programmed and generally play the other side to win. BUT, as I’ve said elsewhere, I still operate in two minds and try to make the best decisions I can for both sides. It is almost like playing two games for the price of one.

At this point the two Catholic forces have specific objectives (and constraints). O’Neill on the left is to capture as many fleeing civilians as possible (and score points in doing so) but is to essentially follow the road to the Northern board edge. O’Donnell on the right has the objective of securing (and holding) Ballamoy. His maneuver possibilities are severely constrained by the terrain, however.

As the Anglo/Scots Protestant defender my goal is to get as many civilians off the north edge of the board as possible. I will get double points for each non-combatant piece that successfully does so (but none for any left on the board at game’s end). Holding Balleyeasca is a secondary objective.

The Irish won the initiative and opened the attack quickly:

Balleyeasca Mid turn 8On the Irish right, O’Donnel is bringing his units out of the narrow confines of the church yard and down toward the village. O’Niell has his St.Patrick’s company open fire on Driscoll’s Derry company (with no effect) and St. Bridgit’s, attempting to pass through the low walls protecting Ballamoy was first halted and then broken by several smashing volleys from Driscoll’s musketeers. St Columba’s (who had not been engaged in the initial fighting) has successfully topped the wall and engaged Babbington’s company (whose hasty defensive fire was useless).

The Insurgents cross the wall

The Insurgents cross the wall

Having been caught trying to deploy along the wall, Babbington is forced into melee but does mange to get a second line formed to prevent the insurgents from driving between him and Driscoll’s force. The civilians continue to make good progress toward safety.

Although managing to push back the Irish assault, Babbington (still in overall command) recognizes that holding Balleyeasca may be a lost cause. An entirely fresh Irish force (O’Donnell) is about to arrive so he orders Driscoll to the north end of the village, followed quickly by his own company. His goal now is to assure that all the civilians are safely north and that his diminishing command might join them soon after. With the help of three successful actions for both of his wings, he is now in a well-formed defensive line at the end of town:

Balleyeasca end of turn 11

By the end of turn eleven Babbington is holding his own but most of his company is disrupted and, although he sees that the Irish are beginning to encircle his flanks, he can no longer disengage. Driscoll correctly views the situation as a lost cause and withdraws to near the bridge to continue to cover the civilians’ retreat.

Now being attacked from his left Babbington can only watch in horror as the fresh warriors of O’Donnell crash into the front of his wavering line:

Babbington's Last Stand

Babbington’s Last Stand

Babbington’s remnant is quickly overwhelmed and himself captured.

By the end of the thirteenth turn the Insurgents have gained full control of Ballamoy and Driscoll, now in sole command of the Protestant armed resistance, has positioned the Derry Garrison company at the bridge crossing to thwart any attempt at taking the remainder of the fleeing civilians (most have already successfully escaped). In this position his men will be able to deliver heavy volleys at any Irish foolish enough to pass through the narrow defile between the muddy fields:

Balleyeasca end of turn 13

For all intents and purposes the game is over BUT a game ending condition has not as yet been reached. The Irish hold the church (15 points) and the village (30 points) but have captured no civilian (non-combatant) prizes. If all the civilians get off the board (which ends the game) the Protestants will win on points. The other way to end the game is to destroy the remaining Protestant unit before that happens OR capture the remaining civilians.

O’Donnell can not move his forces more than one moves north of Ballamoy (his goal of securing the village has already been achieved after all ) and Driscoll is a bit farther away. O’Niell, whose forces have done all the heavy lifting and taken all the casualties, implores O’Donnell to clear the stream crossing so he can continue the pursuit. A fifty-fifty die roll decided the issue – O’Donnell will continue the attack! (which I will report in the next post)