A couple of years ago I read US Grant's Civil War Memoirs and the campaigns leading up to Vicksburg left me with a prolonged itch to fight an operational level ACW game pushing divisions and corps about. A mini-campaign on a table. Eventually this faded to a faint background itch.
So what have I done now? Now I'm reading Sherman's Memoirs. (Available free from the Gutenburg Project for those who don't mind reading electronic media.) To my mind this is an even better memoir even though the civil war is only part of it. He seems to go into more detail and does a better job of explaining why he did various things and how things happened, how the battles were fought and so on, including lots of personal vignettes as well as copies of official reports, orders and letters. He even manages to make the near siege of Atlanta interesting. Previously I saw this primarily as two entrenched forces sniping at each other with the occasional pointless assault. Now it makes sense and has exciting decisions and problems if you go high enough and wide enough.
All of which would be bested handled as an old fashioned map campaign with lots of details and paper work with supplies and raids and with battles fought on tabletop. I know where I could steal some ideas to start with but I'm not ready to go there this year. The smaller actions, and there are many of them, especially along the lines of supply, are suitable for conventional wargames but the major actions with a front of miles need something a little off the beaten track though Volley & Bayonet using the half scale and a large table could work.
It is tempting though to think about something a bit different. My mind comes back to something Portable Wargame inspired with 1 stand = a brigade, activation pips perhaps by Corps and 1 turn= an hour or maybe 1/2 hour with night turns of 8 - 12 hours depending on the season so that multi-day engagements could be fought. The simple 1 die roll combat would be either ranged representing a mix of artillery and skirmishers to basically pin and engage the enemy or an assault which could destroy units or force retreats. LOC and supplies would need a role as would generals.The sort of thing where one probably ought to use 6mm or smaller figures, maybe 10's but which will have to make do with 20's since I've sold most of my 15's and I'm not starting an ACW collection in a 4th scale (1 man 54mm Brigades on a map might be an idea though since I have lots of those.)
I'm up to the March To The Sea so hopefully I can soon put this back out of my mind and onto the back burner. Probably best if I don't start on the Second Sikh War book that I waiting. Its in that same operational realm. Perhaps Experiences of an English Volunteer in the Mexican War will be closer to the mark and less distracting.
EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)
"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."
-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013
Monday, July 23, 2012
Reading can be dangerous to your sanity
Born and raised in the suburbs of Montreal, 5 years in the Black Watch of Canada Cadets, 5 years at the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean followed by 4 in the navy. 25 years with CPC in IT simultaneous with 23 years running a boarding kennel. Inherited my love of toy soldiers from my mother's father. Married with a Whippet, 10 Italian Greyhounds, 4 cats and a bird. Prematurely retired and looking forward to leisure to game, garden and sculpt in our 150 yr old farmhouse.