Friday, July 27, 2012

Bull Run - Interim Report

After several hours of hard fighting the Rebels have finally been pushed back onto Henry House Hill 

The changes proposed in the last post helped a lot but the number of dice was an issue and assault combat still didn't feel right so I thought a while and reset the game again. This time, I tried the following:
1 PIP die for each Army or Corps General, in this case 1 per side.
Each other General gets 1 PIP to use on his own troops, + what the General shares.
1 PIP to move or shoot with 1 unit or battleline.
2 PIP if no General within 3 hexes.
Each turn is 15 - 20 minutes. 

Artillery may shoot with 2 dice at up to 3 hexes or move or rally
Infantry may shoot with 1 die at 2 hexes or move.or rally
Any unit adjacent to the enemy fights with 2 dice for all units. No PIP needed. Non active player rolls first then the active player.

Shooting: @ 5,6 hits.
Assault: @ 4,5,6 hits.

If shooting at Cover or if attacking uphill or over an obstacle in assault: cancel 1 hit per attacking unit.
Infantry and artillery can take 3 hits, cavalry can take 2.

A unit taking more than 1 hits must take at least 1 but may cancel 1 additional hit for each hex they retreat 

Rally. A unit not in an enemy fire zone may try to remove a 2nd hit. 4,5,6 to remove. +1 if general present.
A unit cannot remove the first hit.
That worked much better and gave an interesting, fairly fast paced game with reasonably believable results.

However, I'm not sold on PIPS or the straight Igo-Ugo. I have tried PIPs a couple of times in the past and they do have an attraction as a game mechanism but they can have a big negative impact without explanation. Plus the turns seemed to rattle back and forth so fast when pips were low that it was hard to keep track, it all became a blur.

One option I am thinking about is to use the card activation system from the current Hearts of Tin with 1 card per General + 1 card per 3 units + 1 joker (chance card). That way the game is interactive but if scattered an army will not be able to activate every unit every turn and the general will have to choose.

I also couldn't help but think while the grid was convenient, a non-gridded game would make it easier to adjust the strength of Brigades.

But I'm done for tonight. I'll decide tomorrow whether to finish the PIP game or reset a 3rd time and try the cards.  At least I'm happy with the combat system now.


  1. But do you find it as much fun as "Hearts of Tin"?

    -- Jeff

  2. Fun? No but it wasn't really meant to. I was looking for a game with simple mechanics but one allowing me to do some slightly more 'serious' gaming when the mood struck by tackling entire ACW battles.

    Before I'm done with Bull Run though, I intend to run through it using a scaled down version of HofT for comparison.