Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hearts of Tin is back!

A large Confederate division of 4 brigades totalling 16 wargame regiments attacks 8 Yankee regiments. 

Taking advantage of some rain and feeling up to par, I finally managed to turn my attention back to rescuing Hearts of Tin. For me, the key was to keep the aim of the game as different from MacDuff as possible. 

I started out by replaying the same scenario as I used for Charge! but with my 1/72nd ACW troops. I used 2 x 3 stand regiments for each infantry or light infantry unit in the scenario, organized into 4 regiment brigades and scratched down some rules with ranges and moves loosely based on Featherstone and Morschauser, esssentially the first prototype of HofT with no command rules. . Every thing went fine till I got to the melee and wondered how to determine who won, then wondered if I needed to know. My mind went back to the Wargames Digest scenarios I had played with Morschauser's original rules and the question about melee winners which emerged. I decided to let standard morale rules handle it. In other words, regardless of how it was doing, a unit would stand and fight until it broke or the player pulled it back. To my great surprise it not only worked, it removed most of my worst headaches. However, the game lasted less than an hour using just about every ACW figure I had painted as well as some RCW figures filling in the back of the grey clad column. 

After some thought, I replaced the initiative roll with the Pips that I have been playing around with off and on (The Square Brigadier etc). In this case, I rolled for Division Commanders with 1 point being needed to move a Brigadier and any of his units within 6" of him, or 1 detached unit. I also increased the size of the units and reduced the number from 16 to 8. The 3" melee rules once again caused complications so I ditched that again as well. The rules now work very well but the game was still very quick.

Looking at scales, I use 1"=25 yards as a rule of thumb though 1"=30 yds would be more accurate. At that scale my 3 stand units have a 5" front indicating 450 men which is a pretty good average. A 4 stand unit is as large as I could reasonable go without increasing ranges.. 

Decision time, if I want to fight Brigade actions such as Belmont, I need larger regiments with each being a unit in all wargame senses but if I want to fight something up to a Corps sized action, I will need to use Brigades as basic units even if the regiments have an identity. The first choice is the road back to collision between HofT and MacDuff and questions as to why 1/72nd vs  40mm. So the choice is made, lots of small units, 1 scenario unit = 1x4 regiment brigade. A full sized scenario with Corps sized forces with some 40+ regiments per side will probably need a full day's gaming and some scenarios designed for small advance guards and wagon train escorts will be inappropriate but I always have the option of fielding each 3 stand regiment as a scenario unit and playing out those scenarios in under an hour.  If I want larger battles, I will need to go to the alternate CM scale and rearrange my units into 5 stand Brigades.

The only real question is, with 3 stand regiments, is there any reasonable, honourable, way to avoid giving  a flag to every 3rd stand?   I hate doing flags and I'll need to convert every one of the standard bearers!   I wonder if I get away with 1 flag per brigade?  .

The rules are once again posted at left.

One HofT version of Picket's Division at Gettysburg. Three Brigades each of 4 regiments of 4 stands. The line would stop at the crack in the table if using 3 stand regiments, leaving room for Pettigrew on the other half of the table. 


  1. These look my kinda rules! I may give them a go with my Napoleonics.

  2. ...and I'm going to give them a go with my ACW....

    1. Steve, they may be a bit generic after RF&F but they are very tinkerable. I'll look forward to reading how it goes and what you think bad as well as good if you do try them.

  3. Hmmm, I think that I'll have to convert more from McDuff than HofT now for what I want . . . but that's okay.

    -- Jeff

  4. Impressive - although flags can be a pain they are worth it I think.

    1. Yes I was looking at your flags and at the empty poles on some of mine and thinking that I need to get on with it.

  5. Hi Ross.
    4 flags per brigade x max 8 brigades for the attacker, x 2 (because either side could be the attacker).
    Thats 64 flags. That is quite a pile of flags to make.
    It might be worth running several more playtests first to make sure you have found the unit size you want to stick with for a good while (with lots of pics and full battle reports, of course).

    Agenda? Me? what agenda?


    1. John, I only have 12 regiments aside painted so there's also another 40 regiments or 480 figures to paint up, or 736 if I go for 4 stand units. Sort of puts it into perspective when looked at that way. Suddenly adding 60 flags doesn't seem like the biggest issue.

      Could take a while though.

      Anyway the winter campaigning season will soon be upon me. Let the snows fly! More time to paint and more time to play.