Monday, December 29, 2014

Gettysburg Devils and Details

At last things are quieting down. The rattle of dice and moans of low rolling commanders have died away. Actually, I'm not sure why I thought there would be quiet time during the holidays for me to sneak off to my room for several hours to play a game but in any event I managed it a turn or 2 at a time averaging about 10 minutes a turn or around 2 hours to play 12 turns. Less on the early turns or when everyone was committed, a bit more when I was uncertain about when to commit reserves or risk a renewed assault. Once again the result was fairly close to the original battle which probably indicates my failure to come up with a better plan. Mind you once again the Yankee die rolling caused unnaturally high casualties on the Rebs making it a narrow Reb victory rather than a decisive one.

Heth's boys go in around 10:30.
It felt really good to see the boys out in their normal units and I decided the rules would be adapted if necessary to keep it that way even if they were now Brigades rather than Regiments. I like having the 20's organized to do something different than the 40's so this will stick with a certain amount of OS fudging of scale to fight bigger and smaller battles. A small battle with a few divisions aside will make for a quick 1 hour game while as large a battle as can be squeezed onto my table would fill an afternoon or evening.

Here they come again! After rallying,  Heth's boys attack again  Seminary Ridge and bounce as Pender arrives but they do have a foothold on Macpherson Ridge. 
The supernumeries I based up last year, buglers, drummers, nco's etc threw me for a loop as I had redone the rules in a way that they didn't have a role and there was a moment or 2 of hesitation before deciding that I liked them too much to not use them and decided to add them as a gimmick for gamers to play with, a use and discard advantage for units to use at an appropriate time, 1 for regulars, 2 or 3 for elite/crack/veteran units.

Kinch's  errr sorry.... Rodes's.. Division deploys and attacks.
I'm not used to writing rules or thinking about at this level of battle, actually I'm not that familiar with playing games at this level either despite a year of Fire& Fury  and a fair amount of Volley & Bayonet 15 years ago and a handful of others over the years. My scale hat was constantly elbowing my game hat until it got almost violent at times. Eventually though compromises began to surface so, for example, there are some rather long ranges and after banishing post combat advances as being at an inappropriate scale I had to put them back in to satisfy expectations. On the whole they are back very close to past versions of the Square Brigadier but better.
The Yankee line fights hard but holes appear  just as Early's men appear on an off camera  corner of the table
Seeing the 3 stand regiments was too big a temptation and I hurriedly rewrote the rules into an older format based on stands not units. It worked OK but required more and more changes until the idea of a common format was lost without being so different as to be easy to remember. I made time to undo things so that the portable and full versions would use the same rules, the visual effect being the main difference and the various gridded games will have a similar format with era and scale specific differences. This will make it easy for me to switch between rules and periods relying on a combination of different troop and weapon types, scales and scenarios to give each of the collections their own flavour. Currently, long term, that will be 25mm Medieval/fantasy, 40mm  War of 1812 (small battles), 1/72nd ACW (battles)  and 40mm/1/72nd  late 19th/early 20th C. (Tabletop Teasers) .

They're Runnin'!  The Yankee first line disintegrates but there are reserves and the fighting has not been one sided. Hill's Corps is pretty much exhausted as well.  
All that remains now is to fix up some corps commander stands and add some more Division commanders to replace borrowed cavalry, add some missing flags, organize the artillery parks into something more user friendly and attractive than the current mix of huge stands or loose figures, and get the cavalry sorted and make more fences. Then I can think about adding another 300 infantry for the big battles :)..  

Early's men charge in and blow the line back through Gettysburg but as they hit the tattered remnants of the first line, regrouping in town, the dice desert them and the fight bogs down. They'll take the town but not until after the Union XII Corps has arrived.  
But first a last Gathering of Hosts game, probably on New Year's Eve leaving the next Toy Soldier game till next year.


  1. Ross Mac,

    I really like the look of this. It has the feel of a much larger game than it actually is (in terms a figure numbers and table size), and is visually very impressive. As you know, I am trying to produce my own set of basic rules that can be quickly and easily adapted to a range of different historical periods, and your progress continues to encourage me to pursue my goal.

    All the best,


    1. Yes even this game isn't really very big, around 4ft x 4ft but it could easily have been played on a card table with smaller grid squares and smaller figures or even with a few larger figures per unit. The look would change but the game would not. and it all goes back to the Portable Wargame really.

  2. A fantastic looking game - why oh why did I ever get rid of my Airfix figures ?!?!?!

    1. Temporary insanity. How did I miss that you were blogging again but at a different url?

  3. I am ravished about this colorful scenery, Ross, even I am always more for the Continentals than for the British, I like their coats and details. Heavy skirmish in the first picture - directly in front of the guns...
    A happy new year to you and yours!

  4. That's a very fine looking table Ross. From your description of the game, it has the right feel about it for an ACW game.

  5. Hello Ross,

    I've been house-bound for the last couple of days with some disgraceful man-flu or other and have used the time to read though your surprisingly large number of posts on the ACW. It's been a real pleasure to re-visit the evolution of your ideas and I have enjoyed your style of writing very much.

    I've been inspired to dig out my own ACW troops and look critically at them in the light of what you've been writing.

    Many thanks,


    1. Thanks Greg, but remember, the flu does affect one's judgement.....