Saturday, July 20, 2019

Tramp, Tramp, Tramp ("Here they come agin")

Its a hot, muggy, summer week, in excess of 30C in the shade, a wargamer could imagine himself in southern Pennsylvania in July 1863. 

From 2015
Too hot to work but with the heat pump, not too hot to play inside. Time to plan and set up  a  battle, not a skirmish but a battle with the table full of troops. Time to revisit the ACW.

Before I do though, I'm going to spend time doing some organizational work such as recording names of commanders and regiments, marking stands again to ID regiment and brigade for ease of set up and pack away. The Commanders and Regiments will not necessarily be given strictly historical names nor will they be restricted to fighting in the battles that their namesakes fought in. These are after all Wargame (or Toy) armies!

I'm also going to revisit my ACW rules given that the forces in hand are now expecting to be reinforced over the next few years. In preparation, I've been rereading old rules and old posts under the ACW label to review what I've tried, what I liked and didn't and so on and crossed that with some recent thinking about what I like and want.

What I have decided is:

  • I want something quick and easy to play which will allow me to eventually drop more than a 1,000 1/72nd figures on an extended table and play a battle to a conclusion within 4 or so hours or to play a small game in 2 hours.  
  • I want the ability to add a little bit more detail, character and variability in troop and commander capablity to the rules without losing the simplicity of play. 
  • It HAS to work with what I've got. NO unit reorg or rebasing!

The bottom line is that the I expect the result to be effectively a descendent of Hearts of Tin with the following general features:

a) Standard Units will be my existing 3 stand "Regiments" of infantry and cavalry and 1 stand artillery batteries. Larger and smaller units will be allowed.

b) Off grid. As convenient as the grid can be, it can also be inconvenient such as when maps and historical dispositions don't fit the grid or when the gridded table is being shared between collections with different scales, basing, organization and terrain. Standardization across my collection seemed to be the cure to the second issue but while I approved the theory, I hated the side effects on period feel when I attempted implementation. A selection of game mats would be an option but not one I want to rely on right now.

c) Initiative Card deck used to determine initiative, track turns and trigger Events when desired. (My usual these days.)

d) Variable Length Moves. Back to 2d6 infantry moves etc as in the days of MacDuff and Hearts of Tin. Simple and effective chaos.

e) Dice per stand to hit/miss. This is back to Hearts of Tin. As much as my brain approves of Charge or Featherstone style shooting dice where the number rolled is the number hit, I prefer the Morschauser/WRG 1685-1845 system of a handful of dice to hit or miss, possibly including the WRG '6 = 2 hits' for close range volleys. This may mean a simple 'shooting vs target' table rather than a list of die modifiers.

f) Mutual Charge/Melee resolution. As per Hearts of Tin, Square Brigadier etc

g) Simple Morale Check for heavy casualties, losing melee or trying to rally. The same one I've been using recently, with or without any period tweaks.

Looks simple enough when put like that.

 from 2016


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. No it wasn't! and yes that is a lot of Tramps!

    2. Oh and this is the comment blogger deleted then blamed it on me.
      "That's a lot of tramps! (sorry, someone had to say it)

      Sounds like you have a good plan. I hope it doesn't go agley. "

  2. A very atmospheric first photo. All very interesting, I like the idea of seeing 1000 troops on your table and the moving to hits and misses on the dice. I am also doing a bit more with gridless and I quite enjoy the change.

    1. After so many years of mostly planning small solo games, its a mind twist dealing with a bigger game again.

  3. Great photos, I'm looking forward to seeing more!

  4. My Airfix acws are cheering in their box files! They haven’t had an outing for ages, maybe this could be the catalyst...

    1. They are very patient lads. Some of these have known quiet stretches that were decades long.

  5. Airfix ACW - the first figures I gamed with about 50 years ago .

  6. Hi Ross- AIRFIX HO/OO Union troops were my first ever Toy Soldiers back around the 1960s...oh, I feel so old. KEV.