I threw together a game using a new set of rules yesterday. My gaming friend of 30 years put together a set of rules that he’s been using for colonial period and they worked pretty well with 28mm figures. He had ideas on adapting them to 15mm for ACW so we gave them a shot.
They are equivalent scale to Johnny Reb but reflect the experience of guys who have been running convention games for ages. As it turns out the game wasn’t awful but it wasn’t great. I am getting it ready to run at Nashcon and I already have quite a few streamlines. Some interesting things became apparent during playtest that I had not considered.
At 28mm the bases were large enough that you didn’t notice a small marker for casualties and disruptions. At 15mm the number of counters was overwhelming! It made the table a huge flipping mess!
I never questioned the artillery rules my friend made until I played the ACW version. I spent 5 years as an active reenactor in a Civil War battery and did 10 years of research on the matter for my own game. So I know a lot about how cannon’s perform and how they are employed. I rewrote that section of the game on the table top. It was a pretty easy conversion and when I later told him the physics behind why these rules reflected history better he was all for them.
He uses a D6 system and I’ve found that the best way to deal with the D6 is to not have a bunch of modifiers that are added and subtracted but to simply have one list going from -3 down to +3 with a list of conditions. Look at the conditions from top to bottom and stop when you come across the one that best describes your current situation. The +3 condition means some sort of divinity is on the field giving your unit an approving nod. -3 is for those times when you are surrounded in the open under a barrage with a dead leader, you broke a mirror shaving that morning and your wife lawyered up and sent you a Dear John letter. For a convention having to just find one modifier on one list that can eventually be memorized is golden.
We also discussed the Melee rules. Everyone who writes Melee rules reads the 15 books Chamberlain wrote about what a flipping hero he was leading the 20th Maine. Gag. Any way, no one talks about the 15th Alabama. Wait, who? Yeah, 15th Alabama. You know – the guys that were in the assault against the 20th Maine! By most rules they would have been killed to a man. These include the rules we used yesterday. What really happened was the 15th Alabama, a regiment of 1500 soldiers, lost 261 in battle. And by that I mean all of the battles they fought in THE ENTIRE WAR. Wait, what? Yes. Melee/CQB has the main effect of exhausting troops, causing wounds here and there but it’s not an affair where the losing regiment is dead to a man.
So hopefully I’ll be able to capture all of this in the next re-write of the rules before I run them Memorial Day weekend at Nashcon.