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"RF&F or Pickett?" Topic

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Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 1:20 p.m. PST

The end is in sight….or is it the beginning?
Never mind, after many years it looks as if my little group will start to game the ACW.

I've had two painted armies for years but apart from a single game of Fire & Fury (the Brigade version), they've never been used. There's been too many other fascinating periods taking up our gaming time.

However, with a new member whose chief interest is the ACW, we (like certain ex-Confederates) are galvanised.

The only question is which rules. I have long had a copy of the Regimental Fire & Fury & thought this would be our rules of choice as it's scale & complexity suit our predilections. But the new-ish 'Pickett's Charge" are being touted & seem to be equally good.

Any recommendations one way or the other?

Scott MacPhee16 Sep 2017 1:30 p.m. PST

They are both good. I have not played enough Pickett's Charge to have a nuanced appreciation of all the rules, but it seems a little lighter in complexity than RFF.

RFF remains my all time favorite set of rules. I would go with them.

Trajanus16 Sep 2017 2:19 p.m. PST

Just to save going over again here's my first impressions of Pickett's Charge. Played a lot since then and really enjoy them.

TMP link

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 3:15 p.m. PST

RF & F

MSU John16 Sep 2017 3:24 p.m. PST


Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 4:09 p.m. PST

@ Trajanus

Thanks for the link to the thread.

Your words from it:

You have to spend money to find out if you like rules or you don't and then it's too late!

I suspect this is so.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 4:49 p.m. PST

Ochoin, if those are your only choices (Pickett/RFF),
I'd go with the RFF. It has an excellent lineage
(OTR, BFF), hence good 'rule genes'.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 6:08 p.m. PST

Ed: there wouldn't be many gamers with less knowledge on the ACW than me, so all advice is welcome.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 7:23 p.m. PST

Fire and fury

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 7:38 p.m. PST


corona66 Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 8:19 p.m. PST

Although RFF has been my choice for some time, I must admit that Pickett's Charge is very, very god. I would be happy playing either.

Northern Monkey16 Sep 2017 9:19 p.m. PST

It would be interesting to know if people making recommendations have actually played both games. So often, an older set will get recommended because more people have played it, whereas a newer set has less exposure.

Comments from people like corona66 are more useful as you can at least tell they are making a valid comparison. It would be really helpful to know if people have played both or not.

As to Ed Mohrmann's comment that RFF has excellent lineage, Pickett's Charge is written by Dave Brown, author of General de Brigade, one of the biggest and most popular napoleonic rule sets ever published.

Northern Monkey16 Sep 2017 9:25 p.m. PST

I should add that for me the activation roll in RFF seems to dominate the game, telling me what my troops can do. Pickett's Charge command system allows me to decide where I put my command effort. I prefer that as it feels (again, to me, YMMV) that as a commander I should be able to influence a battle rather than the battle tell me what to do.

Oh, and I have played a lot of RFF over the past ten years and about half a dozen games of PC over the past ten months.

Trajanus17 Sep 2017 5:09 a.m. PST

For what it's worth I've played both.

It's also inevitable that availability flavours responses to this type of question and RR&F has been around for a while.

Also they are US rules and all the flat out positive responses above come from US posters. Not an accusation, purely a statement on availability and use.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2017 7:48 a.m. PST

PC *is* a decent set of rules, and I've played
perhaps a half-dozen games using those. That said,
I've also played others of Brown's rules and was
not as happy with those as I was playing PC.

However, I've a lot more experience with RFF and
BFF, so I'm sure a bias creeps in where I've intended

Yellow Admiral17 Sep 2017 8:26 a.m. PST

These games aren't really comparable.

Pickett's Charge is a grand tactical game with brigade units and division-sized commands. The Hasenauer analog is Fire & Fury (1st or 2nd ed.).

RF&F is a tactical game (regimental units, brigade commands, it's a stretch to command a division). The David Brown analog is Guns at Gettysburg, which was a pretty straightforward adaptation of GdB mechanics to the ACW era.

So you should play both RF&F and PC. :-)

- Ix

CATenWolde Inactive Member17 Sep 2017 1:52 p.m. PST

That's an interesting perspective on PC. Given that the maneuver units are regiments (right?), do you mean that they are abstracted to the level where you are really moving brigades? And that the mechanics on the regimental level don't drag your focus back to the regimental details?

Honestly curious!

Trajanus17 Sep 2017 3:26 p.m. PST

Honestly curious!

And rightly so.

Pickett's Charge are not "Grand Tactical". Players normally Command a Division, although the rules will easily stretch to Corps level and are designed to to so.

It's possible to use them for Army level games, if you have enough time, space, miniatures and players but that's not their general function.

As in the Civil War, players do indeed move by and give orders to, Brigades but all fire and combat is conducted by individual Regiments and Batteries.

Individual Regiments movement and misfortune impacts not only upon them but the Brigade of which they are part and as such has a cohesive feel I found absent in RR&F.

Hence my preference.

They are in no way "the analog" of either version of Brigade Fire & Fury in which an individual table top unit represents an entire Brigade and no individual Regiments are present in the game.

They are also ten times the game Guns at Gettysburg was BTW.

Normal Guy17 Sep 2017 6:02 p.m. PST

I must that I have never played PC so I won't be much help on a recommendation. My problem is that I can't get past the title. With so much focus placed on the Eastern Theater by many people, that title just rubs me wrong.

Trajanus18 Sep 2017 2:55 a.m. PST

Not so much for the same reason but I admit to finding the title odd as I mentioned when they were announced but I guess I find that in a lot of rules where a specific event or battle is in the title.

There again after all these years of Wargames and Rulesets it must be getting hard to come up with original titles! :o)

22ndFoot18 Sep 2017 4:45 a.m. PST

Played both. I'd go with Pickett's Charge for the command system.

Puddinhead Johnson18 Sep 2017 7:41 a.m. PST

Keep in mind that RFF uses a D10 and that there are often wild swings of fate.

Landorl21 Sep 2017 7:54 a.m. PST

I've played both, and both have their strengths. I think that PC plays a little quicker, and I like the command system. RFF is a little more detailed though, and I like that.

Is Johnny Reb an option? That is even more detailed, but a bit cumbersome on the rules.

***Actually after saying that, I think that I would prefer RFF over Johnny Reb now.***

piketopike21 Sep 2017 3:33 p.m. PST


Old Pete21 Sep 2017 6:45 p.m. PST

RFF or BFF or sometimes my own rules.

Clays Russians22 Sep 2017 9:20 a.m. PST

I would go with pickets change, it actually seems to play at the lowest command tactile level the best (a brigade) which is controlled managed at the division. You tell, actually order/strongly suggest the brigade do such and such. They better do it. If they fail, it reflects bad on you and the brigade. The individual regiments are there to function within the frame work of their appointed purpose, the moving pieces of the brigade. A new novel and historical solution to a command control issue I have seen in many civil war rules. I like this a lot. Another thing I like a lot, really like a lot, is the fact that artillery can't just giddily pound away at whatever is 'out there' like anti-aircraft guns. You have to direct your fires. Shell expenditures on the battlefield reflected this and it's simply modeld by 'crew fatigue or casualty fatigue which you restore. Also, the idea is to wear out your enemies regiments within their brigades, rendering their brigades regiments neffective. As regiments get exhausted due to casualties and fatigue and cartridge expenditure, they accrue damage, when ''tis damage reaches a threshold, they disperse off the field. THERE IS NO STAND REMOVAL! I like this too, yo no longer can site 2 twelve pounder batteries from 800 yards away on a single regiment because you somehow can see that they are down to 239 men from their original 442 men. Ridiculous, seen it again and again and again, and yes I'm am sooooo guilty of it. Everything works by command staff assignment, battle management, the battle is fought as you indicate where the efforts are needed.
Mounting. Doesn't matter, it's all stand based, three sizes of units, small regiments less than around 320, standard regiment, around 400 Or so, and large regiments, 500-600. 4 stands a small, 5 stands a standard, 6-7 a large. ( it makes no difference if your large regiment is 6 or 7, it's still a large. Scale indicates that a stand is around 80 men. Batteries are by section. So 2 section or 3 section batteries. Not sure about mixed batteries, haven't read that far yet. Dismounted cavalry is represented by one stand less than mounted to reflect "critter holders".
There are some Victorian humorous venicular included like bad morale, serendipity check (oh so bad) a "whipped" regiment, etc.
infantry regiments MUST MAINTAIN fire discipline, if they lose that, they fire at a lesser effective rate, and are subject to bad mojo, again, need to read further. A implement roster system is used to track regimental casualties. A small regiment can take 10 damage/casualties/hits/pie n the face etc. call it what you will, it encompasses everything. A standard can take 12, a large can take 14. Morale grades, again, need more reading/ sorry--------🤔
Skirmishes, no you cannot throw the entire 38 states into skirmish order just to make yourself harder to hit. You normally will get a group of pick men (sharpshooters small regiment drawn from the division, then you may peel off a regiment from each brigade to act as skirmishes, BUT- AND I REALLY REALLY LIKE THIS, to reform a regiment into line from skirmish, you MUST reform BEHIND a formed unit. We did this constantly in the national regiment, always, and I have read time and again how skirmishes had to fall back behind their supports to reform. Sure there are a exceptions, but I believe them to be rare.
My two cent worth, easier to play and more historical than other rule sets I have used (or attempted to write) included RFF and Longstreet.
HOWEVER, be aware, melees apear rare. Who wooda thunk''😮
That's fine, you apparently chase or shove regiments off Line by force of will rather than going 'full Mel Gibson'.
There is one thing I do not like and am finagling away on how to work it, there is a staff order called 'double quick'. You add your standard 6 inch move (6 inch is your standard infantry move btw) you add a 4D6 in inches to your 6 inch move…… holy moly! Unless your crossing the open heath at stone river or the far side of emmitsburg road you could end up in somebody's britches! Naturally your are going to get held up by defensive fire.
I likethese rules, I like them a lot.
My 2 bucks worth, and I think the author did a splendid job in capturing the essence of the narrative on the battlefields of our Civil War.

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