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"ACW Rule Reviews for ACWrary!" Topic

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Stew art Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2021 9:17 a.m. PST

Hello TMP!

To close out the celebration of ACWrary (you knew that was thing right?), I posted a bunch of brief rule reviews for ACW rulesets. I love gaming the ACW, so I've collected juuuust a few over the years.

These aren't detailed reviews, but just how I think the rules embody the ACW.

The rules reviewed are:
Alter of Freedom
Pickett's Charge
Sharp Practice 2
Rank and File
Regimental Fire and Fury and Brigade Fire and Fury 2ed.

Spoiler: RFF is the best.

If interested, please follow this link over to the blog:

What's your favorite ACW ruleset?


pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2021 9:41 a.m. PST

Excellent reviews. Kudos for only reviewing rules you have played! RF&F forever!

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2021 10:06 a.m. PST

My favorite set is the original "Rally 'Round the Flag" but have played mostly F and F variants in recent years. The guys in this area like base removal games, alas.

Stew art Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2021 2:02 p.m. PST

thanks Guys! RFF forever!

I've never played Rally round the Flag or read it, so it didn't make my list.


Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2021 5:01 p.m. PST

On to Richmond! FAst, fun, and give a good feel for the period.

epturner Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2021 7:05 p.m. PST

A second vote for On To Richmond.


Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2021 8:20 p.m. PST

my favorite is an unpublished set by Chris Hughes
(Sash and Saber Miniatures), Bob Eldridge (RIP),
Steve Raynor and others in our TSS group.

Fantastic set of rules ! If any of you ever participated
in a Hughes-run game at H'con titled 'Longstreet's
Assault' it was run using those rules (titled Butternut
and Bucktail).

OTR is another fave of mine for running games where time
is a consideration.

KSmyth26 Feb 2021 8:40 p.m. PST

Regimental Fire and Fury, though I'm fond of the original brigade rules too.

oldnorthstate27 Feb 2021 12:06 p.m. PST

Carnage and Glory ACW rules, which have now been enhanced with the addition of a complete campaign system.

PJ ONeill27 Feb 2021 4:37 p.m. PST

I still think Johnny Reb III is the best.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2021 7:47 p.m. PST

I'm another RF&F player.

In the early 2000s I played the original F&F quite a bit, and I still think it's a really good game, but I fell into a prejudice against rules that depict a brigade as a single mass of miniatures (esp.: when that mass appears to behave mechanically the same as a regiment or battalion). I would like to get back to playing with ACW brigades as the primary maneuver element, but including brigade-level formation/maneuver concerns, and preferably depicting regiments/battalions as separate entities. This same quirk keeps me from playing Volley & Bayonet, which I like for several reasons (esp. pacing).

I did try OTR and liked that there was a bit of brigade-level self-support built in, but other than that I thought F&F was already a much better realization of the same basic mechanics, so I wasn't impressed enough to play OTR more.

I would like someday to try Fields of Blue and Grey (sic) and Rifle Wars, Part I, but I discovered both of these after I had already been distracted completely out of the ACW genre. OTOH, I've played a few games of Bruce Weigle's FPW rules 1872, and I'm not all that keen on a single stand of 3 figures representing an entire battalion. Silly failures of imagination like these have twisted my gaming life into knots. I may have to switch to 6mm or 10mm scale to straighten out.

I should also add that I also like Rank & File as much as Stew, but keep rejecting it for various reasons:

  • I want there to be some C3, and R&F just doesn't have any. Like… at all. Generals would be more appropriately dressed in white-and-black striped jerseys like sports referees, given their actual role on the R&F battlefield.
  • I think the units need more than 3 hits-per-stand to have historically appropriate endurance. On the bright side, this is a really easy house rule.
  • Every time I sit down to add house rules, I wind up recapitulating Regimental Fire & Fury. I guess I feel like there's a lot missing.

d88mm194027 Feb 2021 7:56 p.m. PST

I've been playing Gordon & Hague's 'Severed Union' from 2012. They also sold pre-painted 15mm minis. Relatively simple, with a nice boardgame feel.
The Phases of a Complete Turn:
1. Measure of Resolve Phase
2. Movement Phase
3. Reactionary Artillery Phase
4. Offensive Firing Phase
5. Close Quarters Combat Phase

A Full Turn Sequence:
Example: Player A's First Turn
Player A conducts the Measure of Resolve Phase
Player A conducts the Movement Phase
Player B conducts the Reactionary Artillery Phase
Player A conducts the Offensive Firing Phase
Player A conducts the Close Quarters Combat Phase

The rules are free to download, along with a cheat sheet.
The rules are also missing some parts, which gives me the freedom to add extras as I see fit. For instance; command stands are important, but the section that shows it is missing. Also, woods sighting is missing.
I changed the artillery stands from 3 guns to 2 guns.
Each base is supposed to represent 60 soldiers, with a max regiment of 6 bases.
This needs adjusting. Don't know whether to add more bases (more bases can start getting awkward while maneuvering) or simply up the scale (1 base equals, say, 100 men).

Oh. I'm using Old Glory's 10mm ACW troops where there are 5 guys shoulder to shoulder. I put them in 2 ranks on a 1" x 1" base. 3 cavalry and 4 artillerists w/ gun complete the line-up.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2021 7:56 p.m. PST

PS: That picture in the OP looks very familiar. This is exactly what the Union perspective of my Confederate command on the left flank at Pacificon 2017 (or 2016…?) would have looked. grin

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2021 7:59 p.m. PST

PPS: If I enjoy Rocky Road ice cream about once every 5 years, does that mean I "like" it?

mumbasa27 Feb 2021 11:28 p.m. PST

Altar of Freedom is what I play. Little Wars TV has a video about it.

Stew art Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2021 8:29 a.m. PST

Thanks everyone for contributing to the discussion. No rule set is really a bad one if you enjoy the games. I've never played OTR so couldn't comment. Maybe I should try to piit up.

And Ix, having rocky road every five years is just you forgetting that you don't like it. Or at least like everything else much better. 😀
And it was 2018. I have a post about it but few pics from that actual game since I was busy running it. 😀

Tom Telegraph01 Mar 2021 10:56 a.m. PST

+1 Stonemntminis
On To Richmond is a great set of rules.
Borrowing a few concepts from other rules and incorporating them doesn't hurt either.

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