Monday, March 22, 2010

The search for perfect set of acw rules #4... "Regimental Fire and Fury"

So here's a little teaser - where does this come from???

OK..there's a little bit of a clue here...

..and an even bigger one in the next picture..!

Yep, it's time for a game, and I've always fancied having a go at the very simple game Don described for his introductory battle in "Battles for Model Soldiers". For the first game, the orders of battle in the book were just a couple of regiments of foot aside, with cavalry and guns being added during the second and third games - and as it happens that's exactly what the project currently has available!

For rules though, I'm going to use the set DG and I are currently play testing as part of the ongoing search for the perfect set of ACW rules... aha you say, I was wondering what had happened to the search! Well for those of you who may have been wondering it has continued, and in fact DG and I have been playing a game using the "Regimental Fire and Fury" rules ever since we finished the "Mr Lincoln's War" trial game just before Christmas [click here]

Two woods, a road and a wall - doesn't get any simpler than that!

The scenario we are using for our rule test #4 is the same one we've used throughout the search, which is the Kernstown scenario (or a flavour of it) from the "They Couldn't Hit an Elelphant" by the Too Fat Lardies [reviewed here]. Unlike previous games however, I suspect this game is going to the end because both DG and I are having a lot of fun with these rules.. so with further ado, here's the usual review....

Price: free! These rules are a play test version and are available to download from here:

Eventually the authors will release these in a pukka printed format, and at that time I will beat their door down for a copy...

Format: A4 sized, Adobe file, comprising 36 pages, of which all 36 pages are rules. No extraneous fluff as these are a playtest set pure and simple. You can also download separately a set of the charts that appear within the body of the rules..

No drawings, no diagrams, typed, black and white..

The Rules:

Brigade/regimental level

No figure scale is recommended - you can use whichever scale you particularly prefer...

Base sizes are not documented, neither are the numbers of figures per base - suffice to say that I looked at normal Fire and Fury and in the end decided on 30mm square bases for the infantry (artillery slightly bigger).

In these rules, bases are single figure depth and can then be organised in two or more ranks depending on formation - again I took the unilateral decision to base my infantry in two ranks - I dislike single ranked units intensely!

The rules state:

One infantry or cavalry stand = 40 men
One gun stand = a section of two guns of my double bases therefore represents 80 men.

Movement is alternate.. IGOUGO but each side gets to fire in the other sides turn.

There are four main movement formations:

  • Line. Maximizes the regiment’s fire-power. All stands in a double line. This formation is used by infantry regiments and mounted cavalry regiments.
  • Extended Line. Disperses its troops in order to reduce the effects of
    enemy fire. All stands in a single rank. This formation may be used by infantry regiments (represents skirmishers) and dismounted cavalry regiments.
  • Field Column. Form a field column by placing two stands side by side and
    the rest of the stands one behind the other. Gives manoeuvre bonuses.
  • March Column. Stands one behind the other. Allows a regiment to utilize the road movement bonus.
These rules focus on the unit orders being given by brigade commanders who have a command radius - you then throw a dice, and add some modifiers to see what movement/action the unit takes. You use the same table whether the unit is in good order, or disordered - so same dice throw can be used for both - which I think is quite clever.. the better the end end result you get, the more the unit can do - throw low and the unit may not move at all, even with various modifiers...

Eminently sensible and I think the order system works quite well.

Each side gets to fire every turn irrespective of whether it's your move. Firing is by base, fairly straight forward and based on modifiers derived from weapon, range, unit effectiveness etc.

Melee occurs at the end of the move and is also an opposed dice roll - so basically both players never need sit back during a turn except during the moving players manoeuvre phase..

Both firing and melee can have morale effects on a unit.

Stay tuned for a quick play test of the above game...


On the sailing front a huge amount of work has been done over the last couple of weeks; this weekend just gone the anti-fouling went on the bottom... by way of a glimpse at just how much, here's a before and after shot..



The Rubbing strakes (thats the wooden strip along the side to the uninitiated - and to be honest I still call them that!) have been wood treated (no I didn't do 18 coats!), tiller the same, standing rigging replaced, outboard is being serviced this week...
Classy or what, eh??

One final push this weekend should have us all set for the launch date which is....... next Monday!!! smilies


  1. Steve,

    I absolutely agree about figures in one rank. Double ranks for me too . . . otherwise they just don't look right.

    -- Jeff

  2. Steve,

    In our initial tests using standard Fire & Fury stands, players easily got confused because in Regimental F&F, a single line is supposed to be just that, a single line of troops, but the bases with two lines made it appear otherwise.

    We will be using different infantry stands for RF&F with 3 figures in a single line on a 15x25 base. Since the double line will probably be used 90% of the time, the two lines of troops should look correct.

    Scott MacPhee had his portion on his blog during his "250 ACW figures in a Week!" exercise. I have not started mine...

    Looking forward to hearing more.


  3. Hi Austin - we are agreeing I think... I am using the basing methodology described in the rules, but because as you say, 90% of the time in this game you would deploy in double ranks anyway, I cut out the middle man and deployed them permanently in that formation.. :o)

    I'll use a casualty marker to indicate when a base is lost - next hit and I remove a stand...

    If I do want to deploy in extended line I'll deploy with a stand width between each stand....

    I've not decided what to do with cavalry yet - but that's some way off yet anyway.... :o)

  4. Almost all of the "cavalry" in the ACW were really "mounted infantry" and fought as such (frequently dismounted).

    There were very very few actual cavalry actions as I recall.

    -- Jeff

  5. The Papillon looks fabulous - the hull clean up and painting came out fabulous and I'm sure you've added at least 2 knots to her speed.

    Is anti-fouling painting as insanely expensive in the UK as it is here in the States?

    I look forward to your first sailing report.

    We were out on the water this weekend - My son and I will be going to racing school in a few weeks - can't wait.

  6. Hi Miles - happily my sister works for Ancasta (the yacht brokerage and marina company) so I can usually blag (a Brit saying for "obtain"!) half empty tins from her - when the guys in the yard prepare a boat for a sale they usually throw the rest of the contents away if they don't finish the tin; these now make their way to me.. :o))

    It's a good job - the stuff I was using this weekend was Blakes Racing (a hard finish) and that currently sells in the UK for £90 for 2.5 litres... so about $135...! But most of them are about the same...

  7. Good man Steve. Glad to see you're making progress. I always enjoy playing old scenarios with new rules.

  8. We used to play a lot of the original F&F using TT Teasers and had some great games. I look forward to reading how it goes.

    As an aside, BwMS was my first wargames book and I've read those introductary games a gazillion times but to my sudden dismay, I'm not sure that I ever set it up and played it. Maybe 40 years ago, maybe? Oh dear, I'll add it to the list.

    and yes, your Papillon is indeed a classy lady.

  9. I thought the first battle I visited looked like one of Don FEATherstone's wargaming books for beginners (I've forgotten the title, but I know it's not 'The War Game'). Sure enough, that's where the diagram is from - a blow-by-blow account of a very small wargame to illustrate the game mechanics of Don's rules. Pity no one bothers these days with such helpful books or articles - until this yere blog, that is...

  10. I thought the first battle I visited looked like one of Don FEATherstone's wargaming books for beginners (I've forgotten the title, but I know it's not 'The War Game'). Sure enough, that's where the diagram is from - a blow-by-blow account of a very small wargame to illustrate the game mechanics of Don's rules. Pity no one bothers these days with such helpful books or articles - until this yere blog, that is...