Thursday, June 17, 2010

The American Civil War Game

Please note that the following are basically "The War Game" rules from the condensed ruleset from the Battlegames Website with those parts of the that I feel  are authentically the ACW rules"plugged in".  Many of the changes are fairly small. 

For example, infantry weapon ranges have gone from 18" to 24". 

There is a morale rule for detachments. 

There has been a change to the rule for cavalry breakthoughs. 

I have substituted Skirmishing Infantry for Light Infantry. The light infantry firing rules have been taken on untouched, although I am considering making them for detachments only as they might spell the end of close order infantry as they are very offensively powerful and unbalancing.

There is no longer any Light Cavalry, although the argument might be made that all cavalry is at this time "Light". 

I have made no provision for dismounted cavalry rules as I've not yet seriously considered them.

Detachments count as Skirmishing Infantry. 

For want of information I have kept the morale and terrain factors from "The War Game".

I realise this is a very long post, but I would encourage everyone to please take a look and to comment freely.

Line Infantry
In line 6”
In line and firing 4”
In column 7 ½”
In open order 7 ½”
Charging 9”
Normal 9”
Battle move 12” (for each period of rest)
Charge 18”
Team 6”
Manhandle 1”
All types 6”
Up River 6”
Down River 9”
Canal 7 ½”
Hill contours
Uphill moves for all troop types are halved
On the level all moves are normal.
Downhill gives no distance advantage but note the impetus when charging.
Scenic Terrain
All movement is halved.
Line infantry half move
Light infantry normal
Heavy cavalry no movement
Light cavalry no movement
Artillery/Wagons no movement
Infantry only, in open order at half move distance.
If fordable, infantry and cavalry take 2 moves while artillery and wagons take 4 moves.
Maximum garrison of seven infantry figures per building section
Line 24”
NOTE: potential here for Carbines to be less effective. 6, 12 and 18” range bands?
Ball 60”
Canister 24”
Howitzer 20” to 50”
Infantry 3 officers and 24 rank-and-file
Cavalry 3 officers and 12 rank-and-file
Artillery Battery 3 officers and 10 rank-and-file (2 guns)
Players throw dice to determine who fires first in a mutual exchange. When the decision is a draw the firing is simultaneous.
The firer throws one dice for each group of 6 firers and deductions are made for range and cover as follows:
Open Cover      Open Cover
0 to 8”               2          3          1          2
6 to 16”             3          4          2          3
16 to 24”           4          5          3          4
Each target group is numbered 1 to 6 and dice are thrown (one for each casualty caused) to determine which men are hit. In this way a figure may be hit more than once. If firing has not been simultaneous, the side to fire second does so replying with those figures left after removing the casualties inflicted on him.
Entire units or detachments may act as skirmishing Infantry.
Skirmishing infantry fire as individuals using a single dice for each figure firing.
Firing at organised bodies of troops (in to the brown).
Range 0 to 12” 5 or 6 kills
Range 12 to 24” 6 kills
Firing at specially selected individuals (picking off officers etc).
Range 0 to 12” 6 kills
Range 12 to 24” Cannot be done except for mounted officers when 6 kills
Firing at line infantry in cover (in houses, behind walls or earthworks)
Range 0 to 12” 6 kills (no picking off)
Range 12 to 24” nil
Open Order Infantry firing at Open Order Infantry:
In the open 0 to 12” 5 or 6 kills.
12 to 24” 6 kills.
In cover
0 to 12” 6 kills.
12 to 24” nil
Infantry may only charge if they are in column, they may however move a normal move to contact. In the latter case they get none of the advantages of the charge. Rules for this are covered separately.
In column, the head of the column, that is the front rank, are moved directly forward to make contact with the enemy. The two men from each flank of the second rank are moved forward and outwards to meet the enemy to either side of the original column, while the centre men close up behind the centre of the column. Similarly, one man from each flank of the third and
fourth rank is moved outwards and forwards, the centre men closing up to their front and behind the remaining column up to the full extent of the 9” move.
Firing at a charging unit.
An advancing unit is fired on each move until the move in which the charge comes to contact. On this occasion, both sides throw a single dice. If the defender wins he fires at close range; if the attacker wins he comes to contact without receiving a volley.
The charge plays out over two moves.
In the first, the Cavalry move to within 18" of their target. If infantry, this takes them within Rifle range and naturally they take a volley. Casualties are removed as normal.
In the second, morale is tested for by the attacker. The charging cavalry and the defender dice off to see whether the defenders are cool enough to get off another volley. If all is well, the charge goes home and the cavalry are moved to contact.
If heavy cavalry charge infantry who are formed less than 3 ranks deep and the distance is 12” or less, they may actually ride down the men and burst through.
Each cavalry figure moving up to contact throws one die.
• 2 ranks deep: throw of 5 or 6, breaks through.
• 1 ranks deep: throw of 4, 5 or 6, breaks through.
In the event of a breakthrough, the front figure is removed as a casualty. The second and third rank figures are moved back and to the side a total of 3”. The horsemen continue through to the extent of their charge move to contact another enemy if possible. They may veer up to 30 degrees to do this.
Mêlée occurs when two sides are in base contact either as a result of one or both sides charging or coming in contact within a
normal move. The mêlée is resolved by throwing dice for each individual combat in the following manner:
1 inf vs 1 inf: straight throw, highest wins 2 inf vs 1 inf: add 50% of 1 die for the 2 inf
1 cav vs 1 cav: straight throw 1 cav vs 2 inf: cavalry doubles throw
1 cav vs 2 inf: straight throw 1 cav vs 3 inf: infantry add 50% to throw of one die
1 cav vs 2 cav: latter adds 50% to throw of one die
1 inf vs 1 cavl 1d6 vs 2d6
It is not possible for the same troop types to fight more than 2 to1.
In all cases the higher throw (or score) wins.
Before mêlée can take place in a building, each attacker must first dice to see if they can break in. A 4, 5 or 6 means they have been successful, and can fight on equal terms. A 1, 2 or 3 means they remain outside and the occupants gain the +2 bonus.
The attacker always requires the 4, 5 or 6 to enter, even if a particular section of wall appears undefended.
Advantages in mêlée
Charging +1
Attacking downhill +1
Infantry behind a wall +1
Attacking exhausted troops who have had only one move of rest (see Exhaustion) +1
Attacking exhausted troops who have had no rest +2
Defending in a house against an attacker outside +2
The second move of mêlée
The first move of mêlée is quite formal, whether infantry vs. infantry, infantry vs. cavalry or cavalry vs. cavalry, there is little scope for independent movement. Musketry and artillery casualties inflicted by the defending unit which is contacted count towards the mêlée.
In the second move, however, the combat is free flowing. If both sides stand and continue the mêlée for a second move, then each throws a single die to determine who moves first. The winner may move 4 figures of infantry or 2 of cavalry into contact with the enemy. Once contacted, a figure is pinned, and may not be moved. The other side then does the same,
moving 4 figures of infantry and so on until all that can move to contact within the normal move distance have done so. The aim of each side will be to get as many advantageous combats as possible (that is 2 to 1). This mechanical system represents what is in reality a simultaneous flowing together of the two sides.
The second move of mêlée is conducted as the first except that the charging impetus of +1 is lost.
Duration of mêlée
A mêlée will last no more than 2 moves unless it is taking place in a built-up area, in which case it can continue for a further move. This is because fewer troops will actually be engaged at one time because of the defiles.
Deciding the outcome of a mêlée
The outcome of a mêlée may be decided by one of the following ways:
First move
• If one side loses twice the casualties of the other side including those casualties inflicted by artillery and musketry, then it must withdraw on the next move.
• If any casualties have been inflicted then the side in question must test for morale. If the result is bad, the unit must withdraw in the next move.
Second move
• If one side loses twice the casualties of the other in the mêlée then it must withdraw on the next move.
• If either side has bad morale then that side must withdraw on the next move.
• If neither of the above factors apply, then the result is a draw. In this case both sides will retire unless one is a defender who has written orders to hold ground.
Actions after a mêlée
Units that have had two moves of mêlée and have drawn the combat will fall back two normal moves and will then rest a further two moves before being allowed to take part in further offensive action. They may defend themselves of attacked.
If a unit is attacked by fresh troops during their four moves of exhaustion (two of retreat and two of rest) the attackers add 2 to each individual combat throw if the move is immediately following the fighting moves of the exhausted side, and 1 to each throw if the exhausted side has had a clear move without combat. If fighting is continued for another move, the additions are increased to 3 and 2 respectively.
If, however, part of ONE side has fallen back, a further move of combat takes place, and if at the end of this third move, the two to one rule does not apply, both sides fall back as before. The two to one rule is simple - if one side is outnumbered two to one it must surrender - this applying only after hand to hand fighting though.

The morale of a unit is based on three factors. These are:
• Command and control
• Losses in action
• The imponderable
Command and Control is based on the number of officers and supernumeraries present. Each is worth a certain number of points:
Colonel 3
Two other officers the first at 2, the second at 1
Colonel 3
Two other officers the first at 2, the second at 1
Losses in action affect morale as follows:
• One sixth of original rank & file strength lost: -1 point
• One quarter of original rank & files strength lost: -2 points
• On half of original rank & file strength lost: see 50% rule
The imponderable is determined by the throw of one ordinary die.
Morale is calculated by the following:
Command Points - Points for Losses + Throw of 1 die.
• If the result is 6 or better the morale is good, the unit continues with its task.
• If the result is less than 6 the morale is bad! The unit must fall back or behave as follows:
• If it is actually at grips, in a mêlée with the enemy, it breaks off the struggle and makes a complete move the rear.
• If it is advancing, or stationary and firing, it remains halted on the following move and cannot fire.
Once a unit has incurred a bad morale it must be tested on each successive move until it rallies or flees the field, but on each of the ensuing moves the requirement to rally increases by 1, i.e. 7, 8, 9 and then 10, after which it is considered dispersed.
The 50% Rule
When any unit is reduced to 50% or less of its rank and file it must break off from whatever it is doing and move directly to the rear in the next move. It will play no further part in the action.
The exceptions are:-
1. If it takes place in the first move of mêlée it may complete the second move of the mêlée.
2. If occupying houses, the unit may remain in the houses.
General’s rally
A general may rally a retiring unit (unless it is at 50% or less) by moving to the unit and attaching himself to it. When he reaches the unit a single die is thrown to see how many moves it will take before the unit is fit for action. Once this happens, the General may not leave the unit during the battle.
The Saving throw for Officers
A saving throw is allowed in the case of officer casualties. When an officer is hit in combat or from enemy fire, the player may throw a single die to save him. If he throws a 5 or 6 he is saved and continues in the battle; on a 1-4 he is dead and is removed.
Morale and Detachments
An infantry unit may make a detachment of an officer and 8 privates who may act as Skirmishing Infantry who have to retire should either the officer or four of the privates be made casualties.
Roundshot (ball fired from cannon)
Roundshot range is 60 inches.
Rules per “The War Game”.
Ranges as below:
0-24” 3, 4, 5 or 6 kills
24-36” 4, 5 or 6 kills
36-48 5 or 6 kills
Range 48-60” 6 kills
Each figure is thrown for individually
Counter-battery fire
Counter-battery fire uses the system above except that when working out the effect on the gun it is done as follows:
If the gun is hit a single die is thrown and the result from 1 to 6 is noted. When the accumulated total reaches 10, the gun is reduced to firing on alternative moves. When 20 is reached the gun is destroyed.
Because of the reduction in velocity with distance however, damage is reduced by 1 from 36” to 48”, and by 2 at 48” or more.
The device is placed with its apex at the muzzle of the gun.
Figures within the device are diced for as follows:
Near 4, 5 or 6 kills; Middle 5 or 6 kills and; Far 6 kills
Howitzer (shell)
Howitzer range is 20” to 50”. The centre of impact is worked out using the Shell Burst Indicator (SBI) which is shown at annex A. The SBI has 5 sectors numbered 2 to 6. The centre sector is numbered 6 and the outer sectors clockwise from 5 to 2.
The firing procedure is to place the SBI on the chosen target with the centre section over the point of aim and with the 5 section furthest from the gun. A die is thrown to show area of impact (1 is a misfire). Dice are then thrown for the effect of each figure within the sector in which the shell impacted. A 1,2 or 3 has no effect while a 4,5 or 6 kills.
It can be seen from the above that with the device a 5 is an overshoot, a 3 an undershoot and 2 and 4 are errors to the left and right. Nevertheless, casualties still occur if troops are in the particular sector.
For counter-battery fire the procedure and accumulation of hits is as for roundshot.
Round Shot effect on houses
When a house is hit by round shot a single die is thrown with the following results:

Die Roll
1 and 2
No Penetration
Penetrates, Kills 1, Stops
Penetrates, Kills 1, Stops
Penetrates, Kills 2, Goes on
Penetrates, Kills 3, Goes on
No Penetration
No Penetration
Penetrates, Kills 1, Stops
Penetrates, Kills 2, Goes on
Penetrates, Kills 2, Goes on
No Penetration
No Penetration
No Penetration
Kills 1

Kills 1

Houses are destroyed by an accumulation of hits on the target until a total of 20 points are achieved using the above table in the same manner as with counter-battery fire. At this point, the body of the house is removed to leave a ruined shell.
With howitzer fire the same accumulated score system is used but the effect and casualty systems are different. The SBI is placed on the house if that is the target and a die is thrown to see if a hit has been achieved. If a hit on the house occurs then a second die is thrown to determine the effect:
Throw of 1,2 or 3 no casualties
4 1 killed
5 2 killed
6 3 killed
In addition to determining the number of men lost, the hits are added as for roundshot to determine the effect on the house. (This includes 1, 2 and 3 which count towards damage although killing no men. When the total reaches 10 the house is set on fire. All the troops in the house must leave retiring at least 3” away from the fire. The house will burn for 15 moves during which time no troops may move within 3” of the house.
When a house is in 2 sections there is a strong chance that the second section will catch fire. In each move that the first section burns a die is thrown to see if the second section catches: 3, 4, 5 or 6 means that the second section catches fire: 1 or 2 it does not.
Model flames are placed on the building for the duration of the fire. At the end of the 15 moves the flames are removed as is the building to reveal the ruins.


Ross Mac said...

So far so good. Modifying the Wargame seems like a good idea, at least you are starting with some well tried and proven.

Couple of suggestions:
cavalry, leaving aside the question of dismounting (most common acw cav tactic) I think your comment on LC is spot on, esp in Waragme terms. I don't think you should allow ACW cavalry the HC breakthrough rule. Don't want to encourage them after all!

Muskets & Carbines. Not a bad idea to use the original musket value for dismounted cavalry carbines. Given the wide usage if muskets early on and lingering in the west, you may want to keep the original rules for these as well. Just in case you decide to use some later on.

Artillery. Since the common 12lb Napoleon was a gun/howitzer, I would suggest allowing them to choose to fire either shot or shell.

Good work.

Mosstrooper said...

Like your ideas , agree about the cavalry think it should count as LC . Should Artillery be a little more manuverable ? ( leaving aside Horse Artillery )

Mosstrooper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Old School ACW said...

Dear Ross,

Thanks for your comment.

I'm using The War Game as a template because it is so obviously a descendent of the ACW rukles. Many rules that I have positively identified as being for the ACW set are reproduced exactly in "The War Game".

I am going to leave the breakthrough rule in it's current form because that's how Grant had it originally. The task I've set myself is to attempt to recreate his rules rather than to improve upon them. Maybe that'll come later! I agree though that the rule does seem anachronistic. I will however be looking at the light cavalry rules for suitable elements to introduce.

I like your suggestion for SB muskets and will adopt them entirely. Even if it's not a part of the original rules, it seems in their spirit!

I will take on your suggestion wrt the 12PR 'Napoleon'. Shell it is. I might have to tweak the range somewhat?



Old School ACW said...

Hi Mosstrooper

See my reply to Ross above on LC.

Perhaps you are right about artillery. More like 8-9" with a team and 4" when man-handled?



Archduke Piccolo said...

The Heavy cavalry 'breakthrough' rule might not apply to ACW cavalry as they were used as light cavalry anyway. An English observer did ask at the time why Cavalry were not employed in the traditional manner. Fact was, they lacked the appropriate training.

Having said that, Cavalry charges against infantry were not unknown, and occasionally succeeded. J.E.B. Stuart's Black Horse Cavalry gave the New York Fire Zouaves the rightabout at Fisrt Bull Run; there were a couple of Confederate Cav charges at Shiloh; and a Union charge at Gaines's Mill. And how about Five Forks, right at the end of the war?

Not only that, but the threat of a cavalry charge in three occasions I know of (tho' only two I can cite) induced Confederate troops to form square. One was during the Seven Days' battles; the other at Gettysburg.

Concerning ACW artillery, it might help in the rule writing if the American nomenclature is used: Heavy, Light and 'Flying'. The heavies were anything from 30pr and up; the Light were what we would call Field artillery (6 or 12pr SB, 12 or 24pr Howitzers; 10 or 20pr Parrotts, plus oddments like James, Blakely and Whitworth Rifles); the Flying Artillery we would call Horse Artillery, though the pieces used were the same as for the Lights. They just had bigger teams.

There were a surprising number of 'machine gun' types produced. So far as I know, they were invarialy used as if they were Divisional artillery - not even as battalion guns, which would have had the virtue of making some kind of sense...