The Author's Views
The Author's Views
This year has been a bit of a slow starter as far as war gaming is concerned. With little happening in January. Over Christmas however I did undertake and complete, well almost complete my major project of re-basing my ACW stuff. The figures are well painted old glory (not painted by me!) but getting a bit long in the tooth and mounted on old style narrow bases. This means as the lead get more fragile those lovely figures are in danger of breakages. So I decided to rebase on square bases and to make them compatible with my 19th century European stuff. This of course starts the thoughts of how to integrate the US and CSA into Terra Ferra.
The starting point is the story I had heard of the US only adoption English over German as its official language by one vote. It turns out apparently that this is a myth, the vote was actually concerned with publishing laws in both languages. But this is Terra Ferra and reality is at best malleable! So I imagined a world where the US was more Germanic at least in the north than historically. This in turn exasperates the slave owning question with a deeper cultural divide of English/non-English. This deeper animosity makes the Missouri compromise fail and the ACW is fought a decade earlier with the north less industrially advanced allowing the CSA to gain independence. 'Bleeding Kansas' becomes a continuing sore as both sides support irregular guerrilla groups. This stalls the drive westward. California forms the centre of a loose group of territories mainly concerned with lawlessness and trade. The North deprived of the Mississippi access to the Gulf of Mexico turns its attentions to the north and what will become the St. Lawrence seaway and conflict with the Britannic Empire.
So, with the demise of the Opera War, Andy and I ran out the Federal bluebellys against the Britannic redcoats with the Garibaldi/Figgibicci Italians as Canadians. We used yet another set of rules 'Field of Battle'. “Can you not settle on one set” I hear you cry! Well during the last few years and particularly with the birth of Terra Fere I have been looking of a standard set. The rules need to for fill a number of criteria. Firstly I want any set of rules to give me some sort of feel for a battle in that period. I recently tried Aurelian from Sam Mustafa, but found while they give a good game the decisions you had to make were too gamey for my taste. I do like Sam's games generally but for solo his card driven games a not really suitable. Secondly I want to play both solo games and face-to-face games with them. In a solo game I want generally to lack precise control over the troops. I also like this when playing face-to-face as well to be honest. Thirdly as a solo game the rules I need the rules to be easy to use. I don't like lots of tables and complex rules because you tend to get rules-fatigued as a game goes on particularly running both sides. Lastly scale, in 19th century game gaming I like my units to be battalion/regiments. This means that on a 6'x4' table I can just about squeeze a Corps on the table but a couple of Divisions is a better fit.
The first rule I used was Neil Thomas' 19th century set. These are fine but the melee is too imbalanced to the attacker in my opinion. The armies in the game are however small and beautifully formed. I also explored Balance of Power by Mark Sims. I like them but they lack any 'randomisation' in the command in fact there is no real command control rules. Andy and I have also dabbled with the Fire and Fury family of rules. The main issue with these is the very random D10 activation and scale, with Andy playing quite a bit of regimental F&F and Big battles games, which I find either too big or too small. I was about to try and modify BBB when Andy suggested Field of Battle 2nd edition.
He likes the rules 'as you know what your doing because its written on the cards', addressing rules-fatigue. It's command control is also quite random for my solo requirement. I had played the old Piquet rules long ago so we decided to give FOB a go. I set up a scenario using mix of Neil Thomas' 19th Century and One-Hour rules to create the setting and general forces. We then diced up the armies under FOB which gave us the battle at Dunville defile. The rest is as they say history, or at least Terra Fere history.
The account of Heinz's battle reflects what happened Andy (Britannic) with a poor command structure diced some fabulous commanders while my average command structure was pretty poor with an abysmal sequence deck! Andy did however manage to roll very low on the Army Morale Table.
The large number of Lull cards in my deck made my advance very slow and a slow fire fight developed which I was loosing, but not as fast as Andy was loosing Army Morale Points. The charge of Custer's cavalry finally reduced Andy to 0 AMPs and a Army Morale Card forcing a morale test which he lost meant he had to withdraw from the battle but with few loses another battle looks on the cards (no pun intended!). Our next foray will be back in the real world?!? with the Prussian Guard attacking St. Pivat but this time defended by the French Guard!