American Civil War

Firepower - 28mm low complexity rules.

The Perry ACW Battle in a Box set is a 28mm starter package that also includes some simple rules, which were originally sold in individual one page parts with the initial figure boxes sold by Perry, but for this package, the pen of Alessio Cavatore has brought the rules together into a single unified and slick booklet.

These are a fast play set that have units with frontages of 135mm or less and they can take a certain number of hits before being removed from play. This is a bucket of dice, hits and saves system, that essentially allows the six units per side (provided in the battle box) to play out actions on a small table that last for around 7 turns. Units tend to stay in combat for around two to three turns before accumulating enough hits to remove them from play.

Each turn, a player selects each unit and can either move, charge, fire or rally during what in effect is an action phase. But as individual units only do one of those things, then a unit either fires or moves, not both. It does allow one unit to fire and then another unit to choose an order that might make some use of the first unit firing.

In comparing this to other rule systems, it is most tempting to look at Neil Thomas’ One Hour Wargames, which also boast low complexity and short playing times. Of the two, Firepower offers more subtly for only slightly more rules overhead, having the benefits of a morale rule and command rule. Morale is helpful, as every time a unit takes losses it checks morale and may break, this fluidity is a much better prospect than having damaged units fighting to the last srtength point.

The rules are more than adequate for a starter package and I can see some gamers simply sticking with them and perhaps bolting on a few house rules to bring a flavour that meets their own tastes and interpretations of the period.

I bought this Perry 28mm ACW Battle in a Box set on its first day of release and despite several false starts and good intentions, only five infantry regiments and one artillery piece have been painted up so far, so once again, it has been dragged out and work has restarted.

This time I have decided to cut and build everything and temprarily mount the unpainted figures on their intended bases with a latex based glue, just to get a few games going and hopefully fuel the enthusiasm to push this up the painting queue.

When I initially bought the box, I did a blog post of project ‘expections’ that anticpated a 3 - 4 month completion time-frame. That clearly failed to happen, but here is a link to that post anyway and hopefully this time around, there will be something that can significantly update that post.


The Perry 28mm (plastics) project continues and I am really liking these figures.

Here is the first regiment. The starter box has the regiments on three bases with a 45mm frontage, with six figures per base in two ranks. I have decided to go with laser cut MDF 50mm base frontage. The extra 5mm does not sound much, but I feel it just gives a little more room for the figures to breathe.

Each side gets 4 infantry regiments, 1 cavalry regiment and 2 guns plus a general, so six units per side, plus a leader, makes this a good package for fans of the Neil Thomas One Hour Wargame rules, as he advocates 4 - 6 units on a 3’ x 3’ table with unit frontages being no more than 6". However, a perfectly good set of starter rules are included in the ACW 28mm Battle in Box package.

Two Flags - One Nation 

These are my home brew set of ACW rules for hex based games. They are over ten years old and originally designed with 5" hexes in mind for gaming with 1/72nd plastics. Over the years they have morphed into different formats. However, this year (2017) I have decided to take them back to their hex based roots and have put together a new edition, in which they have become influenced by some of my more recent rule writing. It is available as a free download (available for personal use only and all copyright reserved) and includes two scenarios. 

The rules are intended to give a fast play game on a typical space provided by a kitchen table (I use Kallistra 4" hexes with their 12mm figures) and to be solitaire friendly.

The design notes have been lifted from the rules and published on my blog (see link below) together with the link to downloadable DropBox file.

You can also access the rules (free download) from below (amended to include 2018 updates).

The picture below is the battlefield from the McPherson Ridge scenario that was designed for the original rules and which has been kept as it gives a well balanced historical game and has been useful to benchmark rule changes against.

The last edit on the rules introduced elite units, large and small units and changed the way that cover is taken into account when firing or charging. A fifth Divisional Commander attribute has also been added. More importantly, the rules have been given some extra pages to breathe and allow a bit more explanation to reduce ambiguity.

LINK to Design Notes (edit - thesehave just been updated to the May 2018 version which streamlines some processes) -

LINK to the Rules (thank you DropBox) - rules.pdf?dl=0

I have taken one of the scenarios from the book One Hour wargames by Neil Thomas and then played the scenario twice, once with the One Hour Wargames 2 page rule set and again with Black Powder rules (from Warlord).

The exercise was to look at two low complexity systems and look at whether additional rules with their potential associated added complexity can change game play in a way that the player feels is worth the extra rules.  

I have covered the matter in a Christmas Special blog post.



Getting Black Powder onto a (very) small gaming space. 

The following links follow an AAR for an ACW game in 12mm with examples of game mechanics demonstrated. The videos were removed, but the post remains as it may be interesting and people took the time to comments.

BLOG ARTICLE - Link to the blog article that covers the whole thing, including scenario details etc - LINK


Clash of Giants - ACW boardgame covering Gettysburg and 2nd Bull run LINK

Firepower - Fast play rules from the Perry’s, included in their ACW 28mm Battle in a Box game LINK

Musket and Saber - taking the boardgame and using with figres and hexes. LINK