I have a special place for the American Civil War in my heart. From my youngest days, I have always had an interest in the period and my first wargaming experiences were ACW games.
I thought I would toss out the goal I have in mind for some 28MM ACW wargaming. The mission statement would be "Play beautiful, fun and flavorful wargames with friends". So, let's breakdown the concepts of the mission statement:
I think that 28MM, more so than many other scales, offers a terrific mix of playability and visual appeal. Beauty is one factor that hooks newcomers to the hobby. Once someone with historical interest sees an incredible wargaming table they want to get involved.
To that end, I have collected a few nice buildings and stone walls and an awesome stone bridge (think Burnside’s Bridge). I have made wood-rail fences. I have nice wheat fields and will be making some cornfields from Christmas wreath stuff (I’ll post on this after I make a little so I can get some pictures up).
Fun and Flavorful
In this period, with the 28’s, I am not looking to play a game that is a "simulation" or has to be very "historically accurate". Notice the quotes around those words? I think that those concepts are few and far between with wargames anyway. I want to have fun! Also, winning is not the object of the game! For me, fun is the object of the game.
What is and is not fun for me? Fun is not lining up miniatures in an unending row of units from table edge to table edge. Fun is not limited maneuver. Fun is not complete control of my troops and wholly sequential time management.
Fun is a game with an opportunity for deployment and maneuver. Fun is a game where my lead minions don't always do exactly what I wish exactly when I wish it. Fun is when the movement and actions of the opponent's lead minions cannot be exactly determined.
Flavor in the ACW period, to me, is: A variance in infantry weaponry - I like it when some of the regiments are armed with smoothbore muskets. Similarly with the artillery - rifled guns, smoothbore guns, and the occasional larger gun. A variance in quality from unit to unit - the ubiquitous green, veteran and elite troops. A variance in officer quality - from blunderers to geniuses.
Clearly, friends are a part of the fun equation, but I wanted to put them in a distinct bucket. Once you figure out that winning is not the object of our games you then realize what it is all about. I believe that it is about the spectacle of the table, the enjoyment of the miniatures (and your hard work in collecting and painting them) and the friendships we create.
Enjoying a fine drink with some fine friends while enjoying a fine game helps me put a little “gas back in the tank”.
So, what about the rules? I am going to try out “Black Powder”. They look fun and the authors seem to subscribe to the above goals. I have played one test game (in 15MM) at the club and found that my initial impression is favorable. Of course, I want to play a few more games before I can determine just how much I enjoy them and how they can help me to reach the above goals. I like the “useful rules” section of the BP rules; I really think those can give some extra flavor to some of the regiments.
Yep, I am a big fan of the “Johnny Reb” rules, and have played all of the editions. Those first gaming experiences I mentioned above were with the first edition of the rules (five stands per regiment, etc., etc.). There are lots of things I enjoy about “Fire & Fury” too, but I simply prefer rules in this period that are based around the regiment (I have not yet tried the regimental variant of these rules).