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Author Topic: 10mm ACW rulesets  (Read 3577 times)

Offline FifteensAway

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Re: 10mm ACW rulesets
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2020, 05:34:27 PM »
Actually, you can go wrong with Fire and Fury in my opinion.  It is a slow and wonky system that is pure torture compared to other rules, I'd go back to Johnny Reb 2nd edition over Fire and Fury - and that was a challenging set of rules in many ways but also the leader in ACW gaming for a very long time.  I have played Fire and Fury a few times and I will happily pass.  It is part of why I searched and found Rank and File (well, it actually, sort of, found me - a friend was playing it in a game next to one I was running at a convention and watching lead to buying the rules, reading the rules sold me on them, and playing the rules sealed the deal - they are now my go to rules for almost every collection I have).

And a huge advantage with Rank and File is that it is designed to cover from 1740 to 1900 (and can stretch a bit at both ends of the time frame).  Some will say that is a problem with the rules, that it doesn't allow all the appropriate detail for a given period.  To each their own, of course, or sheer balderdash.  The goal is a fun game, not some excruciating recreation of a 'real' war.  The rules are simple and fun to play, always lead to a conclusion, and don't take forever to play and easy for new players to pick up.  And they won't break if you tinker with them, exceptionally flexible rules.

Last Fire and Fury game I observed took way over an hour for troops to come into contact and only managed a few turns of actual combat before time ran out (I hear it was about six or more hours of play time - I couldn't stay that long just to observe).  Rank and File would have closed to combat in maybe 15 minutes, if that long, and the game could have finished with a clear result in three hours - maybe four if breaking for lunch.

Obviously, there are many voices here favoring Fire and Fury.  But, as so often, people defend their favorite rules (because that is what they know).  That being so, you can take my opinion with a grain of salt.  But I'll bet Rank and File meet your stated desires considerably better than Fire and Fury.

Offline Ray Rivers

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Re: 10mm ACW rulesets
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2020, 06:14:59 PM »
Rank and File


Hell, I could play these rules just using the free download of their two page cheat sheets:


A bit simplified overall, but I like beer and pretzel rules.


Offline vtsaogames

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Re: 10mm ACW rulesets
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2020, 01:47:10 AM »
Sorry to side track things... just a quick question.

How good is F&F for the Franco-Prussian War? Does it cover the weapons used adequately or do you have to make some adjustments?

F&F needs changes to reflect the Franco-Prussian War - others have done it and posted online. Being a fan of Bloody Big Battles, I will say those rules cover the 19th Century (and have been stretched slightly before and after) and include needle guns, Chassepot and Tabatiere rifles, Krupp guns etc. The rules come with scebarios fo that war, 8 I think. The group.io group has scenarios for more battles. My crew played a campaign of some 13 or 14 battles a few years ago. A great time was had by all. All fit on a 6 X 4 table, a few on 4 X 4 tables. Many were finished in 3 or 4 hours. Some of the larger battles took two sessions, like Gravelotte. hese were the entire batles, not a sub-section. Here's a summary of the http://corlearshookfencibles.blogspot.com/2017/03/la-guerre-est-finie.html

Gravelotte in F&F will not fit the entire battle on a 6 X 4 table. And you will need a LOT of figures. 
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With a glorious swish of his sword and his lance
And a glorious clank of his tin-plated pants. - Dr. Seuss

My blog: http://corlearshookfencibles.blogspot.com/

Offline FifteensAway

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Re: 10mm ACW rulesets
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2020, 05:52:39 AM »
Yes, Ray Rivers, most of our games very rarely leave those sheets for the rules.  Sure, it is simplistic in many ways - which is exactly why I love them.  Okay, maybe I am a bit of a simpleton.  Or, maybe I just greatly prefer to focus on the game on the table - and the figures, buildings, and terrain - far and above on the rules.

Another bet I'm willing to make.  H.G. Wells would gravitate to Rank and File and dump a lot of other rules in the waste bin.  Not that their aren't other good rules, not that even rule sets I don't care for don't have elements of value.  It's just that the goal, for me, is to have fun with miniatures.  And I think that was Mr. Wells goal, too.

Chess, at one level is so simple.  At another level, it is brain achingly complex.  And it has been around for a very long time indeed.  Rank and File is simple to play but it can also be complex in its extraordinary flexibility.  Okay, I've played this card to its end. 

Whatever rules you choose, make sure you are having fun.

Offline robh

  • Scatterbrained Genius
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Re: 10mm ACW rulesets
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2020, 07:23:21 AM »
Sorry to side track things... just a quick question.

How good is F&F for the Franco-Prussian War? Does it cover the weapons used adequately or do you have to make some adjustments?

There are adjustments required.
The Wyre Forest group sell a set of rules called "Mit Blut und Eisern" which is effectively F&F for the European Wars.  Excellent set of rules that give a distinctly different feeling game while still using the familiar F&F mechanics.

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: 10mm ACW rulesets
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2020, 09:16:40 AM »
While Black Powder isn't perfect, but comparing it to 40k is doing the thing a bit of a disservice. :D (It's not Bolt Action after all ;) ) I think at 10mm and as a club game I think it can work very nicely. Main problem I see with BP is if people insist in using 28mm figures with it, but don't have the number of figures, the number of units and/or the required space. As a club game in 10mm I'd be up for using Black Powder.

Our Go-To rules set for ACW things is Longstreet. It's far from perfect, it's a tiny little bit gimmicky with the cards, but overall it's well thought out and works. Here's my review: https://www.tabletopstories.net/language/en/2020/02/longstreet-rules-review/.

Just to complicate things I'd like to bring up Sharp Practice 2. Simply because it's good fun. Depending on your basing it will work just fine with 10mm figures. Technically a skirmish game, but it'll work with a figure:men-ratio of up to 1:20 I guess. Here's my review: https://www.tabletopstories.net/language/en/2019/07/sharp-practice-rules-introduction-and-review/

Other mentions: Pickett's Charge (bit larger, more than one brigade per player), Over Malvern Hill (played it once, works nicely).

Offline ChrisBBB

  • Scientist
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Re: 10mm ACW rulesets
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2020, 09:28:50 AM »
Vincent, thanks for the kind mention of "Bloody Big Battles!" (BBB).

I'm not sure it's what the OP is looking for, as it was specifically designed to make refighting historical battles feasible, not for pick-up games. That said, a group in Texas did create a points system for BBB. This can be found in the group files. The group is here:
and the points table ("BBB_Points v1.3.xls") is here:

Ray, as Vincent said, BBB includes 9 FPW scenarios in the rulebook, as that is what it was originally created for. We fought the whole 9-scenario campaign in one (intense) 3-day weekend. There are another 6 or 7 FPW scenarios in the group files. Probably 150 or so scenarios altogether now available for many different conflicts, mostly free in the group files, some in the two campaign supplements.


Bloody Big BATTLES!

Offline Mindenbrush

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Re: 10mm ACW rulesets
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2020, 01:27:11 PM »
Sorry to side track things... just a quick question.

How good is F&F for the Franco-Prussian War? Does it cover the weapons used adequately or do you have to make some adjustments?

Sorry Ray, only just noticed your question. I believe they did some minor tweaks to cover the weapons. I will email them and find out.
As I was emailing my mate I remembered that Colonel (rtd) Bill who modified F&F Brigade to Age of Eagles (Naps) did a number of spin off from that which included Age of Valor 1848-1914.  https://ageofeagles.com/age-of-valor
« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 02:25:01 PM by Mindenbrush »
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Offline Ray Rivers

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Re: 10mm ACW rulesets
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2020, 03:16:43 PM »
Thanks for your responses everyone. I'm happy with the information given so please don't go out of your way for more because I have hijacked this thread enough.

The last time I played the ACW was back in the '70s when I was a youngster. At that time we used "Rally 'round the Flag." It was a true beer and pretzels rule set and we could set-up 3 corps per side with an infantry regiment from 16 to 24 men, 4 man to the base, play a game and clean up all in an afternoon.

OTOH, we also played Napoleonics and I believe we used the Empire rules and once again we had 3 corps per side, 24 men to a battalion on six bases of 4. We never finished a game, as an afternoon just wasn't enough time.

So I guess what I am saying here is that IMO, a rule set must not only cover the scope of the armies you have to play with, but also the time you have to play the game. It's been a long time since I have played a big battle of ACW, but the conversation has been very interesting.

Offline darthfozzywig

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Re: 10mm ACW rulesets
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2020, 04:51:19 PM »
Fellow 10mm ACW gamer!  :)

While I really enjoy Fire & Fury, the scale (4-7 stands per brigade) made it impossible for me to play more than small parts of battles.

Personally, I really like Altar of Freedom. Love the command-control system and the scale makes it possible for me to play out entire battles on a 4x4 or 6x4 table. *glares at F&F wanting a 14x10 table for Gettysburg*

Regarding the lack of point system: it has "army builder" rules for creating fictional scenarios, so no worries there.

Between the two scenario books, it covers pretty much every major battle of both theaters.

There's also two free campaigns on the website (Gettysburg and Vicksburg), which are essentially mini-strategy games that generate tactical battles. Great stuff!

Regarding indecisive combats, that can definitely happen if you end up with brigades lined up evenly. That tends to result in units grinding away at each other until someone can't retire to recover and finally breaks. Of course, that tended to happen historically, too. Hitting someone on an open flank, however, tends to roll up a line pretty dramatically.

Fire & Fury is certainly more freewheeling and less predictable in its combat results, however, and there's fun in that, too!

Offline ntdars

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Re: 10mm ACW rulesets
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2020, 03:47:25 AM »
Wow, thanks for the warm welcome and tips everyone!

I saw the Altar of Freedom scenario books online after the post - looks good to me! I'll probably end of basing for Altar of Freedom for now just because I really, really enjoy how the rules are under 30 pages. Don't get my wrong, I like a crunchy rule-set and maybe down the line will move onto Fire & Fury.

My group is familiar with the Mustafa games like Rommel, so Longstreet will probably be played sometime down the line for sure.
Our Maryland-based club's Facebook page

Offline SJWi

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Re: 10mm ACW rulesets
« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2020, 06:16:11 AM »
Hi, I thought I had posted something about AoF a few days ago but somehow must have deleted it. The AoF scenario books are probably a good buy whatever rules you use, as they contain full ORBATs for about 40 battles. They do play quite differently to other rules. We found movement fiddly and units difficult to kill. Lots of "pushing back"! Maybe that was realistic?

Contrary to what I have previously said one of my mates is looking at adapting Sam Mustafa's "Blucher" for ACW. Apparently you can find the ACW modifications on line; the problem is in sourcing the original "Blucher" rulebook. I'm sure we will be giving this a go sometime. However I don't think it will work as a remote Zoom game!


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