Tactical Black-Powder-Era Board Wargames
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Are there any? Any good ones? I'm enjoying Ancient Battles Deluxe for tactical gaming up to the pike-and-shot era, and I like Lock 'n Load for World War II and beyond. But my military-history interest really centers on the American Civil War, and I'd love to have a decent tactical wargame that covers the 18th and 19th centuries. For me, it'd have to be one that's not too complex or too big, though; ABD and LnL are about my upper limit these days. Oh, and I don't like cards or miniatures in my wargames. And I play almost exclusively solitaire.

So, I'll list the games I know of and say what I think of them. Please add any others, and let us know what you think.
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1. Board Game: Shot and Shell [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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This Ironclads revision includes a complete set of land-based warfare rules. I haven't tried them yet, but I just read through them again last night. The scale seems wrong to me; each unit is a regiment, and the hexes are about a hundred yards across, IIRC.

The naval portion of the game is realistic enough. I just played a scenario recently. However, all those charts and dice rolls make it quite tedious, so I'm not eager to play it again. In fact, I'm thinking of getting rid of this game.
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2. Board Game: Battles & Leaders [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:10019]
p55carroll
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Minnesota
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This is the most promising game I own. I have yet to play it, but I reread the rules closely this past weekend. It looks to me like there are quite a few gaps and ambiguities--rules questions I'd have to answer for myself as they come up in play. That dampens my spirits a little, but I can handle that.

What bugs me more is the way skirmishers are handled. They don't necessarily spread out ahead of the main body, as skirmishers did historically. There aren't any particular restrictions on skirmishers in this game; they might be anywhere (though it'd pay for them to stay with their regiment). The optional rules look like they'd help a little but not enough.

I also wish there were some examples of play in this game. But maybe I just need to get it on the table and find out how it all comes together.
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3. Board Game: Rebel Yell [Average Rating:6.19 Unranked]
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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I bought a copy of this and have read the rules, but that's it. Just skimmed the rules again last night. My impression is that it's a more complicated game than I want.
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4. Board Game: The Complete Brigadier [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Not a board wargame. That's one problem with this title; it doesn't belong on this list. I'm including it only because if it were a hex-and-counter wargame (and were solo-friendly and didn't require so much record keeping), it might be perfect for me.

Over the weekend, I skimmed through the two booklets included with this game. I was looking for data I might use to expand Battles & Leaders to cover the whole black-powder era. I think I found it, too. The scale is different, so I'd have to make some adjustments. But there's hope. I think I could actually just halve the distances and number of subunits in each battalion/regiment, and I'd be able to play this game using the B&L components.
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5. Board Game: Rifle & Saber [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:13170]
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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I bought this when it was new, but I haven't owned a copy in years. I liked it back when I had nothing to compare it to. I suspect I'd be less than delighted with it today. But maybe not. I do have fond memories of this game.
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6. Board Game: Little Round Top [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:6427]
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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I bought this when it was new, and I played it once or twice. I remember liking it, but I got distracted by many other games and must have eventually sold my copy. What I don't like about this game is that it's so narrow in scope: it covers only the attack on LRT, and nothing else. I'm looking for a game that covers ACW combat in general--and preferably the whole black-powder era.
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7. Board Game: Devil's Den [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:5525]
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Never saw or owned this. I was interested in it when it was new, but I didn't want a game that covered just one portion of one particular battle. I want a system that covers tactical combat in general--countless scenarios.
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8. Board Game: Flintlock: Black Powder, Cold Steel - Volume I: Carolina Rebels [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:11745]
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Have not seen or tried this game. I was tempted to get a copy, as it's marked Volume I and promises to cover just what I'm interested in. But the game apparently didn't sell well, and we may never see a Volume II. I don't want to be stuck with a game that only covers a few specific engagements.
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9. Board Game: Fields of Honor: The American War for Independence [Average Rating:6.07 Unranked]
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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I own this but almost forgot about it. Years ago, I bought the Fields of Honor miniatures rules--and I was very impressed with them. If they weren't miniatures rules, they might be perfect for me. As it is, I never got any use out of them

Well, the game listed here is a hex-and-counter board wargame, so maybe I should try it. The maps are too big for my liking, but I can live with that or adjust something.

Hmm ... if this game does work for me, maybe I could blow the dust off my Fields of Honor miniatures rules and put them to use. Not sure I'd be any happier making my own maps and unit-counters than I would be painting miniatures, though. I really don't want a do-it-yourself project.
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10. Board Game: Grenadier [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:12032]
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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One of the few tactical SPI games I never saw or owned. I'm vaguely curious about it, but I imagine it's outdated now.
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11. Board Game: Hold the Line [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:1944]
Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
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This might be too "grand tactical" for you. Worthington has already extended this system to the French & Indian War and Napoleonics, and they'll be publishing Hold the Line: Frederick's War and Gettysburg 150 this year to bring it into other periods.
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12. Board Game: Gettysburg: The Wheatfield [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:8194]
Pokey 64
United States
Niagara Falls
New York
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13. Board Game: Gunslinger [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:1615]
Pokey 64
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Might be too tactical. But it meets the criteria.
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