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Subject: 19th Century tactical level games? What's out there? rss

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Ernest Schubert
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I know about SPI's old Rifle and Saber, and I guess that AH's Devil's Den would qualify. But I wonder if there are any newer games - more generic - like Rifle and Saber - available.
 
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James Laubach
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Louisiana Tigers

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What do you mean?

Do you mean "tactical" like ASL or Combat commander where there is a very small group of soldiers you control?

19th Century warfare wasn't fought that way.

Otherwise, look for Great Battles of the American Civil War or the upcoming Line of Battle series.

I have only played Napoleonic Battle Series, but that one is on hold, if not outright finished. There are other Napoleonic games though.
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Kent Reuber
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Battles & Leaders isn't a new game, it was published in 1981. But it is a generic regimental level ACW game. Each counter represents about 100-200 men.

There is a new game on the horizon, Gettysburg: The Wheatfield, which has a similar scale. This is to be the first of Victory Point Games tattered flags ACW tactical scale game. This uses no hex grid; it's essentially a miniatures rules with counters.
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Thanks for the mention, Kent. If you guys click on the game page and go to the VPG Update entry, we have some really cool artwork being done for the game. If you want tactical, our units will now have actual miniature figure graphics and leader portraits on the pieces. This will yield a very unique look. I hope you guys will check it out when published. Thanks! Hermann
 
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Cyrus the Great
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There's always Three Days of Gettysburg (third edition) for a heavy monster, or Gringo!, its lighter cousin. For something lighter and more abstract, Martin Wallace's Waterloo.
 
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Pelle Nilsson
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wmd8tc wrote:

Do you mean "tactical" like ASL or Combat commander where there is a very small group of soldiers you control?

19th Century warfare wasn't fought that way.


What about skirmishers, guerilla raids, and so on? Wouldn't the scale be something like ASL/CC for some of those actions? Or a smaller part of a larger battle, such as house to house fighting in some villages in 1870 (and probably other 19th century wars)? Not saying that it was what the OP asked for.
 
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Ryan Morgan
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The Games of War: A Treasury of Rules for Battles with Toy Soldiers, Ships and Planes is what your looking for.
 
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p55carroll
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kentreuber wrote:
Battles & Leaders isn't a new game, it was published in 1981. But it is a generic regimental level ACW game. Each counter represents about 100-200 men.

Just bought a copy of that recently. Haven't had a chance to play it yet, but it looks pretty decent.

Some say Rebel Yell is better. And a fellow over at ConSimWorld says he's playing a hybrid: he likes the movement rules in Rebel Yell but the shooting rules in Battles & Leaders (or was it the other way around?).

For tactical-level naval warfare, there's Close Action for the early part of the century and The Ironclads for the later part. The game Shot and Shell covers both land and naval action.

Oh, and then there's an ongoing rumor of a game: Gettysburg: Turning Point 1863.
 
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pelni wrote:

What about skirmishers, guerilla raids, and so on?

That brings Mosby's Raiders to mind.
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Ernest Schubert
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I was thinking in terms of a game where the units represent infantry companies, artillery batteries and cavalry troops. That scale.

It would be tough to try to accurately represent more than a single conflict - or, indeed, a single phase of a given conflict.

I guess that I'm really thinking about a game system, more than a single, stand alone game.

It's been a long time since I've seen Rifle and Saber, but if memory serves, it pretty much follows the same format as the SPI tactical games...like Dark Ages, Phalanx and Armageddon. Those games sacrificed some detail, and provided generic unit types fighting different battles on a single generic mapsheet.

I guess you could almost take a 'Panzer Grenadier' approach and have a massive number of game modules, covering different armies and time periods, within a given time frame.

Don't know how popular this would be. WWII tactical seems to have an unusual level of interest in the board gaming community...
I mean....

ASL
ATS
Combat Commander
Lock n' Load.
Conflict of Heros
Panzer Grenadier
PanzerBlitz/Panzer Leader

I'm sure I've missed a couple...
 
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Steve Constantelos
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If nothing else you can consider the Infantry Attacks series, brand new from Avalanche. It's WWI, but at least has significant cavalry elements, especially on the Eastern Front, the setting for the initial releases.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeksearch.php?action=search&ob...
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Thomas DeFranco
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kazadvorn wrote:
I was thinking in terms of a game where the units represent infantry companies, artillery batteries and cavalry troops. That scale.

It would be tough to try to accurately represent more than a single conflict - or, indeed, a single phase of a given conflict.

I guess that I'm really thinking about a game system, more than a single, stand alone game.

It's been a long time since I've seen Rifle and Saber, but if memory serves, it pretty much follows the same format as the SPI tactical games...like Dark Ages, Phalanx and Armageddon. Those games sacrificed some detail, and provided generic unit types fighting different battles on a single generic mapsheet.

I guess you could almost take a 'Panzer Grenadier' approach and have a massive number of game modules, covering different armies and time periods, within a given time frame.

Don't know how popular this would be. WWII tactical seems to have an unusual level of interest in the board gaming community...
I mean....

ASL
ATS
Combat Commander
Lock n' Load.
Conflict of Heros
Panzer Grenadier
PanzerBlitz/Panzer Leader

I'm sure I've missed a couple...


What could be more tactical than The Defense Of Rorke's Drift?
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Mitchell Land
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Quote:
I was thinking in terms of a game where the units represent infantry companies, artillery batteries and cavalry troops. That scale.


I think the issue is that they didn't really fight at that level. The unit of maneuver was a battalion for the most part except for the light infantry/skirmishers.
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Ernest Schubert
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Toadkillerdog wrote:
Quote:
I was thinking in terms of a game where the units represent infantry companies, artillery batteries and cavalry troops. That scale.


I think the issue is that they didn't really fight at that level. The unit of maneuver was a battalion for the most part except for the light infantry/skirmishers.


If you look at the few games that cover this subject....

They almost use the company level markers to represent step reduction. The companies are all keyed to a given battalion and leader. I imagine that they must retain some sort of cohesion.

What you get is the correct 'look' to the deployment of a battalion... column on the march, line in battle.

oh... and generally, at this level, 'range' makes a difference. When the counter represents a battalion or regiment, 'Range' as a concept/mechanic is often limited to a maximum of 2 or 3 hexes at best.
You don't get the feel of a tactical game, you get the feel of an operational level game.
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p55carroll
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Toadkillerdog wrote:
Quote:
I was thinking in terms of a game where the units represent infantry companies, artillery batteries and cavalry troops. That scale.


I think the issue is that they didn't really fight at that level. The unit of maneuver was a battalion for the most part except for the light infantry/skirmishers.

What does that mean exactly? Surely they fought at ALL levels. There were individual soldiers in the ACW, were there not?

A famous quote from General Longstreet also comes to mind. At Gettysburg, he told Lee he had commanded everything from squads on up for many years. Hence, the concept of squads was not new then.

Indeed, the OOP miniatures rules Advance the Colors cover ACW combat on a close-up skirmish level:
Quote:
BK526 ADVANCE THE COLORS - AN AMERICAN CIVIL WAR 1:1 RATIO
RULES SET
by Brian Scherzer. Fine balance between historical accuracy and playability. For use with a small number of miniatures (company to regiment size battles). Each player assumes the role of an officer.
Out of print. Was $10.00. Sale Price $5.00. You Save 50%!

(http://www.historicalminiatures.com/book_sale.html)

I have a copy of those rules, though I've never used them.

The so-called "basic unit of maneuver" in a real war or a wargame depends on your perspective. If you're General Meade at Gettysburg, you're not likely to be issuing orders to individual companies or smaller bodies of troops (except to spies and surveyors and perhaps signal parties and such). But if you're Joshua Chamberlain, you might deal one-on-one with squads and individual men at times; the companies under your command will be your "units of maneuver," and you're not going to be handling anything like brigades or divisions.

All that said, it's true that ACW "squads" would not behave much like WW2 squads in battlefield action. By WW2, advances in small arms and communication devices had enabled a lot more dispersion, so squads could now operate independently while still cooperating with their platoons, companies, and battalions. And with automatic weapons and heavy, accurate artillery so prevalent on the battlefield, such dispersion became a necessity. Conditions had been much different in the ACW, so squad-size bodies of men normally stayed in regimented lines or columns with the rest of their company.

Still, it'd be entirely possible to design a wargame which "zooms in" on the close-up action of one ACW regiment or company engaging another. It's even possible to design a wargame on 1:1 scale, like Advance the Colors.
 
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p55carroll
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kazadvorn wrote:
I was thinking in terms of a game where the units represent infantry companies, artillery batteries and cavalry troops. That scale.

I believe both Battles & Leaders and Shot and Shell cover ACW action on that scale.
 
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Ernest Schubert
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
kazadvorn wrote:
I was thinking in terms of a game where the units represent infantry companies, artillery batteries and cavalry troops. That scale.

I believe both Battles & Leaders and Shot and Shell cover ACW action on that scale.


From the BGG descriptions - Battles & Leaders certainly LOOKS like the game I have in mind. More so than Rebel Yell. There's something about the double size counters that brings the 'look' of the battlefield that I have in mind... more so than the simple square counters. That said, alot would depend on the map scale... and the actual frontages covered by a unit of a given size. For example, if the hexes represented 50 yards, a unit represented a company of troops and a company deployed in a frontage of 50 yards, then the square counter would be just fine.

Another consideration - range of weapons. Certainly the rifle-musket, in volley fire, was capable of effective fire at ranges up to and over 500yds. This means that maximum range for unit of infantry armed with rifle muskets might be 20 hexes - for 'harrassing fire' and 10 hexes for 'effective fire' and 5 hexes or less for 'devastating fire'.

But now we're not talking about existing games, but rather brainstorming game designs...
 
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kazadvorn wrote:
Patrick Carroll wrote:
kazadvorn wrote:
I was thinking in terms of a game where the units represent infantry companies, artillery batteries and cavalry troops. That scale.

I believe both Battles & Leaders and Shot and Shell cover ACW action on that scale.


From the BGG descriptions - Battles & Leaders certainly LOOKS like the game I have in mind. More so than Rebel Yell. There's something about the double size counters that brings the 'look' of the battlefield that I have in mind... more so than the simple square counters. That said, alot would depend on the map scale... and the actual frontages covered by a unit of a given size. For example, if the hexes represented 50 yards, a unit represented a company of troops and a company deployed in a frontage of 50 yards, then the square counter would be just fine.

Another consideration - range of weapons. Certainly the rifle-musket, in volley fire, was capable of effective fire at ranges up to and over 500yds. This means that maximum range for unit of infantry armed with rifle muskets might be 20 hexes - for 'harrassing fire' and 10 hexes for 'effective fire' and 5 hexes or less for 'devastating fire'. ...

OK, I've got my Battles & Leaders rulebook in front of me now, along with a sheet of tables.

From the rulebook: "Each hex on the mapboard is roughly 50 yards across. Each infantry and cavalry unit represent approximately 100 to 200 men, each artillery unit represents a two gun section of artillery, and each skirmisher unit represents a small group of men. Each Game Turn represents between five and ten minutes of real time."

As to ranges, a glance at the Range Tables show the following maximum effective ranges (little chance of a hit at maximum range; the closer the target, the more effective the fire):

Shotgun or Pistol: 1 hex
Smooth Bore Musket: 5 hexes
Carbine: 5 hexes
Rifle-Musket: 10 hexes
Repeating Rifle: 10 hexes
12 pound Napoleon: 24 hexes
12 pound Whitworth: 40 hexes

Note that what you call "double size counters" aren't really double the width of the square artillery counters. They're about the same width, but they're shorter from front to back, so they do have that rectangular look to them. Each unit-counter fits in a single hex, and facing is important of course.

One downside of B&L (which I was warned about in advance) is that there are only a few scenarios--six, to be exact. The first three are historical, the other three are generic scenario types. Then there's a short paragraph encouraging you to design your own scenarios.


(Btw, the other game I mentioned, Shot and Shell, has a different scale: each hex is 100 yards across. Great for ships vs ships and ships vs forts, but it means the land combat isn't as close up as in B&L. Range for cavalry fire is 1 hex, infantry 2 hexes, sharpshooters 3, artillery 10. Then again, each turn represents about 3 minutes, so the action develops more slowly--you have to painstakingly fire each and every cannon.)
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Mike Haverty
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Not quite the right scale, but wouldn't Manoeuvre fit as far as a tactical game, as opposed to strategic or operational?
 
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Richard Berg
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A major game on company-level American Civil War combat - CRUCIBLE OF COURAGE - will shortly be appearing from Compass Games. What "shortly" means is the question . . . but it contains all sorts of goodies at that level.

But the comment above, that the battalion (actually, for the ACW, that would be the regiment) was the basic unit of combat. And there are a great number of games out there covering that area (although, to be sure, i prefer the games I've done therein). A good game to use as intro to that series would be GRINGO, and especially its tag-on, BATTLES WITH THE GRINGOS. It covers the area where Napoleonics shifted into semi-modern warfare . . . and most of the battles are short, with few pieces, and lots of unusual fun. Great terrain stuff . . .

RHB
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