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DCRBrown

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Apr 1 15 5:04 PM

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As I rewrite Guns of Gettysburg and redevelop the rules I've now reached a point where I have designed some very different mechanisms from the standard GdeB/GaG approach.

The rules have moved on so significantly from their origins, I decided to invite Rich Clarke of the Two Fat Lardies down for a game and play test of the rules in their new format. I was very pleased that Rich thoroughly enjoyed the game, (even though he may not have enjoyed my slightly cold pizza!), Rich commenting especially upon the new command and control aspects.

The new command and control mechanisms worked well, these were developed upon the principle that not all brigades should always obey orders.  (I developed this following a GdeB Aspern-Essling game where as the glorious French we agreed that we needed to defeat the Austrians piecemeal and switch the Guard from sector to sector as the need arose. However, despite the GdeB order system, the differing divisions of the Austrian army advanced in perfect unison, each hitting their French objectives precisely at the same and right time. Ever since then I decided a wargame order system needs more friction that brigade orders alone can provide.)  And in order to achieve this "friction" the player is presented with a series of tactical command choices at the beginning of each command phase. These choices are limited and not always guaranteed, thus provide an interesting set of challenges and game choices prior to launching into the more normal charges, unit movement and firing.

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(The Confederate foot officer marked by a flag in the above pic is instrumental in the new command and control system.)

And while we are on charges, movement and firing these areas have seen significant rule changes producing a far more streamlined and less factor and chart driven approach - but nonetheless still maintain the period tactics and nuances that make it the period ACW, (or at least I hope so!)

The development of these rules has moved on significantly from their original roots and thus I feel is probably now a new game system and new set of rules covering the ACW period, but some of the mechanisms will still have a familiar feel about them, even though the rules are certainly not the same as General de Brigade or Guns at Gettysburg.

More updates to follow!

DB


Last Edited By: DCRBrown Apr 1 15 5:16 PM. Edited 2 times

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#2 [url]

Sep 29 15 9:03 AM

Hi David, having just come back from visiting several eastern theatre ACW battlefields my interest in ACW has been hugely rekindled so wondering when you expect to have your new Guns at Gettysburg rules out?

Cheers
Joe

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DCRBrown

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Sep 30 15 7:15 AM

J,

The new rules "Pickett's Charge" are now complete. They will be entering formatting, proof reading and "legalese style" proof reading over the winter.

It'll also provide me with enough time to thoroughly playtest the rules - there's always time for minor (or even major!) amendments. As I'm also currently writing a new Napoleonic rule set, there's quite a bit of cross-fertilisation between the two sets, which although certainly different from each other do have similar concepts. 

So we're probably looking at an early 2016 publication date.

DB

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#4 [url]

Sep 30 15 9:48 AM

Thanks for the update Dave, looking forward in particular what you plan to do about command control as I wholeheartedly agree with your comments above. Although "Picketts Charge" is an interesting title - there should certainly be plenty of friction.


Cheers and wishing  you all the best with your writing.
Joe

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Oct 6 15 2:52 AM

I actually have both sides in 1/300 Ros-Heroics that I bought many years ago. Thye need to be re-based but are painted, however 6mm doesn't do much for me aestethically and I have been toying with the idea of 15mm or even 10mm. Waiting to see Dave's new rules and see if I can get you interested?

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DCRBrown

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Dec 24 15 2:39 PM

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 PICKETT'S CHARGE! ACW RULES PEACH ORCHARD PLAY TEST

Early December saw a trip to Nottingham for an almost final play test of the new Pickett's Charge! American Civil War rules. The players included both Perry's, Rick Priestly and various other rule writers and wargamers, thus a tough group to please! Any issues or gaps in the rules would surely be ruthlessly exposed!

We played a scenario from Gettysburg, the attack on the Peach Orchard and played on a 14 foot by 6 foot table with 28mm figures - see the photos, which my poor photography really doesn't do justice to the superb figures and terrain. (For more pictures log into the Perry Miniatures Facebook page and look for 6th December. https://www.facebook.com/perryminiatures/)

The opening moves went well for the Confederates, through good command rolls and availability of Staff Officers we were able to punch forward on the left, hoping to execute a significant left hook, while one brigade and the artillery held the centre right, hoping to pin the Federals in place while the left hook went in. Staff Officers are required to permit brigades to Double Quick, (take extra movement) hence the Confederates paced all their Staff Officers with the left hook brigades to permit this rapid advance. The Union generals content themselves with holding the line until their reserves could come on table and potentially launch a counter-attack.

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So how do the command rules work? Command is split between two separate command mechanisms: Staff Officers and Brigade Activation.

Staff Officers: These represent the C-in-C's physical ability to influence the battle - how he manages his battle plan, maintains his brigade's momentum, keeps the initiative and ultimately wins the battle! Staff Officers are the key to command and control in the game.  They can be seen as a combination of the C-in-C's command ability, how he controls his brigades as well as the physical use of his staff and ADC's as messengers and organisers. Staff Officers are posted to a limited set of command orders per turn - these can be anything from assisting a brigade to "activate" through to bringing on off table reserves or launching an all out assault. However there is a catch - players cannot be certain as to how many Staff Officers they will receive per turn - thus command in this area can be limited and is not guaranteed

Brigade Activation: The second aspect of the command system is a simple brigade activation method. As previously mentioned this was brought about due to numerous games under other command systems (including at times GdeB itself), that saw an army or division marching in perfect unison, each brigade carefully coordinating its approach to the enemy with fellow brigades. Despite the friction brought about by the GdeB order system this did not seem realistic. Under the new system brigades are not a guaranteed to "activate" each turn. And of course less experienced brigades or damaged brigades are less likely to advance than fresh or steadier brigades. And this is where Staff Officers also plays their part - they form a vital link between the C-in-C and his brigades ensuring that they keep moving under the stresses and strains of battle.

Under this command system the Confederate used their Staff Officers to ensure their left flank advanced rapidly before any federal reserves could intervene. They advanced quickly upon the Emmetsburg rail fence - but were met by particularly concentrated and accurate volleys and artillery fire from the union regiments and batteries holding that flank. This resulted in confusion in the lead confederate brigade and further worsened next turn when two out of the three Confederate brigades refused to advance, (temporarily classed as Hesitant under the rules).

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Over in the centre the Confederate artillery brigade played merry hell upon the defenders of the Peach Orchard with one Federal battery quickly reduced to 50% casualties but despite a morale check the Federal gunners remained at their posts, replying as best they could.

The next few moves saw the Confederate left struggle to regain order and its forward momentum (not helped by a lack of Staff Officers) while the union commander used this time wisely to bring on his off table reserve and swing them into the line opposite the Confederate left just short of the Emmetsburg road. With his reserves now on and his right flank looking more secure the Federal general now went over to the offensive and launched his far left flank brigade (Switzer) forward in a lightning attack upon the sole Confederate brigade holding this flank. The union advance was so sudden and unexpected that the lead Confederate regiments were caught in skirmish order, rolled up and flung back by Switzer's men. The remainder of the brigade broke and fell back on their gun line which pivoted through ninety degrees just to hold the Federal forces at bay.

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The Confederate left hook, despite some belated charges, was stopped dead at the rail fence and the prospect of pushing forward into open ground was met with sullen looks by the respective brigade commanders, especially as the right flank appeared to be crumbling by the minute. At that the game was declare a federal victory! (I rather optimistically pushed for a draw but no one was having that!!)

So how did the rules work? The command rules did need one tweak - but a good one- we decided that a separate rule that determined the initiative could be removed and simply replaced with a system that determined the initiative advantage through Staff Officer availability per turn. A follow up play test saw this work extremely well and of course, made for a simpler and faster command system.

Finally the ability to concentrate command effort in order to spur forward attacks or shift reserves to plug vital gaps worked well and fitted within the realm of wargames realism, though was also subject to the vagaries of brigade command rolls which added friction to a command system that players struggle to control each turn.

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Charges have been combined in one set of opposing dice rolls with the usual defensive fire and modifiers;  results can include halting to volley, including a point blank volley, retiring, retreating (referred to as whipped in the rules) or of course routing. Melees only occur if the charge combat is a draw - which is almost as rare in the game as it was in reality.

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The fire and combat system worked well with players picking up the basic mechanics very quickly, especially as there is no figure counting or physical figure removal. The fire charts have just one basic entry that of a standard line of battle for infantry or a battery for artillery and everything casualty wise is taken from this. If you are in column, double line or a small regiment (therefore producing less firepower) the unit incurs a negative modifier. Elite and larger regiments gain casualty dice (a simple mechanism where a 1D6 roll determines whether an extra casualty is caused on a result of 4, 5 or 6.) to reflect greater firepower. This system means players do not have to stop and calculate various "plus" and "minuses", so effectively "stalling" the game working out maths for each regiment in turn as it fires. There are only minuses and Casualty Dice - which is a faster and more intuitive system.

Finally morale - there is only one morale check in the game which is for receiving significant casualties in one turn. All other forms of morale have been incorporated in either the charge combat or commands mechanisms. There are no rallying morale tests. If your brigade obeys orders in the command phase then all broken units rally and may reform. If the brigade fails to obey orders units remain broken in position, or as seen above badly beaten brigades may well fall back or even disintegrate.

In the New Year I'll follow up with a full AAR report highlighting in greater detail the game mechanics.

Merry Christmas!

DB

Last Edited By: DCRBrown Dec 31 15 9:43 PM. Edited 7 times.

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DCRBrown

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Apr 14 16 1:28 PM

All,

Will be holding a demo game using Pickett's Charge rules at Salute - come and see us on table GM06!

We'll be having run through of some of the famous actions at Antietam, all in 28mm.

If you feel like commanding a brigade or a few regiments to get a feel for the rules you're more than welcome!

I'll post a full AAR post-Salute.

DB

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DCRBrown

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May 21 16 9:00 AM

M,

At the production stage as we speak - currently doing the diagrams, etc.

Will need some proofing,  editing, etc., and then we'll be ready to go!

DB

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