Fields of
Blue & Grey

A very different kind of American Civil War rules, that allow the grand sweep of corp level actions to be recreated while still using the regiment as the basic combat element. A simple set of rules, where command & control is as important as combat. Designed for 15mm figures or smaller, but usable with any scale.

INTRODUCTION

These rules came out of a vague sense of dissatisfaction with historical wargame rules in general. While researching historical battle reports, I continuously came across the situation that the side that kept its reserve uncommitted the longest usually held a great advantage. Unfortunately, this is the opposite of how wargames work. Usually, anyone who keeps a reserve is a fool, because your opponent, with all his troops in line, beats you piecemeal

So I set about trying to create a set of rules to allow for this problem, and reward those who kept a reserve. The rules grew and became more and more grand tactical in concept as I added new ideas. While perhaps not unique, these rules should generate a game different from most you've played. The different modules, Volume of Fire, Zone of Observation, Officer Ability and others, were created independent of each other for other rule sets, but when I started putting them together in this one, they blended far better than I could have expected. For instance, things like the Grand Tactical Movement plus Zone of Observation went together to create a fog of war effect that mimics hidden movement. In fact, on the tabletop, the location of enemy figures out of sight of any friendly troops should be considered merely their last reported position.

To sum up, these rules are meant to be more than just a collection of game mechanics to play a game, and are actually an attempt to imitate what might have happened on a battlefield. They can only succeed in a limited fashion, but keeping this in mind might help when trying to figure out how a rule is meant to work. Ground scale is 1 inch = approx 50 yards and the players are meant to be divisional and corp commanders, instead of brigadiers.

Feb 8, 2012 - the complete replacement of the change orders system AND brigade morale (which I found clunky) with a steamlined activation system. At this rate, there'll soon be no morale rules at all. If you prefer the old system it can be found here. If anyone has tried out these rules and would like to make a comment, please feel free - the email link can be found at the bottom of the page.

Dan Abbott

BASIC RULES

Setup C & C Movement Combat Morale
Basing Sequence of Play Grand Tactical Combat Value Regimental
Deployment Command & Control Tactical Volume of Fire Brigade
Zone of Observation Orders Rough Terrain Melee Divisional
Terrain Types Activation Fatigue
Risk to Generals

SETUP

BASING

In these rules some compromises have been made. For instance, all regiments always move and fight as if they were in line. Assume they're actually using whatever formation is best suited for the situation - the Colonels are handling that aspect of combat.

There is no need to rebase figures for this rule set, in fact it uses the simplest of basing systems. Each unit has two important characteristics, its 'Size', and its 'Combat Value' (explained later). The size of a unit is determined by the total width of all its bases when in line, instead of the usual way (the number of figures used) so any basing system will work. The below chart gives the standard unit 'sizes'.

Size: 1 - very small unit approx 150 men or less 1" total frontage
2 - small unit approx 300 men 2" total frontage
3 - average unit approx 450 men 3" total frontage
4 - large unit approx 600 men 4" total frontage
5 - very large unit approx 750 men 5" total frontage

Normal 6 gun artillery batteries are treated as small (size 2) units, and understrength batteries (3-4 guns) are considered very small (size 1).

Each unit takes up a frontage equal to its 'size' in inches. If you're already using one of the popular basing systems, where each base is approx 20mm or 25mm wide, then the number of bases, by co-incidence, can also equal the unit size. We place an entire regiment on a single base which greatly speeds up play.

DEPLOYMENT

Units must be brigaded into larger formations. The number of regiments per brigade is usually 5, and the number of brigades per division is usually 3 or 4, however using actual Orders of Battle if possible is recommended. Each brigade requires a figure to represent the Brigadier, and divisions require a Divisional General. If you are using multiple divisions, you will also need a Corp commander. The regiments within a brigade should deploy within 3 inches of each other at the beginning of a game, brigades within a division do not need to be set up next to one another but it is recommended.

In a meeting engagement, where both sides are advancing onto the field, the two sides dice to see who goes first, then alternate in placing their brigades. Each brigade must be within 6 inches of its sides table edge, or within 6 inches of a friendly brigade already placed.

In a battle where one side is defending and the other attacking, the defender deploys his troops within the terrain that the scenario allows him to defend. Then the attacker deploys according to the scenario's restrictions, or if not specified, as above.

ZONE OF OBSERVATION

Zone of Observation is one of the key elements of the rules, and is sometimes referred to as 'Line of Sight'. Every unit has a Zone of Observation determined by the type of terrain it's in (or looking into). This represents the limit at which a brigade can 'see' the enemy, (either directly or via the scouts and skirmisher screen they would have out), pinpoint their location, watch what they're doing and react to their movements. No enemy unit can enter this area without being observed. It could be considered a type of Zone of Control. No enemy brigade is allowed to use Grand Tactical movement if they're within this zone. A unit's Zone of Observation is equal to its Line of Sight in all directions for the type of terrain the unit is in.

If a unit is on elevated terrain (a hill), its Line of Sight is increased to that of the next terrain type.

TERRAIN TYPES

All types of terrain features on the tabletop are identified and treated separately, even open fields. In fact, a default Terrain Type should be decided upon for the entire battlefield, and any terrain of a different type should be identifiably marked (ie - woods). All terrain features are designated as one of the below types, and effect both troop movement and Line of Sight.

obstructed terrain that contains something that makes moving very difficult and blocks line of sight. Examples would be dense woods or urban areas. Line of Sight is equal to 3 inches in, or looking into, this type of terrain. Being on the opposite slope of a hill completely blocks line of sight.
 
close rolling hills or terrain that contains some kind of obstruction that would limit line of sight. Examples would be open woods, corn fields, orchards, farms, tree lines and enemy troops. Line of Sight is equal to 6 inches.
 
rolling probably the most common terrain, and usually the default type, gently rolling and/or with irregular minor obstructions such as clumps of trees, hedges or fences. Line of Sight is equal to 12 inches.
 
good unusually flat, unobstructed terrain. This terrain is easy to move in and troops would have a very long line of sight equal to 18 inches.
 
unlimited very flat, unobstructed terrain, usually the result of being uphill in 'good' terrain. Troops would have an almost unlimited line of sight of 24 inches.

If a brigade is in two different types of terrain, use the type with the longest Line of Sight. After all, only part of a brigade is needed to spot, or be spotted by, the enemy in order to give away the brigade's location.

COMMAND & CONTROL

SEQUENCE OF PLAY

  1. Orders Phase
  2. Activation
  3. Grand Tactical movement
  4. Tactical movement
  5. Combat
  6. Morale Status

These rules follow a move - countermove alternating turn sequence. At the start of the game use some random method of determining which side moves first unless determined by the scenario. Once this is done, each side uses the above sequence of play to complete their turn. First one side performs all 6 phases, then the other, then the first again, alternating back and forth for the entire game.

COMMAND & CONTROL

The General

There's always an Army Commander, he's the guy in charge. If you have only 1 division per side in your game, then it's the Divisional Commander. If you have 1 corp per side, it's the Corp Commander. Only if you have multiple corp per side do you need a separate Army Commander.

Officer Ability

Each general is given a quality level that represents his overall ability and how inspiring a leader he is. This quality level is used to represent several things - how efficiently the brigadier performs his duty, how quickly he reacts to new orders, and how determined he is.

Quality 2 incompetent
3 average
4 good
5 exceptional

Each brigadier has a number of 'action points' equal to his quality level each turn. During tactical movement, he may use these points to perform actions.

Action Points

All regiments are dependant on their brigadier for tactical movement. One action point is spent to move each separate unit, column or line within the brigade, that starts within 6 inches of the brigadier. If two or more regiments are touching, side by side in a line or one behind the other in a column, and facing the same direction, one point is used to move the entire group. This group must all travel the same distance and direction or wheel through the same arc, and must remain in a line or column for the entire move. Otherwise all regiments move separately. One command point is used to mount/dismount cavalry or limber/unlimber artillery. Any unit between 6 and 12 inches from the brigadier requires 2 points to move. Units further than 12 inches from their brigadier may not move. Grand Tactical movement requires 1 action point. No points are required to fire a unit.

The one exception to the above is that you may turn any unit to face an opponent that attacked it during your opponent's turn. This requires no action points.

One point is spent each time the brigadier moves up to 6 inches during tactical movement. The brigadier may move twice per turn, for a maximum of 12 inches. It requires one action point to personally lead a regiment in combat (receiving a +1 combat modifier).

It requires one action point to receive new orders or to read a report sent by a subordinate general or to rally.

When the brigadier has used up all his available points, no further actions (except firing of course) may be taken by the brigade that turn. If the brigade is shaken (see activation) he has one less point than normal available.

ORDERS

Every brigade starts with a specific order to determine what it's allowed to do. These orders must be marked in some way, either by using order markers, slips of paper, or written on a brigade sheet. A brigade retains its orders until they are changed. The valid orders are:

Attack must have an enemy formation (even one outside all Zones of Observation) as its declared target. Must move straight towards them at maximum speed and attack them.
 
Advance must have an unoccupied terrain feature or area of ground as its target. Move towards it at maximum speed. After arriving, change to Hold orders.
 
Hold may not move out of its current position. May redeploy internally to generate the most effective defense.
 
Retire must retreat until at least 12 inches away from all known enemy formations, then change to Hold orders. Usually the result of failed morale.
 
Rest no unit may voluntarily move. At the end of the turn during morale status the brigade recovers fatigue.

Orders Phase

A brigade's current order may be changed by a higher ranking officer in base contact with the brigadier, or by new orders sent by the divisional commander via messenger. "Holding" brigades, and brigades within Line of Sight of the divisional commander are the only ones that may automatically be sent new orders. Otherwise, brigades must "request" new orders by sending a messenger to division. This represents the brigadier sending a status report to his superior, who then decides upon reading this report, that new orders are required. Without this report he would have no way of knowing the situation had changed.

Messengers

When issuing new orders, a messenger figure is placed next to the divisonal commander, a new order counter is placed under it (or marked on the brigade sheet), and the messenger is moved in the desired direction. Once the new order is successfully delivered (reaches the brigadier), the messenger figure is immediately returned beside the divisional commander. The total number of messengers a division has at its disposal for messages and reports can be a reflection of the effiency of the divisional staff, a good average being 3.

Messenger figures move 3d6 inches per turn during the Orders Phase only (roll 3 six sided dice and add them). If the messenger is ever within 6 inches of enemy troops, roll a die before moving and consult the below chart. If the messenger is actually overrun, add 2 to the die roll.

Die Roll: 1-3 missed him - messenger remains on table, unaffected
4-5 turned back - messenger is picked up and placed next to the General that sent him. Messenger is available to try again next turn.
6+ captured/killed - messenger figure is removed, and the order/message is revealed to the enemy

The brigadier or divisional commander may not move towards the messenger except during tactical movement.

New Orders

Once a messenger with new orders (or a higher level general) contacts the target brigadier, the brigade's activation roll will determine how quickly the new orders activate.

ACTIVATION

Every brigade must roll once per turn on the below chart before moving.

ACTIVATION CHART (2D6)

0 or < Broken the entire brigade routs and is removed from play
1 - 2 Beaten brigade retreats beyond 12" of all enemy, brigade is marked as "beaten"
3 - 4 Shaken brigade holds ground, brigade is marked as "shaken"
5 - 7 Hesitant brigade rallies* OR activates new orders* OR moves normally
8 - 12 Eager brigade rallies AND activates new orders AND moves normally
13+ Attack brigade changes to Attack orders

Modifiers brigade currently shaken -1   each unit* beaten -1
brigade currently beaten -2 each unit* broken -2
higher command +1/+2 all enemy retired +3
fatigue level +/- x friends retired -3

* if applicable, and done in the order shown (ie rally first) - brigade holds ground meanwhile
unit* - each regiment or battery within the brigade
higher command - division (+1) or corp (+2) within 12' of brigadier
enemy retired - all enemy brigades within 12" retired or worse on your opponents last turn
friends retired - any friendly brigade within 12" retired or worse on your last turn
fatigue level - see fatigue rules

"brigade holds ground" - The brigade is treated as if it was under hold orders (for this turn only) .

MOVEMENT

GRAND TACTICAL

A brigade may use Grand Tactical movement if it is not within any enemy unit's Zone of Observation, and has orders to move. Grand Tactical movement is meant to represent brigades moving while out of sight of the enemy. Since the enemy cannot follow these movements, they have no way of knowing when the brigade began moving or exactly where they actually are. In fact, in all cases, the location of enemy figures out of sight of any friendly troops should be considered merely their last reported position. They may have already begun moving turns ago, but their enemy would be unaware of it.

Grand Tactical movement requires 1 Action Point.

Grand Tactical movement must be done in a straight line, with all the elements of the brigade keeping their relative positions unchanged. Artillery must already be limbered. Up to a 45 degree wheel is permitted the brigade before movement begins in order to 'aim' at the objective, and if the brigade is still out of the enemy's Line of Sight after movement, another wheel is permitted after moving. As soon as any unit in the brigade enters the enemy's Zone of Observation, the brigade's Grand Tactical movement ends. This movement is otherwise unlimited, there's no maximum move distance. The only things that can interrupt this movement are rough terrain (sometimes) and enemy Zones of Observation.

Attack orders result in a move straight towards the target unit. Advance orders aim towards a terrain feature. Because of this straight forward movement, brigades by themselves cannot be given orders to move around someones flank and attack, as this would require two orders, advance to a position on the flank and then attack (not allowed). However, a new order from divisional command arriving at just the right moment after an advance, does work. Units within Line of Sight of the enemy must 'Retire' to move anywhere that ends up further from the enemy, those outside of LoS may use 'Advance' to move anywhere.

TACTICAL

Once all Grand Tactical movement is finished, any brigades you wish to move tactically are now moved. Brigades may move Grand Tactically and Tactically during the same turn. The number of units within a brigade that may move each turn during tactical movement depends upon the brigadier's ability (explained in Officer Ability above). The maximum tactical movement distances for the different troop types are:

Infantry An infantry unit or line may move up to 5 inches if moving straight forward, or making forward wheels, and not intending to fire. In all other situations or directions, or inside or touching rough terrain, infantry moves 3 inches.
 
Cavalry A cavalry unit or line may always move 12 inches in any direction, or may mount or dismount. Dismounted cavalry moves 3 inches.
 
Artillery A limbered battery may move 5 inches in any direction, or may limber or unlimber. Because of the ground scale in use, artillery may not prolong the guns.

ROUGH TERRAIN

Tactical - All terrain classified as obstructed or close, or linear obstacles such as fences, ditches, or shallow streams, is considered rough terrain. All units moving in or across rough terrain become disordered and should be marked in some fashion. Cavalry and artillery may not enter deeper than 1 inch into obstructed terrain.

Grand Tactical - When a brigade using grand tactical movement reaches rough terrain that it must pass through, even if only part of the brigade enters it, a die is rolled to see how much this terrain has interfered with the brigade's movement. The result of the die roll represents how far the brigade managed to get before becoming entangled. For close terrain, the brigade moves the die roll times 5 in inches into the rough terrain before stopping for this turn. If they succeed in moving completely through the rough terrain, they continue with their grand tactical move as if nothing happened. For obstructed terrain, the brigade moves the die roll times 3 inches. However in either case, if a '6' is rolled on the die, the brigade stops upon contact with the rough terrain instead. When encountering a linear obstacle, rolling a '6' means the brigade stopped this turn without crossing it. Next turn any stopped brigades may continue grand tactical movement, rolling again to move if still in the rough terrain or blocked by the linear obstacle. The only other penalty for moving through rough terrain is that the individual units within brigades will become disordered for the same reasons as in Tactical movement.

Special Cases - Rocky ground is considered Close terrain for purposes of movement, but Rolling for purposes of Line of sight. Swamp is considered Obstructed for movement and Good for Line of Sight. Streams can be impassable, Obstructed, or Close depending on depth. They are considered Good for Line of Sight. Roads are Good for movement, but count the same as the terrain it's built though for line of sight. To use a road, a regiment must move along it sideways (to imitate a column).

COMBAT

COMBAT VALUE

This is a general term used to represent how effective a regiment would be in combat. It's a combined factor representing the unit's training, experience, morale, supply status, etc. This value is used whenever the unit is involved in a firefight or melee.

Value 2 poor quality or raw troops, either untrained, inexperienced or low morale
3 average seasoned troops, properly trained, supplied and motivated
4 elite troops, long service veterans or troops with higher than normal elan

VOLUME OF FIRE

This is the name I give to the combat system. The firing regiment must aim itself at the target, be in range for the weapons, and have line of sight. Combat is resolved by opposed die rolls per firefight. The attacker isn't the only one firing after all, the defender's die roll represents them firing back. Other regiments, also aimed at the target unit, may join the firefight if not involved in their own. Each player rolls one d6, adds the unit's Combat Value, (or average Combat Value if more than one regiment is firing - round off), plus the below (cumulative) modifiers, and compare the totals. The lower score loses, ties have no effect

Modifiers disordered -1   general attached +1
beaten -1 defensive fire +2
in soft cover +1 in hard cover +2
uphill +1 supported +1
flanked/rear -3 unit "resting" -3
fatigue **

  Size Odds 3 to 2: +1 2 to 1: +2 3 to 1: +3

beaten - previous combat result (see below)
defensive fire - firing by a regiment that is being charged frontally this turn
supported - friendly regiment behind, touching, and facing same direction as firer, or in line with firer but not firing itself - represents moral support
unit "resting" - brigade is currently under Rest orders
fatigue - modifier dependant upon fatigue level (see below)
size odds - total 'size' of all regiments in each firefight on one side vs total 'size' of opponents

Combat Results beaten by 1 or 2 shaken regiment becomes disordered if not already
beaten by 3, 4 or 5 beaten regiment becomes disordered and is driven back 3 inches, still facing enemy
beaten by 6 or more broken regiment routs and is removed

Although 1 die is rolled per side per combat, only those units within an enemy's range and arc of fire can be effected by Combat Results. Resulting disordered and beaten units should be marked. A regiment that has a friendly regiment driven back through it, becomes disordered itself. A beaten regiment cannot move closer to the enemy until it recovers.

Small Arms

There is no arc of fire for small arms, all firing is done straight ahead, and even if only part of the target can be hit. Maximum range is 5 inches.

Artillery

Artillery may not move and fire. Arc of fire is 45 degrees and artillery must be unlimbered in order to fire. Maximum range is Line of Sight for the terrain the battery is in, maximum canister range is 5 inches. When firing canister, the battery is treated as if double its actual size. Canister may not be fired if any friendly troops are in the battery's arc of fire and closer than the target.

Optional Ranges & Effects

musket type max range effect
smoothbore 2 inches -
rifled musket 5 inches -
breechloader 5 inches +1
repeater 5 inches +3
 
artillery
3 inch rifle 36 inches -
12 lb Napoleon 20 inches triple size for canister
mixed battery 24 inches -
10 lb Parrot 38 inches -
James rifle 32 inches -
6 lb M1841 16 inches -1
Whitworth unlimited -1
mtn. how. 18 inches triple size for canister

Max range represents maximum effective range, not actual maximum range - all ranges are still limited by line of sight

MELEE

Units must be in contact, but otherwise fight all around. Melee combat is calculated in exactly the same way as firefights. If charged frontally this turn, the defending unit receives the 'defensive fire' modifier. If a unit is charged and loses, the seriousness of the loss is increased by 1 category (ie shaken becomes battered, battered becomes routed). So the quick way to sweep away an opposing unit is to charge it (and win). Losing a subsequent round of melee has normal results.

Charging

Any unit that moved into physical contact with an enemy unit is assumed to have charged and intends to engage in melee. A charging unit receives no extra movement.

RECOVERY

A regiment that doesn't move, fire or receive fire during its turn, may rally by one level at the end of that turn, ie battered becomes shaken, shaken/disordered becomes ordered. This does not require an action point (the colonels take care of it). There is no difference between a shaken unit and a disordered one. Routed regiments are gone for the rest of the game.

FATIGUE

These rules do not keep track of the casualities occuring to the regiments, as this would not be something the divisional commander would concern himself with. Instead a representative value called 'fatigue' is used. The longer a brigade is in combat, the more fatigued it becomes. At the end of every turn (yours AND your opponents) for each unit of the brigade engaged in combat, the brigade receives 1 fatigue point. When the number of fatigue points accumulate past the number of units in the brigade, the Fatigue Level of the brigade increases. These points and levels are kept track of with the below effects.

R = number of regiments currently in the brigade

Fatigue Points 0 to R fresh + 1 to volume of fire, and brigade activation roll
R+1 to 2R willing - no effect
2R+1 to 3R worn -1 to volume of fire, and brigade activation roll
3R+1 to 4R tired -2 to volume of fire, and brigade activation roll
4R+1 to 5R depleted -3 to volume of fire, and brigade activation roll
5R+1 to 6R spent -4 to volume of fire, and brigade activation roll

For example - a completely fresh brigade (0 fatigue points) made up of 5 infantry regiments engages the enemy and has 3 regiments in line with 2 in reserve. After combat it would have accumulated 3 fatigue points and would still be "fresh" since it doesn't yet have more points than regiments (5). After a second round of combat it would have 3 more fatigue points and its Fatigue Level drops to "willing" with 1 point left over counting towards its next Fatigue Level.

These points and states are recorded on the brigade sheet, or marked beside the brigadier (we use coloured d6s). There is no reason why all brigades must start a battle 'fresh'. Scenarios could include different Fatigue Levels for different brigades.

RISK TO GENERALS

The brigadiers of any brigade being fired upon must check to see if they've become a casualty. Any higher ranking generals within 6 inches of such a brigade must also test. Roll a die for each general, if a '1' results, roll again on the below chart.

Result: 1 - "damn your eyes" Shot, the general is dead before he hits the ground. Remove figure.
2 - "I will not be moved" General is hit, but quickly recovers. Out of action for one full turn.
3 - "close, that's all" General loses his hat. Out of action for one full turn while he recovers it.
4 - "what was that!" Shot goes by general's ear, otherwise no effect.
5 - "what was that." Sudden noise startles general, otherwise no effect.
6 -"what was that?" General comments on enemy's poor shooting, otherwise no effect.

One full turn must go by (one of your turns and one of your opponent's) before a dead general is replaced by one of slightly lesser quality (if possible). For example, an average general would be replaced by a poor one. Out of action generals do not need replacing, they come back automatically after one full turn. Meanwhile the brigade receives no action points while the brigadier is missing or Out of Action. If a higher ranking general is close enough he may take over temporarily, using the same rules as in Officer Ability.

Any brigadier that has attached to a regiment so that it receives the +1 combat modifier skips the first die roll in this procedure and instead goes directly to the above chart, making leading regiments in combat very dangerous.

MORALE

REGIMENTAL

There are no regimental morale tests. The results of the combat rolls are intended to include the effect of morale on the units in combat.

BRIGADE

There are no longer any brigade morale tests. The brigade activation roll doubles as a morale test.

DIVISIONAL

Every division has a morale point equal to the number of brigades assigned to it. This point is modified by -1 if the divisional general is incompetent, or a +1 if he's exceptional. For each of its brigades under retire orders, the divisions morale point drops by 1, for each broken brigade its morale drops by 2, (morale goes back up if retiring brigades recover). When the divisions morale point reaches 0, no new attack or advance orders may be issued. When it drops below 0 the division is routed and is removed from the field.

Before the game begins, selected pieces of terrain are also given values of 1 or 2 (or even 3) depending on their relative importance on the battlefield or to the scenario. Brigades that have captured or are holding this terrain uncontested, add that value to their division's morale point while they hold it. Brigades fighting for such terrain add 1/2 value.



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