Home Forums Horse and Musket American Civil War Rules were you command a Brigade

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    My dear fellows, a Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate, and good day to the rest.

    I just finished Peter Cozzen’s “Shipwreck of their Hopes” on the battles for Chattanooga, and it got me thinking a bit, and I wanted to ask if people could recommend ACW rules that

    1) You command a brigade

    2) Accommodates 28mm figures on a  3×3 or 4×4 table

    3) Plays in an hour or two.

    I am aware of the following rules for the ACW where one commands a Brigade

    -Longstreet, by Sam Mustafa

    -Regimental Fire and Fury

    I am aware of the following generic rules that aim at the Brigade level

    -The Complete Brigadier (the old boardgame)

    I am aware of the following generic rules that could work on an abstract level

    -Neil Thomas 19th Century Rules

    -Black Powder

    Other recommendations would be welcome.

    Avatar photoPrince Rhys

    Altar Of Freedom

    Firebell In the Night

    Picketts Charge

    Guns At Gettysburg

    Long Road South

    A House Divided

    Polemos ACW (from Baccus)

    Avatar photoPrince Rhys

    Zouave II

    Avatar photoPrince Rhys

    Battle Command (new set by Brent Oman – derived from Picquet)

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    I think you have missed the level of game Rhys – he’s after a set where you command a brigade not where the brigade is the unit of manoeuvre.


    Avatar photoMike

    For those unsure, that is?

    Commanding a Brigade, you have various bases of troops representing companies and or battalions and all your bases and models add up to make a brigade?

    Manoeuvring a brigade, you have various bases of troops each one representing a brigade and together they make up a division?
    Using the above speak also known as Commanding a Division?



    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    Er…yes – except most of those rules are commanding an army.

    Altar of Freedom for example is specifically aimed at letting you play the biggest ACW battles on ‘reasonable’ sized tables. See the Little Wars TV site or You Tube vids for examples of play and a review (they are their rules).



    My dear fellows thank you. And quite indeed as most of you noted, commanding a brigade means a game were your maneuver elements are  regiments or companies and you are running a brigade. I.e Altar of Freedom, a game I have, is indeed a Army level game, we’re brigades are the maneuver element. Not what I am looking for.

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    I apologise for not being able to add to your list. I have Longstreet by Sam Mustafa for this level, which you are already aware of.

    It feels like a level that is not generally catered for in this type of period. Understandably perhaps as most brigades and even divisions were part of bigger actions where they could be committed at the whim of more senior commanders rather than having much autonomy.

    I found Longstreet good for a sort of role play crossover where your character grows as your games progress and you can  go on to larger commands. But, to me, it still feels a little artificial, as what is going on around you, which would have had huge impacts on your command, are factored out.

    I wish you the best of luck finding a set to suit your needs..

    Avatar photoOotKust

    I cannot contribute to this list or request, perhaps “Rules were…” should be ‘where’ ?

    -but I once again will point out that these ‘constraints __…___’ are mere moral paradigms that do not really exist outside gamers brains.

    Any rules can be used, any game can be truncated with logical space and/ or time constraints through planning and careful scenario instructions.

    Myself and friends (several different groups) have been doing so over 30 years without hardship or controversy;

    • most gamers appreciate a well laid out plan and a bit of mystery or skullduggery on the side,
    • terrain they understand and flexibility to use/ avoid it
    • across multiple scales/ periods and rules.

    Drives me nuts seeing rules for this, another for that, and the rampant commercial fears inherently attached to ‘system’ gaming that has become the lore of the hobby.


    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    Sorry, I have to disagree with you Dave.

    You can use skirmish rules for an army level game if you like, but they’ll take you forever and will (or should) concentrate of different things than a set designed for an army level game.

    Similarly if you want to use say Volley and Bayonet for a game where you are commanding a brigade you probably can, but your combat will be a bit odd and over quite quickly, and dare I say it rather, dissatisfying.

    A game designed to reflect what a brigade commander is doing should be markedly different from a set reflecting what an army commander is doing. If not; for me you’re playing a game with toy soldiers, but it isn’t a wargame. Nothing wrong with that if it’s fun and everyone enjoys themselves, but it won’t reflect real battlefield manoeuvre, and as a way of understanding those battle reports we read it will be worse than useless and teach us many wrong lessons (and for me not be anywhere near as much fun).


    Mr. OotKust I get what you are saying, but I will agree with Guy. Much as I try to fit smaller actions to BBB, I have found that going below a certain battle level (10000 vs. 10000) does not make sense to me. A subjective issue no doubt, but it is what it is.

    Mr. Farrish, I understand your point, but I think that does come down to scenario design and focus. Such levels are excellent for using some random event generator to simulate the flow of a bigger battle. But on the other hand you do have a lot of ACW, and not only, battles were really speaking it was a brigade fight.

    Avatar photoOotKust

    Sorry, I have to disagree with you Dave. You can use skirmish rules for an army level game if you like,

    No sir, wasnt suggesting that kind of abstract at all- I dont skirmish-period. So no rules exist in my realm.
    I was suggesting ‘normal/ average’ rules for a ‘normal’ full size game- Division/ Corps (since ancilliary formations make it greater than a Division but not equal too another, usually) can be extrapolated and scenario driven, reduced to the criteria specified.

    Using Shadow of the Eagles, a brigade action is too tiny, and units  become unusable rapidly due to attrition unless someone is throwing exceptionally poorly- not inflicting casualties/ demerits being the overdriving criteria. But thats just the latest iteration we’ve been using as less complex, but not necessarily lesser troop count.

    However I understand that these things aren’t equal in comparison and we must all assess our own needs.

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    Dave, I have no desire to make a big deal of this. Certainly not trying to pick a contretemps!

    I was saying that the rules designed to fight big battles with brigades as the unit of manoeuvre and decision won’t deliver a satisfactory game where your units are battalions or regiments. And vice versa. I took ‘skirmish’ rules playing Gettysburg as a reductio ad absurdum, not a commentary on what you actually played!

    Rules for divisional games  can of course ‘stretch’ – how far is up to the individual. (not too far for me but other opinions exist!).

    Which brings me on to your point Konstantinos.  Playing brigade games is fine, I always wonder what’s happening just off table to the right or left though! I bow to your superior knowledge of the ACW, if brigade v brigade combats work as discrete actions that’s great.

    No doubt scenario design helps.


    Not just ACW. My favorite scenario in the 1864 Danish-German War is Oeversee which really is one Danish brigade+ vs. An Austrian brigade+.



    Avatar photoPrince Rhys

    I agree with Ootkust – non-skirmish rules are easily adapted/extrapolated to the level required. Combine with house rules if preferred, add to that well thought out scenarios and you will be fine. Hence my list. These rules can be adapted.

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    I decided my first answer, meant as a flippant joke, may be misconstrued. Sorry.

    However I don’t feel that those ruled can successfully be adapted without requiring sufficient work to make them another set of rules entirely. If I wanted a set to play a game where I commanded a brigade I certainly wouldn’t start from one of those. If I didn’t like something like Longstreet I’d write my own or start from a ‘divisional’ game  rather than games aimed at playing Gettysburg etc.

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