Sunday, January 27, 2019


Apologies for my absence of late - I've been sick and recuperating from it.  Today I had some precious quiet in the house and retired to the gaming bunker to finally play a game of Norm Smith's "Two Flags, One Nation" American Civil War rules [click].  As my readers know, I have always liked Norm's well thought-out, simple, and challenging rules including "Tigers at Minsk" WWII and "Eagles at Quatre Bras" Napoleonics.  His TFON rules have been rigorously playtested (Norm continues to play many games of TFON) and I have been wanting to try them for the last 2 years.

Well the wait is finally over as I threw a couple brigades of Union troops, and a single brigade of Confederate troops on the table today.  The year is 1863 (this matters for gameplay - I'll explain).  The Rebels must prevent the Union troops from breaking through and linking up with their comrades further down the pike.

2 Union Brigades of 3 Regiments each - they face 1 single Rebel Brgiad
 All troops on the table are "seasoned" and all units save for 1 Rebel Regiment are armed with rifled-muskets.  I will note that Norm's rules TF-ON use hexes.  I have used squares here with flocked pennies marking the corners of the squares.  The effect works and the squares are unobtrusive and dont', in my opinion, detract from the action or the visual spectacle.
Rebel Regiment in the treeline.  These fellows are armed with smoothbores.  In Norm's rules, the armaments can be variable and fluctuate more with the year.  Early on in the war, more troops are armed or have the possibility to be armed with smoothbore muskets.

Union Divisional artillery and the Division Command stand.  Most of my ACW are a work in progress and need rebased badly!
 The rebels occupy key terrain astride the road, including a nice piece of forest that juts out and commands the approach.  The rebels have a battery of artillery to cover the road approach, and have placed a regiment of troops in the woodline, backed up by another fresh regiment who are supporting the lead regiment in the treeline.  In TFON, units offer support by being in command and directly behind.
Rebel officers survey the yankee approach march.  "The damn Yanks form well!"

 The Yankees approach their designated objectives on either side of the road.  The Rebels have left a single regiment on the left of the road behind some rough scrub terrain.  Their main effort is clearly weighted against the Union left where the approach is quickest and terrain is more conducive to a solid defense.

Yanks march right up to the woodline.

Union Brigade on the Union left facing off against a battery of guns and a Regiment of troops in the woodline.
 The Union right sees much more success as the yankees send a flanking force to the rear of the Rebel Regiment in front of them.  They advance into the scrub and trade shots with the rebs in the cultivated field.
Regiment (left) is flanking the unit in the cropfield.
 The Rebel turn sees them hold their fire until the last possible moment to good effect - a Yankee Regiment is sent reeling back from casualties with 2 "hits" against them in the open.  They fail their capability test and retreat 1 square.  A hole in the Union line!  The Union regiment is disordered for 15 minutes.

It's now the end of the first turn.  I roll 2D6 + 8 giving me the result of "19".  The clock advances to 10:19am.  I'm playing until noon.  The Union brigade on the Union right has made good progress trying to flank the single Rebel Regiment to their front.  On the Union left, it's a much different story, and a single Rebel Regiment in the treeline and a single Rebel battery is holding up an entire Union brigade.

using my yellow dice to track the advance of time
The Union flanking maneuver on the right goes well, with 2 Regiments holding the Rebels while a third Regiment moves forward and flanks them, putting the Union in a perfect position to close assault the Rebels in their flank.

successful Union flanking maneuver

A Union unit in close combat with the Rebels earns paydirt with 3 hits - and a flanking bonus gives you extra dice!

The Union Regiment on the left charges home!  The flanking bonus gives even more dice to the attackers

The Rebel capability test forces them to retreat.  They retreat towards the main line next to the artillery battery.

They'll be disordered for 30 minutes.  Units take 8 hits before they break. 
 The next turn I roll random events and a Union Brigade commander is killed.  I randomly dice for the victim and it's the Union left (1st) Brigade, who have been having the worst luck for the whole battle so far.  Not only have they been standing in front of the Rebel battery, but the shooting from the smoothbore-armed Rebel regiment has been incredibly effective.

Casualties piling up with the yanks from the single Regiment in the treeline.

THey couldn't hit an elephant at this ....THWACK  In TFON, a new commander is appointmented next turn in the rally phase.  until then, the Union units of this brigade will remain disordered, without a commander.

The Rebel Regiment supporting behind the treeline moves up and closes the door on the Union 1st Brigade.  

The Rebels did an excellent job of keeping the Union 1st Brigade bottled up on the left.  Note the 2nd Brigade in the upper-center of the picture - their attack has been much more successful.

Better look at the attack by 2nd Brigade who pushed the Rebel Regiment out of the cropfield.

I ended up quitting the game after this but overall it was great fun.  I played through 4 total turns, ending at 1058am.  The Union had alot of options with the 2nd Brigade's breakthrough, and the appointment of another commander in 1st Brigade.  The Rebels, however, put in a fresh Regiment and their smoothbore-armed regiment who did such an outstanding job of holding off 1st Brigade only has 1 hit against them.

Lots of questions that I think I'll post in another blog post but I will definitely play TFON again soon.


  1. My mom is from NY and dad is from NC, and they regularly did reenactments as I was growing never really got into ACW, That said I do appreciate when it is done well....Well done sir....)

  2. Looks good, Steven! I have enjoyed my games of TF-ON too. I have a recent Fox Gap BatRep yet to draft.

    From your BatRep, it seems you are not using the latest version of Norm's rules. There have been changes to both variable time clock and disorder duration. I will be very interested in reading your game questions and Norm's responses.

    1. Jonathan,
      That's heartening news because many of my questions revolved around time and disorder! I will post my musings and questions soonest. Thanks for commenting, and for illuminating me.

  3. Steve, thanks so much for having a go with the rules and for posting. as Jonathan says, the rules have been updated and a couple of the phases merged into what I hope is a cleaner system.

    The game clock went. This was with some reluctance, but essentially it was messy to manage and returned little to the game other than a flavour of time, but the maths were frequently producing 15 minute turns, so it just seemed more sensible to go with turns and lose a layer of time administration.

    The morale / rout aspect was not working as well as it should and some of the rule applications felt a little awkward, even for me and I am supposed to know the rules! So I hope the latest update gives a smoother experience.

    Love your table and he squares look less disruptive to the eye than my hexes. I think it translates to squares quite well because units can't gang up and so having two frontal hexes rather than one frontal square will not matter. How is the artillery fire arc working with squares?

    Anyway, all good, I suspect some of your questions will have me frequently referring to 'this is how it is now' :-)

    I am hoping to bring my Eagles rules and TF-ON rules into a closer harmony, so you will see some eagles stuff in the latest version of TF-ON.

    Hope you are fully recovered. cheers Norm.

    1. Cheers Norm, I'm 80 percent now, lol.

      Im very excited to hear there are more eagles in TFON! I have really enjoyed my games of Eagles to date.
      So i will post my questions soon, but i believe with your updates you may have addressed my questions.

      Rest assured i really enjoyed this game and cant wait to play more. Like your other rules, these are really special.

  4. These look really good. I must admit, that I have read Norm's posts on his ACW stuff, and never got the rules to try. Must rectify that.

    1. They're well worth your time, Darren. Chock full of decisions to make and the latest version is even more streamlined.

  5. Enjoyable report. Thanks for bringing these rules to my attention.

    1. They are great fun, David, definitely give them a go.