|A hopeful Dave setting up his half of the table. My rules and 1/72 plastics are in the middle. They sold within the first 10 minutes of opening. I think we both made out pretty well.|
Normally, folks like to post pictures of the beautiful and impressive games that were put on. Well, you'll be able to see enough of that from the Little Wars guys. I saw a game that REALLY captured my attention and I am hoping it captures yours as well. On our way out, actually to leave for dinner on Saturday, I saw an immediately familiar sight - the SPI Cedar Mountain boardgame map - blown up to 5 x 8 and rules adopted for miniatures!
Read on as I discuss the merits of this brilliant idea and my thoughts for future of my "BIG BATTLE" projects. Perhaps we've been going about this all wrong?
|The SPI Cedar Mountain map, blown up to an impressive size with miniatures AND counters.|
You can see how a hex map like this caught my eye. The colors are brilliant, the print job is superb and the shiny, drool-resistant laminated surface makes for a nice, clean look. Add to that the 1/72 scale plastics that we all know and love and you have a winning combination.
|Stonewall Jackson's Corps deploys! Artillery covering as the troops march on. Note the original map in the background. Units are Regiments per the original SPI "Cedar Mountain" rules and behave on the table in a very similar manner.|
The GM of this game, Bryan, used most of the features from the SPI game, and combat features from another popular game series (BattleCry, CCN, etc) and made a simple, elegant game that still retains the detail, command/control, and tactical decision making from the board game, with a distinct miniatures game feel.
I never got to play because the game started too late for us, but I at least got the GM to talk me through his rules. Turns out he lives about 45 minutes away from me and was amenable to putting his game on for us. I can't wait!
|Union starting positions for the attack. Note the counters neatly placed within the hex. Figures are removed and are used for strength points.|
Command and Control is tested each turn and units must be within the prescribed Command range of their superior. Regiments within their Brigade Commander's radius, Brigade commanders within their Division Commander's radius. Super easy. I'm not sure what the penalties for being outside this range are. Need to read the rules. The counters remind you of who your brigade commander is, and what your Regiment is armed with, as well as its starting strength points.
Artillery has a range, in some cases, of 20 hexes! So you can really reach out and touch the enemy.
|Union brigades massing|
My megalomania got the better of me, and I immediately thought of the potential for bigger battles, using my square-based 10 or even 15mm troops. Borodino, Wagram and Aspern-Essling are easily doable on a surface like this, and with rules that are time-tested and simple you could have a very enjoyable "miniatures" game with much less hassle.
It's super easy to test command and control, as well as adjudicate range and movement with these hex based rules and the miniatures really capture "the look" I think that the counters could not hope to achieve.
This got me thinking about Norm's Two Flags-One Nation rules, and his Eagles at Quatre Bras rules, and how much fun I had with them. Eventually, after the first few turns, you're making decisions and maneuvering your troops. Not looking things up in a rulebook and trying to figure out what the rules say you can do or what they prohibit.
While probably not everyone's cup of tea, this game at COLD WARS was inspiring for me and really is what I'm looking for in a game. Maneuvering, fighting, command and control all in a neat, tidy package.
Another note, much of my time was spent in the flea market (Wally's Basement) where I sold 98% of the rules I brought with me and the rest of my 1/72 plastics, and gave away 2 x items that did not sell. I immediately took that money and put it into acquisitions. As it turns out, there was a guy about 20 feet away from our table liquidating his entire ACW force and had some great deals. I dropped a ton of money on this guy's stuff and he ended up giving me a whole bunch more for practically nothing. Here the lads are, in all their blue and gray glory:
|13 new Regiments of Union troops|
|9 new Union batteries with some limbers|
|13 new Confederate Regiments with 11 guns and some limbers|
|My reinforcements! I will rebase them per my basing scheme and add them to my existing collection. This will bring me up to 28 ACW Union "Units" and 28 ACW Confederate "Units" (be them a brigade or regiment) for ACW battles. I'm super excited!|