Saturday, March 23, 2019

Creating TWO FLAGS-ONE NATION ACW Scenarios from Johnny Reb III Scenarios

Last week's sojourn to "Cold Wars 2019" and the blog post on SPI's "Cedar Mountain" got me thinking more and more about hex based games.  All week I read through Norm's Two Flags - One Nation rules on my commute to work and back and am really itching to play Two Flags - One Nation ACW again, either on grids or hexes. 

Anyways, the ACW theme of late and the current zeitgeist regarding hex based games has me looking through some wonderful scenario books that haven't been touched in ages.

(You can download Norm's excellent, FREE, ACW Hex Based rules HERE).

I purchased Scott Mingus' books a long time ago when I was stationed at Fort Sill and had my armies based solely for Johnny Reb III.  Some of my more "seasoned" readers know my feelings about Johnny Reb, but Mr Mingus' scenario books were so well thought out, detailed and enjoyable to read that they worked well for just about any wargames scenario - hence my purchase back in 2004.

So are we going to break anything if we try to port over a Johnny Reb III scenario to a Two Flags - One Nation scenario?  Let's find out:

Johnny Reb III and Two Flags - One Nation both use the Regiment as the basic unit of maneuver.  Personally this hits a sweet spot for me with ACW gaming.  Check.

The Enduring Valor scenario map books use 1" to represent 50 yards.  Two Flags - One Nation uses 1 hex to represent 200 yards.  I use 4" hexes or squares.  Check.

Johnny Reb uses 20 minute game turns.  Two Flags - One Nation uses 15 minute (roughly) game turns.  Check.

Two Flags - One Nation distinguishes their Regiments by armament, experience (Raw, Seasoned, Veteran), and possibly size (if using the optional rules.)  Enduring Valor characterizes units in its scenarios by armament, experience (Militia, Green, Elite, Veteran), and size (number of figures in the Regiment based on the JR figure ratio).  Check.

Scenario Events / Special Rules
Enduring Valor uses a small box to describe scenario special rules and discuss terrain and its effects on the fight that are of tactical and historical significance and may differ from the rules.  Two Flags-One Nation uses a random events table to act as a forcing function for special circumstances that may have historically happened.  The table can be as detailed or as generic as necessary.  In many cases, terrain is automatically built into the rules, making them much more streamlined than in a more open, conventional wargame.  Check.

And now, the unboxing!
I found a smaller scenario from the Enduring Valor scenario book from the Day 1 battlefield.  This equates perfectly to Norm's 12 x 9 hex battlefield.  We'll just use all Regiments as normal sized (all vary between 220 Soldiers and 580 Soldiers), Seasoned Regiments for TF-ON, since they're all the same quality.  Perhaps some of the larger Confederate Regiments (43rd, 45th, and 5th North Carolina Regiments) could be "large Regiments" in TF-ON speak. 

Taken from Scott Mingus' Enduring Valor Vol 1.  Used without his permission. I dont have a high-speed hexmap making capability so you'll just have to imagine the hexes!
All units on the field are armed with Rifles with the exception of the 88th Pennsylvania which you could dice for (it's a mixed unit).  The confederates have 2 x Batteries of Artillery, the King William, Virginia battery, and the Orange, Virginia Battery.  Each unit has 3 x Brigades and the Confederates have a battalion of Sharpshooters present, which you could use I suppose but for simplicity I'll leave them out for now.

All forces start on the table, except Paul's Brigade, which we will dice for on Turn 3 (dice per the TF-ON rules).  The Union, while outnumbered, has General Robinson, Commander of the 2nd Division, I (US) Corps.  The Rebels do not have the luxury of General Rodes, their Division Commander present. 

Random Events?

Piecemeal Attacks:  Rodes apparently did not have all of his brigades attacking together and piecemeal attacks were launched against this Union position.  O'Neal's and Daniel's Brigades must always roll a 4+ to move in their turn.  If the events table delivers a "supported advance" result, those brigades may move freely that turn without having to roll the 4+ to move.

Some really neat trivia?  North Carolina's General Alfred Iverson behaved less than stellar during the battle, allegedly hiding, or drunk, behind a chestnut tree while his unit "went in" and broke itself against Union fire, which was held until they were less than 80 yards out.  Sounds like a good candidate for the "random events" table, right?

Additionally, (by the way, this is all in the Enduring Valor book, so you should buy it) some historians have noted that Union troopers fired over 100,000 rounds during the afternoon of July 1st.  Low ammo is sounding good for the random events table also.

The scenario goes from 14.00 hours through 16.20 hours or 2 hours and 20 minutes.  Sounds like a 9 turn game of TF-ON to me.

Capture 1 star and inflict 40% losses on the Union force.  Capture 2 stars (hexes) and also inflict 40% losses against the Union force.  Union forces must hold their objectives and inflict 40% losses onto the Rebel forces.

Order of Battle

US Forces
Elements of the Union 1st and 2nd Divisions, I (US) Corps
Wadsworth's Division (all seasoned, all Rifle Musket armed)

Cutler's Brigade  Cutler is a "Superb Tactician" per the TF-ON Commander's Attribute Table
76th NY
95th NY
147th NY

Robinson's Division (you'll need a marker for Robinson and his staff)
Paul's Brigade (all seasoned, all Rifle Musket armed)  Reinforcements, Dice for on Turn 3.
94th NY
104th NY
107th PA
16th ME
13th MA

Baxter's Brigade (all seasoned, most Rifle Musket armed)
12th MA
83th NY
97th NY
11th PA
88th PA* Roll for armament
90th PA

Confederate Forces
Rodes' Division, II (CS) Corps

Daniel's Brigade Roll 1D6 each turn to move the Regiments of this Brigade.  (all seasoned, all Rifle Musket armed)
32nd NC
43rd NC* Large Unit
45th NC
53rd NC

Iverson's Brigade - May Move Freely (all seasoned, all Rifle Musket armed)  *Iverson is "Suffering Exhaustion" per the Two Flags - One Nation Commander's Attribute table
5th NC
12th NC
20th NC
23rd NC

O'Neal's Brigade Roll 1D6 each turn to move the Regiments of this Brigade.  (all seasoned, all Rifle Musket armed)
3rd AL
5rd AL
6th AL
12th AL
26th AL

There are a plethora of fences, fields, walls, forests, and orchards.  I'm not sure how many fences ought to be included in TF-ON and that's something I'd like to look at further and playtest.  Also, the forests and stone walls that the Union are taking cover within, along with Oak Ridge itself are key terrain.

If I could make the map, I certainly would.  My next step is to try and put these units together along with the battlefield to make a proper field.  I definitely need a ton of fences that i will have to make, but i can model only those fences where the fighting took place along.  That's my compromise for now.

Random Events for The Battle for Oak Ridge
2: Advance Turn Marker 1 x Turn
3: Leader is shot by a SharpShooter 1,2,3 Rebel, 4,5,6 Union
4: Confederate Confused Orders Randomly Select 1 Unit from Iverson's Brigade as Out of Command
5: Union Confused Orders Randomly Select 1 Unit as Out of Command
6: Nothing Happens
7: COL Iverson is Missing.....
8: Nothing Happens
9: Union Adjust the Line / Confederate Coordinated Advance - Rebel Units do not have to roll 4+ to move
10: Inspiring Leadership - 1,2,3 Rebel, 4,5,6 Union Remove 1 Heavy Casualty Marker
11: Out of Ammo Union - Fire with l less dice for this turn and next turn
12: Out of Ammo Union - Fire with 1 less dice for this turn and next turn


  1. Looks very interesting! The uncoordinated movements of Daniels and O'Neal seem a harsh bit of friction to overcome at first blush. I await your battle report.

    1. A fair assessment, Jonathan. Daniels and O'Neal's attacks did not go forward in conjunction with Iverson's. How would you remedy? Perhaps roll by individual regiment instead of brigade? Or just allow the unrestricted movement of all rebel units?

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    3. I would be tempted to build these into the Random Events table. I would remove Random Event DR9 - "Confederate Coordinated Advance" and replace with three contrary events:
      - Daniels' Brigade piecemeal advance. DR=4+ to move each regiment.
      - O'Neal's Brigade piecemeal advance. DR=4+ to move each regiment.
      - Daniels' and O'Neal's Brigade piecemeal advance. DR=4+ to move each regiment.

      You can assign the correct probability to each event as you deem likely.

    4. I like that and if there are enough of them, it is likely that one of these brigades will not move together on a given turn.

  2. Thanks Steve for the continued support of the rules and the mention, it looks like a nice sized action that it is going to be a fascinating game, with quite a bit of control taken out of the Confederate commanders hands (good).

    Regading unit sizes, just for your info, a couple of weeks ago, I did The Battle of McDowell 1862 (just following Kernstown), which has some meaty Confederate regiments, so I set the unit size bar for that battle at;

    under 400 infantry is a small unit
    400 - 600 is standard
    601+ large

    Look forward to whatever follows, cheers norm.

    1. Thanks for commenting and for the insight on unit sizes. It might make the scenario that much easier to play if all were the same size. I appreciate your feedback. I will likely use Jonathan's suggestions about the random events table, vrs the 4+ move penalty for entire Brigades. Can't wait to play this scenario.

    2. Steve, it looks like the fencing is a relevant feature in this battlefield, so it could all go in (and look nice!).

      It would be ignored by all fire, even small arms, but would count as cover against a charge due to its disruptive nature.. During movement (or charging to contact), having to cross a fence would count as Difficult Terrain, reducing a units movement allowance down from 2 hexes to 1 hex.

    3. I had better get to work, then! Lots more fences to build. I have some scratch-built snake rail fences that will work but need quite a few more of them. Im quite excited about getting this on the table.

  3. Superb analysis. I really must try Norm's rules. Starting to see some free time on the horizon.