Johnny Reb 3 for the American Revolution

In my quest for rules for the very tactical battles of both the Southern Campaigns and Burgoyne’s 1777 Campaign I have opted to use a variant of Johnny Reb 3. I over thought what rules to use for far too long. I used the very small bits of free time I enjoyed over Christmas break to think about this and explore my options. In the end I decided that for the battles of these two campaigns and campaign games themselves, the Johnny Reb 3 rules produced more what I was looking for. What really helped me was Sam Mustafa’s podcast about Blucher. He noted something like he thought about what the game should be like in an overall way and then made rules that did that. It was this top down approach that led me to reconsider Johnny Reb 3 as the base rules for my American Revolution games. I also remembered a comment made by Greg Novak way back in 1993 when he told me that he had really enjoyed Johnny Reb 2 and wanted to get some 15mm figures and play those rules again (I don’t know if he ever did).

The Johnny Reb 3 rules had many advantages that led me to adopting it for this period:

1. It can handle battles with just 2 or 3 units to games with 20-30 units per side.This was a very important consideration as in the campaign games for both Greene’s 1781 campaign and Burgoyne’s 1777 campaign there would clearly be a lot of small battles (1000 men or less per side).

2. At 1-20 (a modification of the Johnny Reb 1-30 scale), it produced units in the size that I wanted to use: 12-20 for most battalions/regiments, but could still represent small cavalry or light infantry units of less than 100 men.

3. It is more player decision driven than games that use cards or activation rolls. I think I’m more interested in games that are more literal interpretations than impressionistic interpretations of battles these days.

4. There are campaign rule ideas from Johnny Reb I that I can use.

5. I like the tactical feel and the detail in the rules; I don’t need fast play rules as I have a dedicated game table I can leave up and when I play with others we tend to have most of a Saturday for our games. For my favorite period I opted for a more complex game rather than a more casual fast play set of rules.

6. And finally, I have really enjoyed playing Johnny Reb since the first edition. It was the first set of rules that I really liked, and we played a lot of the first and second editions when I was in college (the first time) and later on a lot of Johnny Reb 2 when I was earning my second B.A.. I wish I had never stopped playing it, but then a lot of great rules got forgotten while I took a multi-year gaming break to research and complete my Ph.D. and my kids took up a lot of my time when they were younger (which I did enjoy).

Here are the Charts I’m going to try out. There are some differences, especially in the morale loss (check at 25% rather than stand lost and lower modifications to BMP for 25% loss – an idea I got from John Hill’s new game, Across a Deadly Field).

Click here for the charts: JR3 AWI CRT JG 5.0


9 Responses to Johnny Reb 3 for the American Revolution

  1. joe says:

    Hi there,
    What are your thoughts on the formations represented by JR and those common to AWI warfare?
    I am planning to allow only trained light troops to adopt skirmish formation, with some pluses for elite units.
    I would say formed European line troops could form extended lines as well as battle lines.
    It seems that any Civil War regiment or brigade, including raw recruits could throw up a skirmish screen but was this tactic also used by AWI units? I imagine it would but would need to do some more reading.


    • jdglasco says:

      I should do a post about that. I’ll try this week, but it is a busy week with another college semester starting. No double line or attack column except the French should be able to use attack column to represent their use of closed columns of companies. I’d let everyone use the rest of the formations, but non-light infantry would be a +1 modifier to their morale plus half casualties from their fire when in skirmish formation.


  2. jdglasco says:

    I remember Killer Angels, I had a playtest copy of that, but there seemed to be some delay in the playtesting. I also like Grande Armee, particularly Fast Play Grande Armee. I tried an American Civil War version of that a few times (there are charts for that some where on this blog).


    • Joe says:

      I will definitely take a look at those charts, I expect the biggest difference will be the addition of firing for non artillery units. Blucher has arrived!! I have already purchased the bundle.


  3. Joe says:

    I agree, ADF wouldn’t be suitable for corps level games. I would still use V&B or Killer Angels when it is released for that scale.


  4. jdglasco says:

    You are welcome. I don’t have ADF, I just downloaded the charts. It looks interesting, but I can’t imagine playing a Civil War game where you represent every regiment. That would be like 250 regiments for the Union at Gettysburg! I do like VnB for larger battles. Overall, I think it just depends on what you want out of your game. VnB is good for really large battles, and a more fast play version of smaller battles. If I can get over my cold, I’ll be playing a VnB game (SYW) on Saturday.


  5. Joe says:

    Thanks for posting your latest V&B for AWL rules. You have got me thinking now on JR for AWI, I have recently bought ADF and really like the concepts. I think it would work for AWI as well, it already has stats for old flintlocks, militia, skirmish Indians, and sharpshooters. Maybe lower the artillery stats and possibly look at the charge impact resolution result table. Perfect!!


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