I’ve been trying to get my wargame mojo back recently. It seemed like most of the games I have played recently or the rules I have read just left me bored. The one exception were the American Revolution games with Piquet. I really enjoyed the Cowpens scenario that I played solo with Piquet. I liked it so much that I’ve decided the I’ll use the original Piquet for my more tactical games (1 unit = 1 battalion sort of thing). I also love the Two Hour Wargames skirmish rules like Nuts!, so the Two Hour Wargame rules will be my system for skirmish games (1 figure = 1 person). That left the void of what to play for grand tactical games (1 unit = 1 brigade). I have played a lot of Volley & Bayonet in the past, but the lack of command and control rules sort of left them lacking for me. I also find the skirmisher stands in regiment scale games a bit fiddly, especially for the Napoleonic era. That encouraged me to look at some other rules.
I have had a copy of Sam Mustafa’s Grande Armee since it came out. However, it came out when my second child was born and I didn’t really have the time to do much with it. I reread those rules a few days ago and I think they are a very good set of rules, but maybe a bit more involved than I am looking for right now. I also have a copy of Sam’s Fast Play Grande Armee rules. I really liked how they read, but I didn’t have anything based for them, so I’d have to put some work into getting something ready for them. Then it hit me, I have a large number of stands based for the American Civil War (originally for Volley & Bayonet) that I could use, but I’d first need to revise the charts to make it work for the American Civil War.
Once upon a time, Sam posted a draft set of rules for the American Civil War based on Might and Reason. He called those rules, Rights and Treason. They were good, but were two base units like Might and Reason. I thought why couldn’t I mesh Rights and Treason and some things from Might and Reason with Fast Play Grande Armee to come up with a set of rules that had what I was looking for. I’ve played Might and Reason before with Mark. I liked it; Mark seemed to like it less than I did. So I did some “kit bashing” and came up with my own version of Fast Play Rights and Treason (with some parts of both Fast Play Grande Armee and Might and Reason).
I tried two trial games. The Confederates were led by R.E. Lee and had three infantry corps (each of six infantry brigades and three artillery units) and one cavalry division with three cavalry brigades and a horse artillery unit. The Union were led by U.S. Grant and had four infantry corps and a cavalry division (organized like the Confederate forces). Not exactly historical, but close enough for a good rules trial. I played two games over the last two days. The first was more a meeting engagement and the second had the Union attacking the Confederates. I used 8mm Adlers mounted on 1.25″ square bases for infantry and cavalry and .75″ square bases for artillery. Each infantry brigade/base represented about 2000 men, the cavalry brigades/bases represented about 1200 men, and the artillery bases represented 12 gun units. I played both games solo on a 4′ x 4′ table with measurements reduced by 5/12s (that is 12 regular inches are 5 inches on the table). That produced a battlefield with a lot of depth and lots of room for maneuver; the same size as a full scale 9′ x 9′ table.
After two games, my evaluation is I really like these rules. They are mostly Fast Play Grande Armee with the combat procedure from Might and Reason and some modifications from Rights and Treason. I was able to play both games to a conclusion (army break) in about three and a half hours, and that included some time looking things up in the various rules and deciding which rules to use from Grande Armee or Might and Resaons. Both games flowed well, really seemed like grand tactical Civil War battles, and were fun. The rules are not for the micro-manager type of player. In both games, I had corps commanders decide to attack the enemy at inopportune times, but then that was historical. I also like the 6″ rule from Grande Armee as sometimes brigades attacked when you didn’t want them to and sometimes they didn’t attack when you wanted them to.
I need to do some more playtests, but I think the rules worked well, produced historical results, and were fun to play. Most battles could be played in 4-6 hours or less, which is what I’m looking for. The command and control rules also really worked well. I did give the army commanders one more die to roll for Command Dice than normal and that seemed to work better too. I also liked that the fiddly bits like skirmish stands and division commanders in corps were not there. Those two things had originally made me not like Grande Armee, but after playing two games I can see how those two points really speed up games with no loss in historical results. Now I just need to rebase some Napoleonic figures so I can try my modified Fast Play Grande Armee rules as well. Sort of sad that Sam Mustafa has abandoned Fast Play Grande Armee as they are really great rules.
You can get a copy of Fast Play Grande Armee here: http://www.deepfriedhappymice.com/html/gw_ga_fastplay.html
Here are the charts I used for my Fast Play Rights and Treason: ACW Charts v 1.1
Here are my untested charts for my revised version of Fast Play Grande Armee: Napoleonic Charts v 1.1
Sorry I don’t have any game pictures, but I couldn’t find my wife’s camera at 11 pm.