As I cooked our Sunday lunch, I had to pause. The hotdog sausages were boiling nicely as I pondered on what an amazing invention the Internet and Twitterface really are. There I was looking for the ultimate Horse and Musket wargames experience and some other people have done all the work, not only allowing us to use Blucher for Napoleon in Italy but also use the ruleset for the American Civil War.
Mr. James and I made a start on the American Civil War a good few years ago now. Black Powder was our first choice, followed by Fire and Fury. As my mental capacity has dwindled over the years, I need to concentrate on fewer simpler rulesets. I have also dropped out of organising massive multi-player games that just became a bit of a chore to be brutally honest. That hasn’t seemed to bother the gentlemen of Old Meldrum Wargames group. Their site is a joy to behold….
The Blucher system uses unit cards that can be utilised instead of miniatures by the paint-phobic. Go to https://oldmeldrumwargamesgroup.com and you will be amazed. There are well written scenarios for a number of battles and they have cleverly, and with permission, created the necessary unit cards. To my great joy there is the complete Order of Battle for Marengo and also a variant for A.C.W. called, in true Sam Mustafa style, Chamberlain ( he of Gettysburg and moustache fame!).My problem was of course that I collect mainly 28mm figures and if you follow the basic rules you end up with square units. This can be rationalised in the Napoleonic era perhaps but it just looks plain wrong in my opinion for the War between the States. The site provided a eureka moment when I decided on a smaller number of miniatures on a much larger footprint.
The good news was that my artillery was based for Mr. Mustafa’s Longstreet so already fitted 150mm. by 100 mm.. I did toy with the idea of adding the game stats to each unit but decided against. Firstly I’m not a great fan of boardgame style counters and secondly using the newly found unit cards, these could be placed underneath or like Version 4 Flames of War, the cards can be referenced during the game. I was happy that the above actually looked like a heavy artillery unit- no two or one model batteries for me.
The cavalry were also on the right base size but the colour was a horrible Goblin green from Games Workshop. The Oldmeldrumwargamesgroup have the Union cavalry at just three strength points so I may go with just six figures on each unit base. The Confederates are stronger and so the plan is to use eight miniatures. The larger footprint would also allow you to model a dismounted firing line and horse holders. John Wayne and the Horse Soldiers here we come! Chamberlain allows cavalry to fire but they have to skedadle if faced by infantry. A neat trick that should have the cavalry acting more like their North American counterparts.
I’ll use the same green just tone it down by dry brushing Foundry Sand over it. I will have to rebase all my infantry but they are a bit of a mismatch. Some collectors can stand wide variation in basing but I’m a bit O.C.D.. Yes the light and ground would vary over the frontage occupied by an army but not my army!
The newly raised units don’t get skirmishers so I plan to add an additional oval base to show rifle armed skirmishers and for the early battles, attached artillery. One of the great things about this reorganisation is that I now get more completed units. Organised along the same lines, I now have six Confederate units.
Next on the shopping list are more guns for both sides and some more Rebs! I hope you are listening Father Christmas. I can’t recommend the Oldmeldrumwargamesgroup site highly enough. With a simple and versatile set of rules and all these excellent resources I can’t wait to be fighting both in Italy and the USA. I wonder if the local snowflakes can stand a table covered in Confederate flags!?