Monday, May 21, 2012

ACW with Fire & Fury

At the weekend I joined in an ACW game held at one of the local school libraries, by one of our two local gaming clubs. The game played using 25/8mm scale figures and using the Fury and Fury rule set.

Steve came up with a scenario where by opposing mounted scouts come across each other and dismount to hold their positions while the two armies follow up to engage.

I played the game on Rebs side with my fledgling unit. Our mounted scouts held a hilltop church and graveyard, whilst the Yankees held the adjacent farm. The Rebs got first turn, and started their advance on to the field, with the Union coming on with a reserve, which heavily weighted their left flank. The bulk of our forces were also on our left flank. This caused a typical rotation of the battle lines about a central crossroads position.

Here's a few pics of the game...

Rebs deployments
The opposing scouts
My fledgling unit takes a circuitous flank march
The Yankees advance on to the field
The Rebs advance and deploy guns on a central hill
Yankees threaten to advance on and overwhelm Rebs in church

A view from Rebs right flank as Yankees advance on church. Scouts mount up and back off.

Battle lines begin to form and meet. And that dreaded single dice roll of a '1'...

Rebs push heavily on the farm forcing off Yankee scouts, whilst their own right flank pulls back to avoid being out flanked. This was just about the final positions, with both advancing flank forces moving slightly further on...
The game looked good, but I have to say for my tastes played poorly.

After 4 hours of play we had advanced into battle lines, with negligible result. Shooting had to this point killed about one stand of an infantry unit from each side. One charge had pushed off one unit from the farm.

The problem for me was all the shooting was doing was causing 'disorder' which petty much had the effect of halving your movement and subsequent shooting. Which resulted in a tedious slow grinding game.

Also the single dice mechanism was also for me a failure in the rules. Its too open to random chance. Whereas when many dice are rolled you get a more likely statistically and predictable average result.

When the Yankees finally amassed enough fire power to seriously damage an enemy unit they rolled a 1 on the single d10 rolled... groan...

I was left feeling that was an afternoon wasted, to be honest.... I would have been better served getting on with figure painting!

I couldn't help but wonder how better this scenario and game would have played using Black Powder as a rule set...

Fire and Fury? Nope.... Smoke and Disorder? Yep!


  1. Fire and Fury are not to everyone's taste, we use them all the time for large games. They are totally dice orientated and can lead to a whole lotta frustration. Hence my blog title!!!!

  2. We have used F&F for years and now Regimental F&F. We use BP as well but F&F will still be our choice over BP for AWI and ACW. Everyone to their own I guess. Great photos Scott and the game looked great too.

  3. I'm surprised you feel that way as I've always found Fire and Fury to be a fluid game and quite action packed. It's my favourite rule set for ACW and always ranks in my top 3 overall depending on what I'm really into at the time. All that said I understand different tastes for each person. Board looks nice btw.


  4. Guys thanks for your comments and feedback. Yes it was a visually appealling game. Steve has piles of ACW figures, many of which he aquired from Paul Crouch, another of the founding Fusiliers, who I believe now resides somewhere in Aussie...

    As you say 'horses for courses' I guess... its just all the games of Black Powder I have played have been fast, fluid and fun, with a result within the allotted time, even with large armies and multiple players involved (see recent SYW game report)

    This games was relatively small with several players per side and an umpire, and we still failed to reach a definite result after 4 hours of play...

    Plus I find the single dice mechanism too open to chance... most of the gamse shooting had been by typically 3-6 elements at a time, which all that was doing was causeing the aforementioned disorder. When the Yankees finally got 20 elements in position to pour weight of fire on a single Reb unit, they rolled that one on the dice.

    I felt like packing up then, but we played another turn, and still nothing much happened in the next turn that we played, another low dice roll, resulting in "lively fire" - Jeez it was anything but 'lively'...

    I also wasn't a huge fan on the idea my opponent gets to shoot at me before me, in my game turn, and similarly I shoot at hime first in his game turn.... I can see the reasoning behind it I guess, but I found it frustrating and confusing... often losing track of which point we were at in the game...

    I'm sure Black Powder would have played better in a more dynamic fashion, and would have seen units breaking and fleeing the field, as weight of fire effects and melees ensued, and thus been a more enjoyable game for all involved.
    It may not be the 'simulation style' game others may like, but my experience of these more simulations style games has often been rather dull...

    Black Powder can also be tweaked for those who wish to, such as limiting some of the extremes of movement, alternating fire order too I guess could be done, to give what a player feels a more period specific feel...

  5. Did you play regular Fire and Fury or Regimental Fire and Fury?


    1. Hi Chris, I think it was regular Fire & Fury, it was an old-ish looking rule book, with a blue cover I think...

    2. The reason is a few rules have been streamlined and new ones added in Regimental Fire and Fury that have improved the game. For example units already disordered that become disordered again suffer a casualty instead of just staying disordered.


    3. Well that would have helped a bit as we definitley had cases where a disordered unit was hit and just disordered again, which was very frustratiing to the firer...

    4. Also there are army break points and other new additions that improve game flow. I recommend trying it again using Regimental F&F and if that still doesn't work for you then move on to other systems.
      I hope this proves somewhat useful and happy gaming!


    5. Thanks for your continued feedback Chris, its interesting to wonder if these changes would have made any difference to our game...
      If disordered units were disordered again by further shooting, they'd be losing stands, so that would probably be a few more units that would have been 'damaged', but I dont think that would have got us to 'break point'. Still it might be worth another look...

    6. That's what I suggest you do and hopefully it works out for you this time.:-)



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