Thursday, 8 March 2012


Union Troops Advance
(c) Kaptain Kobold 2011
I came across some posts I made to the HOTT Yahoo Group last year about running ACW fantasy games, and thought I'd share them here. I was considering the two sides as fantasy nations/races, and settled on them being Chaos vs Order or Romance vs Reality.

You have The South - An older culture, individualistic and tribal. Inspired and enthusiastic, relying on the valour of individual warriors. Not technologically sophisticated, but old enough to draw on a magic of its own.

Against them is The North - A larger, organised society, cooperative and ordered. Able to draw on the inventiveness of its citizens. It achieves its aims via a relentless grinding down of the opposition.

Both concepts are based on the 'legendary' ACW, which concentrates mainly on the war in the East, with a little of the Western theatre thrown in and pretty much skipping the (much more interesting) Trans-Mississippi.

With that in mind I set about designing some lists.

The South

1 x Magician General (Lee)
1 x Hero (Jackson or Stuart)
1 x Artillery (Cannon)
4 x Warband (Southern Soldiers)
2 x Knights (Cavalry)
1 x Lurker (Partisans and Raiders)

The North

1 x Spear General
3 x Spears (Soldiers of The North)
2 x Riders (Cavalry)
2 x Artillery (Cannon)
2 x Shooters (Soldiers with Repeating Weapons)
1 x Flyer (Intrepid Aeronaut In Observation Balloon)

The approach I have gone for is similar to how I did my Weird Reich army - look at it as a normal fantasy army depicted with historical (or semi-historical) troops, rather than considering the historical troops and trying to fit them to the game's classifications. The North has numbers and gadgetry on its side, whilst The South relies on heroism and individual personalities.

Never one to just go for 'theoretical' lists, and with the aid of some sabot bases and my 6mm 'Fire and Fury' armies, I gave it a go (on the 150th anniversary of the start of the actual war, no less)

There are some pictures here.

The result was a great HOTT game, but totally unlike an ACW battle, which is only to be expected when you use a set of rules not suited for such a conflict.

On one flank, the Confederate Warband failed to charge the Union Artillery, hampered by accurate shooting and the presence of the Union observation balloon Flyer. However on the other flank the Confederate Knights saw off the Union Riders and, with the aid of their Hero (Stonewall Jackson, naturally) took out the repeater-armed Union Shooters. The observation balloon managed to destroy the Confederate Artillery, but was seen off by General Lee himself, to win the

The actual matchup isn't bad - the Union has plenty of firepower, and the balloon is an annoying diversion if used properly, plus their Spears make for a solid battle-line, even in the face of Knights and Warband. The Confederates need to use the Hero and Magician creatively to make openings for the deadly, but fragile, Knights and Warband.


  1. I have to say, I would never have considered HoTT for ACW - but it looks like a hoot! Not one for the purists I suspect.

    1. As I said in the post, they are more fantasy armies based on the ACW rather than an attempt to do the ACW using HOTT. I'm not a big fan of the concept of using HOTT as a generic historical rules set.

  2. As further inspiration may I recommend the works of Cherie Priest. She writes steampunk novels the first of which, Boneshaker, is set in Seattle in 1870-something. The ACW is still going on and after an earthquake, Seattle has been walled up to prevent the zombies from escaping. Dreadnaught, the second book has armoured trains, zombies, airships and steam powered walkers.

  3. I did a Hordes Out West (HOW) game using HotT for the American Indian Wars. In the game Lincoln (Magician) faced an Indian God Windingo. All in all it was a very fun game and I will consider painting and collecting the figures to make it part of my permanent collection.
    The Penny Whistle blog shows pictures and an action report.


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