Saturday, 9 January 2021

Salem Church

I thought I'd best do some proper miniature wargaming today, and went back to a project I was messing around with before Cristmas (which I don't think I blogged, as it really was just messing around). I played around with a few ideas for an American Civil War Portable Wargame for a while, but the last time I did some, back at the end of 2018, I'd had a few ideas for it, using a variant of the 'Single Hit Kills' system, where a nit could become shaken instead of simply being eliminated. You can read it HERE

One feature of the system is that there is no close combat where both sides roll to hit the other. All combat is shooting, with that at close range being considered a 'charge' and having certain advantages. This 'shooting only' approach is lifted from some of the Neil Thomas OHW sets.

In addition I had an idea for yet another initiative system. This is pretty simply; a side roll a number D6 equal to the number of units they have. Every dice that rolls a 4+ gives the side an activation. A side gets a free activation if they still have an active commander. I thought it gave a little ore unpredictabiity than the N+1, N, N-1 system I've been using. Sides simply alternate in this version; there's not chance that a side will go second in one turn and then first in the next.

Anyway, I set up a portable version of  the 1863 Battle of Salem Church that I'd played a couple of times before.

The Union (bottom of the picture) had six infantry units and a couple of artillery. The Confederates (top of picture) fielded five infantry and an artillery. Both sides had a commander, obviously.

I made the church an objective, which meant that if a side held it when they rolled for rout they would get a bonus.

The Union advanced on the church, and in the woods on their right. They were also able to bring up a unit from their second line in support.

They advanced strongly in the woods, forcing the Confederates back.

The Confederates did occupy the church, but were soon driven back.

On the Union left there was some desultory skirmishing in the woods, but both sides only had so many activations to spare and not much happened here.

Fighring intensified around the church, as the Confederates consolidated their position in the centre.

They also started to hold their ground on their left, holding the Union attack there. And they destroyed a Union infantry unit too.

Another attack on the church.

An aerial shot with some cotton-wool smoke. The battle was pretty stable at this stage, with The Union not making any more headway.

Then their unit in front of the church was destroyed. The commander fled to the supporting infantry unit, but was shot by the next volley. 

I allowed a side to replace their commander at the end of their next tur, at the cost of one activation, but obviously this is something of a cost when you have to lose one free ativation and still spend another in order to do it. 

Actually it seemed to inspire the Union, who finally managed to eliminate a Confederate unit on their right.

But before they could exploit their advantage a Confederate unit advaced across the front of the church and hit them in the flank, eliminating them.

This isolated another unit onthat flank which was destroyed when it couldn't retreat.

This was enough to break the Union army. 

Anyway, it was a fun workout for the rules. I'll give it a try with some other setups and see if I really like they way they're progressing. The initiative system did pretty much what you'd expect, by the way - a side got to move half of their units. Obviously what it offers is the danger of you not getting to move any - or the pleasure of being able to move them all. But it's low effort and intuitive, so I'll stick with it for now.


  1. Looks good. Have you moved away from your ACW rules as published in your Free Stuff section?

    Cheers Simon

    1. In theory I have, but it looks like all I'm really doing is reinventing them ;)

      Maybe I should try them out. To be honest I haven't touched them for years.

      (Actually I see there are two sets. The later set 'See The Elephant' started off with good intentions but I made the combat system stupidly complicated. 'Mighty Mean Fowt Fights' was a pretty solid PW set, and that's the one I ought to look at again)

  2. Salem Church is quite a good action to play test your ACW ideas: a fairly well known action, an unpredictable outcome, and small enough to be manageable.

    1. Yes. It's a fairly simple setup too. I've tested rules with Valverde as well. A less typical battle, but a fun combination of troops and an easy terrain.

  3. Looks a nice set-up and a good scenario KK. Got me thinking about ACW now. Damn you! :-D

  4. Great writeup, Alan. Looking forward to more. I’ve used the straight Late C19th PW for ACW many times, but would be interested in ACW specific ideas.

  5. I have had a look through the Mighty Mean Fight rules and will certainly give them a go!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...