A decision needs to be made on which, of the many rule sets to use for this period. For a number of reasons I have chosen 'Black Powder' and its supplement 'Glory Hallelujah!' from Warlord Games. I have many rule sets, and that is the problem. All have good and bad points, but all of them take time to learn and master, this set is quick and easy to learn, gives a reasonable feel for the period, especially with the rules included in the American Civil War supplement.
The other reason is that I have, by the same publisher, 'Hail Caesar' and 'Pike & Shotte.' As I also have armies for those periods, once you have learned the basic rules, the other publications just add period specific amendments, so making it easy to switch from one set to another, without having to re-read the rule book, in an effort to reacquaint yourself with the game mechanics.
An invaluable source of reference is Donald Featherstone's 'Wargaming Campaigns,' it contains many fine ideas, some dated, it was after all published originally in 1970, and has been the inspiration for this very campaign. Long out of print, it has been resurrected by John Curry as part of his 'History of Wargaming Project.' Well worth the money.
I have done a little more work on my very cheaply made and hand drawn map. It is scruffy and amateurish, but it is perfectly fine for the job in hand. I have now added the names of the rivers and also done a rough notation of distances in miles between towns etc. Once the game begins, I shall have to figure out the best way of recording map movements for the blog, probably using some software which will allow me to draw on the photograph of the map, or I may just go old school and use physical markers of some sort, photographing the result.
The following are better sized images of the top and bottom of the map, to make it easier for you to read.Whilst the top half of the map is in view, it may be a good time to start talking about how the game mechanism will work for solo play.
We know from the OOB, that the Union has three divisions to deploy in this sector of the map, how do I decide where to place them? You will recall that part of the Union brief is to prevent Jackson exiting the northern edge of the map. There are four roads exiting that edge. Starting in the west at grid square 'C1' 4 miles north of Langford, 'J1' 4 miles north of Moorbrook, 'M1' 5 miles north west of Barbeck and finally, 'Q1' 14 miles north and west of Harfield.
It is time to put my Union general(s) hat on,to work out not only the best place to position my divisions to prevent Jackson's escape north, but also to seek and destroy him, which is the other part of the Union brief.
It would make sense to give the three divisions a sector each, The eastern sector seems obvious, base the division at Portsdale 'P12' that would block two of the exit roads.The central sector would warrant a force being placed at Kegford 'K11.' The western sector is more of a problem. Placing the division at Langfold 'C2' would definitely block the final road, but is too far north and hardly in a threatening position. To keep this division, roughly parallel, and within supporting distance of the central division, it would seem logical to place it at Millwick 'F13' or Westwich 'C14.' Indeed this division will probably need to divide its strength between the two locations.
All three divisions would probably have small scouting and probing forces strung out to the south of their positions too, All of that will be decided by rolling a die and consulting a table of options for each situation.
Turning to the southern section of the map, Jackson's Corps moving in from the southern edge could be at either Moorburn 'K31' or Ashchester 'B30.' Jackson being the man he is, will be keen to go on the offensive. He will hope to catch and destroy one of the Union divisions, and possibly even a second, if he can keep them apart.
His corps will have two counters on the map, one will be a decoy or ghost army, the problem is neither the Union generals, nor I, will know which one of the two is real until contact is made. Just as with the Union forces, the routes taken by these two forces will be determined by die rolls.
Once contact is made, and the location of the real force is known, options on routes would allow the Confederates to once again have two counters, starting in the same location, but able to fan out, assuming of course that the Union forces lose contact, otherwise only the real force will be on the map.
So, the planning is now almost over, the research done, I now need to create some options for both sides as mentioned above and let the dice decide.
Thank you for taking the time to read this series of articles, the comments I have received are really welcomed and appreciated and spur me on even more. The series has received a lot of views, so I must be doing something right!
Join in the next part of the series, when each side will begin to jostle for position on the map.