Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy

Monday, November 13, 2017

Micro Table Battles. Part One.

Setting up for another small table battle using 6 mm American Civil War miniatures. I have taken a page from the excellent book, 'Programmed Wargames Scenarios' by Charles S. Grant. The page is not that easy to see in the first photograph, but you will notice that the page is divided into ten tabletops. The idea is that one force advances up the page, tabletop by tabletop from 1 to 10. The top of table 1 matches the bottom of table 2 etc. So in essence the whole thing is one long, thin map of the terrain along a valley.

Tabletop 1 is much clearer in this photograph, it shows an escarpment or ridge in the top right corner, a road running roughly north-west, a small copse of trees/wood and a narrow track, that branches off the road and runs due north. You will notice that all the features carry on at the base of tabletop 2.

I have laid out tabletop 1 on a small square table. All the features are here, as is a collection of troops. But more of those later.

The size of the table is just 17 inches (43 cm) square.

Not a huge area, but everything fits on nicely. Sleepy Union troopers protecting the camp are surprised by approaching horsemen!

You can see the ridge at the top right of the table in this shot.

The battles will be fought using a home spun set of rules, but using hints of 'Blucher' and 'Commands & Colours Napoleonics,' the dice from the latter featuring here. Hits will be recorded as per the die face, the infantry, cavalry and artillery are self evident, crossed sabres will only count in hand to hand/melee combat, whilst a flag will force the unit to retreat.

Casualties/elan will be marked with a coloured disc next to each unit, reading from left to right, blue means one casualty, white two etc, to a maximum of five, after which the unit is removed. Cavalry will be removed on four hits so will not go above green. Artillery will be lost on two hits, so will never go above blue.

June 1863, the Confederate army is on the march, the main army under Robert E. Lee is way over to the east of this valley. However, a force has been detached to recon in force, up this valley, the rebels have no idea what strength of forces they may face, but intend to find out, and if possible travel the full length of the valley, leaving its northern entrance heading east, to possibly appear in the flank or rear, of any army confronting the main Confederate army.

Sorry to use the same photo again, but it clearly shows the whole table.

It is sunrise, two regiments of Confederate cavalry make up a screening and scouting force ahead of the force's vanguard. (I am being intentionally vague regarding the strength of forces, as they will be decided by dice rolls as the game progresses up the tables, so I have no idea yet myself.)

The rebel cavalry are bottom of the table spread out in a screen. Ahead is a small wood, behind which is a tented camp, it is occupied by a single regiment of US cavalry. About a 25% of the men are spread out south of the wood on both sides of the road on picket duty. An artillery battery (not manned, they too are asleep) is also in place facing south east and giving good arcs of fire down the length of the road. Finally, a supply wagon and the cavalry mounts complete the scene.

So the scene is set, let action commence. Join me for part two.


  1. Nice set up Ian, and interesting game to follow. Looking forward to seeing the action.

    1. Thanks Stephen, it was the series of tabletops in the book that caught my eye, seemed rude not to make a battle or two out of it.

  2. I agree with limiting Sabres to hits in melee only. I dislike the Borg rules that cause it to always be a hit.

    1. Thank you Dale, yes I agree, sabres will only be counted in melee in this series. I am kind of winging it as I play, I have a broad idea, but will let the dice decide on forces etc. Makes it even more interesting for me too, as I have no idea what will be on each tabletop until I get there.

  3. Excellent article Ian thoroughly enjoyed reading it

  4. Nice set up! I have the "Programmed Scenarios" book too, but haven't utilized it. I'm looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.

    1. Thank you Ted, I am moving on to table three next, so far, so good. I am really making it up as I go along, but it is fun to do.