In late August the Sam Mustafa author of the Maurice Rule set (of which I am a huge fan) released a much-anticipated game set in the American Civil War ( or War Between the States if you prefer). In this game the player takes the role of a newly promoted brigade commander heading a band of eager but inexperienced recruits through the United States bloodiest war. Sam starts by breaking the 4th wall and reminding us we all know how the Civil War ended. The South will lose, there is no option for European involvement, Lincoln will not lose the election of 1864 and no one is going to show up with AK-47s for your troops.
So if the South cannot win the day why bother? If you didn’t immediately say “because its cool” please go an immediately borrow the Ken Burns Civil War documentary from your local library watch it and then come back to this article…. OK everyone else lets talk about the best part of this game the Role Playing angle. Any miniature game will give you the chance to paint and play with cool toy soldiers this game give you the chance to write your name into history alongside the likes of Lee, Grant, Hancock, Jackson, Stewart, Thomas, Clemburne, Hood, Chamberlain and yes Longstreet. You see in this game you don’t just build and army and fight it out with your friends you also create a character to lead the army.
The game comes with a set of “biography cards” providing endless combination (the author recommends one or two, I would say three at most) to illuminate your character’s back ground and provide you with a stepping off point for your own Civil War story. Each biography card provides an advantage at some point in some cases is an in-game advantage in other cases it can help you during the pregame set up phase or in the post game phase. One Biography Card acts as a starting point and two together really give you a sense of who your character is. I my case I picked Mexican War Veteran I’m doing the Texas Brigade as my model and any man from Texas of military age was bound to have fought in the Mexican American War. I figure I got my first taste of war as a Lieutenant out of West Point under Winfield Scott and got promoted to Captain just before the war ended and the army was cut back to size. This card lets me add 2d6 to one infantry unit in hand to hand/close combat. That just seems to fit with the hard charging Texans. After the War I figure I was assigned to some western fort for a while until I got tired of the army life and struck out on my own exploring the west. This makes The Scout the obvious 2nd biography card. This makes me immune a card that puts bad terrain in front of you in the game. It also gives me extended range when skirmishing presumably because I train my men as marksmen. So just by picking two cards you have a character with a history that writes itself.
The goal of the game is to earn something called Epic points and to end the campaign as the player with the most Epic points to be Lee not Grant if you catch my meaning.
Like all of Sam’s games figure size is up to the player and no complicated measurement conversion are needed because they use the universal measurement of the “base width.” The game is simple in its mechanics like Maurice and I am looking forward to my first game. Check out Fencing Frog for game reports and painting projects of all kinds or you can “like” me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FencingFrog