Sunday, 19 April 2020

Battle of Mathilda’s Field - A video participation game

Scott, on his Check Your Leader TV YouTube channel has set up a 28mm ACW game on lovely terrain with the Union (defenders) in position. He has invited viewers to submit a battle plan and a set of orders for the Confederate forces, from which he will randomly select one and play it out using the Pickett’s Charge rules, while recording the game on video. 
Scott's 28mm troops and battlefield

Anyway, I have been lucky enough to have my battle plan selected for play. The General situation is that we are looking at a small slice of a bigger battle that has already started to the south (left of the table). It is 1862 and Lee has invaded Pennsylvania.

In this sector, my Confederate Division had been a little tardy in getting the battle going. Already to the south there has been the sound of gunfire and now the Corps Commander has come directly to my headquarters to kick my backside for not getting things going sooner. In a fierce mood, his parting words were, ‘Get this battle going now soldier or you won’t be a Brigadier General this time tomorrow’.

I immediately rode out to each of my brigade commanders to share words of ‘encouragement’ in person! The Corps Commander would surely hear the sound of my guns as endorsement that we were being true to our duty.

I will say no more on the battle at this point and let the series of Scott’s videos do the story telling and of course give some insight into the rules.

The introduction video is already up (link below in the resource section) and from that, you will be able to find the subsequent videos that fall out from the game, without coming back here. However I will keep this post alive with edits (inserted at the end of the post, so that for future readers, the post makes sense) while the game runs, with some comment and also include the latest updated video links, so please feel free to return.

What Scott is doing is a ton of work and sharing it is very kind. He has other battles, most recently Quatre Bras, on his channel. If you like his content and want to encourage more, please consider subscribing to his channel.

I know I have three brigades and three 4 gun batteries at my disposal, plus a reinforcing brigade that I hope will come on at some point from the south (left flank).

I am hugely looking forward to seeing what falls out of this and it is surprising how I can already feel a sense of command tension / anticipation from the unknown and wanting a plan to work, being hopeful of what my own troops can do, even wanting few casualties on the way in and of course wanting to be touched by Lady Luck. I hope to learn a lot about the Pickett’s Charge rules. Thank you Scott. 
My iPad sketch of the battlefield

please return here for updates over the next few days.

EDIT 1 - the second video is up (link below in the Resource Section). Scott also has another viewer involved as the Union Commander (Hello Old Grognard).

So far I am mightily encourage by the bravery on my right flank and am in hope that by the end of the day, we will prevail and I will be inviting Old Grognard to my Headquarters for tea. :-)

EDIT 2 - the third video clip (link in the Resource Section below) is up covering turns 4 - 7. A real see-saw of events and back 'n forth action across the field, with Scott saying at one point 'I think the whole battle will hang on this charge'. is he right?

There is a well explained charge process described at around the 1 hour 23 minutes point.

Edit 3 - the fourth and final video clip is up (Resource Section below). Thanks Scott and Old Grognard, I really enjoyed this and since the videos started, I have taken my Pickett's Charge rules off the shelf and started reading them, which has been significantly easier after you superb explanation of the rules. Very entertaining game and a good result that gave all parties a good close game. Thank You for all the work done.

Resource Section.

1st Video - the introduction to the table, forces and briefing. LINK

2nd Video - the battle starts, the first 3 turns. LINK

3rd Video - reaching the high point, turns 4 - 7. Link

4th Video - a close game and a result!

My sister webspace COMMANDERS is a bit more snippet based than here. Link.


  1. Norm, I tried watching the videos but could not. Handsome troops and terrain but the slow pace could not draw me into the action. I will take one of your well-crafted, written battle reports very time. Typical ACW BMUs were regiments not battalions.

    1. Hi Jonathan, I am appreciating the detail that is being given to how the rules work. I have them on my shelf and from the description feel that I could more easily absorb both them and the napoleonic version more easily now. The author, Dave Brown, did a similar replay on Lard TV for the General d' Armee set.

    2. As a play tutorial, the video is very helpful, no doubt. I guess my expectations were different.

      Pardon the typo in my earlier post.. "very'" should be read as "every." Responding from the iPad is hazardous.

  2. Had the video on while painting before lunch, I will keep checking back here and follow your comments.

  3. Hi Phil, Enjoyed your Aventine and Footsore figures in your latest post. Re the video, Scott says turn 4 will be critical and I'm inclined to agree, but learning about melee when the front rank is carrying 8 casualties might be too hard to watch :-)

  4. Hi. The pace is deliberately slow because the battle is also an introduction to the rules. I’m aware Regiments are the basic manoeuvre unit in a ACW Brigade but I’ve just finished playing a Napoleonic Battle so I have Battalions on my mind ;)

    1. Hi, thanks for popping in. I have just had a telephone conversation with my usual gaming buddy and he was enthralled with the video, we had a good chat about the video and the system and I dug out my rules and we discussed the various things that ADC’s can do, so my appreciation of the system is growing, plus the explanation helps me understands why things are happening in the game, so all good. Looking forward to the next vid.

  5. Interesting concept. Congratulations on the selection of your battle plan.

  6. Hi Dean, I think I got chosen more by default because of a lack of participation, something as bloggers that we understand well. I am really enjoying it and find myself hanging on each die roll.

  7. I nice idea but watching it made me feel dizzy! I'd rather he'd left the camera with an overall view of the table for the duration, but I much prefer a 'traditional' AAR with 'photos and text.

  8. Hi Steve, the text AAR works for good story telling, but less so for rule learning. A few months ago, I found myself trying to explain a system and the various nuances in text. The whole thing became very dry and at times I felt like I was just restating the rules as written, so I binned it. I think in that regard the video is a much better tutor, plus there are a lot of textures in this battlefield and angles to appreciate, which again the video picks up, though I think that has more to do with Scott’s good balanced light source and the high res of his film.

    I’m not sure why, perhaps it is a file compression thing by google, but optimisation of depth and resolution seems better on the YouTube platform than it does on the blogger platform, That is something I would like to experiment with on the blog, but without giving big photo files for visitors to have download. The guy in my camera shop gave me a suggestion, but the resulting files are just very big and of course eats into my free 15GB allowance, while the smaller files don’t count against the allowance.

  9. One interesting opportunity from the pandemic has been to force all of us to interact with each other differently. We're all getting outside our circles and comfort zones and I think that's been great. This is a really cool initiative and it's something I'd like to try.

  10. Hi Steve, as bloggers of significantly long articles and the likes of your recent Russian WWII community campaign, I think we can appreciate the tremendous amount of effort that it takes to put something like this out, a true act of sharing without asking for anything in return. I have an obvious interest in it, but that aside, I have been quite taken by the rules and then of course the daft sort of things that give some inspiration for a mini project, such as Scott’s stone walls for me and no doubt others will already be trying to source teddy bear fur, inspired by his set-up. It is all good.

  11. Congratulations on being selected from the ‘deluge’ of submissions...😀
    I actually found these videos on TMP and had this on while doing some kitchen chores / getting ready for work in the early morning. I was attracted bc it’s civil war and I have a like/dislike relationship with the PC rules. But then I heard your name ! Very nice of you to submit something. Content creators can sometimes feel like they are yelling into the void.
    Good luck on your battle plan! I’m gonna finish the vids next time I get a chance. 😀

    If the guy who makes the vids sees this; well done! It must take FOREVER to make.

  12. Thanks Stew, yes, well done Scott!

    Since ACW is a prime area of interest for you, I would be interested in reading your take on PC .... perhaps a subject to be inserted in a future post. So far we have seen movement and fire, the next part of the video is no doubt going to highlight the close combat part of the game, so I am looking forwards to that.

  13. Hi Norm, will follow the vids even if they seem a tad too long for my taste. Glad your plan was selected and curious how it will play out. Looking forward.

  14. Hi Mike, I have just noticed on the drop down blurb on the video description that Scott thinks subsequent play will speed up. I don't mind the pace because I have these rules and the commentary has really broken them open for me and I can see me having a go with them.

  15. Interesting stuff Norm, there seems to be a lot of this remote gaming going on at the moment. Beautiful figures!

  16. Thanks Lee, he did Quatre Bras a few weeks ago and that had a ton of figures on the table as well, lovely collections.



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