Thursday, 23 July 2020

Party like it’s .... 1862

Bought in late 2015 and with repeated promises to myself that these would get painting priority, I have at last completed the last unit of the Perry 28mm ACW Battle in a Box starter set and with that done, it seems fitting to play one of the scenarios from the Perry Firepower rules that come with the box set.
Figures from the Perry ACW Battle in a Box

With four infantry regiments, one cavalry regiment and a couple of artillery bases per side, I can go straight to Scenario 6 - Take the Farm. This is essentially a meeting engagement with both sides entering their respective sides of the table, but with an incentive to capture a local farm.

The 28mm project's next phase will see the two forces given another three infantry regiments each. These have already been bought and glued up (plastics) and 'just' need priming and getting their uniforms on! 

Please use the ‘read more’ tab for the rest of this post.

The full Perry box gives 6 units per side, plus a general. As additional support, there is a plastic kit building of a farmhouse and some plastic fencing that makes around four foot of snake fence. There are also the fast play Firepower rules, so to mark the occasion of completing the box set, I thought a Perry box centric battle was just the job.

The only hiccup being that after painting up all of the plastic fencing and ending up with about six foot of it, I let that bit go. So a home made replacement has had to be rustled up pronto for the thing to be thought of as complete, but I quite like the rustic look of the new pieces.
The new home made fencing

I have also added some casualty bases with eight casualty figures (from 1st Corps) per side, painted and mounted with a 10mm die holder. A Perry Generals pack is in the lead pile, giving three more mounted generals to each side for when the armies expand, together with another three infantry regiments each.

On one of the mounted generals, while trying to strengthen a weakened horse leg with solder, I managed instead to melt the other foreleg right off above the knee with the hot soldering iron, so spent some time learning a new skill that involved a paper clip, Vallejo plastic putty and Green Stuff!

The critical points of this scenario are;

Both sides have equal strength.

Units can arrive on the table at the rate of 1D3 units per turn, so there is a randomised arrival schedule.

It has casualty based victory conditions, with the surviving units creating victory points, but each unit within the farm complex counts as two units, so there is an incentive to occupy the farm.
The scenario graphic from the booklet

Rather like the Neil Thomas One Hour Wargame rules, the table is sparse, with a focus on the essential terrain features, however, in this system, once the basic table is set up, you can add other terrain that you fancy.
The wood is moved seven inches

I decided to place a small wood in the centre of the table and then adjust it with 2D6 and a directional die, which pushed it 7” towards the Union lines. Then bits of scatter and some single trees for interest were added.

Early Game.
The first units that both sides are keen to get onto the table are of course the cavalry, who make a dash for the farm. The Confederates make it first (randomised movement allowances), but rather than enter the field, are happy to stop at the fence and take up firing positions (the rules do not deal with cavalry physically dismounting, but I would like to represent that at some point). This means that the Union cavalry take some casualties as they get into position at the fence on their side of the field.
Confederate cavalry reach the fence first

The cavalry are really only holding groups while the infantry catch up to contest the field. On the Union side are the Zouaves, my last unit to get painted and a bit fiddly ..... so I hope they give a good account of themselves!
As Union cavalry reach the fence, they take
two casualties

In the centre, Union infantry make for the woods and on the far left, a regiment advances to cover that wing.
These Zouaves took ages to paint, so they
should be doing better than this! :-)
By the end of the third turn, all the units from both sides are on the table.
Everything is on the table. Note the Union bottom
left, will later conduct surprisingly accurate long range
musket fire at the Confederate regiment ahead.

Mid Game.
Troops build up around the farm and as the lead fills the air, the Zouaves suffer a nasty result of 5 hits (bad), but they hold (good)!
The Zouaves make the fence while under a hail of fire

At the woods, the Union regiment eventually manage to find their way through to the far side and deploy at the wood edge, gaining cover.

On the far Union left, their regiment put effective long range fire on the enemy, scoring 3 hits with their first volley (needing sixes!). Between this Union regiment and their fellow regiment in the woods, the Confederates rightly some concerns about this wing.
Protecting the Confederate right, this regiment
takes 3 hits from long range fire!

The artillery of both sides had unlimbered and taken to firing at each other, using the gap between the woods and the farm as a fire lane.
Exposed to enemy counter-battery fire

End Game.
At the farm, the Union were taking heavy casualties and since the game’s victory schedule is based around the loss of units, the Union decided to break contact and retreat, trying to keep their units intact. This allowed the Confederates to fully occupy the farm, though they lost their cavalry, which had started ‘fence hopping’.
The Confederates take the farm

In the centre, the Confederates were concerned about the Union position at the woods and so charged at the woods .... unhappily breaking themselves in the process (The confederates had now lost two units). The lone Confederate infantry unit out on that flank started to pull back, with the Confederate artillery giving covering fire by raking the woods with canister fire.
Having already taken 4 hits, the Confederates
assault the fresh unit in the wood

Despite the Union doing quite well in the centre / left, they were obliged to fall back to accord with the withdrawal of their right wing at the farm.

The dying down of the fighting coincided with the end of the scenario, which is set at 7 turns. The Confederates had hold of the farm, their two units there counting for double Victory Points, however, since they lost two units to casualties, it worked out that both sides had each scored 6 VP’s, so a technical draw ....... but taking into account that the Confederates convincingly took the farm and that the escaping Union units had been heavily mauled, giving the game to the Confederates seems a fair result. 


I have spoken with the Zouaves before returning them to the ‘Really Useful’ barracks and threatened to cover them with primer again unless they pull their socks up and perform better next time! I’m pretty sure they will! Especially if I do a One Hour Wargame scenario, as Neil Thomas gives the Zouave the status of elite.

I was in fact going to do scenario 27 - Disordered Defence (Shiloh inspired) from the Neil Thomas book, but decided to keep all of this Perry centric for today. So good fun and a pretty sight today and perhaps scenario 27 will get wheeled out next time ...... now that is an open table that needs prettying up with extra ‘incidental’ terrain. 

Resource Section.

My sister webspace COMMANDERS is a bit more snippet based than here and is looking at Medieval stuff at the moment. Link.

A previous post that took a look at the Firepower rules. Link.


  1. A very nice looking game, definitely worth waiting for.

    1. Thanks Paul, there is enough motivation now to churn out a few more units.

  2. Good job in finishing off the Perry Battle Box troops, Norm. Figures and fence look super. I enjoyed your table layout and quick game too. Are you too hard on your Zouaves? They took five hits and stood firm. Seems a commendable response to me.

    1. Thanks Jonathan, yes, the Zouaves were very resilient, by the time they fell back, they had taken 8 hits and 9 removes a unit. I will get them back out and have a medals ceremony or some such, that should do the trick :-)

  3. Fantastic looking spectacle. Units look great and rules sound interesting.

  4. Thanks Darren, the rules are probably one peg higher than One Hour Wargames by Neil Thomas because they include morale, commanders and there is some flexibility in the actions not being tied to a sequence. their strength would be that a very big game could likely be played in a single session, though gamers with big games might typically be looking for some greater depth.

  5. Lovely looking game Norm and great to see you completing the miniatures from the Perry's boxed set. The rules seem to give an OK game and I look forward to reading more AAR's in the future.

  6. Thanks Steve, I think these rules are like NT rules, a bit of a robust blank canvas to hang your own preferences on to.

    I am trying for a shorter AAR, the ‘start, middle, end’ game type notes are just an experiment. I am trying to keep posts below 1000 words, this one was around 1200 I think. I note with some regret, but understanding that Jon on his blog is closing shop for a while, with a likely outcome that if he returns, he will scale back his posts. I do get that.

    1. I know where he's coming from and have been thinking whether I should go shorter as per this AAR, which is just as effective as a long one for most games. It would save me time and the reader too. Less is more?

  7. Thanks Michal, I think the randomised movement and reinforcement schedule will help it play a little differently each time.

  8. Good game, your scratch built fence looks the part.

  9. Thanks, I was lucky, everything about the fences just seemed to work as each phase was completed.

  10. Great little action, Norm! You must know the rules by now- the nicest painted units always perform the worst on the table. It's a standard thing in my games :)

    I've tried to get my hands on the Firepower rules but can never find them on Ebay or anywhere else on the net. I dont game 28mm so I'll never actually but them.

    I'm on a real ACW kick of late so these guys were great to see. Much enjoyed battle report, sir!

  11. Thanks Steve, I also have some Peter Pig 15mm ACW on painting sticks, but pushed the 28's because they have simply been too long in the painting queue and they do look splendid. I have never understood why the Perry's don't sell the rules on their site, even for just a token couple of pounds.

  12. A great looking little game, wonderful units...even if Zouaves have to train before they are up to the situation!

    1. Thanks Phil, it was nice to reach the point of having enough units to be able to do an official Perry scenario from the rulebook. It seems to provide a good basis for tweaking with more units and extra terrain and even for moving to other periods.

  13. Congratulations on completing the battle box, a most enjoyable report too. I had always wondered how the included rules played, they seem a fine basic set to play about with.

    1. Thanks Phil, the rules sit at the sort of Neil Thomas level, which is something I know we both appreciate ..... Now for some Wars of the Roses :-)

  14. Great looking game Norm and a nice little scenario.

  15. Thanks, everything sat on a 4’ x 3 ½’ space and played through in around 90 minutes, which is a sweet spot for many a gamer.

  16. Five years? Not bad going then Norm :) They all look splendid, I have long thought that set is a very good deal and have come close to ordering one several times but managed to resist. That's my kind of game there, surprised it was only a 4 x 3.5 table, it looks bigger.

  17. Yes, I was pleased by the table size working, it could easily have taken more units. The infantry units have a 6” (150mm) frontage.

    The set is very good and I am surprised that they haven’t done one for the Wars of Roses period, as they have all the units and a couple of medieval buildings in plastic with the wattle fencing - they probably will, once I have bought and painted all mine :-) but since that might be another 5 years, it matters not :-)

  18. Excellent figures in a wonderful setting and game, Norm. It's great to see this project to fruition. The table size is also very interesting.

  19. Thanks Dean, The post if nothing else will cheer those who fancy putting some 28’s into action in a smaller space. I am really enjoying your Gallic warriors.

  20. Big congratulations on getting the box set all painted up! Just a few more units and your pocket ACW will be complete as well.
    Having a game is the perfect way to celebrate, putting all that goodness on the table is a rewarding sight. 😀

  21. Thanks Stew, getting this far is certainly a motivator to getting a few more units done.

  22. Very nicely painted units on that table, well done on completing the box set. The Zouaves look stunning, understandable that they didn't want to dirty their uniforms too much.

  23. Thanks Tony, I fully expect the Zouaves to be subject to plenty of ‘outings’ now. The box set is a great purchase for anyone starting out (or even wanting reinforcements!).

  24. Lovely looking zouaves! They'd probably be the only reason I would do ACW but as there will be Perry plastic 2nd empire French and Prussian maybe I'll paint them as the real thing and not imitators! So a big game with 28mm figures, great fun! I like your longer posts but understand they're a lot of work, whatever, I'll read it!
    Best Iain

  25. thanks Iain, the zouaves gave me a taster of napoleonics! (Well almost :-) ) Worth the work though and now they will be my posh unit for the Union. And thank you for the support that you give to the blog.

  26. Grand to see you finish the one true period and scale project! You should add while the hot flush of completion is still around!

  27. Thanks David, being able to do a game certainly does give the motivation to get more regiments done. I have seen a scenario I fancy that needs another two regiments per side, so that seems a reasonable stretch.

  28. Nice report and lovely looking figures. I can definitely see the attraction of a simple, small scale action of this type - at least there is room to manoeuvre on this table!

  29. Thanks Keith, the ‘six a side’ type game does fall under the Neil Thomas and Teaser type scenarios that just make it easier to get games to the table.



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