Tuesday, 2 October 2018

The Battle at Jacob's Church 1862 - An ACW batrep

What's this? An ACW Fire'n'Fury game?
Its been a long time since we played these and it'll be even longer before we play it again....if ever?

The Rejects gathered in the Shed O War last Sunday for our first bash of Fire & Fury for a 
long time. We all picked the sides out of the hat. Lee picked out Confederate Command with me in second. The Union were commanded by Smiffy with Richard and Surj being second and third.

In one of Posties usual twists to the game, only the Commanders were allowed to set up.
This led to a rather worried conversation by Rich, Surj and myself about how sound our commanders set up would be (gulp)

Now I've gotta give them both credit here, in the limited time the evil one gave them, they both did a decent job. The only flaw on the Confederate side was our centre was pretty week. I would have preferred a few more units there! But I understand Lee's logic in setting up like he did, our centre was covered by woods and a farm complex with orchards. See above. 

In the usual rules the Union always go first, but this time we threw for the move, which we won
and decided to go first. I'm never sure if its the right thing to do with Fire & Fury??

My command, our right moved straight up to attack asap.

We decided to be a bit more cautious on our left Lee's command, as he was outnumbered.

And we had to try and cover the centre if they moved up.

Plane and simple at my end, get in before the Union do too much damage!!

On our right flank were 3 units of Cavalry, facing 2 units of Union Cavalry.
All of these being dismounted except one of mine.
Now with Union dismounted Cavalry being a right bugger to play against, I decided to play very cautious too, knowing that all Surj would want is a fire fight.

5 pieces of Confederate artillery, 2 of Lee's 3 of mine.
They might as well have been models of Yogi Bear and Boo Boo for all the damage we did with them
Damn dice!!!!

Meanwhile on our left flank, Lee moved through the cornfield to cover our flank.

What a mess!!!
All charges proved uneventful as me and Surj threw dice like a couple of %$£"!

Lee got the flank in position, but there wasn't a lot of movement from Richard.
So it was clear he was in defensive mode as well. Which we were both pleased about
to be honest.

Lee's first charge, in the centre right.
That didn't go to plan either, the dice gods had NO love for us.

Still looks a mess, it was a hard slog for the both of us, neither gaining the upper hand.

Same on the right flank. I kept my Cavalry mounted, hoping Surj would move forward
with his dismounted unit in the open, so I could charge it.

Again the dice let me down again, I just couldn't get that beloved 10-1
So it was a bit more of a fizzle, both knocking stands off without any outright result.

Spent and worn units were appearing everywhere.

Uh oh, they finally move for the centre.

Things just weren't going to plan. I kept passing my morale for my worn unit
in the centre (red marker), with only half a move available all I could do was charge in again.

In a bit of a sneaky move, I charged across the front on the Union lines, at an exposed regt. Of course I remembered to refuse my flank!

Bit blurry, but you get the picture.
Come on Rebs!!!!

Yogi Bear & Boo actually hit something.
I threw a 10 and knocked 2 stands of a Yankee unit, but of course this meant I was now out of ammo
and had to move back one move!!!!

Lee moved over to the Orchard to meet the threat.

I win the melee, but again the result was only a push back.

Rich, Smiffy and Surj

Smiffy charges Lee's worn unit in the centre.

And me too!

I moved my Cavalry over the bridge, this stopped Surj's artillery on the hill
being able to shoot at me, and also meant I could shoot at the unit on the hill.

Its just not happening, time and time again I got myself in a great position, 
but was let down by the dice gods.

I charge in again, but again the dice just don't go my way....

I live to fight and charge again.

Smashing Surj's unit and follow up into the next unit in my path. But lose on the next throw!!

Another unit goes worn, its just not happening.
I can only see 1 winner here and its not me & Lee.
We called time on the game and disgustingly threw in the towl!!!


I think we all agreed, apart from Postie, that we've outgrown the Fir & Fury rules. They are good for a laugh (and a cry). But they are soooooo frustrating I cannot write it down in words. I've always said it and I'll say it again. In these rules you can have the tactical know-how of a mushroom and still easily win the game with dice. You get yourself in a great position where all the factors mount up to you beating the opponent unit to a pulp, then go and throw a 1 on a D10 while the smirking &%$£"! opposite you throws an 8, 9 or 10. Its at this point my eye starts to twitch like Herbert Lom in the Pink Panther films!
Now I, on the laws of averages have also been the other player, the thing is you can't gloat too much because you know the same things gonna happen to you you in the next 10 minutes, (ok sometimes you just have to and worry about the consequences when they happen)
The effect of this 10-1 throw is truly remarkable in wargaming contexts, the visual sapping of morale is  visible, as you slump back in your chair and think, I could be at home now doing the ironing!!

So we've persuaded Postie to put pen to paper and either re-write or write a set of ACW rules.
I cannot take another Fire and Fury game....not ever!!

With all that out of the way, it was a great game, non stop action between both sides, just wish Lee would have bolstered our centre more, and we'd had more units than them and we'd thrown better dice and Lee had bolstered our centre ( did I say That already?) A few more sandwiches would have been good too!!


  1. If it's all in the dice despite your tactics, then the rules do need to be adjusted.
    But you do know you were doomed from the beginning as the Union always wins...

  2. That's interesting Ray. Fire and Fury were the first set of rules for me that made wargaming fun. I think the glossy photos, interestingly written rules and gorgeous presentation helped, especially compared with the poor photocopies and frankly stupidly complex rules that were so often seen in the UK around 1990. However, I found the games looked superb, but like you I found the games became bogged down and freak dice throws decided too much. I have played ACW with modified black powder rules and using a Fire and Fury scenario book and this worked really well. I'm currently re-basing my old F&F based figures from their tiny card 1" bases to much larger ones to speed up movement. Taking off bases for casualties slows the game too. I might go back to Fire and Fury but only if I can find some decent modifications to it too - and I'll still use the larger bases with 12 figs on (equiv of 3 F&F bases) to speed the moving at a cracking pace.

    1. All the Rejects used to love them back in the day. But now they're just frustrating slog for our sized games.

  3. First, Postie's game is gorgeous spectacle!
    Second, the dice really were not with you from the get-go. Did you consider swapping dice or did you figure the law of averages might eventually revert to the mean?

    The opposed D10 roll can lay ruin to the best of plans and situations when fate is against you. Combat is a risky proposition. Stacks the odds in your favor going in and pray for the best. There have been may a F&F game where I cursed the damn D10 system. Perhaps to introduce less variability use a D6 for melee? Or, try the second edition Brigade Fire and Fury rules?

    Despite the result, a very entertaining BatRep as usual, Ray!

    1. We swapped the cursed dice quite frequently, unfortunately the new one's weren't any better!
      We did play FnF with a D6 several years ago, but it didn't really work in melee. As there was never ever a positive result either way.

  4. Never played these rules before (although a lot of locals do & swear by them) - beautiful game with a lot of action in any case.

    1. If you want a twitchy eye and a migraine, they're the rules for you Dean!

  5. Well said Raymond, cracking looking game but those fire and fecking fury rules!

  6. Great looking minis, terrain, fences, bridge, rules...oups, sorry...Anyway, a great looking game!

  7. Try Picket's Charge

  8. Great report, but I feel your pain. I hate opposed rolls at the best of times, but on d10s as well... Cripes...

  9. A good report Ray. A truly frustrating game only made wonderfully entertaining by the look on yours and Lee's face. Plus only 3 moves done from a 10am start to a 4.30pm finish suggests game mechanics that can't really cope with the size of games we do. Perhaps Postie could use a variant of his WW1 rules, or alternatively I think Black Powder are pretty decent. Don't need to rebase just half all the ranges, command and movement.

    1. I think we were all as frustrated as each other. I wish I'd got a pic of poor Surg,after one of his bad rolls. They're such a deflating set of rules.
      Postie will be writing his own......Fingers crossed!

  10. You can't beat 2D6. thanks for all the photos.

    by the way, I cannot post to your blog at the moment with Safari on the iPad, it may be something to do with the new iOS 12.

  11. Great looking game Ray. Must admit I've moved away from fire and fury as like you the dice often negated good tactics

    1. It's either that or make Postie sell all his figures!

  12. Great looking game as expected at Posties!

    It does not matter what game you play if you roll bad the results usually follow regardless of system, but yeah I think anybody who has played F&F understands the ole 10-1 pain!

    I play Black Powder with some amendments that give a good ACW game. Field of Battle 2 also is fun for ACW if your looking for some unpredictability. I haven't tried the new Pickets Charge or the Latest version of Brigade Fire and Fury(yeah I know D10) but they do look interesting.


    1. There's lots of choice really. Postie will probably do a mishmash of FnF, his Crimian War rules and his WWI rules.

  13. Beautiful looking game dude. Next time try Black Powder, works really well and I love the gentlemenly ruleset

  14. Strange how Postie can set you up, even when your command is random.
    F&F is a very frustrating game and whilst I love ACW I didn;t like F&F, but JOhnny Rev III was the fall back for me.

    1. Don't know how the bugger does it Joe! I liked Johnny Reb, only ever played it once, that was years ago though.

  15. Have the Rejects looked at (perhaps already rejected) BBB?
    It uses the 2D6 bell curve for movement, firing and assault.

    1. No Chris, we haven't checked them out. I'll pass on the info to Postie.

  16. Great BatRep ray...you beat me to it! I'll post my similar views on the game in a couple of days. A very frustrating game. I think Fire and Fury has had its day, its time General Postie wrote us a set of rules that doesn't have us screaming at the dice!

  17. Excellent batrep as usual and so many pics, great stuff Ray.

  18. Great looking game, we too play Fire and Fury and have just switched to the updated Brigade Fire and Fury. Agree it can be a slow game if people aren't used to it and you have a lot of units to move around, but have not found the dice to be any more frustrating than they can be in other rule systems, so far anyway.

    1. They are the most frustrating rules I've ever played.

  19. Great looking game. Yogi and Bo Bo gave me a great laugh. BTW I have FnF Regimental and they look like hard work. I'm heading Old School with my next Rules choice. :)

  20. Lovely looking game, the system doesn't sound so good, still ACW was a bit of a bloody slog most of the time,so historically correct and painful?!
    Best Iain

    1. I don't mind a hard slog, but it's the dice that's the killer in these rules.

  21. Hi Ray, great looking game. I too loved the original F&F rules when they first came out, I found them a breath of fresh air after the insane complexity of the old Newbury set. I'd still play them today if I wanted to play ACW for a bit of fun. But for me nothing has ever come close to Johnny Reb III for recreating battle in the Civil War at regimental/brigade level, I still retain most of those charts and tables in my head! Fourth edition JR lost it a bit for me, JR III are the ones. Excellent write up and photos.

    1. I liked Johnny Reb, although I only ever played 1 game.

  22. Great article..I am looking so forward to your blogcomment and
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