Monday, 14 June 2010

Gods and Generals

Last night I watched the first half of GODS AND GENERALS (2003), the prequel to GETTYSBURG (1993). Whereas I don't think that it is quite as good as GETTYSBURG, I still enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to watching the second part either today or tomorrow.

Whilst I was watching the film it struck me that it would not take a lot of time or effort to re-write Joseph Morschauser's 'Frontier' rules so that they could be used to fight American Civil War battles. In fact they could probably be used 'as is' although I suspect that a little tinkering might be required to give them the necessary period 'flavour'. For example:
  • Making the Confederate Infantry and Cavalry equivalent to European Infantry and Cavalry
  • Making Union Infantry and Cavalry equivalent to Native Infantry and Cavalry for the first few years of the Civil War
  • Giving the Confederates less Artillery
This is a project that is worth thinking about, and it would give me the opportunity to use my collection of American Civil War wargames figures that have been unused and in store for far too long.


  1. Hi,

    As you know, I've been fooling around with the Frontier rules for both Napoleonics and Civil War. The main change I made for the latter is to allow for musket fire out to 2 squares, and maybe more; one of the chief differences between the two eras was the vastly greater range of small arms, and what this did to enemy units advancing on a position--much more lead to endure!

    Also, making Union troops equivalent to natives seems a bit harsh, even for the first two years. Union troops in the West regularly beat their opponents, and even in the East, it more more often a case of bad generalship than bad troop performance. One of the finest fights put up by the Iron Brigade, for example, was their first at Groveton, during the otherwise disastrous 2nd Bull Run campaign. I would be inclined more towards rolling for each unit's quality, with results skewed in favor of the Confederates in the East until 1863. (For example, 1 = green, 2-5 = average, 6 = elite, with Rebels getting +1 through Chancellorsville).

    Just a thought.

    Good gaming,


  2. I didn't think you were allowed to watch this if you have a real beard...


  3. Chris J,

    As I said, I am still at the thinking stage at the moment as I have too many other things to deal with at present (COW is very much looming on the horizon!).

    I take your point about how good many Union troops were; my ideas were just a 'spur of the moment' thing to test the water so to speak.

    Extending the 'range' for combat out to 2 grid squares makes sense for troops armed with rifles. Do you distinguish between Infantry armed with rifles and those with smooth-bore muskets? Likewise for Artillery?

    I like the idea of rolling for Unit quality, and making that dependent upon when and where the battle is taking place.

    A lot of interesting ideas, and it should be possible to devise a simple set of rules based on Morschauser's 'Frontier' rules that incorporate them.

    All the best,


  4. Tim,

    I am wearing a stick-on one as I watch, just to ensure authenticity!

    All the best,


  5. Bob,

    I didn't mean to jump all over you; I realize you were just expressing some preliminary ideas.

    I would keep smoothbore musket range very short (adjacent maybe), but extend rifle range to 2 or 3 squares.

    By the way, who do you think played R.E. Lee better? I have always much preferred Sheen's performance, although many would disagree; I thought Duvall looked a little too old for the role.

    Best regards,


  6. Chris J,

    I took no offence at your comments as I surmised that they were made as suggestions not criticisms.

    It makes sense to give rifle-armed Infantry a longer range than musket-armed Infantry rather than more firepower as this reflects their greater 'reach'. It makes sense to extend the same idea to differentiate between rifled and smooth-bore Artillery.

    As to who is a better Robert E Lee ... well both actors bring something different to the role, but on balance I prefer Martin Sheen's performance.

    All the best,