TITLE: Fire & Fury: The American Civil War In Miniatures
AUTHOR: Richard Hasenauer
PUBLISHER: On Military Matters
PUBLICATION DATE: 2002
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
Player support can be obtained on the Fire & Fury boards (you will need to register to be able to post).
PRICE (with date): $20.00 (in 2009)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The American Civil War
The currently available rule book is a black and white reprint of the original rule book. The recent printings are much improved from some lower-quality photocopied books a few years ago.
The book itself is 74 pages long. The rules proper occupy 32 pages. There are chapters on collecting and painting miniatures, tips on terrain, scenarios and charts that fill out the book.
SCOPE: Fire & Fury (F&F) is a grand-tactical set of rules that cover the American Civil War. A highly successful variant for the Napoleonic Wars, Age of Eagles, has also been published.
ARMY SIZE: F&F requires armies of substantial size. Typical units are 6-10 stands of 3-5 figures each.
BASE UNIT: Each infantry unit represents a brigade, each artillery unit a battery.
F&F features two scales called “150 Scale” and “200 Scale” respectively.
- Ground Scale: 1” = 45 yards or 1”= 60 yards
- Time scale 1 turn = 30 minutes
- Figure/Base Ratio 1 infantry base = 150 men or 1 base = 200 men
- Recommended Figure Size: 15mm but conversion for other scales is covered.
- Table Size: None stated.
- Game Length: Most games should be playable in one evening
F&F uses fairly common basing as follows:
- Infantry & Dismounted Cavalry: 1” x 7/8”
- Mounted Cavalry: 1 x 1/4”
- Artillery: 1 x 1 1/2”
- Union Maneuver (1st) Phase: The Union player replaces fallen leaders, moves brigades and batteries, then moves detached leaders.
- Union Muskety & Cannonade (2nd) Phase: The Confederate player resolves defensive fire followed by the Union player’s offensive fire. Fire is not simultaneous.
- Union Charge (3rd) Phase: Players simultaneously resolve all charges made during the maneuver phase. Combat affects are applied simultaneously once all combats have been resolved.
- Confederate Maneuver (1st) Phase
- Confederate Musketry & Cannonade (2nd) Phase
- Confederate Charge (3rd) Phase
Brigade Effectiveness: The combat and morale effectiveness of units in F&F is measured by a Brigade Effectiveness Rating. Each unit may be rated either Crack, Veteran or Green. Each unit may also be at one of three effectiveness levels: Fresh, Worn or Spent. A brigade falls from Fresh to Worn to Spent based on losing stands, as detailed in the Brigade Effectiveness Table. For example, an 11 stand Crack brigade is Fresh until it drops to 7 stands and becomes Spent when it drops to 5 stands. This rating is marked in the bottom of the command stand of each unit. Brigade Effectiveness affects very nearly every major mechanism in the game, from movement to combat to melee.
Movement: Unlike many other rules sets, movement is somewhat variable in F&F. Each turn, the player rolls for each brigade in turn. The Maneuver Table is consulted. Depending on whether the brigade is in good order or disordered the results may vary. The result may be “Well Handled” in which case the brigade conducts normal movement. Or it may Quit the Field! Being in good order and within command radius give positive DRMs as do fresh troops.
F&F includes details for artillery (limbering, unlimbering), cavalry (dismounting) as well as providing details on formation changes etc. for infantry. Infantry may about face, move by the flank, wheel, oblique or advance. Each is explained in detail with a nice summary diagram provided. In fact, F&F has some of the most detailed movement rules - in terms of explaining a large number of cases and situations - that I’ve seen in a long time.
Musketry & Cannonade: Fire combat begins with defensive fire and is then followed by offensive fire. Both small arms and artillery are resolved the same way, and may even be combined in the same combat.
Each firing stand is worth a number of fire points, depending on what kind of weapon it is armed with, and the range to the target. the firing values of all firing stands are summed. A stand’s fire points may be modified doubled or halved in some situations (such as firing at skirmishers). Brigades may split the fire of their stands, but a single stand cannot split its fire.
The firing player rolls a D10 and references the Musketry & Cannonade Table. The die roll is modified for cover and and terrain. The table indicates how many stands (if any) will be removed by the target, as well as whether or not it is disordered.
Units may only fire once, and targets may only be fired on once per phase. The fire arc for infantry units is 45 degrees to the side, 30 degrees for artillery.
Charge Combat: Charge Combat - or melee - is resolved by opposed die rolls. Each player’s die roll is modified for a number of factors, and the two results compared. The most successful result (from the attacker’s point of view) is “Swept From the Field” and the biggest disaster is “Charge Repulsed.”
The first set of modifiers are for troop status - whether fresh or spent, low on ammo, etc. There are also modifiers for being outflanked or in an unfavorable formation. There are also modifiers for terrain, being outnumbered, or being supported. Confederates receive a blanket +1 modifier in all cases.
Formation plays an important role as well. Depending on the unit’s formation, only a given number of its stands will count in the combat. A Line of Battle counts all stands, whereas a March Column counts only the front two stands. How many stands will be counted in each combat can get complicated when a single unit contacts more than one enemy unit. You may even have multiple instances when one group of units contacts another. The rules cover this in detail devoting several pages to both explanation and detailed examples with diagrams.
Results for each side are applied simultaneously. Results include casualties, disorder and possible retreats. Victorious units may even have a Breakthrough Move. This allows a victorious unit a half-move. It is possible for it to contact another enemy unit in which case a second round of Charge Combat takes place!
The book includes five scenarios each of which replays a portion of the Battle of Gettysburg. Most of the scenarios call for a 5x9 or 6x9 table, though a few call for a larger table than that (a major scenario requires a 14 x 6 table!). the Pickett’s Charge scenario is the smallest with just a 3x4’ table. There is an OOB for Gettysburg and some chapters on painting and organizing figures, as well as some tips on making terrain.
Fire and Fury is well written. The prose is clear and there are copious illustrations. Especially welcome are the numerous examples - detailed, complex examples clearly explained with diagrams. I am often frustrated when rule books have scant or incomplete examples - not the case here! The original book was in color but currently only a B&W reprint is readily available. Some previous printings were very “murky” so the illustrations and diagrams were muddy and hard to read but recent copies seem much crisper and of a higher quality.
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