Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Brigade Fire and Fury Scenario: Wilderness Battle


The Sun is Dumb 

This is the scenario that I cobbled together for my fathers day weekend game.  Turns out that it didn't happen as we were meant to play outside in my backyard due to COVID precautions--

--  and while the state of Ca. has been opened up in all manner of ways I like to be safely behind the curve.  Even having people over after 15 months of no house guests was a big deal.  But as my wife is not vaccinated and we have 2 little kids and a baby in the house; gathering different people together to play games but doing it outside seemed like a good safe option to have some miniatures fun.  My backyard is shady and as long as we stick to the cultivated areas we should be safe from any backyard beasties that live in the wild parts of the yard.  I exaggerate, or do I? --

But then there was a record shattering heat wave.  I mean a "it hasn't been this hot in 30 years and whatever you do stay inside!" kind of heat wave.   At first I was stubborn about it; telling people  "if the real soldiers of the day could fight in very hot weather with black powder muskets while wearing wool uniforms then surely we can play miniatures in the shade while wearing shorts and sipping cold drinks."  

Yet when the temperature for the day was predicted to be 108 F (that's 42 C for you folks in other parts of the world who use funny scales) I caved in and cancelled.  That's pretty damn hot and just sounded miserable even if in the shade.  At that temp even if there was a breeze it'd be hot.  

I just didn't think it would be any fun.  

Turns out the temp of the day was only 103 but I still stand by the decision.  
My ancestors would think me weak and effeminate, but in my defense Miniatures really are an indoor sport.

You win again, my old enemy.

On the bright side, I learned that I can control the weather.  So the next time you want really bad weather on a certain date, you just let me know.  I'll plan something that I'll really look forward to and should be really fun for me on the same date and BAM!  Guaranteed bad weather.

On the down side; this meant that I got to spend the entire Father's Day Weekend with my children (/shudder).

Brigade Fire and Fury Wilderness Scenario

I'm posting the scenario as an act of online storage.  Sure I printed it all out and stuck it in a folder somewhere.  Sure it's saved on my desktop.  But folders get lost, computers suddenly break, but blogs are forever (right?).  And somebody on the internet might stumble upon it and like it.  It's fun to share.

I like ACW games set in the Wilderness during the later parts of the war.  The AOP newly under the command of Grant and Meade is a hammer finally being swung effectively.  The ANV is a lean mean fighting machine but needs to balance aggression and defense.  It's mongoose versus cobra and the terrain is terrible.  

The foundation of the scenario I took from the scenario book
"Bayonets, Shells, and Balls" by Potomac Productions (1996)
I got it off of Wargame Vault.

I took the historical info and twisted and tweeked it to fit what I thought would be a good game.

Terrain Notes:  Green areas are heavy woods.  Yellowish brown areas are clearings.  There is no other terrain and anything else on the table is just for scenic affects to look pretty; like hair highlights.  
Heavy Woods counts as Rough Ground: Line of sight is reduced to 2",  grants partial cover for units being fired on, and Defending units in melee receive the +1 for favorable ground. 
The roads are not good roads so do not provide a movement bonus but DO count as open group for limbered guns or units in march column moving through the heavy woods.  

Deployment: Place brigades on table as shown.  Players may pick the formation but mock anyone who does not pick Line or Supported Line.  Players may place Divisional and Corps commanders where they see fit.  Enter on Turn 1 where indicated: VI Corps Commander Sedgwick, Divisional Commander Wright and all brigades in Wrights division (Russel, Shaler, Brown, Upton; in any order).  Also enter on turn 1 where indicated Divisional Commander Crawford and his two brigades (Fisher and McCandless).   Enter on turn 2 Divisional Commander Ricketts and his two brigades (Morris and Seymour).  All units enter at the double quick movement rate.  
Artillery begins limbered at the board edges and belongs to the Corp commanders.  

Historical Backstory:  It's the ACW; just fight fight fight!  The AOP is attempting to curl itself around the flank of the ANV when it launches an attack to stop the movement.  The AOP responds with a counter-counter attack and they clash headlong in the middle of the wilderness terrain.  

Objectives:  There are 3 key positions on the table:
1: The crossroads behind the CSA which starts under the CSA control is worth 1 victory point for being held at the end of the game by either side.  
2: The large clearing in the middle of the battle starts under neither sides control and is worth 1 victory point for being held at the end of the game by either side.  The field counts as being held if one side has units INSIDE the clearing and the other has none.  If both side have units inside the clearing then neither side counts as holding or losing the key position.  The clearing cannot count as being held or lost until turn 2 (basically each side gets a turn to move units into it or not).  
3: The crossroads behind the Union lines is worth 1 victory point to the CSA if they at any point have the crossroads.  The CSA do NOT need to hold the crossroads to receive the victory point, just get a brigade onto it.  However if the CSA does take the objective and then loses it the CSA still suffers the -1 for key position lost. 

The -1 on the maneuver check for each Key position lost is cumulative.  

In addition to the 3 key positions there are objectives:
Heavy Losses:  The CSA gain one victory point if the Union reaches it's heavy losses threshold of 43 stands and guns.  The USA gain one victory point if the CSA reaches it's heavy losses threshold of 33 stands and guns. 

Greater Losses:  1 victory point for the side that inflicts greater losses.  

Game length:  CSA has the first turn; Game lasts 12 turns (represents 6 hours of game time).  


Order of battle for Brigade Fire and Fury 2ed

Every brigade is armed with Rifled Muskets.  

V Corp - Warren
    V Corp / 1 Div - Griffen
        Ayers: Vet 12/9/6
        Sweitzer: Exp 10/8/5
        Bartlett: Exp 10/8/5
    V Corp / II Div - Robinson
        Leonard: Exp 9/7/5
        Baxter: Exp 10/8/5
        Dennison: Grn 10/7/4
    V Corp / III Div - Crawford
        McCandless: Grn 12/9/6
        Fisher: Exp 12/9/6
    V Corp / IV Div - Wadsworth
        Cutler (exceptional): Crk 11/8/5
        Rice: Vet 9/7/5
        Stone: Exp 10/8/5

V Corp Artillery reserve (3 Batteries)
Vet LR
Vet LR
Vet RN

VI Corp - Sedgwick (Exceptional)
    VI Corp / 1 Div - Wright
        Brown: Vet 12/9/6
        Upton: Crk 10/8/5
        Russel: Exp 10/8/5
        Shaler: Exp 10/8/5
    VI Corp / III Div - Ricketts
        Morris: Exp 13/10/7
        Seymour: Grn 13/10/7

II Corp - Ewell
    II Corp / I Div - Early
        Hays: Crk 8/5/3
        Pegram: Exp 9/7/5
        Gordon (Exceptional): Crk 10/7/4
    II Corp / II Div - Johnson
        Walker: Crk 8/5/3
        Jones: Vet 8/6/4
        Steuart: Exp 7/6/4
        Stafford: Exp 8/6/4
    II Corp / III Div - Rhodes
        Battle: Vet 10/8/5
        Daniels: Vet 9/7/5
        Doles: Exp 8/6/4
        Johnston: Exp 8/6/4
        Ramseur: Crk 9/6/4

II Corp Artillery Reserve (2 batteries)
Vet NP
Vet NP

(from AP Hills III Corp but all by itself)
    III Corp / 1 Div - Anderson
        Harris: Exp 8/6/4
        Mahoune: Crk 9/7/5
        Perrin: Exp 8/6/4
        Perry: Exp 8/6/4
        Wright: Exp 8/6/4


There we go.  All uploaded and packaged and ready to be trotted out and played at the next opportunity.
Whenever that may be.. grumble grumble grumble...

Thanks for reading.  Not much for the wide readership in this post unless you're someone who enjoys a well crafted ACW scenario for BFF.  Next post hopefully won't be to far into the future and should be more interesting. 


  1. The recent heat wave has been brutal to the West. Spokane, WA (my fair city) hit an ALL TIME HIGH of 109F on Tuesday. Wednesday expected to only reach 107F! You made a wise to choice to not play outside.

    As for your scenario, it looks good and I enjoy fighting it out during the Wilderness campaign too. Having walked much of the ground, I have a closer sense of the terrain and the challenges faced. Your scenario book is produced by our fellow blogger friend, George, at

    1. Indeed it has been brutal in these parts!
      I really like George’s book; I’ve been to his blog s few times as well. He might get a kick out of knowing that his stuff is still being used 20+ years later. Though it might be more satisfying when the game actually happens! 😀

  2. THen I missed nothing afterall. I retract my apologies for being unable to attend. :P

    Sad for you though matey, was looking forward to reading how it all went.

    THe scenario sound like a good one, though I fear tough for the CSA to win from how I'm reading it. I guess it just needs to be played.

    1. Well I only invited you to be polite….lololol

      Yeah I was disappointed. Will just have to wait till an indoor venue is available. We’ll see how COVID continues to play out and watch before allowing dirty wargamers into the house. 😀

      I think the scenario is fair (naturally). Both sides actually have the same number of brigades and the CSA can be more defensive and get the benefit of the rough terrain.

  3. Looks like a well organised game but I think you made the right choice Stew and save it for a rainy day.

    1. Thanks Pat. Rain we could probably cope with easier Than extreme heat. 😀

  4. These extreme high temperatures sound horrendous for all those poor folk suffering them at the moment. I read today that Canada is getting much of the same and that fatalities have accompanied their heatwave. Wishing a more normal temperature for you all as soon as possible.

    The scenario looks great - the terrain looks terrible! Have you got lots of trees :-)

    Looks a good one to take to your local con, once that particular pleasure is available again!

    1. Well one could ALWAYS use more trees! But I think I have sufficient stash enough to cover the areas. Now I’ll never know. Well not never. 😀
      I also think it’d make a good con game for around 4-5 players.

      I never did like the sun.

  5. Hard to have fun when you're suffering heat exhaustion. Good call. I share your game design process: start with a historical situation and then modify it into a "game". Nicely done and thanks for sharing as a resource (always welcome).

    1. That’s true Ed. Very true.
      Yeah we have the same approach. It’s good to play with the history a little, sometimes just to get more troops on the table faster. 😀

  6. Soft, soft ,soft Stew.....what WOULD the USMC say...? Seems to me you are just short on commitment to the cause and moral fibre my friend! But 42 deg C.....that is a tad warm, so maybe your surrender to the weather was justified! Hope you manage to get together with your al fresco gaming buddies sometime soon.

    1. Thanks Kieth! I only pretend to be a tough guy when my wife and I role play. 😀
      Hopefully the next gaming opportunity won’t be too long away.

  7. Hateful sun ruins everything... although hot days are good for swimming.

    Sorry you had to cancel, but does that means that you maintain the event credit for later? Should only be summer for another three months.

    1. True indeed Laz. Actually that’s what we ended up doing. Since I had already dragged the awning out to the backyard I then broke out our inflatable pool for the kids and I. 😀
      I definitely maintain the credit lol.

  8. That's tough,but sounds like a good scenario to have ready to go, good luck getting another game soon,I'm not a big fan of the sun but it's a bit easier to avoid in the UK!
    Best Iain

    1. Well I think it’s a good scenario but it still lacks the play testing. Lol.
      I think I would feel very at home in your climate. 😀

  9. Tough deal on the weather situation Stew, though even in the best situations outdoor games can be a challenge - the random breeze is the worst!
    Looking forward to seeing you get this scenario on the table 😀

    1. Thanks Ivor. Couldn’t be helped really.
      As luck might have it I might get this on the table in a month or so. 😀

  10. That is a shame about your game though that kind of weather would make me worry about people sweating on minis and terrain! I hope you're able to get a game in soon once you get settled in your new place.

    1. Thanks Jeff. It was a crying shame and I definitely wept a little; but in a manly way.
      There is no new place yet. Not even close. 😀

  11. If it's any consolation, I've had a couple of outdoor games rained out over the last couple of weeks. I think the weather is conspiring against us.

    1. Yes. Yes it is a consolation. Stupid weather. I’m gonna make it point to hardly go outside anymore in protest. 😀