For some time now I have been thinking about reworking my American Civil War armies.
Many of my figures are getting old now and many have lost their bayonets, swords and standards and I have been really taken by the increase of quality that has come about with the plastic figures in the last few years. I also I want to look at trying to simplify play.
For nearly three decades now as a group we have used a standard units of five stands, each of four figures on bases 40mm x 40mm. I have never been a fan of the standardised unit size for American Civil War where unit sizes varied so radically, but it suited a purpose at the time. However, things have moved on and some players in the group prefer different stand sizes and numbers of figures on the stand and this causes problems when calculating combat based on the number of stands engaged. So I have decided to adapt a concept from Black Powder whereby it is the number of figures in the unit rather than base size (within reason) to define the unit size.
I have decided on four unit sizes for infantry:
Large units: More than 18 figures
Standard Units: 15-18 figures
Small units: 10-14 figures
Tiny Units: less 10 than figures
I also want to play around with having a unit as a single diorama type base. This stems from my youth when I saw this image of the Battle of Gettysburg in the July 1963 issue of the National Geographic and, as I have mentioned before on this blog, that is how I have always wanted to present wargames units.
This has the potential for problems because units will largely be presented in line and what if that line is too big to fit in a piece of terrain, etc, but I will cross that bridge later. The trick is to base the figures in such a way that they are more or less compatible with the units that other players already have.
For now I have decided on four base sizes for the units:
Tiny: 80mm frontage
Small: 110mm frontage
Standard: 140mm frontage
Large: 180mm frontage.
And so to the trial… During the recent Black Friday deals I purchased a box each of the Perry plastic Union and Confederate infantry and then a few additional command sprues with a regular Perry’s order. The result is that I have been able to put together seven units, three Union and four Confederate. Here they are on their temporary bases.
Now, I hear you ask, what about when troops are marching in column of route? Well I am thinking about being extravagant and creating half a dozen units for each side in marching columns that can be swapped out, rather like the way we swap put limbered for deployed artillery, and might look like this:
I will do a few more units in the next month or two and experiment with some cavalry before I decide if this is the right thing to do. If the answer is negative, I can rebase these to the old style.