Saturday, 16 October 2021

Remote ACW Game

This past Friday I was able to participate in a remote wargame with Jon of Palouse Wargaming Journal. Earlier in the month I had volunteered to a call put out by Jon for players to play the ACW battle of Brawner's farm (August 28, 1862). However, aligning time zones can make things at bit tricky as I live in Melbourne, Australia, and Jon kindly arranged for a second remote game of Brawner's Farm.

I took the CSA forces and Jon the Union forces. The game was played on a hex grid using a small subset of Jon's wonderful 10mm ACW collection.

A close up shot of the game in progress showing Jon's 10mm armies in battle.

The game was well organised by Jon who as preparation had sent through:

  • Photographs of the playing area.
  • A quick reference sheet of the rules (an ACW variation of "Fields of Honor" game).
  • Orders of battle
  • Overview of the battle. 

Not having played these rules before I played a couple of quick actions with 3 units a side prior to the game to get a feel on how they would work.

A quick overview of the game with screen shots...

The opening moves as Union forces rush from the road into the centre woods. Elsewhere, artillery began to exchange shots.

Both sides begin to move up their infantry which being to engage around Brawner's.

CSA artillery and infantry were able to eliminate all available Union artillery on the left flank, which aided their swift flanking movement. CSA forces were able to mount two assaults, one from Brawner's form into the woods and a second from the woods on the flank to counter the advancing Union forces.

The final phase of the battle sees CSA forces overwhelm Union forces in the centre woods. On the flank the assault proved less effective. The destruction of too many units in the woods resulted in a Union defeat.

Observations from the remote game...

The game board was about the right size (5x4 foot) to be seen by the cameras, and Jon has an excellent setup with camera on each side with a mobile camera for close shots. I found I stayed with just the one view for pretty much the whole game and it was perfectly fine.

I could easily see the troops and artillery, but could not make out any finer details, such as if some artillery was smoothbore or rifled. In the end the finer details did not matter, from my perspective I just cared whether the guns fired at their targets or not. Likewise with units and hit markers, if a unit was available they got thrown into the fray.

The hex grid was so useful when it came to units moving and shooting. We tended to activate units right to left in systematic way. Otherwise it is easy to forget about if a unit has moved or not. Communicating the moves was more like "head towards the buildings" or "move into the wood" and a pointer was used by Jon would indicate the intended point on the grid, to which a "yep" or "just one right" confirmed the move. This all worked very well.

The game took a tad over three hours and from my perspective time went really quickly, and I was quite surprised by the time when we finished up. A most enjoyable game indeed.


  1. Hi Peter, I read the first gaming account, so it was nice to compare the differences between the two. Your 'remote' view and not being able to see the finer detail on the table, probably set you more firmly in the General's chair and placed you at the true level of command, rather than micro managing.

    1. Additionally Jon was moving the units so you are thinking less about the individual units and the brigades.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the game, Peter. I sure did! Thank you.

    1. It was a pleasure to catch up with you remotely, and a most enjoyable game.

  3. Just checked Jon's blog too Peter. Great game - and I reckon with you two guys - a very close call, and it seems with a fairly dramatic narrative too...
    The online format seems to work really well, and Jon's adaption of FoH is perfect.

    1. It was fun game to participate in and the FoH rule variation was both straightforward and gave an entertaining game.

  4. Replies
    1. They certainly are. A few of years ago I would never have guessed I would have been gaming remotely.