John Hill and Osprey have an exciting release planned to support their new ACW rules “Across A Deadly Field”.  It will be a scenario book entitled “Across A Deadly Field – Scenarios for the War in the East”. We have received an advance playtest copy for review (note – a few minor things could potentially  change by the time of publication). It is listed by Amazon as available for pre-order now, but will not ship until December 16, 2014. This will make a great Christmas gift for all your wargaming friends! Here is a link to the Amazon US store – Click Here!

If you are a student of the battle of Gettysburg, this supplement needs to be on your “must buy” list, regardless of which ACW rules you play. It provides a great assortment of Gettysburg scenarios ranging from small scenarios with just a few units involved, to the entire first day’s battle. ADF really comes into its own with this scenario book since the rules were designed to fight large battles, but with a regimental focus. I’ve played the entire first day of Gettysburg scenario and it was fun to stand back and control a corps or division, but it was also a blast watching the 4th GA in Dole’s brigade change formation into attack column and charge the Federals on Barlow’s Knoll! ADF really offers a lot of gaming appeal at all operational levels.

If you haven’t played Across A Deadly Field, it is a grand-tactical game (1:60) where the focus is on maneuvering brigades, but individual regiments can still be maneuvered and utilized to make a tactical impact on the game. ADF has it’s roots in the “Johnny Reb” system, but it is the next step in the evolution of that rules set. It plays without order chits, and uses an action/reaction phased system to force players to make sound tactical decisions and to keep their opponents guessing. It plays intuitively and is not unwieldy complex.

Patrick Lebeau running the entire first day of Gettysburg scenario at Historicon this year. Great looking game!

The publication quality is first-rate, like all Osprey publications, and it is a hard bound 66+ page book (the playtest version) filled with lots of beautifully painted miniatures, detailed maps, Osprey artwork and scenario information.  It begins with some acknowledgments and  then leads right off into “An Introduction to the Eastern Scenarios”. The author, John Hill, provides a  historical overview of the American Civil War and then discusses what it would have taken strategically for either the CSA or the USA to have won the war. The book then goes into some optional organizational options on how to organize units (“Using Generic Stands”), and then some options for playing with 2 stand units, 3 stand units or 4 stand units.

P.J. O’Neil’s great looking terrain boards for the “If Slocum wasn’t slow” scenario.

The author then jumps right in to some additional optional rules, including: unequal stands, variable arrival time, regular disengagement, extreme disengagement, road column under fire, continuous movement, stragglers, artillery battery withdrawal, artillery fire over infantry , area fire, leader benefit differentiation, and playing ADF with 15mm Johnny Reb III units. One things I have always like about John Hill’s rules are the many optional rules that you can plug-in or disregard to give more depth or simplicity to your games.

Overhead Game Board

The Gettysburg – First Day scenario run by Patrick Lebeau at Historicon.

The booklet then provides some guidelines and rules on ground scale, elevation, line of sight, fences, orchards, the illusion of scale, modeling the terrain, and additional terrain details.. John really goes into a lot of detail and all of these additional and optional rules make ADF an even better game.

The meat of the book however is of course the scenarios. Here is a list:

* The First Day of Gettysburg Set – this includes the “Along the Chambersburg Pike” set of three scenarios: The Devil to Pay, McPherson’s Ridge and Seminary Ridge. These can be played as smaller, stand alone scenarios, or as one large continuous scenario. This gives the gamer the opportunity to start playing smaller scenarios right away, with just a few troops as they continue to build more terrain and paint more troops in order  to fight the entire battle. It also provides the gamer with a fantastic way to break down the battle of Gettysburg into bit size pieces and to study it from many different angles (i.e. Barlow’s Knoll).


Seminary Ridge at Nashcon this year. This was part of the Gettysburg game run at Nashcon this year.

* The First Day set also includes “Barlow’s Knoll” and “If Slocum wasn’t slow”, and both of these can be played with variable start times. One thing John has done with the scenario book is to create a lot of replay value by offering some hypothetical situations, variable start times, and plausible reinforcements. I would think most clubs could play these scenario variants 2-3 times each at least sand still keep things fresh. There are also a few larger play options available that include all of the first days fighting, and explore some hypothetical situations, including: “A Very Long Day” , and  “A Very Tough Day”. Also included is the “Attacking the Pipe Creek Line” scenario and mini-campaign which includes a moderated scenario version and a smaller non-moderated version.

* Some of the non-Gettysburg scenarios include: “Put the boys in! – The Battle of New Market by Dean West, “Hunter takes command” – The Battle of Piedmont 1864 by Dean West, and “Black Courage – the battle of New Market Heights 1864”.

A picture of Dean West’s great looking 15mm Piedmont scenario.

* This will be a great addition to the ACW  wargaming library of scenarios, regardless of rules used.  Highly recommended by the guys at Cigarboxbattle! Good Gaming – Cory