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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

First try of 'Altar of Freedom'

Tonight was a dry run of learning a new set of American Civil War rules called 'Altar of Freedom'. The focus is upon managing whole armies in a game played under a couple of hours...achievable? I think so...

We made lots of mistakes, but I think we had the basics nailed. We all liked them and can see the potential in playing them some more. Rather than going through the mechanics, here are some of the things I liked about them:

  • The emphasis of the game is definitely on managing.the grand movements of armies and corps, rather than the micro management of small formations.
  • The mechanics of the game are keenly fixed on the command and control of those armies, with a subtle interaction of the order in which corps activate.
  • Commanding the armies requires consideration of the leaders of the corps, with their moods and temperaments having a palpable affect on the performance of their troops
  • The combat mechanics are simple and clear, and definitely do not detract.from decision making of the player leading the troops.
  • The rules have a nice ebb and flow provided for by a game clock. Some lower priority divisions may not get a chance to move during a turn, so deciding how to lead which divisions first is important.
  • The rules are ideally suited to scenario play, which is adequately catered for in two scenario books (Eastern and Western theatres).
  • The games are played on small playing areas. Gettysburg is fought on a 6ft X 4ft table!

We tried playing the third battle of Winchester. As we are yet to have enough finished figures to use, I cut out some bases for 'kreigspiel' style play.

On paper, the Confederates seem hard pressed to be affective, with many of their brigades under strength in comparison to their Union opponents. As play progressed it became apparent that the bulk of the Union troops were funneled down a single road, leading to a bit of a bottleneck

We fought the battle for 3 turns before deciding to call it an evening. We halted the game as a confederate cavalry corps was about to be pursued onto the table by a reckless, unreliable Union cavalry corps.

It definitely felt like you were controlling large groups of troops, with greater consideration being given to 'will Wright's Corp move quick enough to allow Crook's divisions to deploy, or would Breckenridge's cavalry steal that ground?' As opposed to 'should I deploy may brigades in attack column, or maximize their firepower by staying in line?' There are several rule sets which already do that kind of game very well, and I don't see this rule set competing with them at all.

You can find more information at

I really enjoyed these rules. Now, it's back to the rule book to see the bits we got wrong...


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