ACW games

Have recently finished reading alternate history books on ACW. Renewed my interest in rea so must ask; would like some discussion on which games out there are being played? The best game with-out an opponent is not wanted. the only games played here would be TSS by SPI and For The People. Looking for more like the first. Do not need a phone book for rules but want some ‘chrome.’

So which games fall into this area with vassal mods and a couple of players as well of course? Any discussion is appreciated.


phone book rules.
one reason i have a tough time getting any of my friends to even look at a wargame.


well by phone book I am being realistic, I can handle Empire of The sun , Totaler Krieg, and many games over the years but would draw the line at more than 30 pages.

i remember when i was learning asl.i learned just the infantry and that was a handfull.the rule binder reminded me of my school years.i sure do miss hs.

I would suggest the Civil War Brigade Series by The Gamers, now put out by MultiMan Publishing. I’d also suggest their Line of Battle regimental series games. However, this series is in a major transition from the older rules (RSS version 3.0) to the new Line of Battle rules. Howwever, the RSS version 3.0 is, to my mind, well worth the time and effort required. The level of detail is like TSS, but the modeling of command is much better.

So there are several games in these series, could you give me a bit of info as to games you have experience with in brief form.? this info is much appreciated.

Not much interest so far here, makes me question learning game when not too many players. Grant turns East and None but Heroes sound like top runners so far though.

Civil war Brigade.

In their Quiet Fields. Antietam.
My original copy has counters wearing out. Played this one a lot and it was always a good game. My “II” is still unpunched as the counter’s colours are, well colourfull.

Thunder at the Crossroads. Gettysburg.
This was the game that introduced the command system. For the first time, units could not just “go anywhere.” Bought both ITQF and TATCR at the same time and I really did not play any other ACW game for a long time. Both original games maps went with me when I visited the battlefields.
The original versions of the above two games also were the last games in the series that I bought at an actual games store. “Magic” was something magicians did and “Euros” were people, not games. I still have The Gamers bumper stickers that came with the game somewhere in my games collection.

August Fury. 2nd Manassas
This is the one I have played the most over the years solitaire. The game is really good as for the second day, Jackson does not have much to move around, while Pope is the same on the third day. The vassal modual is for the new version.

Barren Victory. Chickamauga.
The command system really came into effect for this one. A real fun game to play as there is a lot of room and lots of options. One FTF team game the Rebs kept shooting with artillery at Rosey. When my team mate worried about that, I said that it was a huge waste of ammo, and if he was wounded or killed, Thomas would take over. Eventually it happened and we were able to go on the offensive before Longstreet came on and wreck the AoT. I can not find a Vassal modual on the site

Bloody Roads South. The Wilderness.
This is my favourite one as it has both sides attacking and is very playable solitaire. It is also the only good game on this battle. No Vassal again.

I played one ftf game as the Union and my opponent took so many extra units that all I had to do was exit the map and I would win. I said that but we still kept playing. The dice were against the Rebs and if I remember correctly, almost all their leaders except Bragg, were wounded or killed. Good game though on a minor battle.

Embrace an Angry Wind. Spring Hill/Franklin
Two maps not connected was a new idea. The command system needs to be played with an understanding how the leaders acted and not trying to stretch the rules. I was the Rebs at Franklin and I slowed down so the attack would be more coordinated while still playing by the game rules and swamped the Union despite their strong position. No Vassal Modual for this one. Both Perryville and EaAW came out at a time in my life when I had lots of time to game and did so almost every day. Basically before the house was invaded by women and computers.

No Better Place to Die. Murfreesboro
I like this one at first, but my usual ACW opponent became obsessed with the Reb Cavalry, and had it running all over the rear. I still liked this game, but despite it only coming out two years later, my gaming time had changed with married life.

April’s Harvest. Shiloh.
Despite my gaming’s group like of this battle, I think we only played this one once or twice. The game suffered from an all too common problem. One side gets to attack like crazy, like the Germans in east front games, and if they do well, the game is basically over and the other side does not get to go over to the offensive. I need try this one again. Too bad there is no Vassal modual for it.

Champion Hill.
Only game I know on this battle. I was involved in a PBEM game with each Union Corps and Reb Division run by one player. The game took forever to play as we had an umpire and used real Fog of War rules that were created for this playthrough. It was a lot of fun as the battle is very close I think. The various playing styles of the different people made the game a lot of fun as there was a real historical feel to it. “Why are you not supporting me on the left?” “Where is the enemy?!” “My division can not stay here, we are pulling back.” Unfortunately trying to keep 8 or 9 people playing proved to be impossible. No Vassal modual.

Gaines Mill. Seven Pines. Malvern Hill.
Set up the 7 Days campaign and played it to the end. Was the largest game we ever set up with all nine maps, but only a small area being actually used. The game showed off the command system, but suffered from a lack of Fog of War. My Union opponent looked at the thin line and eventually we were fighting in Richmond itself. The Union broke and we ended up fighting in the actual centre of the map. Hard to reach across. Was still a great game and although I no longer have the space to set it up anymore after moving from a house to an apartment, I would still like to try it again, or even the 7 Pines scenario. Will not be using Vassal though. I seem to remember it was due to the map size, but with later versions and more powerful computers, maybe it is time to see one made.

3 Battles of Manassas. ‘61, ’62 and hypothetical ’63.
Playtested this one but have not actually played the finished game. We played the ’61 one about six or seven times in one weekend. It had the common game problem of not many units. I remember two games where the one Rebel unit broke on the first turn and the Union rolled up the rest and won a massive victory. The next game it was the Union to break. Still, the best game for 1st Maassas. Add another game to play with Vassal in the future.

Strike them a Blow. North Anna.
Playtesting this one was a long process. It is an interesting situation as not much actual fighting takes place. It is more a game of manoeuvre, and shows the transformation of both armies from fluid formations to basically static field works; from Napoleonic to WW1 trench warfare. Not for the “smash the counters together and see what happens” type of gamer. I need to play this one again as it was playtested about a dozen years ago.


Awesome thanks for your lengthy reply. I just got back from a second hand store where I picked up VG’s Civil War. I noted several other titles there and now I will have to print this out and return.

Thanks again.


VG’s Civil war is a classic, but like all VG games, it has a large set of rules. If you are looking for a good strategic ACW, it’s a good choice.

GMT’s For The People is also very good and plays quite well on Vassal like most GMT games.

A fun and fast playing ACW game is A House Divided. Do not expect a lot of history, but it is good beginner’s game IMHO.

David A

Have played For the People. Enjoyed the game very much as CSA mostly. Played SPI’s TSS years ago and enjoyed it as well. Again thanks for insight over the more tactical games I am considering.

Just started first game of VGCW and am enjoying it so far. Will keep looking for a more tactical game to try as well.

I’d be happy to play you in VGCW if you wanted. It’s a great game.


I find it quite useful to do an advanced search on BGG and use its filters to specify ACW games with user ratings higher than 7.0 + those with a high number of ratings (to discriminate from newer titles which may be skewed). The results can help you to look at what games of the genre are popular with a large number of players.

I’ve played VG’s Civil War…or tried to. A great game, but very time intensive.