Last night Gary and I tried out Regimental Fire & Fury. Some twenty years ago I was a big fan of the original brigade-level Fire & Fury, but we played it less and less at my UK club, and I never really got the chance to play it in Australia. So this was, in some ways, a trip down memory lane to visit a new version of an old friend.
As the name suggests, Regimental Fire and Fury takes the regiment as the base unit, so is scaled down one level from the original game. This means that it includes details which are abstracted out of the original game; weapon types, for example, and more detailed troops classifications. For our first game we kept things simple, though, making all troops trained and reliable, with rifled muskets. We had ten eight-stand regiments each, and three pieces of artillery, and I set up a simple terrain.
I didn't really take pictures with a view to a detailed narrative of the game, so I'll just let them sit between various comments. Here's the Confederates advancing down a road towards the defending Union troops. Formations are similar to the original game.
Union troops. Command and control is different in this game, with a single roll being used for all regiments within command radius of a particular officer. Only one officer can affect a given unit. This single roll does speed up movement a lot. There are some additional modifiers to create extra command tension, however; units take a penalty if their side has sustained a certain level of casualties, if key objectives are occupied by the enemy, or if they are outflanked.
As with the original game, movement distances and firing ranges are generous, and the game rattles along. We used troops on 20mm square stands, with each stand actually representing two stands in a supported line. We tracked odd casualties with markers. It wasn't too hard to keep track of.
Firing is the same as the original rules, with the only major change being that the number of fire points is now simply a modifier to a die roll, rather than there being a large matrix to cross-reference them against. Again, this speeds up play. The firing results are a little more detailed, with the score affecting whether charging units make contact, and some results scoring hits on units which are already disordered, instead of just inflicting redundant extra disorders.
Our game saw the Confederates on the offensive, pushing across a stream and into a farmstead, as they drove down the road towards a Union-held church. But a lot of the game is about inflicting casualties on the enemy.
Charge combats are the same as in the original game, which will disappoint some, as the wide range of results possible from an opposed D10 roll seemed to be a sticking point with some. I liked it. There is the option to charge in with cold-steel at this level; you have more chance of completing the charge, and get a bonus in combat, but don't get to fire as you go in. A useful thing to use against an opponent who is shaken, or if your own firing is limited in some way.
Going low on ammunition in this game is more of an issue, since you can't just replenish with a simple withdrawal. Both sides had an ammunition train, and a unit must perform a movement action within a certain radius of it in order to remove the out of ammunition status. On the plus side, going low on ammo isn't quite so easy to achieve.
Supporting units are still a thing in this game, but are at more risk from adverse results, both in charge combat, and from firing where they take a reduced version of any damage the front unit receives.
Anyway, we blazed away at each other, charged back and forth and both armies took roughly the same level of casualties. I was happy to concede, however, when one of my charges was repulsed with heavy casualties, seriously compromising my centre, and adding to the discomfort of my already wobbly right.
It was fun to play Fire & Fury again, despite the work of having to deal with the changes to core mechanisms, and the addition of regimental-level chrome. Apparently a new edition of the brigade-level game is out as well; it will be interesting to see what changes have been made to that. I'm certainly looking forward to playing one or other of the games again.