Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Port Republic project

My summer holiday is over, so it's high time to start the next project also. I'm doing a small demo game of fire & fury for a wargames con in Helsinki held mid-September. I looked through some of the smaller ACW engagements which would still be playable using the brigade level F&F rules, and settled on the battle of Port Republic. The battle was part of Jackson's valley campaign in 1862 and features the confederates and union forces clashing on a narrow-ish lane between a swollen river and mountains. The terrain is also quite flat, so I decided to do it as a non-modular board. That is, build some elevation changes out of cardboard, texture and flock the field and so on. The table will be a very manageable 100 cm * 120 cm.

Since I have more than enough figures already painted up, I can concentrate on the terrain and the scenario a bit more. I'll try out the historical OOB and entry times of the forces involved, but I will give myself some licence to play around with the forces and entry times to create an enjoyable and even game for the miniature wargame newbies. Also, It has to be fast to play and to teach so I may be using a limited set of rules for this game, although the small, even battlefield might do this for me automatically.

Anyways, here's some images of the battlefield I've found to base the terrain on, I'm sure you are smart enough to find more infor on the battle itself in the 'net if you want :)

The most interesting map of the battlefield is the Hotchkiss topo map from 1866. It even shows where the fences were so designing a historical map layout isn't a problem. In my demo I'll use the 1"=45yds scale so the 100*120 cm table will give me roughly a 1 mile * 1.2 mile slice of the field.

Measuring some distances between points in Google Earth, I found out that the measure of a mile in the Hotchkiss map is closer to 1.3 miles on a modern map. This means I'll be able to put a bit more of the field on the table than by keeping to the scale in the historical map. This is what I came up with, and it gives a nice basis to work with. I have blown up this picture, printed it out and traced out the terrain features I want on a transparent paper to make the plan for the table.

Here's a google terrain view of the area. As you see, it's quite flat and the terrain rises on the right side of the road. The small streams have disappeared and flattened out for agriculture it seems, so I have to take that into account.

And finally, here is the satellite view of the area today. Just to give me an idea of what the colors might look like, how to divide the fields etc, even though the palette and layout will have changed in 150 years :)

Also, I'll see if I have time to photograph my ACW collection in "parade order" this weekend. I might have some resources from the Bull Run game to share too.

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