TITLE: The Devil To Pay: Dangerously Exciting Rules for American Civil War Miniatures
AUTHOR: Nathaniel St. John, Peter Rice and Andy Alley
PUBLISHER: Carpe Diem Games
PUBLICATION DATE: 2014
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): $25.00 (in 2014, shipping included)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The American Civil War
The Devil To Pay (DTP) is a coil bound book of 36 pages, plus reference sheets and two pages of action cards. It has a full color cover and color illustrations and diagrams. The sequence of play is driven by action cards, and a set of perforated cards is included.
SCOPE: DTP is aimed at tactical combats of the American Civil War.
ARMY SIZE: Infantry stands represent 80 men and regiments are of between 3 and 10 stands. Thus you will probably need 40 or 50 stands for a battle, plus one or two batteries of guns.
BASE UNIT: Units are infantry and cavalry regiments and sections of guns.
- Ground Scale: 1” = 20 yards
- Time scale: DTP is played in real time
- Figure/Base Ratio 1 infantry base = 80 men
- Recommended Figure Size: 25mm
- Table Size: Not stated.
- Game Length: Most games should be playable in a few hours.
All bases are 40mm square. Four infantry, two cavalry, one gun or three artillery crew should be on each base. If using smaller figures simply add more figures to the base. Generals are based on round bases.
The game does not have a fixed sequence of play. Instead, players draw cards from the Action Deck. Each Action Card specifies which actions may take place. The four action types are Move, Fire, Rally/Reform and Charge. If a “Carpe Diem” card is drawn, players dice off with the winner choosing which action the card represents. The deck also includes two Whiskey cards. When both have been drawn the turn is over.
A unit must use an Order in order to carry out an action. If a unit is out of orders, it may not perform the Action indicated on the card.
The Orders System:
Every unit has a set number of orders for each turn. Players will need to track them with poker ships, chits, etc. An order allows a unit to perform one action, but only of the kind allowed by the Action Card that has been drawn. If a unit is out of orders it may not perform an action. Generals also have orders which they may use to order units. In addition, an order may be given to an entire brigade, with certain restrictions (they must maintain a brigade formation, all units must remain within 2” of each other etc.)
Movement is a base distance based on unit type and formation. Terrain and obstacles reduce movement. Units move one at a time. The rules provide detail on specific terrain such as fences, abatis, streams etc. (Important given the tactical scope of the game). The rules also clearly spell out special cases such as wheeling, obliques, and passage of lines.
The rules also include a “Skedaddle.” Any units moving this way do so before units moving normally. In this case the unit’s movement allowance is determined by throwing three dice (D6). The unit must move away from the enemy, pays no terrain penalties, and is disordered.
Each unit is rated Elite, Veteran, Regular or Green. When a Rally & Reform Action Card is drawn, eligible units may perform these Actions.
Reform is the process of recovering from disorder. A commander issues an order and the unit is reformed. There are no dice involved. Units may reform into any chosen formation.
Rallying is the process of recovering hits. Units roll dice, recovering (removing) a hit from the unit on a roll of 5 or 6. Again, modifiers are by adding or subtracting dice. Higher quality units get more dice to start and modifiers include leadership and distance from the enemy.
All ranged combat - artillery and small arms - is resolved in the same manner. Units have a number of fire dice for each firing stand. The dice are rolled and hits are scored on a 5 or 6. Stands have a limited arc of fire and may only fire at units within their arc and a clear line of sight. Modifiers for range, terrain, formation, etc. are accounted for by adding or subtracting dice. For example, a unit of 5 stands armed with rifled muskets would fire with 5 stands. If firing over 6” they would subtract one die. If their target was in attack column formation, they would add two dice.
Hits scored are marked against enemy stands. Each stand must in the target unit must take one hit before taking a second. Stands are removed when they suffer a second hit. One-stand units are removed from the game as well. There are no “saving throws” against hits.
All fire is simultaneous, so hits are recorded but only applied after both sides have fired.
In order to conduct melee a unit must close with the enemy on a Charge Action Card. Such units must start within 4” of the enemy, and then move into contact. The defender has a chance to reinforce a melee in his part of the Action Card.
Each eligible stand gets one die (stands with hits do not count). As with fire combat, modifiers are applied by adding and subtracting dice. Modifiers include terrain, leadership, formations, etc. Hits again are inflicted on a 5 or 6 and the side casuing the most hits win the melee (defender wins ties). the losing unit uiffers an extra hit, falls back, and is disordered. The winner may occupy the loser’s position, and is disordered.
There are no lists or scenarios included in the book. There is a scenario “Saunders Field” available on the web site.
The Devil to Pay are a well written, easy to follow rule set. Using the same dice structure for all mechanics (add/subtract dice to a base) is clever, as is consistently requiring a 5 or 6 to succeed. The charts are well laid out, and color coded (movement charts have green headers, Charge have blue). They have also included a set of modified charts for figures based on stands that are 1” (or fairly close to it).