TITLE: On to Richmond: American Civil War Miniature Rules
AUTHOR: Paul Koch
PUBLISHER: The Courier Publishing
PUBLICATION DATE: 1983
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM: None known.
PRICE (with date): $7 in 1986
REVIEWED BY: John Acar
PERIOD COVERED: American Civil War 1861-1865
The book is a black and white pamphlet 32 pages long. There are some photographs that help explain some key concepts in the rules. There is a Quick Reference Sheet bound in the center page for easy removal. Permission is given to copy the Quick reference Sheet.
SCOPE: On to Richmond is a game that recreates Grand Tactical Battles.
ARMY SIZE: Number of figures on a stand is unimportant. However, according to the book, a Union corps of 9 brigades would probably require about 220 figures.
BASE UNIT: The smallest unit in the game is a brigade of about 6 stands for infantry or cavalry. Artillery units are 1 stand representing 12 guns.
- Ground scale: 1” = 50 yards
- Time scale: 1 turn = 30 minutes
- Unit Scale: 1 base = 300 infantry or 200 cavalry or 12 guns.
- The game was written for 20-28 mm figures but can be adapted to any scale.
- Game Length: A corps sized battle will probably take about 4 hours.
Infantry and cavalry bases are 2” wide by a variable amount deep based on the room a figure takes up. Artillery bases are 3” wide.
- Divide the units into divisions of 2-5 brigades.
- Randomly determine each brigade’s combat value based on a combat value chart in the book.
- Assign each division a card and shuffle these cards together.
- Turn a card up and activate that division.
- Once the cards are exhausted, shuffle the cards as in step 3 and start over.
The game is a card driven system. Each division gets to move when its card is turned up. If the unit has been has received a morale marker, it must first make a morale check to clear the morale marker. Results can be anything from a route to a uncontrolled advance. Once the morale marker is cleared, assuming the unit can move normally, it may do so now. A move may include moving, firing, changing formation or a combination based on the unit type, and the weapon used.
There are two kinds of combat in On to Richmond: fire and melee. Dismounted cavalry, all infantry and artillery can perform fire combat. Combat is resolved by rolling a D10 and consulting a short table. The results are a miss, a morale marker or one stand elimination. If a stand is eliminated, that unit suffering the loss also receives a morale marker.
Melee combat can only occur if a unit successfully charges into combat. In order to go into contact, the player rolls a D10 against the charging unit’s combat value. If he scores that value or less, the unit makes contact, otherwise, the unit makes a half move and deploys into line.
Once a unit makes contact, you calculate the total melee strength of each brigade in combat. Each side rolls a D10 and adds that to the total. The high score is the winner. The difference is compared to a table, which gives the amount of stands lost.
There are no army morale rules. The only unit morale rules are the morale test before moving and the pre charge test. The winner is the one who accomplishes his victory conditions, the one who inflicts the most casualties or the one who drives the enemy from the field.
Units that have lost stands can be rebuilt by being put into reserve. This represents stragglers returning to the unit as well as the brigade resting. Roll on a table for a chance to return stands to the brigade. Results range from 0-3 stands returned to the unit. The longer the brigade rests, the greater the chance of getting back multiple stands. Note that it might take 3 or more turns to restore a single stand!
Generals in the game have two simple functions. They can use their influence to make a unit automatically clear a morale marker. If they do this, the receiving unit cannot make an aggressive move that turn. They can also attach themselves to a unit and increase that unit’s combat value.
There are optional rules for gattling guns, going prone, cavalry assault formations and the like.
There are no scenarios in the book. The unit combat values and generals are randomly determined based on the side chosen. Union troops, for instance, are generally not as good as confederate troops.
There are simple rules for campaigns, a simple uniform guide, and some simple variant rules for both the Franco Prussian War and the Napoleonic wars.
The rules are very simple. As such, there is very little that needs to be interpreted. The combat mechanisms are straightforward and you can usually resolve tasks with a D10. The card driven system does limit the size of the force. They recommend corps sized battles of, perhaps 9 brigades on a side. However, there are rules for dividing the battlefield up into “fronts” for larger engagements, with a card deck per front. I’m not keen on this idea as it could potentially lead to some situations where players on opposite sides are going at the same time.
These rules can easily be modified as proven by the two variants in the back of the book. There are at least two versions on the net now. Regimental On to Richmond and Raise the Rebel Yell 2. The latter is a re-write of the original rules with new ideas and mechanisms while the former is a more tactical game.
One last note, the game is surprisingly similar to Fire and Fury. Undoubtedly, the authors of Fire and Fury got much of their inspiration from On to Richmond.
I played the game a very long time ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. The game mechanics are so simple and straightforward that you are left only with tactical decisions. The rules really capture the feel of ACW combat in a very basic way. As you take on the roll of a corps commander, most of the minute tactical decisions are transparent to you. The author of the rules did a fantastic job of using the right amount of detail to capture this sort of combat. I would recommend these rules to anyone who loves simple, quick playing games that have a great period feel.