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A Perfect Sheet of Flame

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TITLE: A Perfect Sheet of Flame: The Fourth Version of Mike Willegal’s Iron Brigade Miniature Wargame Rules

AUTHOR: Mike Willegal

PUBLISHER: Mike Willegal



    The author maintains a web site at willegal.net. It has a forum that does not appear to be in use.

PRICE: These rules are available as a free download from the author’s web site (above). Hard copies are available for $12.50

REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin

PERIOD COVERED: The American Civil War


A Perfect Sheet of Flame (APSoF) is a brief 38 page booklet. I downloaded and printed mine. The rules themselves take up 21 pages, with the balance of the book devoted to charts, a sequence of play summary, and advanced rules. There are a few black and white diagrams but the bulk of the rules are plain text. They are easy to read and reasonably well edited.

SCOPE: A Perfect Sheet of Flame is a tactical game of the American Civil War

ARMY SIZE: Units in APSoF are reasonably large with a 1:20 figure ratio. A typical regiment will require between 12 and 48 castings, with most units regiments falling in the 12-20 figure range.


  • The basic infantry unit is the regiment. Regiments may be broken down into smaller units using the advanced rules.
  • The basic artillery unit is the battery. A model gun represents one battery.
  • The basic cavalry unit is the regiment.


  • Ground Scale: 1 inch = 25 yards
  • Time scale 1 turn = 2 1/2 minutes
  • Figure/Base Ratio 1 infantry figure = 20 men or 1 battery
  • Recommended Figure Size: None stated but basing is given for 15 and 25 mm figures.
  • Table Size: Not stated
  • Game Length: Not known


APSoF provides recommended base sizes for both 15 mm and 25 mm figures.

15 mm Basing

  • Infantry: APSoF requires two size of stands. Two-figure stands and four figure stands. These are 1/2” deep and 3/4” and 1/ 1/2” wide respectively.
  • Cavalry: Cavalry are mounted two figures per stand 1 1/2” square.
  • Artillery: A four gun battery should be mounted on a base 1” wide and 1 1/2” deep. A six gun battery should be based on a 1 1/4” by 1 1/2” deep base.
  • Personality figures should be based on 1/2” wide by 3/4” deep bases.

25 mm Basing

  • Infantry: APSoF requires two size of stands. Two-figure stands and four figure stands. These are 3/4” deep and 2” and 1” wide respectively.
  • Cavalry: Cavalry are mounted two figures per stand 2” square.
  • Artillery: A four gun battery should be mounted on a base 1” wide and 1 1/2” deep. A six gun battery should be based on a 1 1/4” by 1 1/2” deep base.
  • Personality figures should be based on 1/2” wide by 3/4” deep bases.


In APSoF turns are taken simultaneously. So during each of the phases below both players are active. Movement is simultaneous, but firing is only partially so (see the section on Fire Combat, below).

  1. The Order Phase: Players write orders for each unit. Units (not officers) need orders to move or perform any action except firing.
  2. The Morale Phase: Morale checks are taken in this phase as are rally attempts. Units with a morale level of 0 are retreated during this phase.
  3. Double Quick Phase: Units with a Double Quick order and a combat morale of 4+ move and check for possible morale loss.
  4. Movement and Fire: In each turn a unit may perform one of the following actions:
    • Move up to their full movement allowance
    • Fire on eligible targets
    • Change formation or facing
    • Alternatively, units may perform two of the following actions:
        • Move up to one half their movement allowance
        • Change facing
        • Change formation
        • Fire with a +2 fire effectiveness penalty


The Orders System: APSoF uses a simple written orders system. Players write short simple orders as commanders would have issued historically. For example:

    March down plank road until reaching the cornfield on the east side of town and deploy into line facing east, in the cornfield upon arrival.

Orders are issued by unit commanders. Commanders may issue orders outside the strict chain of command but these orders may not be followed. Orders may take time to be implemented based on the distance between the unit and the commander issuing the order.

Very little is actually written about the rules system, so clearly it will require a gentlemanly group for this system to work unless playing with an umpire.

Movement: As one would expect, each unit must be in a specific formation (line,  column, skirmish, company column or en masse). Infantry units may move 7” per turn, mounted units 14”. This is modified by the Movement Chart and is increased or decreased based on unit formation, terrain entered, obstacles encountered, etc. In addition, certain terrain features will prohibit certain actions being taken. For example, units may not perform a split move in dense woods.

Morale Rating: In APSoF each unit has two morale levels. The first, Base Morale, ranges from between 1 (worst) and 6 (Best). This level determines how well units hold up in combat and how quickly they rally. Combat Morale begins at the Base Morale but is decreased by enemy fire and morale failing morale checks. It increases when the unit is rallied. Combat morale is tracked by placing a small die with each unit. Alternatively players my use a roster or any other convenient method. When a unit’s Combat Morale has been reduced to 0 that unit has routed and must retreat each turn until successfully rallied.

Fire Combat: Both small arms and artillery are resolved using the same mechanism. First, determine the base weapon effectiveness of the firing unit. Cross reference the firer’s weapon type with the range and this yields a value. This value is then modified by tactical factors, such as firer’s morale, target’s formation, cover etc. Then for every four figures (for every two crew for artillery) the firer rolls one die. All the dice are summed and then divided by the final weapon effectiveness. This is the number of casualties caused.

In addition, the target’s combat morale may be affected. First, just like firing, the target rolls one die for every 4 castings (rounded down). These dice are summed. next, multiply the casualties caused by 5. From this subtract the sum of the dice rolled. the result is the number of combat morale levels lost.

    Example: 21 castings firing at 16 castings with a modified weapon effectivensss of four. The result is that the attacker rolls five dice which results in a total of 13. Divide 13 by four (weapon effectiveness) and the defender loses three castings. The defender has 13 castings left and rolls three dice and gets a result of 11. Multiply the three lost castings by five and subtract 11 (the die roll). The result is four, meaning the defender loses four levels of morale. (Taken from page 14 of the rule book)

Melee: There is no separate category of combat for melee. Units in base to base contact simply engage in fire combat at a range of 0. However, during the morale phase (see below) units in base to base contact may affect each other’s morale.

Morale: Each unit has a base morale from one (worst) to six (best). This does not change during the game. Each unit also has a combat morale. Combat morale may be reduced by enemy fire, performing a double quick order, or being in contact with the enemy during the morale phase. Furthermore, when a unit breaks, nearby units must check morale as a result.

When units are in base to base contact during the morale phase, each side rolls a die for every four castings. Sum these and determine the difference between the two sides. Divide that by three and that is the number of morale levels lost by the side that rolled the lower overall total.

During the game units may recover combat morale. To rally a unit rolls a die. To this is added any modifiers for leader quality and base morale. Cross reference the result on the morale chart and adjust the unit’s combat morale accordingly.

Units with a combat morale reduced to zero have routed. They must be moved away from the enemy each turn full movement, counting them as in open order formation. They retreat every turn until they rally or leave the table.


The rule book includes a brief and generic description of how the armies were organized. Otherwise there are no army lists or scenarios provided.


A Perfect Sheet of Flame is well written and easy to follow. While there are a few rules here and there that raise an eyebrow (artillery can limber/unlimber in half a turn? no rules for charges?) they are minor detail. The mechanisms are certainly very straight forward. The orders system will certainly require either an umpire or a well adjusted gaming group.


Not played.

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