The Rules Directory:
A to Z Rules: ACW 2nd Ed.

The Rules Directory only works if you help. Write a review. Get the review template here.

TITLE:  A to Z Rules: The American Civil WarA to Z ACW Cover03 - Revised 2nd Edition

AUTHOR: Andrew Zartolas, Jr. and Phillip Spera

PUBLISHER: Delphi Corp.



    None known.

PRICE (with date): Unknown

REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin

PERIOD COVERED: The American Civil War

THE BOOK: A to Z The American Civil War is a paperback booklet of 48 pages. My copy included a single quick reference sheet on pale blue card stock. The interior is black and white - only the front cover is in color.

SCOPE: AZACW is a dual scale game. An individual unit may be either a regiment or a brigade. Thus the same rules may be used for entire battles (brigade scale) or more tactical games of smaller engagements.

ARMY SIZE: Units in AZACW are reasonably large. Most infantry units will be between 8 and 12 stands, with 3-5 figures per stand. Cavalry units will have fewer figures per stand. Artillery units have a single gun and either 3 or 4 crew. In addition, the armies will need limbers, horse holders, and commanders.


  • In the tactical game each unit represents a single regiment.
  • In the grand tactical game each unit represents a brigade.


  • Ground Scale: Not stated (ranges are noted as being deliberately distorted)
  • Time scale 1 turn = 10 minutes at regimental scale, 30 minutes at brigade scale
  • Figure/Base Ratio 1 infantry base = 40 men (regimental scale) or 200 men (brigade scale).
  • Recommended Figure Size: 15 mm but conversion for 25 mm and other scales is covered.
  • Table Size: Not stated.
  • Game Length: Most games should be playable in one evening

BASING SIZES: None given.


  1. Command Decision Phase (Optional): If using Random Events for a given scenario, they are diced for and carried out during this phase.
  2. Reinforcement Phase: Place reinforcements on the game table as dictated by the scenario.
  3. Army Morale Phase: If an Army has suffered severe enough losses, all units drop one or two morale grades.
  4. Card Determination Phase: The number of cards used is determined by counting infantry and cavalry units divided by the number of players on one side.
  5. Card Shuffle & Draw Phase: Shuffle the full deck then pull off the number of cards needed for the turn from Phase 4.
  6. Initiative Phase: Each side rolls a die and receives that number of extra cards to play during the turn. Certain leaders, situations or scenarios may modify this number.
  7. Action Phase: Cards are drawn with red cards yielding a Confederate impulse, and black cards a Union impulse. During an impulse one unit per brigade (regimental scale) or division (brigade scale) of that side may perform an action. Actions include movement, firing, rallying etc.


The Card Draw System: Because the deck is shuffled each turn, and the distribution of red and black is random, players will not know in advance how many units they may get to activate in each turn. The Bonus Cards are given based on scenario, leadership etc.

Command and Control: Leaders in AZACW have a command radius. Units within their command radius perform actions as desired. Units outside their commander’s radius must make a morale check. If successful they act as the player desires. If they fail the morale check, they generally will not perform any actions other than to fire. Note that crack units are exempt from this rule!

Leaders command their own troops, but it is possible to turn over command to higher authority or even to move units from one commander to another.

Movement: AZACW actually has fairly explicit movement rules. Most notably, units that perform movement are marked with a movement marker. These include retreats, normal movement, and routs (it does not include formation or facing changes). Most units may only have one such marker - if they are marked with a second, they become disordered. Units may change facing at the beginning of their move, but not afterwards. Units may wheel or move obliquely up to 45o.

Formations are covered in detail, with diagrams showing how each formation should be represented on the table. Changing formation is a separate action, so getting an entire brigade/division deployed and moving takes good planning as well as some luck with the cards.

Morale Rating: Morale checks are quite simple to resolve. Roll a D6 and score equal to or less then the unit’s morale rating. Crack troops are rated 6, while green troops are a 4. The die roll may be modified for lost stands, disorder, cover, commander etc. Units take fairly frequent checks, usually resulting in a simple failure to carry out an action. Occasionally they may retreat or rout.

Morale checks are also used to recover from disorder. Units within command radius recover from disorder automatically. Otherwise they must pass a MC. If they fail they remain disordered. Recovering from disorder is itself an action.

Ranged Combat: Ranged combat resolved by unit. Units are generally not allowed to split fire. For each two stands in the firing unit roll a D6. The number of eligible stands may be reduced by cover, formation, etc. Each 6 rolled scores a hit. Certain misses may be re-rolled due to special armament, attacking flank or rear, etc. After all hits have been scored the defender rolls a save against each. Depending on the target unit’s type, formation, terrain etc. it may get a save. Successful saves negate hits. When a hit is caused the unit is marked with a casualty marker. Once a unit has been hit three times it loses a stand.

Artillery fire works exactly the same way, except that it gets one D6 per crewman, not per stand. Dice are rolled, with a 4, 5 or 6 being a hit at canister range. Otherwise only a 6 causes a hit. Re-rolls and saves still apply. Artillery has limited ammunition. Prior to firing the first time, the firing payer rolls 2D6 - this is the number of times the unit may fire before having to be resupplied.

Any time a unit takes three hits as the result of a single enemy action it must immediately take a morale check as well as check for possible leader loss.

Melee: Melee is a two step process - the charge and then the melee. To perform a charge the active player declares the charging unit and the target. the charging unit takes an immediate morale check. If it fails it remains in place. It may fire if it chooses to do so. If it passes the morale check, it may move into contact with the target. Charging units may change facing up to 45o prior to charging. If the charging unit moved through the frontal arc of any enemy units during they charge, they may take defensive fire. Next, the target makes a morale check. If it passes it may immediately fire at the attacker. If it fails the morale check it will retreat or rout.

If contact is made each side rolls 2D6. The totals are modified for terrain, formation, being outnumbered, etc. The higher total wins the combat. the loser suffers hits equal to the difference between the two modified rolls. The winner takes half as many hits as the loser. Both units are disordered and take a morale check.


There are no scenarios or army lists provided.


These are well written, and I like that they spend a few sentences providing good detail on how to handle various game situations.


Not played.

[Home] [15mm World] [Reviews Home] [How To] [Beginners Guide] [Gamer's World] [Spanner & The Yank] [Points of View] [The Annex] [Links] [Say Howdy] [Corporate Schill] [Rules Directory]

T-shirts Just $8.99!