TITLE: Give Them the Cold Steel!
AUTHOR: E. W. McKie
PUBLISHER: Edward W. McKie
PUBLICATION DATE: 2011
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM: None Known
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The American Civil War
THE BOOK: Give Them the Cold Steel is a free download of 27 pages. The main rules take up a total of 15 pages. Optional rules run 6 pages and the remainder of thebook is given over to several detailed examples of play with diagrams.
SCOPE: Designed for recreating grand-tactical battles of the American Civil War.
ARMY SIZE: The game will require armies made up of hundreds of figures as it is designed for the major engagements of the war.
The base unit of the game is the brigade of infantry or cavalry and the artillery battalion of 12 guns.
- Ground Scale: 1” = 75 yards
- Time Scale: 1 turn = 30 minutes
- Figure Ratio: 1 figure = 60 men
- Recommended Figure Size: 15mm or 10mm
- Table Size: None Stated
- Game Length: Unknown
- Infantry should be 4 per 1” x 3/4” base
- Cavalry 2 figures per 1” x 1” base
- Artillery 1 gun with crew per 1” x 1 3/4” base
- All other stands except teh army commander are 1” wide (the commander is 2” wide)
The game uses a simultaneous turn with local “dice offs” for initiative (see below) and written orders.
- Compulsory Moves (routs/retreats)
- Declare charges and test morale for charging units
- Fire combat
- Pre-melee morale checks
- Resolve melees
- Implement melee results
- Check for unit fatigue
- Perform all other required morale checks
The game requires one ten-sided die and one average die. An average die is a 6 sided die marked 2,3,3,4,4,5 instead of the usual 1,2,3,4,5,6.
Prior to play the commanding general writes orders for his corps commanders who do the same for division commanders. To change orders requires the two to be in contact, or the commander can send a courier. There are no specific rules for how this is done.
Units must remain within 8” of their division commander or else they must roll for command. They must roll a 4+ on an average die otherwise the unit may not move.
Although the game assumes simultaneous movement, at critical points commanders may attempt to seize the local initiative. The commanders dice off using a D10 with the winner deciding who moves first and who second.
The movement rules are fairly standard. Units have a base movement allowance based in unit type and formation. There are bonuses for charging and for double time. Formation changes, passage of lines, wheels and facing changes cost between 25 and 75% of a unit’s allowance.
Both artillery and small arms are resolved in the same way. First, count up all of the eligible firing figures. Second, calculate their total Fire Factor. This is determined by weapon type and range. This is then modified for Tactical Factors such as troop quality, cover, target formation, etc. On the Casualty Table cross index the final Fire Factor with the Number of Figures Firing. The result is two numbers. The first is the number of enemy casualties caused. The second is the target die roll for causing an additional casualty. Roll that number or less on a D10 to score the extra casualty.
Melee Combat is resolved in almost the same way as Fire Combat. Calculate the Fire factor and cross reference with the number of figures. However, each side rolls one average die and adds this to their fire factor. The unit inflicting the most hits wins the melee. The loser suffers an extra casualty, and must check morale. If they pass they retreat 2” otherwise they rout. If the units remain in contact at the end of the melee they are locked and must continue the fight in the next turn.
For a unit to test morale the player rolls one average die. This is modified for unit quality, losses, leadership, cover etc. On a 4 or better the unit passes and is unaffected. Otherwise it suffers a variety of effects from a limitation on charges to full blown rout.
The book has an extensive battle replay as an example of play, but includes no army lists or scenarios.
The rules are written very much in an outline form. As such they will require the application of a bit of common sense. For example, there are no specific rules for couriers. But as officers move 24” when mounted, couriers can be assumed to do the same. Players will need to decide of orders take effect immediately or the turn after arrival etc.
Likewise the charge procedure calls for a number of morale checks but does not spell out some of the details. For example if a unit fails it stops 3/4” from the enemy. May it still fire? These are nothing that cannot be solved with common sense, but this is not a set of rules where covering every eventuality is covered.