Picking up those brushes again.

Hi and welcome to the occasional mutterings of Dave Doc, a military modeller and some time gamer. Gaming and model making has given me a real education, History & Geography(obvious really), Artistry, Politics, Economics, Logistics, Project Management -you try building miniature armies without the last 3.

I will use the blog to record my creations & the odd occasion I actually do some gaming.

I have always been inspired by the aesthetic side of gaming. Playing on well constructed terrain using excellently painted units is always a joy.

Sunday 21 April 2024

Gaming - Chancellorsville using AOF

 This weekends game saw us back to ACW with a play out of Chancellorsville . The May 1863 battle sees an outnumbered Lee and Jackson springing an outflanking manoeuvre on Hookers  Union army in the heavily wooded Wilderness area around the small settlement of Chancellorsville. 

We had the use of two tables pushed together at the Pendraken miniatures shop. So 8x6 . All our kit is Pendraken. We used all 5 boxes of my trees and some from IanW who wasn’t playing today 


We were using Altar of Freedom rules again once more . The generally poorly led Union Corps are in the middle with the Rebs pincer about to bite. However the Union heavily outnumber the Rebs , have terrain on their side and 6 turns to survive before nighttime, then a 2nd day of 6 turns before news of the Confederate retreat from Fredericksburg would see Lee quit the field regardless of the result  . Roy and I were Union. Stig and Bren Jackson , and Martin playing Lee. The Rebs had to kill 12 Union units by an end of any turn to get a major victory 

Turn one the Union forces  are caught by surprise and cannot move any of their divisions - though can do generals and individual brigades using saved command points in the turn end phase. As we couldn’t use our command points for division movement we spent the max we could on owning the turn clock . This would allow us to try and run the 12 point turn clock down early within each whole turn . This became our strategy for the first 3 turns. Not moving divisions  , owning the turn timing and then filling in holes etc with individual brigade movements in the end phase. It also turned out Stig had brought his poor dice day along and Jackson’s troops were just not carving through the poor opposition at the start . From there we decided to use Sickles Corp to arrack Lee and some manoeuvring of Howard , Couch and Slocum to shore up Howard’s under pressure Corps

Jackson’s flank march 


I was rolling well , and despite Howard losing infantry brigades and artillery I was able to rally them at the Corp HQ area with the +2 for corps and army commander helping . This meant the Reb victory was as far away as ever by turn 4 . In addition Sickles attack has killed 2 Reb units - which had failed to rally . If the Rebs lost 9 then the Union get a full victory .

Couch;s brigades advance to,slow Jackson 

A division from Slocums Corps sits in road reserve able to move upto 20 inches  

Jackson’s troops pressure the outnumbered Howard’s 

Sickles attack moves forward 

A battery of Sickles artillery on the road in front of Chancellorsville. Lee didn’t threaten them 

Lee’s troops behind cover - in this case we used fences to represent some hasty earthworks / defences 

By the last twilight turn after Stigs dice continued to let him down the Rebs had decided to not play on into the 6 turns of day 2 , especially as a further Union Corps under Reynolds was arriving . 

This was a tough game for the Rebs - they just weren’t generating enough violence to kill units quick enough - then we were rallying the ones they did , so they would have to do it again, I think the choice of entry point for Jackson made life more difficult as it lost a turn from the game and resulted in a traffic jam on the road. The Union turn strategy did work and with some good dice it was even better . 

Historically the bloodiest fighting was in the second day , and that is what brought a historic Reb victory . However the guys wanted to call it - it ended as a straight draw , so we will take that as a victory !

Playing at Pendraken HQ was great as usual , with the crew helping out with tea , coffee , snacks etc - and you always find stuff to buy! 

Next ACW will be a smaller one I think .


  1. That's a good write up of the game, Dave, and well presented.

    Have to admit that I hadn't thought about the benefit of controlling the turn clock from the first turn - which went hand-in-hand with the strategy I suggested of slowing the CSA down on day one - slowing their physical attacks down, while speeding the turn clock up. I'm definitely picking up some gaming strategies from you!

    I'm still failing to remember the correct name for the expression I've seen modern US Infantry/Marines officers use, to refer to aggressive, violent manoeuvring and attitude that disrupts and demoralises their enemy - something, as you say, the CSA would have benefitted from in this game.

    Yours (and Martin's) dice rolling can be scary sometimes!

    1. Yeah - it’s a different kind of game , working with the command control system restrictions to let them use the forces you have how you want to - or stopping your enemy doing what they want to is a bit different from just pulling triggers all the time . The bonus when your brigades fight well on top of that can be interesting .

  2. Cool game, enjoyed the day.

  3. Greatly enjoyed the pictures and the write up. Sounds like a wonderful time.

  4. Splendid looking battle Dave 👍