Fire and Fury
The American Civil War in Miniature

Wargame Rules Review

Fire and Fury American Civil War Rules.

Fire and Fury is an innovative game system using miniature armies to recreate battles of the American Civil War. The game emphasizes playability without sacrificing historical accuracy.

The rules offer everything wargamers look for in a Civil War game: unit quality, leader effectiveness and casualties, morale, command control, weapon effectiveness, ammunition supply, and the fog of war.

The basic combat unit is the brigade of infantry or cavalry. With less than two hundred miniature figures the player can take command of a division or an entire corps. A game involving several players can recreate battles between opposing armies of from 15,000 to 100,000 men per side.

Fire and Fury will appeal to the new gamer or the veteran, the Civil War buff or the person just discovering this fascinating period.


  • Title: Fire and Fury
  • Period: American Civil War
  • Type: Grand-Tactical Wargame Rules
  • Time Scale: 1 turn = 30 minutes
  • Ground Scale: 1:1620 or 1:2160 (1 inch = 45 or 60 yards)
  • Troop Scale: 1 infantry stand = 150 or 200 men
  • Basing: 25 × 19 to 22 mm infantry stands with 3 to 5 figures
  • Casualty rate per minute at 100 meters range: (unmodified)
    • Infantry: 0.0023 hits
    • Cavalry (Confederate): 0.0023 hits
    • Cavalry (Union): 0.005 hits
    • Artillery (Cannister): 0.58 hits
  • Game Designer & Art Director: Richard W. Hasenauer, Columbia, MD
  • Game Developers:
    • Mike Pierce, Ray Pfeifer, Michael Montemarano
      Greg Lyle, Craig Good, Lenny Millmann
  • Play Testers:
    • Bob Watts, Hank Martin, Fred Hubig, Brian DeWitt
      Rob Lockley, Chip Durant, Joe Richards, Dave Waxtel
      Ron Prillamann, Jay Molleneux, Bill Rankin, Bob Hoy
      Dale Johnson, Les Faison, Dave Choat, Dave Alsop
      Josh Gottesmann, and members of the Potomac Wargamers
  • Editor: Ray Pfeifer
  • Rules Editor: Lenny Millmann
  • Editorial Assistant: Michael Montemarano
  • Contributing Writers: Greg Lyle, Mike Pierce
  • Illustrator: Dave Choat
  • Graphics Assistant: Steve Smith
  • Format: 70-page rule book
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: David Waxtel, Quantum Printing, New York, NY
  • Published: 1990


  1. Introduction, 2 pages
  2. Mustering your Forces, 6 pages
    • Figures
    • Stands
    • Markers
    • Painting Miniatures
  3. Prepare for Battle, 7 pages
    • Game Scales
    • The Order of Battle
    • Brigade Effectiveness
    • Exceptional Leaders
    • Labeling
    • The Battlefield
    • Troop Placement
    • Playing Time
    • Length of a Battle
    • Winning the Battle
    • Game Referee
  4. Fighting the Battle, 33 pages
    • Sequence of Play
    • Tables & Charts
    • Die Roll Procedures
    • Phase I: Manœuvre, 14 pages
    • Phase II: Musketry & Cannonade, 8 pages
    • Phase III: Charge, 9 pages
  5. The Battle of Gettysburg, 16 pages
    • The Campaign
    • July 1st
    • July 2nd
    • July 3rd
    • Gettysburg Order of Battle
    • The Aftermath
  6. Building Battlefield Terrain, 5 pages

Quick Reference Chart

  • Manœuvre Table
  • Play Sequence Chart, Movement Rates Chart, Fallen Leader Table
  • Musketry & Cannonade Table
  • Charge Table
  • Arc of Fire Gauge
  • Civil War Buildings #1
  • Civil War Buildings #2
  • Civil War Buildings #3

The rules are professionally designed, laid out, and illustrated, including 17 colour photos of Fire and Fury battles, as well as black and white scenario maps for the Battle of Gettysburg. Tactical formations, evolutions, manœuvres, combat situations, and retreat moves are superbly illustrated with 56 photos and scale drawings of miniature brigades. Headlines and subheads are bolded, and the body text is type-set in a standard book typeface. The rules are exceptionally well written, fun to read, and easy to understand. Fire and Fury set an industry standard in wargame rules design which is rarely matched by the competition.

Brigade Effectiveness & Leader Ratings

Fire and Fury introduced simple brigade identification labels like “Picket – Armistead – E 10/8/5”, which are easy to read and contain all relevant command control, brigade strength, morale, and leadership information of a brigade. In this example, Armistead’s Brigade of Picket’s Division has a full strength of 10 veteran infantry stands, and an elite brigade commander rating. Armistead’s brigade loses its freshness bonus when 20 percent casualties have been incurred, and it is considered spent once its strength has dropped to 5 stands. Brigade identification labels are small enough to be attached to the underside of the brigade command stands, and they can be easily referred to when a brigade needs to pass manœuvre or charge combat tests.

Status Markers

Fire and Fury revolutionized the use of modelled status markers which replaced many book-keeping chores, and improved the visual appeal of wargames by eliminating the unsightly battlefield clutter consisting of coloured pipe cleaners, painted rocks, gems, casualty rings, or cardboard markers prescribed by many competing wargame rules before it. The modelling of status markers has become an art form thanks to Fire and Fury.

Manœuvre, Combat, and Morale

By a stroke of pure genius Fire and Fury completely eliminated the need for laborious and repetitive morale tests before and after fire combat, before and after melee, and before the start of the next turn. Instead, realistic and easily implemented morale effects are built into the Fire and Fury manœuvre, fire combat, and melee results tables. These revolutionary game mechanisms work exceptionally well to provide historically accurate morale results the Union and Confederate players can live with.

Ammunition Supply

The ammunition supply rule in Fire and Fury is yet another clever game mechanism, which regulates the ammunition expenditure of brigades and batteries at critical stages of a firefight. Brigades engaged in desultory fire need not worry about their ammunition supply. As the intensity of the firefight increases, however, brigades may run low on ammunition. Again, no book-keeping is required, because the “low on ammunition” result is built into the fire table, and Fire and Fury uses modelled infantry, cavalry or artillery “low on ammunition” markers to mark brigades or batteries which have run low on ammunition and need to retire out of enemy musketry range to replenish. Where competing wargame rules either ignore ammunition expenditure or require the player to account for every single round fired, lost, or scrounged on the battlefield, Fire and Fury uses a surprisingly realistic and easily implemented ammunition rule.

Fight, Run, or Surrender

Some wargame rules go to great length to explain that of the 33 to 50 soldiers represented by a single figure casualty, only a few men are actually killed or wounded, the remainder being considered ineffective for the rest of the battle. Individual miniatures are micro-managed as players consult laborious charts to arrive at a 33.34 or 66.67 percent probability of a figure casualty, which is then marked with a casualty cap, until all the figures on a stand have been eliminated by fire and melee, and the stand can be removed from play. Many of these games drag on until well over 75 percent of the miniatures have been shot or stabbed, regardless of the fact that historical casualty rates were much lower. In Fire and Fury, brigades will suffer a proportion of fire and melee casualties, other men will skedaddle, run panic-stricken off the battlefield, and some are captured during melee. Entire brigades may skedaddle when they are exhausted, disordered, and their morale fails. Fire and Fury games are never a dull fight to the last figure stand, they end within a realistic time frame as one side loses ground and the other becomes too exhausted to follow-up on its victory.

Game Time matches Real Time

Fire and Fury wargames typically require about the same time it took to fight the historical battle, because players acting as division and corps commanders are able to manœuvre, fire, and melee their brigades without reference to complicated and ambiguous rules which need to be read, re-read, and argued over incessantly. Moderately experienced Fire and Fury wargamers only need the quick reference chart to play, and it takes less than 15 minutes to train a previously frustrated rules lawyer to become a successful division commander.

Scenarios, Variants, and Resources

Fire and Fury is extremely popular around the world, and avid players have designed many valuable scenarios, campaign rules, and house rules like random army generation tables, hidden terrain effect charts, even game variants for other periods to complement the game. Nach Paris – The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 by Nick Dorrell, published in Wargames Illustrated № 140, Fire & Fury for the Napoleonic Wars (WI № 143), and Fire and Furia Francese by Nick Dorrell (WI 150) are some of the early Fire and Fury variants adapted to other periods of 19th Century warfare. The best-selling and most successful Basic Original Fire and Fury (BOFF) variant is The Age of Eagles by Colonel (Ret) Wilbur E. Gray, which was published in 2005 and sold out almost immediately.

Fire and Fury is a must-have for anyone interested in the American Civil War, wargamer or not. The rules are so popular that interested players should be able to find fellow Fire and Fury gamers virtually anywhere in the world. The flow, look and feel, period flavor, and historical accuracy of the game is exceptional, and it is difficult to imagine how Fire and Fury might be topped. All things considered, Fire and Fury offers excellent value for money.

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