Monday, September 22, 2008

Bull Run Map Scale

Researching ideas for a print-and-play game, I came across a small publication of the American Civil War Notebook Series on the first battle of Bull Run. It has excellent maps at different scales. Noting that both sides were trying to outflank each other, I thought it might be interesting to simulate the battle on a scale large enough to capture the flanking possibilities. After all, these were the important decisions made by Beauregard and McDowell.

The largest scale battlefield map in the publication offered excellent proportions for an 8 1/2 (north-south) and 11 (east-west) piece of paper. In fact, I was able to overlay a letter size sheet of paper and pretty much trace the major features. This is game design gold!

The scale is about 8 by six miles and brigade level. I guess this makes it a grand tactical game. There are eleven Union brigades and 12 Confederate brigades.

The Confederate side starts off guarding the fords across Bull Run leading to Manassas while the Union side has as a goal to capture the important railroad junction there. Battle-winning opportunities are for McDowell to flank the weak west side of the Southern army and roll them up; for Beauregard the idea is to cross the fords on the east and capture Centerville, which would cut off the Union army from its supplies and communications.