Well, it looks like the old band is getting back together for a run at a new “Blind Swords Lite” game called “The Devil’s to Pay: the First Day at Gettysburg.” Hermann Luttmann will be the designer, I’ll handle development, Rick Barber will be the mapmaker and the new member of the band will be Jose Ramon Faura as its artist. Tiny Battle Publishing is hoping to get the game out to the public in time for Origins. In fact, it will be the premier edition of Tiny Battle Publishing’s new deluxe line of games.
As far as I know, which is subject to change, it will come with one map sheet, 12 pages of rules and one counter sheet. It will have 100 men equalling 1 Strength Point, and 1 tube equalling 1 artillery Strength Point, with the black number on the left of a counter being its strength; the letter next to it, the unit’s weapon type; the red number the unit’s morale rating or CR, and the Roman numeral in a circle on the right the unit’s corps number.
The system is one we’ve been hoping to finish for a while now. It will be a cutdown version of the standard “Blind Swords” system. In other words, it will still be a chit pull system with plenty of chaos and the Fog of War, but with simpler mechanics. For example, there won’t be two levels of chits needed to activate the maneuver element. You will now draw a chit, then roll on a chart against the leader’s ability. Superior leaders, who roll well, get to be more flexible with their troops each turn. Poor generals, who roll poorly, get to maneuver no one or perhaps only a very few troops under their command and poltroons will have a hard time getting out of their own way.
Also, the scale will be somewhat different than the standard “Blind Swords” game. Instead of having regiments as the maneuver element, we’ll be using parts of brigades, with brigades being represented by two or three counters, depending on how they were used in the actual battle. The time per turn will be an hour as compared to 20 minutes for a standard game and a hex will represent 250 yards. So some changes in the way we handle artillery, for example, will be needed. (Artillery can fire out of a woods hex, because at 250 yards it’s likely there was plenty of open ground in the hex for the battery to deploy.)
Right now the map is done, as far as I know, the art is done, we are playing around with the background colors of the counters a bit, but that seems to have been settled and the game is in playtesting.
During the last playtest, for example, either Henry Heth had a very bad day or he was following Robert E. Lee’s orders not to bring on a general engagement to the letter. But that’s why you playtest.
Here is the last version of the counter sheet. We changed the Confederate counter’s background (for now) to something a bit like butternut.
Remember, all this is the playtest version.
If the game is a success we are hoping it will be the first in a whole line of brigade-sized battles using the “Blind Swords’ Lite” system. Things like “Champion Hill” or “Perryville” or whatever was simply too big a battle to be handled by the standard regimental game with a 125-yard hex pattern. So here’s wishing Tiny Battle Publishing all the success in the world.