I have gone back to basics with the ACW and am treating it as a new period for me to game in - in reality it is most definitely not but I want to be a little more systematic in my approach this time around. With this in mind I am reading John Keegan's history of the war as an overall primer to set the scene. Battles and Leaders will serve to support the Keegan title for the finer detail in respect of the actions fought and indeed, will be used as a reference source. My interest will focus on the Western theatre as I am very interested in the campaigns including the rivers and swampy bayous - I have a selection of Peter Pig 1/600th models to assemble and paint for this - so I fully expect to be adding to the library in due course.
Given the thousands of publications about the ACW it would be very easy to throw cash at lots of things but I want to keep the collection fairly compact if I can. I tend to find this works better for me having a smaller library to refer to - my 1815 collection for example is under ten books. I shall look out for a good uniform reference and a couple of specific Western theatre histories, probably a couple of nautical themed volumes as well. Throw in the odd Osprey or two and there you have it.
My throw away comment about going back to basics and being a little more systematic in my approach are valid points and for reasons that are actually quite embarrassing. I wince at the thought of the amount of time and money I have wasted over the years on the ACW - from figures, rules, books and board games - all acquired and disposed of with dizzying rapidity. I want to make sure that this time it sticks - and why should that not be the case? It is, after all, a fascinating period, blessed with sufficient variety to appeal to even the most particular of gamers.
The land actions I shall fight will be tackled initially using my block armies and the Portable Wargame or similar although I shall be using hexes rather than squares. There are plenty of scenarios that can be readily adapted from the Battle Cry Command and Colours game - even more if you raid the net - and of course the campaign potential tied in with the river gunboats is even more attractive. The key thing here is that I can game ACW land battles easily and at short notice
As to figures I am currently not even thinking about this as it would be well down the running order with everything else I have underway. Using the block armies and the Axis and Allies maps is an immediately available option although I may look to figures at some point. The important thing is though is that I do not have to worry about this as the blocks are a perfectly acceptable alternative. If anything I am likely to tackle the ships first but again, there are a few other things higher up the to do list, the WW2 ships being the case in point.
By approaching this in a methodical fashion I am hoping to ensure a degree of longevity with the period - just don't ask me to use Johnny Reb for a game!