Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Chattanooga is a detailed wargame of the namesake battle on the regimental level. It was the issue game in Command Magazine No. 43 in 1997, following right on the heels of the similar Hell Before Night game of issue No. 42.

Using a variation on the game system first seen in Fateful Lightning, Chattanooga is heavily weighted towards morale effects, rather than factor counting or numbers. Units are rated for “Intensity” which measures its willingness to enter into close combat, and “Morale” which measures staying power.

In addition to the standard historical scenario, there are two other scenarios. One assumes that Bragg had followed up his success at Chickamauga and pressed the pursuit harder. This results in a low-counter-density scenario that makes a good introduction to the entire game system. The second scenario covers a smaller preliminary night battle on 28 October.

The battlefield is very open, with some prodigious slopes restricting maneuver in some key spots.The game system is unusual, and is a departure from the usual XTR/Command style. While a “mini-monster” the game does not use standard wargame mechanics and instead uses an uncommon and rather intricate game system, by Command standards. Every hex represents about 176 yards, units are regiments of infantry and artillery batteries. The game uses the universal color scheme of Civil War games, blue for the federals and gray for the confederates. Units show iconic representations of the soldiers on each side, in a variety of poses and uniforms. Unlike Fateful Lightning, however, which depicted each unit in its correct uniform, Chattanooga does not. Turns represent two hours during daylight, plus an overnight turn. Each turn comprise player “couplets,” which might be considered turns in most other games. How many couplets make up a turn varies. After each couplet a die is rolled. Depending on the result play proceeds to another couplet with the same side going first, or to another couplet with the player order reversed or the end of the turn.

Combat is handled in an unusual way. Ranged fire combat is possible, but tends to be indecisive and long ranged shots are hard to set up because of the amount of woods. Surprisingly, firing units can suffer adverse results when they shoot. The number of firing factors is added up and a 10-sided die rolled. Results tend to be disruptions and morale checks. Much of the combat will consist of assaults. Assault combat is resolved by selecting a column on the CRT based on the attacking units’ intensity and then rolling a 10-sided die. Both intensity and the die roll can be affected by a number of modifiers. I found this system rather burdensome and even arduous, because it meant a large number of repetitive calculations. There are likely to be dozens of combats in each player couplet, each one involving adding up modifiers, which will generally tend to be very similar.

The games includes a number of other unusual subsystems, such as "extra strength" which is used to recreate units from the dead pile. Units can also be recreated without using extra strength, but risk being permanently eliminated at a victory point cost. The game does appear to be a reasonable simulation, but its level of detail and the work required of each player will restrict its appeal to hard-core gamers with a particular interest in the topic.


(Conditional Yes) For Wargamers: A large and detailed replication of the Battle of Chattanooga for Civil War and tactical game buffs. It’s of limited interest to others.

(No) For Collectors: Nothing special.

(No) For Euro gamers: A very hard-core hex-and-counter wargame.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for adding pictures! I have been going to BGG to see pictures of some of the other ones, but its nice to see them here.