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TOPIC: Polemos ACW CoA Skirmishers
PM cardophillipo
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Posts: 4
Polemos ACW CoA Skirmishers
10th Aug 2015 02:27:09


While putting on a Cold War game at the recent Joy of Six show I was struck by some of the wonderful basing on a nearby ACW table. The units were beautifully based on 60mm x 60mm bases and each one was a little diorama on its own. 

I have a huge amount of 6mm Baccus ACW sat in Shed HQ waiting for a reason to use them and after seeing the game at JoS I thought that I would take the plunge and ordered a PDF copy from Wargames Vault. I plan to base my units in such as way so I can use them for various rulesets like Black Powder, Longstreet, Volley and Bayonet etc.

I just wanted to ask how people decide which units had skirmishers and which didn't as alot of the pictures seem to show skirmishers on pretty much all bases but the rules seem to suggest that not all units had skirmishers and also how is the level of skirmish SK0 to SK2 decided?

Many thanks

Richard P

PM Trev Crook
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Posts: 3
Polemos ACW CoA Skirmishers
Trev Crook
10th Aug 2015 08:48:19

Agree that the ACW game was wonderful.

Personally I have based most of my 6mm armies on 60 x 30mm bases. This size makes it easy to play many rule sets, such as Polemos, Black Powder, Blucher etc.

For skirmsihers, I don't do separate skirmisher bases though others do for for some rule sets. I use 0, 2 or 4 figures to equate SK0, SK1 or SK2. I use the the same system for Napoleonics to represent no skirmisher capability (0), standard skirmisher (2) or light infantry (4).

Having said all that, most of my ACW I don't have skirmishers as mine were originally used for Fire & Fury. Skirmishers there are assumed to be part of the overall capability of the unit, and therefore ignored.


PM cardophillipo
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Posts: 4
Polemos ACW CoA Skirmishers
12th Aug 2015 08:34:10

Hi Trev,

Thanks, I plan to make sabot bases so I can play a variety of rules. I was wondering how players decide whether a particular unit had skirmishers or didn't have skirmishers from contemperary orders of battle.

E.g. Do any of the following regiments have skirmishers or not should they be SK0, SK1 or SK2?

Scales Brigade
Brigadier General Alfred M. Scales (wounded July 1)
Colonel William L.J. Lowrance (wounded July 1)
Lt. Colonel George T. Gordon (wounded July 1)
strength: 1,400 men
casualties: 175 killed, 360 wounded, 170 missing, 705 total

13th North Carolina Infantry Regiment
Colonel Joseph H. Hyman (wounded July 1)
Lt. Colonel Henry A. Rogers

16th North Carolina Infantry Regiment
Captain Leroy W. Stowe

22nd North Carolina Infantry Regiment
Colonel James Conner

34th North Carolina Infantry Regiment
Colonel William L.J. Lowrance (^ July 1)
Lt. Colonel George T. Gordon (^ July 1)

38th North Carolina Infantry Regiment
Colonel William J. Hoke (wounded July 1)
Lt. Colonel John Ashford (wounded July 1)
Captain William L. Thornburg (wounded July 1 and 3)
1st Lieutenant John M. Robinson


Richard P

PM Bigpeteriley
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Posts: 10
Polemos ACW CoA Skirmishers
12th Aug 2015 08:02:14

Hello Richard

Every unit could have skirmishers the rating is about effectiveness. A raw unit could have skirmishers but are rated SK0 as they are probably not very good! A veteran unit might have very few skirmishers but are rated as SK2 as they are excellent at skirmishing.

As a rule of thumb i tend towards:

Raw SK0 (SK1 as they may be elite)

Trained SK1 or SK0 (SK0 if they are newly formed, if Elite then SK1)

Veteran SK1 or SK2 (If Elite then SK2)

Here is my view on the Brigade for both COA and OTC

Pender's Division

4th Brigade (Scales)         1350      600 per base, round down = OTC, 2 Bases, Veteran, Rifles, SK2

                                                        1,200 per base, round down = COA, 1 Base, Veteran, Rifles, SK2

13th N. Carolina                225        Veteran (SK2)

16th N. Carolina                325        Veteran (SK2)

22nd N. Carolina               275        Veteran (SK2)

34th N. Carolina                300        Veteran (SK2)

38th N. Carolina                225        Veteran (SK2)

Below is from the unpublished designers notes in the ACW companion:

Troop Quality

Some rules get bogged down in the area of representing troop quality; I feel that being too complicated in this area forces the player to focus more on picking the right troops in right categories than in playing the game. Did Armies have limits where only 10% of your Army is allowed to be Veteran Elite and no more?  I do not like limits.  I happen to think that applying limits and providing structured lists is the wrong approach and is very restrictive and unrealistic.

In the American Civil War, troop quality was very variable. Did the Iron Brigade perform brilliantly all of the time?  Even the Stonewall Brigade went backwards a few times. With Polemos we begin to break this down and can give the troops differing levels of experience with a very simple quality framework, and you can play with the whole Division or Corps of Veterans if you want to. What if you do want to play with a whole Division of Confederate “Veterans” in the later war? You can, but you can also model different levels within the Division. Maybe they have just won a battle at high cost in men; will they all act like Veterans in the next battle?  And will they remain unbeatable?

The table below is an example of how you can reflect different units and organisations using the Polemos system. We can represent the best or the most mediocre of Divisions. So if you want to represent your favourite units like the Iron Brigade or the Stonewall Brigade as the Veteran Elites they were; then you can. Berdan’s Sharpshooters really can be the Trained or Veteran - Elite (SK2) unit and not just be lumped in with the other Infantry for convenience. You can even model the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) as Raw Elites who were probably better than they thought they were in action. 

Two very different divisions at Gettysburg

Hoods Division, 1st Corps:

Could be classed as:

Law’s Brigade Veteran Elite (SK2)

Anderson’s Brigade Trained Elites or Veteran (SK1 or 2)

Robertson’s Brigade Trained Elites or Veteran Elite (SK1 or 2)

Benning’s Brigade Trained or Trained Elites (SK1 or 2)

Divisional Artillery Field Artillery

Heth’s Division, 3rd Corps:

Could be classed as:

Pettigrew’s 1st Brigade Trained Elites (SK2)

Brockenbrough’s 2nd Brigade Trained (SK0 or 1)

Archer’s 3rd Brigade Trained (SK0 or 1)

Davis’s Brigade Raw (SK0 or 1)

Divisional Artillery Field Artillery

Hope this helps



"Well, I can't stand around here doing nothing, people will think I'm a workman"

Email Extra Crispy PM Extra Crispy
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Posts: 109
Polemos ACW CoA Skirmishers
Extra Crispy
13th Aug 2015 01:43:16

For what it's worth...

In general my readin suggests in the ACW the role of the skirmisher was very different from, say , Napoleon's time.  They really acted as more of a sentry kind of function to alert the main line to an enemy advance, scout, etc. They seem to have been much less of an threat from a combat perpsective. So I treat skirmishing as more of a recon type function, and dispense with tracking it on a per unit basis.

Mark "Extra Crispy" Severin

PM cardophillipo
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Posts: 4
Polemos ACW CoA Skirmishers
14th Aug 2015 09:00:36


Many thanks that is most helpful and the unpublished designer notes make interesting reading. Thanks for all the responses time to start planning and basing.


Richard P



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