TDG: Cody's Top Ten U. S. Civil War Games (February 2023) -

TDG: Cody’s Top Ten U. S. Civil War Games (February 2023)

The Discriminating Gamer
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Join Cody as he looks at his top ten games featuring the American Civil War, 1861-1865.

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Cody Carlson, PhD:



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  1. I'll have you know, it took a solid 15 second for "I forgot the zipcode" to sink in, and I'm horribly ashamed I actually laughed out loud.

  2. Love to see a list of American Revolution games!!

  3. It is nice to see a different perspective. My Top 10 would probably include none of the games mentioned here. lol (Which is actually a cool thing, as it means there is a lot of great stuff out there on the topic.)

  4. I’m actually reading black powder second edition to get in on historic war games. It also covers the civil war with separate book

  5. Ever try A Gleam of Bayonets or Terrible Swift Swords? Great games if you haven't. Used to play them all of the time.

  6. I just purchased The American Civil War because of your review and my love of Axis and Allies style games. Hope it's good.

  7. I was kind of expecting more hex and counter games. While I enjoy simpler or more abstract 'parlor' type games, when it comes to 'The best of the genre", realism takes center stage for me. If you (or anyone) plays computer games, there is a really good one called 'Ultimate General: Civil War'. Really fun solo computer game where all of the major battles and many smaller ones are fought, and you decide how to organize your forces. There is a lot to this game, if anyone is interested. Also fun are the John Tiller games, particularly the Civil War ones. Very good games but the AI is SOOOOO bad that the only way to play them is PBEM.

  8. Are there any Civil War games for the siege of Petersburg? I’m asking because this is my area of expertise that I write about.

  9. "Across Five Aprils" – Victory Games has been my fave!

  10. Is this your favorite light games? No GBACW games? Avalon Hill’s Devils Den? The best strategic game made is Victory Games Civil War. No Campaigns of the Civil War? Civil War Brigade Series?

  11. Cody, you totally missed the Civil War game that got the most plays of any game ever (except the original "Risk" back in the late 50s) in my gaming group, "Ironclads" from Yaquinto Games. Many scenarios and the ability to make your own scenarios gave it multiple years of almost weekly games. And it could accommodate any number of players each a captain of their ship. Also from back in the day, GDW "A House Divided", AH "Battle Cry", Eagle ACW, and from about 10 years ago Columbia "Shiloh: April 1862", a command driven area bock game. But you entirely missed a ground-breaking monster of a game, SPI "Terrible Swift Sword" (Gettysburg in great detail).

  12. Would love a quality basic play-through of A House Divided but seems there are slim pickins online.

  13. Wow Cory, we must have different tastes in wargaming, not one of your top 10 would make my top 10. On my top 10 would be Eric Lee Smith's The Civil War from Victory. Also Yaquintos Ironclad & Expansion, as well as 3W Shot and Shell. Also for tactical, any of the many battles in the Last Full Measure Series from Uhlan Games.

  14. The American civil war is my number one also, but one I would have on my list is Worthington games Brigade series.

  15. Great video!! I have the GDW version of A House Divided… Great game. Thanks for the suggestions about other Civil War games!! Have you tried any of the White Dog Civil War games?

  16. I have The Guns of Gettysburg by Mercury Games on a shelf since the Kickstarter. I have read the rules repeatedly but never even tried it with myself playing both sides. Have you ever done a Bowen Simmon game?

  17. Cody, as you're a fan of Columbia Games (Julius Caesar, Hammer of the Scots, Napoleon etc.), I was wondering: did you ever hear of Bobby Lee (3d ed.)?Maybe they could send you a copy for review… I'd surely love that!

  18. Hard choices. Every wargame Cody plays in the US is civil. Wait, did I read the title wrong? 🥷

  19. Try the Worthington Civil War games of Antietam 1862, Shiloh 1862 and the recently released Seven Days Battle 1862.

  20. Vad kul att du gillar battlecry jag har det också spel med minis är definitivt roligare än papp brickor

  21. What do you think about Gettysburg from Martin Wallace and Warfrog?

  22. Great list Cody!
    Check our Brothers at War by Compass games. New for 2022. Great Tactical level war game.

  23. Avalon Hills Games did a civil war game back in the 1958 that my brother and I used to play throughout our childhood called Gettysburg. It was a complex game but one that I will always cherish.

  24. I didn't pick up US Civil War as I had The Civil War Victory Games (AH) It looked like an upgraded version and like you I had a hard time getting it played. I also like Battle Cry but I play with C&C Napoleonic rule leaving out Squares. I like 2 games not on your list For The People and my Favorite Across 5 Aprils. There was talk of Another A5A with 5 more scenarios but it never happened very disappointed. I played one of my favorite games loosing as the Union at Gettysburg. I stopped a Pickett's Charge and an assault on Culp's Hill. I did not notice a victory hex on Little Round Top. I was kicked off, I kicked him off, he retook it and I could not get enough troops there to retake it. Thats how I lost. It ended at the end of day 2. Six hour game but one of the best games I played.

  25. Battle Cry will always be a favorite of mine – such an easy game to teach and play, and always fun. I taught it to my oldest daughter when she was 7, and though she now prefers Memoir 44 we still bust out Battle Cry pretty frequently.

  26. So glad to see Battle Cry up on the list. I too got rid of it many years ago and picked it back up. Such a great game. Now I'm painting the miniatures.

  27. Surprised you didn’t mention For the People, Cody

  28. Used to play the Milton Bradley Battle Cry back in the day

  29. Have enjoyed Herman Luttman’s Crossed Sword system quite a bit.

  30. Battle Cry (the 150 anniversary edition) the best gateway game in the C&C system. I played the whole 30 scenarios, and it was a blast. I even painted a bunch of 1/72 miniatures to replace the original ones.
    For the other games, I have only played A house divided, solo. I hope my son will play with me when he grows older.
    Thanks of the list. Always interested in hearing about historical board ganes.

  31. I purchased the gmt US civil war game almost entirely because of the board. Closest I ever came to playing it, me and my friend ended up spending the entire time pouring over the board and marvelling at the detail and how the history must have played out because of the geography.

  32. A few years ago you gave a mixed review to The US Civil War, greatly praising it on most counts but warning of it being very complex. At that time I chimed in with a comment about how I like A House Divided. Now, that is still a very good game in my opinion, but recently I took the plunge and got The US Civil War. And, yes, it is complex. But if my local opponent and I can figure it out, I know we will have a real treasure.

  33. Fantastic list, I own 4 of those. I want Battle Cry, hard to find at a reasonable price. You might also like these …..

    In Magnificent Style
    Jeff Davis
    Mosby’s Raiders (reprint soon)
    Rebel Raiders (GMT)
    Brothers at War (Compass)

  34. Great list Cody! And I'm just finishing up the last book of Shelby Foote's American Civil War trilogy! Good timing on the list!

  35. My favorite is Worthington's Brigade Series. The Kickstarter for Volume 3, Seven Days Battle, just arrived. Simple, very streamlined hex and counter game but a lot of fun.

  36. Have you had a chance to play A Most Fearful Sacrifice?

  37. Your videos are great, Cody, keep it up! I really want to try Lincoln, and I’m in the process of learning For the People. I’m a big fan of Battle Cry though. Still probably my favorite Commands and Colors game.

  38. I take it based on this list that you’ve never played any of the Great Campaigns of the ACW series?

  39. I'm currently exploring ACW for the first time and have already tried a few of the "groggier" systems – MMP's RSS/LOB, GMT's The US Civil War (latest edition) that I've really enjoyed. Currently learning Look Away from against the odds and GCACW but noted down a few titles from your list, might be good for a quick evening😀

  40. Yes! Eagle Games' "The American Civil War" is deservedly the best grand strategy Civil War game title ever published.

  41. Ah ha! Eagle Games strikes again! The American Civil War and Napoleon in Europe are by far my favorite board games, and The American Civil War is definitely deserved of number 1 on this list.

  42. I was very interested in this list. Given the age (and out-of-printness) of many of these games, perhaps board game designers need to turn their attentions again to the Civil War. The contrast with WW II games is particularly striking. Thanks for this top 10.

  43. Terrific list. Very pleased to see the Shiloh game there at No. 10. Hot tip: Half Price Books in Dallas has seven or so copies, still in shrink wrap, for $14.99.

  44. just got A House Divided in a trade. Loojing forward to playing it.

  45. I still have Eagle Games' American Civil War and Napoleon in Europe. Both are epic. Neither have hit the table in eons. It makes me sad.

  46. usually love your stuff, but as a civil war buff, this list is terrible.. Not having For the People on here, but having Gettysburg solitaire is blasphemy 🙂

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