UM005 USEME American Civil War

Alternative Armies

SKU: um005

UM005 USEME 15mm American Civil War (ACW)

The fifth title in the excellent and expanding USE ME game system series concerns itself with the war between the states for 15mm scale miniatures. Skirmish, Battle, Campaign plus single bases or element bases. USE ME means 'Ultra Simple Engine for Miniature Engagements' and this system delivers just that. Tactically challenging, easy to learn and for any age of wargamer. From skirmish to full battles, games last from five minutes to an hour. Play in your lunch break or in the evening when the idea of a really complex system with a long set up time really does not appeal. Pick up any of your miniatures and vehicles and get playing in minutes. USE ME is just that...its for you!

32pp Book, Colour Covers, ISBN barcode


We wanted to move away from the fantastical with the fifth book in the USE ME range and when we looked at what was most requested. It turned out to be a set of rules for the American Civil War. You can learn about the other titles in the USE ME series by looking at our website but in terms of this title our aim was to produce a set of mechanics that would allow ACW wargamers to achieve several goals with one affordable title. A set of rules that could cover skirmish gaming as well as massed battles. A set which would allow the visceral experience of single based characters being removed from regiments under fire but would also allow miniatures based upon 'elements' to be used as well. Truly broad and versatile. We think that Gavin Syme has achieved this with UM005. 

Author of the USE ME science fiction and fantasy rules sets Gavin Syme wanted to bring those ideas on-board with ACW but also to do more with it. Enlisting the help of veteran ACW wargamer Kurt Benson a set of mechanics were distilled that capture the glory, the horror and the intense action of not only battlefields like Gettysburg but also small actions too. Integrating a unique mechanism for allowing single or element based miniatures to act in the same way in play made the rules set something really different but also really easy to use with any ACW collection. Now the War between the States can be played USE ME style, ten to a thousand miniatures.

The USE ME game system. You will need some miniatures, some terrain and a few six sided dice (D6's) to play the game. This is not much and indeed most of the time everything in play needs only 1D6 roll to make a decision. In the game all miniatures and vehicles are de-marked into of CHARACTERS (from Infantry to Cavalry, Artillery, Balloons and everything else) and these into TYPES which allow you to create anything you want from this period with a few tables of TYPES with points costs attached.

The Turn Sequence of the game follows a simple path of firstly the Initiative Phase where all players roll 1D6 and the highest roll wins the initiative for the turn (important later on!). Then the main part of the turn, the In Play Phase where all characters in the game are activated not by the side upon which they fight but by their Elan Rating. This means better troops and vehicles move and fight before poorer quality troops and vehicles and within each Elan banding from 6 to 1 activation begins with the initiative holding player. When activated each character can choose TWO actions, these include move, ranged fire, melee, hunker down, special action, unique action. The character may choose two different actions OR the same one twice with a modifier; very flexible in battle. Ranged fire and melee are based on opposed single D6 rolls with modifiers for troop type and weapon ratings. This super fast system results in targets being Killed, Struck or Winged by attacks. Killed removes them from play while the other two results negatively effect their further performance in the game. The hunker down action allows characters to take cover against attack while special actions cover those things detailed in the USE ME Advanced Rules and unique actions are created when needed for a scenario.

In small games of USE ME every character acts on its own, this is a skirmish, but in larger games a simple mechanic allows you to combine many characters into one REGIMENT which then acts under its COMMAND THREE in play. All actions for regiments are no more complex than for single characters. In this fashion you can go from ten miniatures a side to two hundred in a dozen regiments and have a battle that takes only a fraction more time to play.

Single Basing to Element Basing. One unique aspect of this title is its ability to make use of any miniatures you already have regardless of their basing status. The rules assume miniatures are on single bases but intuitive mechanics are present that allow element bases (bases with multiple miniatures on them) to be used also with no added complexity. Either or both at the same time. Indeed a battle with element bases plays even faster! Use all your collection.

The USE ME advanced rules. This part of the system really brings in the American Civil War feel. An Off Table Action phase adds abstract options such as Scouting, Extra Rations, Distant Guns and even Faith in the army. Inserting further forces is also covered. Detailed special actions follow covering 'Shortages' which allow you to play with forces that could run out of ammunition. Also a series of 'Traits' for both the Union and Confederate sides to allow personalisation of characters and regiments. The rules then cover Observation Balloons, Gatling Guns and the Telegraph. All for adding flavour and oddities to your games.

Following on from this is a section with 'Famous Formations' which gives typical and named formations from the North and the South. Providing ideas and templates for your infantry, cavalry and artillery.

After the USE ME game finishes. Most of the time you will want to play a quick game, cause some carnage and send a lot of little metal men to their dooms. But it need not be the end if you want to carry on. USE ME has mechanics in it for updating your Force Roster (with your troops on it from the game just finished) to see what happened to those characters who were Struck or Winged in play to see if they recover in time for the next encounter. This makes rolling those dice nail biting and really important for the next scenario. Plus you can make a second lot of rolls for any characters Killed in play to see if a slim chance of them rejoining your forces for the next game.

Solo Play in USE ME. This booklet contains a solo play system which means that when no human opponent is present or if you want a practise you are able to do this alone and at a time of your choosing. The solo play addition allows forces to be fielded and statures chosen to determine their behaviours against your actions in game.

USE ME is a pocket rule system that does not pretend to be anything else. Its fast, its fun and its affordable. With many rule systems these days taking themselves far too seriously and with some being priced at an amount that makes purchasing them a long term goal for most of us USE ME gives you what it promises and in a format that will make you smile. Try it, you might want to USE ME yourself!

Contents of Product:

USE ME contains a lot of material in its little pages, enough for some cracking single games, linked games, campaigns and even solo play too.
Here is a run down of just what you get in the booklet.

Frontis Page pg1
Introduction & Contents pg2
Ratios and Basing pg3
Characters and Formations pg4-6
The USE ME Rules pg6-22
USE ME Advanced Rules pg23-24
Character Creation and Costs pg25-26
Example Force Creation pg26
Course of the War pg27
Famous Formations pg27-28
Markers and Force Rosters pg28
USE ME Between Games pg29
USE ME Linked Games and Campaigns pg30
Solo Play rules pg31-32
Free Resources pg32

Miniature Ranges Suitable for Product:

You can make use of any manufacturers ranges of 15mm ACW including our own Potomac and Ponywars ranges which can be found on the website.