The first draft of Hearts of Tin v2011 has now been uploaded to google docs. Its been proofread by me a couple of times but I'm fairly sure that there are more typos, orphaned rules that don't fit and other awkward bits to be found.
However, I'm ready to think about what my Indian and John Company forces will look like then pick a tentative initial scenario to work towards. Rather ironically, although the possibility of conventional pitched battles was one of the arguments for going to India in the first place, that's not really where I want my focus. Instead, I expect the majority of games to be raids and ambushes on one side, followed by punitive expeditions on the other. There are good arguments that could be made for using single figures and a version of MacDuff for these games but one of my aims is to standardize my 40mm 1830/40's armies, 1 basing system, 1 organization and 1 set of rules. Experiments have shown that HofT can provide an interesting game with a handful of small units as well as being able to handle as many troops as I can crowd onto my table.
The trick will be to suspend attention to consistency of scale and organization. For various reasons, I have decided that 3 bases each of 6 figures will constitute a regiment and 3 of these will make a British brigade (1 European, 2 Sepoy). If I ever go to refight the larger battles of the Sikh War, I will field one such brigade for each division that took part. For the small actions however, I will call each stand a company and treat the 3 stands as a detachment or even field each company as a unit for the smallest skirmishes.
The other side is a bit trickier. Here I need to be able to emulate 3 different armies (Scinde/Gwalior, Afghan, and Sikh) as well as be able to provide enough irregular forces for the smaller games. The Sikh infantry in their red cold weather uniforms are too distinctive and anyway lead to two opposing "red" armies. If fielded in their white hot weather uniforms, they don't look so different from matchlock men or European trained pultans of the Mahratta princes. Irregulars from all these armies are close enough for my purposes, so here lies my path. For cavalry I shall rely purely on hordes of irregulars and for now will avoid Sikh artillery. If I want to do more than draw inspiration from the Sikh Wars, I can re-address the question later.
Numbers are an issue, given appropriate ratings, the British will be able to deal with 3 or more times their numbers but I'm not sure my table can. One option is to use different figure ratios, making the assumption that the French trained native Indian forces would be drawn up in 3 ranks and the matchlock men even deeper so that each stand would represent between 50% and 100% more men. In purely gaming terms, being outnumbered 2 to 1 for an "even" game should look and play ok. The question is, should there be larger units or more of them? I had inclined towards the first as being harder to maneuver, and maneuver is one of the weak points of most Indian armies. With the change in rules to using activation points however, having more units with fewer commanders does an even better job of portraying the challenge faced by the generals of the Native Princes. So, standard units it is, just more of them with best being regular and the worst equipped irregulars being rated as militia.
Now what about a scenario? Keeping the later NW Frontier in mind as well as earlier campaigns, and having just re-read Sita Ram Pande's chapter on the Ghurka War, I picture this whole campaign being kicked off by various raids into John Company Territory which call for a reprisal, a punitive expedition. An ambush as the column makes its way through a pass, perhaps an ambush of a convoy and then an assault on a hillfort. My 54mm fort is gone so I have the opportunity now to build a new, 40mm one. I have enough Queen's troops but need to raise some sepoys and of course, I poor lone matchlock man won't make much of an opposition. Plenty to do over the next 8 months!
EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)
"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."
-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Born and raised in the suburbs of Montreal, 5 years in the Black Watch of Canada Cadets, 5 years at the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean followed by 4 in the navy. 25 years with CPC in IT simultaneous with 23 years running a boarding kennel. Inherited my love of toy soldiers from my mother's father. Married with a Whippet, 10 Italian Greyhounds, 4 cats and a bird. Prematurely retired and looking forward to leisure to game, garden and sculpt in our 150 yr old farmhouse.