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

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pondering The Square Brigadier

I haven't had a chance for a proper test of my revised ideas for an early 19thC of the chessboard game, just a little casual poking interspersed with pondering rather than playing. One of the ponderings has to do with a role for intermediate commanders.

As things stand, I don't see room for them in the basic game. It functions well without them being seen (presumably they are working away in the background) and  adding more commanders per side would be likely to increase the number of activation points to the point where they became nearly meaningless. Initially, I figured I would just add commanders as the number of units went above 12, and consider them division commanders. With a 3" grid, I could have a playing surface of 20 x 24 squares allowing armies of 36 units.

After some more fiddling with troops and terrain, I've pretty much decided that I need a 6" grid for my 40mm troops (its hard to squeeze a 40mm wagon into even a 6" grid)  and so will have to live with a maximum grid of 10 x 12 and thus a maximum force of somewhere around 16 units. Oddly enough, this around the number of units in the bigger tabletop teasers. A co-incidence?

This also means I'm back to either ignoring Brigadiers or changing the rules. If I wasn't  used to using them and didn't have any, ignoring them would probably work. Since I do have a number of them, I have been exercising my brain and this is what it came up with.

Optional rule for Brigadiers (small battles) or Division Commanders (large battles). This rules replaces the rule for establishing how many activation dice are rolled and how points may be allocated.

An army may have 1 Brigade General (Brigadier) for every 3 units it contains, rounding down. All units must be assigned to the command of a General, either a Brigadier or the General Officer Commanding (GOC). Each general (Brigadier or GOC)  rolls 1 activation die for each 3 units assigned to him, rounding up. These points may only be used for units assigned directly to them. Excess points, if any, are lost.

The GOC also rolls 1 additional activation die which he may use or may give to any Brigadier that he has line of sight to. This is then used like a normal activation die by that Brigadier.

If a Brigadier is killed or captured, His troops are then commanded directly by the GOC. If the GOC is killed or captured, any units that reported directly to him will report to the senior Brigadier instead.

If players don't have special activation dice and don't like halving numbers then adding them, then roll 1d6 per brigadier + 1 for the general.

Players who wish may create levels of capability by giving above r below average Generals a +1 or -1 to their activation dice.


  1. Funny you should call this entry "The Square Brigadier". I had already been linking in my mind what I could achieve with using squares in conjunction with The Complete Brigadier rules by JF Grossman.

    The Complete Brigadier were revolutionary for their time in several counts but the two high level things I really liked were the concept that you were a Brigadier leading a brigade, nothing more - you were not fighting 'Waterloo' with 5 regt of infantry, 3 cavalry Sqns and 2 guns.

    Second: the objectives. Your brigade would be tasked with "holding the line with a refused flank" or similar. It wasn't just what was the norm for back then of both sides thrashing it out in the middle for a house or a hill.

    Must investigate further now.... thanks for the inspiration.


  2. Mark, Not to mention the completely diceless (well any form of random number) nature of the rules. I have a copy but have never played them, or been tempted though I could see the possible attraction so I have no idea why I borrowed the name, but I did!

    Hope you have fun checking out the possibilities