Looking back over past games this last week has been not only entertaining for me but useful as well. Having re-read some of the imagi-nation reports as I explore more of the geography, politics and history of the lands and paint up new troops (pictures tomorrow I should think), it feels like things are much easier to put together when all the ducks are lined up in one direction and all hauling the same way.
Some thoughts in random order:
1. I didn't have much time for most of '09 to worry about rules or background or scales so I just put troops out and played. The games seem to have been more fun for it.
2. Having put all those things aside, using the wrong scale of rules didn't seem to hurt the games at all, in fact using 1 set of rules and 1 organization seemed to enhance the experience from a narrative and a suspension of belief POV. I had maintained this as an objective, but I think I had, sort of, forgotten why.
3. The more I looked at historical battles over the last 2 years, reading up on the Sikh & Mexican American Wars and a few others, the more I felt I should be gaming at the "whole army" level. Rereading accounts of past games has reminded me that when I'm not thinking about it, not doing so doesn't decrease my enjoyment. Re-reading Charge! reminds me that it operates on the same principle. Its interesting that Lawford's book on Battles for Wargamers book on Vitoria suggests Charge! Regiments as Divisions, if memory serves, with 1 company per brigade. For some reason, not worrying about scales and higher level organization seems to bother me less when playing fictional games. I'm thinking I can keep the fussing about scales and organization for those historical periods that I'm keeping such as War of 1812 and relegate big battles to 1/72nd ACW if I ever paint enough to do them.
4. One of the original strengths ( I think) of Hearts of Tin was its separation between decisive (relatively), mutual close range combat and indecisive (relatively), unilateral long range fire. I have mentioned this several times, fairly recently too, but have still managed to lose it again. The 3" melee zone is not the only way to achieve it, Charge! manages it quite nicely because of the way the volley fire works. One of my little tests of a set of musket era rules is to see if it can duplicate the Plains of Abraham and whether or not this sort of result is possible but unusual, impossible or probable if the situation is made generic. (After all, Montcalm probably knew it was a possible outcome but surely if he had believed that his attack had no chance then he wouldn't have made the attempt. One could argue that he over rated his own troops and under rated the enemy but one can also argue that one doesn't really know the temper of one's troops on the day until the dice have been thrown. ) Anyway, HofT used to allow for it as possible but not probable but at the moment it doesn't. Possible tweaks include going back to 2 different mechanisms for long range/skirmish fire and close range volleys or just making close range volleys capable of breaking an equal enemy if you roll really, REALLY well.
So, another rules tweak is in order as above and the committee on organization of armies in Faraway and Oberhilse has been instructed to drop all this fuss about brigades and divisions and begin again keeping the principles of 1 unit per TT Teaser unit with the option to make use of sub-units as detachments. I am anticipating a 24 man battalion as standard (again) but 32 hasn't been completely ruled out. Bigger battalions will allow me to return to 2 guns as a battery but due to finances, I will have to arm some batteries with obsolete 18thC guns for now.
Now back to finishing off Princess Charlotte's Dragoon Guards. Oh how they will shine! (on parade at least)
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
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Checking Back to Stay on Track
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 and 3 cats. Prematurely retired and enjoying leisure to game, maintaining our 160 yr old farmhouse and just living.