EXCERPT 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

Monday, October 17, 2011

Love's Labour not Lost: Battle of the Week reloaded

I have finally finished reloading all 52 battle reports from my Game a Week project. They can now be read at http://redbookplayed.blogspot.com/

For those readers not familiar with this project, in November 2008, I decided that I wasn't playing enough games. As an attempt to remedy that, I decided to play all 52 scenarios in Stuart Asquith and CS Grant's book: Scenarios for All Ages (aka the little red book), with a friend if I could, solo if not. More than that, I decided to play them in order, and as close as possible to 1 a week, and to then post a very brief report on my webpage. In the end, it took me 60 weeks to play 34 solo games, 15 face to face games and 3 Play-by-Email mini-campaigns, in 11 periods.

When I started, I had only played a handful of solo games in my 35 or so years of wargaming but by the time I was done, I had come to enjoy them for their own sake. Oddly, in addition to these games, I ended up playing twice as many other games as I had in any of the preceding 3 or 4 years.

Since the webpage is now gone, I decided to transfer the reports to a blog.

Here is a copy of the report of one of my favorite games from this project:

31 Mar 2009 Scenario 15: Forlorn Hope (1)

This game was played solo using 40mm 19thC armies and Hearts of Tin.

I'm still gathering forces and working on the background for my Red vs Blue campaign so technically haven't started yet but it seems to be developing a storyline all by itself. After the surprise appearance of Pirates as Blue allies in #11, an attack on a fortified city suggested a punitive expedition by Red, so instead of trenches and breaches its a surprise attack from the jungle at 1st light: the escalade of Freeport. The pirates had 1 unit spread out along the wall in detached companies with a heavy battery in the stone tower guarding the log boom blocking the river. A 2nd unit was asleep in town as well as the Grenadiers of San Carlos who had volunteered their services to defend the town. I counted the pirates as Veteran Militia. Apparently there are some religious issues as 2 armed Franciscans were serving as aides to Captain Mulrooney, the Pirate chief.

Red had 2 storming parties, one with 3 ladder parties, all grenadiers, and a company of rifles led by Brigadier Macfarlane, the other with 2 companies of grenadiers, a company of rifles and an Engineer with petard, all under the command of Brigadier Grey. The back up force under General Turner comprised the Rocket Troop, FTC Horse Artillery and 2 battalions of foot as well as the gunboat FTCS Recycle with a heavy mortar.

Grey's party managed to creep within 6" of the gate before the alarm was sounded but the laddermen, no doubt slowed by their burden, were not even 1/2 way from the edge of the jungle. As the alarm went up the rocket troop galloped forward and opened fire as the Recycle steamed into view. In short order, the surprisingly accurate rocket and mortar fire had silenced the Tower Battery (accurate if not counting a rogue rocket that just missed the Tigers!). Meanwhile Gray's grenadiers charged forward and engaged in a desperate close range firefight with the defenders while the Engineer struggled with his charges (tied melee) but at last the fuse was lit, the door blown open and the forlorn hope entered. Now where were the relief's?

There had been some confusion in the jungle and the Tigers were not even 1/2 way there so Grey sent 1 company to seize the rampart above the gate while the other held the door itself. Over on the wall, the 3 ladders went up but resistance was surprisingly fierce and 2 of the 3 parties were thrown back. The 3rd company was undaunted and clung to a narrow foothold.

The Buffs were quickly at hand and started feeding men up the ladders into the fight under a withering flanking fire. Macfarlane spotted an empty stretch of rampart and led the closest ladder party to it to effect a lodging, eventually reinforced by riflemen and some Buffs. Inside, fierce and bloody fighting reigned as the pirates and San Carlos Grenadiers struggled to evict the enemy but eventually, despite local, temporary victories, their casualties were too high and they fled back through the town, leaving it to its fate.


  1. Ross,

    Allow me to be the first to salute you for posting these games in this manner.

    Bravo, sir!

    -- Jeff

  2. Hi Ross

    Interesting how history has a way of repeating itself in a positive manner

    Thanks for sharing

  3. That must have been a valiant load of work, but it's a fabulous resource - thanks very much. I was completely unaware of the previous website.

    I can hardly "follow" a blog which is, by definition, closed, but I have it well bookmarked and look forward to spending some very enjoyable hours over there. You have also spared me the expense of buying the book, of course, which will save a few more bawbies!


  4. Many thanks for doing all that, great to have them in one place.

    Interesting that all the solo gaming was accompanied by an increase in the non-solo variety, something to do with momentum and focus I guess.

  5. Ross Mac,

    Thanks for making these battle reports so accessible again.

    All the best,


  6. Great job on the replays. I too have not played solo much until about a year ago (to keep up with gaming) and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. I have had an idea to play all the Peter Sides ancient scenarios one after the other and have been tinkering with a ruleset for the last 10 years to actually play them. I am getting closer to finalising the rules and I am glad you did a long sequence of games from a book so as to keep my crazy idea alive.

  7. Ross,

    Everytime I see your 40mm guys in action, I start thinking about another era in another scale. But I can't give in...must...resist...must remain...strong


  8. Thank you Bob and Dave, it was a pleasure revisiting them to be honest.

    Tony, I am afraid that it'll only save you money if it shows you the book wouldn't be of interest.

  9. Wargamer Dave. Perhaps but I think it was mostly coincidental and due to some changes in various friend's lives. Just as well they didn't happen earlier or I would probably have missed an interesting journey.

  10. Shaun, I've never seen a copy of Peter Sides book but from descriptions it sounds entirely doable, esp if you went either 10 or 15mm or 1/72nd and allowed your self to make many troop substitutions (for example various lightly armed auxilia in various armies without fussing about minor details of dress). It would be an interesting project.

  11. Chris, wouldn't another era in another scale be better than repeating an era in another scale? :)

  12. Nice to see these old games back Ross. And who can resist a big fort and some boats? Not me...

  13. Well, I did weaken last year to the point of getting some 40mm Balkan War figures from Irregular. So I guess it's already too late to say I must resist...