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 3, 2011

Small Victories

As if I needed more grist for my thought mill, I am back from 2 days of gaming at a friend's place, 10mm BKCII on Saturday afternoon/evening and a 2 on 1 Basic Impetus 15mm 16thC Italian Wars today. In both cases the scenario was Reinforcements Off the Table from CS Grant's Scenarios for Wargamers and the table was a perfectly adequate 4' x 6'. (hmm)

On Saturday, commanding the Russians as usual, I managed a fairly convincing win. It was the first BKC game in a while and it was an enjoyable evening but the rules charmed less than they did originally did.

It was about turn 3 when we decided on a house rule replacing the right of the CinC to attempt to give orders to a formation that failed its initial command roll with a rule saying that if an HQ failed its first order without a blunder, then all units "under command" would take 1 action with no chance of a second order. This helped hugely but even so, it felt like any decisions made after deployment were very minor. We did make decisions about who would fire at who and whether to move or fire such and such a platoon but it was like we spent 8 turns and 4 or more hours watching to see how the ordered attack was resolved. The wrong "feel" of having to, and being allowed to, concentrate fire on 1 enemy stand  at a time to forces losses was another topic of discussion (there were more).

This led to discussions about various rules and about the idea of a set that would both "feel" like a low level game where one moved and fired tanks  and infantry platoons (as opposed to a board game like feel with a stand of miniatures representing a company or battalion) but which also bath-tubbed things so that a battalion attack across a foot of table could be resolved in a couple of quick  turns allowing the Brigade Commander Player to decide to commit reserves etc. Totally "wrong" (sic) of course to do both but an intriguing and OSW idea.

I'm probably the wrong one to even attempt such a thing since I am the opposite of a rivet counter or Treadhead.  Light, Medium and Heavy AFV armed with Light, Medium or Heavy guns would just about do it for me. Still, I do have some fictional post war troops so don't be surprised if a prototype Heads of Steel emerges for my own purposes.

Spanish troops hastily based for today's game.

In the renaissance game, I attacked with a French army. If we had known the rules well enough to decide on a reasonable time limit, it would be clearer if I had been out right defeated or had managed to squeak out a draw of sorts.  Again an enjoyable game and I was pleased with how well the rules made the transition to the 16thC. We were less pleased with using the 15mm  movement on the 6'x4' battlefield and a scenario with reinforcements moving onto the table. The game went quickly enough, I wasn't really watching but probably not much more than  2 hours to play a dozen or so turns, but on most of those turns, almost nothing happened as we crawled forward. (I seem to be suffering from  a reduction in patience when it comes to being entertained and engaged by a wargame as I proceed through middle age, a disturbing trend.)

Les's troops (mostly painted by me in bits and pieces over the last 5 or so years) are based on 40mm x 40mm squares with 9 pikes, 4 shot, 3 Gensdarmes or 2 Light Cavalry of various sorts. With the recommended 80mm frontage, the 2 unit pike blocks made nice 36 man groups. A suggestion that the game would have played better using 25mm movement rates and thus 120mm wide units led to visions of 72 man pike blocks. Time will tell  but I'd better add painting more of Les's 15mm pikemen to my list.





  1. In our BKCII games DG and I have a house rule that HQ's are not allowed to give commands period... with the time scale it just felt wrong, and in our minds in reality would have lead to more confusion than any likelihood of the unit actually doing what they were told!

  2. There's a lot to be said for the old WRG game orders.

  3. I am definitely going forward with the BI on 25mm bases. One of the things I like (having "missed" the DBA era) is that I will be able to define a "target" for completed armies and build to that target.

    For my WWII - new rules for sure; only question is "buy or build?" I still like BKC, but it does break down with large numbers of figures.

  4. Sorry to have to ask, but what does BKC stand for?

  5. Chris, My apologies, I usually try not to let Acronyms and the like float about without reference, but I seem to be getting increasingly sloppy recently. It stands for Blitzkrieg Commander, a set of WWII wargame rules. Their website is here.

  6. Lentulus, They will definitely look good and be easy to handle.

    I think BKC is still solid though I'm not sure it always handles Grant TT Teasers with hordes of infantry as well as it might. There are some interesting free rules out there as well but the bit is between my teeth now.

  7. For pictures of the WWII game see my blog at