As Will noted in a comment on the last post, I have a tendency to wobble back and forth between my 2 sets of Horse & Musket rules, share some common mechanisms between them (not surprising since HofT was originally called Morschauser Meets MacDuff) and occasionally have lost my way far enough to try and blend them into 1 set. Despite sharing some mechanisms, the rules are certainly different enough in approach and intent.
MacDuff was written for what the French called Little War, the war of raids and ambuscades, advance and rear guards. It was designed for single figures with the "company" as the basic unit (though I sometimes forget and push it). For larger actions these companies start to represent several companies (Grand Divisions really). Perfect for the War of 1812 or the 1st Afghan War or for most Table Top teasers (no accident in any of these cases).
HofT was intended for battles, small battles but battles just the same. Looking at the War of 1812, a battle like Crysler's Farm makes a good BIG battle for MacDuff, taking probably 3 to 4 hours or as long as the original which was the intent. Lundy's Lane or the assault on Fort Erie would approach Mega-game status. For HofT, Cyrsler's Farm is about the smallest game that it is practical to play and will typically take under an hour to play.
So, why the uncertainty and confusion?
As mentioned MacDuff is perfect for the War of 1812 which is of interest to me and for many of my favorite Teasers, such as Wagon Train. In theory it should be all I need, except.......I also have an interest in bigger battles, the occasional desire to command Brigades if not Divisions. HofT is good for that. OK, 2 sets of armies, 40mm War of 1812, 20mm ACW. That was the plan, and it in could work, more or less.
The problem comes partly because I sometimes get the desire to play both types of game with the SAME figures. Not just the same armies but the same figures. In other words, to follow in CS Grant's footsteps if you will and send out 2 regiments to guard a dignitary's coach or let the fate of nations rest on the shoulders of a dozen of regiments. Since I lack the table space now to deploy 8x32man 40mm units and often lack the stamina to push that many figures around for the 4-5 hours such a big MacDuff game can take, I gravitated back to HofT but for the small games, the games were often too small.
One of the experiments during the last 2 years was to see if I could arrange things so that the same figures could be used with both games but it while it worked to a degree, it wasn't quite satisfying and increased confusion. Another idea was to blend the rules and produce a set of rules with a battle game and a skirmish game using different scales but essentially the same mechanisms. (based on either MacDuff or HofT, I tried this with both). The Canadian Wargames Group did something like this with their F&IW and 1812 rules but their version used 2 different organizations and more figures for the skirmish game.) This bumped into my decision to reduce my table size, (without totally coming to terms with smaller units) a return of an urge for single figures for small games but not for big ones and eventually, I gave it up for the 40mm MacDuff/20mm HofT split.
I like some aspects of having single 40mm toy soldiers but it is a nuisance moving them if there are more than 100, especially if the terrain is uneven. My experiments with movement trays have been unsatisfactory but when they do work, they negate the whole point of the single figures. I did have some really fun games with the 40mm armies using HofT and 20 man regiments. I've also had some very enjoyable games using the Portable Wargame and just a handful of elements. I think it may be time for me to revisit the question of using HofT for both levels of game, but this time, the normal battle game where a multi-stand battalion or brigade is a scenario "unit" and one where a single stand is a "unit". The basic rule structure would be the same but the scale would change and I'd have to look and see what special rules might be needed for the skirmish game. The goal would be for such small actions to be quick but have enough depth to be interesting. I would leave MacDuff with its single figures and my existing armies for playing War of 1812 skirmishes and small battles when the urge called. the Atlantica campaign would then be fought out at all levels by either the battle or skirmish version of HofT.
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
Monday, February 13, 2012
MacDuff vs Hearts of Tin, Why my confusion.
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.