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, March 19, 2012

Last thoughts for the day.

I had time to play about with some of the ideas and to clarify the issue.

To summarize the issues first:

a) Any method adopted has to be able handle units of any size. (eg normal units are 3 or 4 stands but they may be 5 or 2 or even a single stand. 4x1 stand units should not have an edge on 1x4 stand unit.

b) I don't really want to be tracking hits on a dozen or more units

c) I don't want to lose the feel of the rules.

d) I want to be able to rationalize any drastic departures from history.

The first idea tested:

A. Disorder. Here a unit that suffered hits > its morale became disordered. If disordered again it retreated and lost a stand. This worked ok but did not feel like Hearts of Tin  or Morschauser or MacDuff

B. Break Point. The 2nd option was to go back to the break point idea with no stands lost until the break point was reached. I had some issues with this, especially for 1 stand units but essentially it worked. This very similar to what I played for the last games but without the flucutations. Once the big red dot goes down, the unit is doomed.

C. Hit or Miss The next ideas were several variations of the existing mechanism. The winning one so far was as follows:

When a unit is shot at, divide hits by target morale  (2 for regulars), drop fractions. the result is the number of stands "lost".  "Lost" stands may be removed (not historical but very traditional) or  may be just marked (closer). Agree on this before a game. Remainders are not carried over. When a unit rallies, a successful rally roll will bring back 1/2 of the lost stands, rounding down as long as at least 1 stand is active on table. If all stands are lost then the unit retreats off table/routs etc as appropriate.

Needs more work and some proper testing but it might avoid excess makers without changing everything.


  1. HI Ross

    I’ve been looking at your rules (no – I have not forgotten about the campaign) and the topic of keeping tracks of hits has me thinking about rosters. A five stand unit of regulars (3 hits per stand) would need to keep track of 10 hits before removing a stand, and elite (4 hits per stand) would need 15 hits. This sounds like a good place to use rosters, but I’m not a fan of rosters – just too easy to forget to mark and with your rally rule more work to erase. Therefore it seems that less would be better.

    You mention a Disorder status. Thinking along that line, how about changing the number of hits a stand can take to what a unit can take. Once the number of hits equal that number the unit becomes disordered and the number of hits that unit has is dropped by that value (a regular unit (3 hits) that takes 5 hits becomes disordered and the hit total drops to 2 hits). Once disordered, ever time the value of the unit is reached it losses a stand (the above regular unit is disordered, has 2 hits, and takes 2 more hits – it loses a stand and the hits are modified to 1). This could be modified so either a maximum of 1 stand per turn could be eliminated, hits always drop to zero, or both; and could be different for fire and melee.
    The rally rule could be changed so all it does is remove the disorder. A modifier to the fire and melee chart would need to be added for disorder, and possibly a -1 to the order check die roll.

    The advantages I see with this is less hits per unit to track, the disorder marker clearly shows what units need attention, small units don’t appear to have any advantage over large units. Disadvantage - still need markers for units, in fact two - # of hits and disordered. But if you use your idea of using a drummer figure to keep track of hits then only a disorder marker is needed.

    This doesn’t appear to be the way you are headed but I didn't like either option in your poll.

    1. I started down the hits per unit road a couple of times but it gives small units a great advantage since you can get several on the same frontage. However, there's a couple of things you've written that turned on a light bulb for a better way of doing what I was starting to tinker with. Stay tuned.