It occurred to me last night that one of the many benefits of having a live opponent for testing both rules and a scenario is that my attitude or approach to a game seems to change. I become more emotionally engaged and it seems this has an effect on my intellectual appreciation of things.
The particular trigger for this thought was a contemplation as to whether I had been right to veer away from removing stands as soon as a unit suffered enough hits and going back to allowing the unit to store up hits. The see saw between these two approaches has been going on for at least 10 years.
In favour of the current system are:
1) unit frontages should not shrink as fast as they do when stands are removed. Partially this is because most hits are not physical casualties and partially because units tried to maintain their frontage to avoid being flanked, pushing rear ranks forward, increasing gaps between sub units etc.
2) it allows units to reach a break point and suddenly collapse as is sometimes seen in history.
3) it allows units to pullback and rally to recover some of their fighting ability
Against the system are:
1) Its relatively complex to track as hits go up and down and as stands come off. Not incredibly so but its not instinctive. It also requires markers that can count as high as 12.
2) sudden unit collapses were not all that common whereas this system makes them routine, in part because having a little marker beside a unit doesn't often seem to affect how a player uses it, especially if they are not a veteran of the rules.
3)it lacks the emotional punch of removing stands as your unit comes under fire.
I hate to even mention this but the difficulty almost disappears when I tried using single figures because I was removing casualties from the back rank so the frontage was maintained but you still had the impact from removing (or knocking over) figures. There are more than enough reasons why the singles did not work for me overall so this is pretty irrelevant.
If I go back to removing a stand whenever there are enough hits, I :
1) only need to mark a maximum of 2 hits on most units 1 or 3 on militia or elites. This can easily be done in many ways,
2) get the emotional satisfaction of removing stands without the unit being routed
3) have to deal with shrinking frontage either by calling for spacers or by ignoring it (the realistic solution because I have an unreasoning reluctance to use/make the dummy bases or ones with casualties on them)
4) need to change the rally rules. I thought about rallying stands but I think not, it might do to allow units to remove 1/2 hits rallying up instead of down so that a single hit can be recovered. The effect of the support unit might then be switched to an attempt to recover lost stands, making them something special rather than a modifier.
The point to all this is that I am asking for input, especially for those who have played the game but also from anyone who can imagine showing up at a convention and playing the game without ever having read them. Comments welcome but I'll post a poll as well.
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
The Stand-Loss See-Saw
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.