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

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

With MacDuff at Skype's Creek

I had the pleasure today of having the Single Handed Admiral drop by (virtually) for a game.(see his blog for his view of the battle with screen snap shots) Its been about 12 years give or take a few since our last game which was also a MacDuff game now that I think about it but it didn't feel that long as we got going. Instead of dice, Peter took the whole modern thing a bit farther and used  virtual dice on an i-something. Seemed rather random to me, about as randomn as my old fashioned cubes.



The scenario was inspired by the American raid at Frenchman's Creek in November of 1812. Their goal was to seize and hold a shore battery and to demolish a bridge over which British reinforcements were expected. Peter commanded the Americans while Hector (or see my header picture)  commanded the British defence.  As British player, his clever plan as explained to me was to have his troops out shoot and out melee the Americans  while rolling low and bringing on his reinforcements as early as possible. Unfortunately, making this plan wore him out and he slept through the battle until the tardily approaching Indians woke him and, after looking around to see how things were going, (just the opposite of his plan) wandered off in disgust leaving me to pick up the pieces.

The York Volunteers, unable to hold the recaptured redoubt by themselves,  cover the retreat of the British Regulars.

I did my best, storming forward to recapture the bridge which was one axe stroke away from collapse. This brought Peter down from a Complete Victory to a Clear Victory as he had taken and firmly held the gun battery and had pretty much driven the reinforcements on that side back into the fort just a mile off table. Since he outnumbered my remaining troops by close to 2:1, there didn't seem to be any chance of my driving him off before the guns were spiked if at all. It was more a question of whether or not the British should finish demolishing the bridge!

   The Tardy but ferocious Grenadiers of the 41st recapture the badly damaged bridge.
Too little. Too late.

This was a small, fairly simple game but with single figures and scattered companies rather than the big blocks  of a Rough Wooing game. It took us somewhere around 2 hours as far as I can tell to play around 8 or 9 turns and I had a good time. Hopefully it won't be 10 years before our next game.

This was the first outing for the revised MacDuff and over all I was well pleased. There was one main glitch, while cleaning up the draft I had accidently deleted the evade option and had removed the ability to fire and move for reasons that I can't remember. I restored both these things as the game went on. I also had trouble finding some of the rules and found the engaged penalty not quite steep enough. These things have all been addressed and a new draft uploaded.

2 other comments on the rules and game:

Something lost and something gained. As we played, I couldn't help but think back to the days when we checked for company officer casualties, and took company officer personalities into account when taking control checks, used variable moves, a number of fire and move options and all sorts of other things and lots of fixed ways of doing minor things. The days when it was hard to finish a game in the time available. In some ways I miss some of those things but on the whole I prefer the clearer, simpler game which allowed more focus on the plan and allowed us to finish. I'm still not sure about Oberhilse and Faraway's next campaign but MacDuff will remain the rules of choice for my War of 1812 games.

Washers work. This was my first chance to try the single figures on the canvas table covering. The washers worked great as did the Scruby figures on 15x22mm bases. The S&S figures on smaller single bases were a bit awkward due to their weight and off balance poses, (each weighs 1 ounce while the Scrubies are a little less than an ounce and are balanced.).

Over all this level of game worked well with single figures. I'll leave the washers for now but future Scrubies and homecasts will be mounted on 15mm wide flexible steel oval-ish bases and mounted on single company trays, 3 companies to a battalion giving a battalion frontage of under 8 inches, equal to musket range.  

Well, that wraps up a good day.


11 comments:

  1. General Hector is a class act as CinC - taking a strategic overview, issuing clear orders and then letting trusted subordinates execute the detail. My own younger cats would have to be classed as (very) Irregular, randomised movement and a tendency to turn against their own side without warning.

    Figures which have a natural balance and stability always seem especially blessed to me and it's something one associates with the classic glossy toy soldier, though of course it can't necessarily be guaranteed with them.

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    1. Hector was a mean die (and figure) roller when he was younger but he's always been good at taking the high ground. Nothing like insulation board for a soft warm nap.

      I'm not sure how well balanced my Britain's charging Highlanders were, good on the flat. HE seems to have mastered balance though.

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  2. Hector has clearly mastered the fine art of being the archetypal old general - does he suffer from gout as well?

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    1. Just a lazy eye and a fondess for naps so far.

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  3. I believe it was WC Fields who commented that one should never share the billing with kids or animals..

    It was a good game.

    PD

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    1. Having read about celts sharing theirhuts with livestock, I figure its in my blood.

      It was a good game.

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  4. Sounds like a good game. Hector's plan should have worked! (but what's the old saying about battle plans not surviving contact with the enemy or some such?)

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  5. I'm always leery of plans that call for good rolls early on but I didn't have a better plan either!

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  6. Ross: how many soldiers per side have you employed in this game?

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    1. There were about 56 British & Indians (6 units + a small detachment + gun crew) vs 80 Americans(10 units) + Commanders for both sides.

      -Ross

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  7. Thank you for the answer Ross.

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