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, June 4, 2012

Fort Belmont - Interim Defense Review

I didn't do a formal review at the start of this year. A brief glance at last year's showed me that nothing substantial had changed, no collections added or deleted, and that any wavering in details reflected uncertainties that had not yet been resolved. Instead, I just pressed on to prepare for my trip to Huzzah. Well, that is done, the summer lies ahead and the only known plans for the next 18 months are for a "NQSYW 40mm Charge! something" at Cold Wars 2013 which is something for which I might but probably won't HAVE to provide need new figures or terrain.

On the other hand, despite mental reservations of the "I've heard this one before" sort, I have a gut feeling that some internal things are changing and my hobby plans changing, possibly/probably/ seemingly at least becoming more focused as I contemplate the next 13 years (ie the time up to my 70th birthday, now THAT is a SCARY stat, the translation from middle aged to senior!) .  I have also reached the point where I have finally gotten tired of so many not quite ready games.

Leaving aside details for the moment, these are my main goals for the rest of the year:

1. Play a "full" day battle (where full day means at least 5 hours of playing not counting setup etc., and battle means something representing a scuffle between forces of a few thousand men in theory regardless of the number of toys used.)
2. Finish a Card Table/Game in a Box intro game suitable for introducing someone to the hobby or for hauling out if a friend drops by with two hours to spare including general chat and set up. This means scenario as well as troops, scenery and simple rules.
3. Get a PBEM campaign rolling of something.
4. Possibly but not necessarily connected to one of the above, finish sorting out rules, basing and terrain so as to be able to field a finished/consistent looking Ancient or Medieval game of some kind and play a solo mini-campaign. (Annoyingly, I was pretty much there 2 years ago but have slipped!)
5. Get a 40mm Toy Soldier Colonial game on the table, even a small one.
6. Make enough progress on the revised look 1812 collection to be able to trot out a reasonably consistent looking Canadian themed game with troops, terrain, rules and scenario all prepepd and standing by at a minute's notice. Ideally all in the new look but I'll settle for a mix of figures for now.

Six goals, six months and change to achieve them.

Once upon a time, the full day battle was intended to be a 40mm affair but I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that I am unlikely to be happy with the compromises necessary to make this happen on my small table and I am not willing at this point to leave it to something that happens "Away" or on a magically appearing table expansion.  On my current table, it would need be be something with small units and short ranges. For 40mm armies, that would mean something Volley & Bayonet-ish in broad concept if not necessarily in practice or detail, probably something PW or MOB based. Instead, it is now projected to be a 1/72nd ACW game. Ideally, I need more troops which shouldn't be hard but I also need a LOT of 20mm ACWish terrain which is proving more problematic.  Since game length= # of Troops x Rules Complexity x Situation Compexity, I may be able to get away with a small addition of troops, but probably not without more woods, hills and fences.

There are several "nearly ready" candidates for the Intro Game in a Box  (and yes, I am aware that one can buy such things) but apart from the "nearly" aspect, I'm not sure that some of the topics (e.g. RCW) are appropriate as an intro for the general  public. I'm not sure it has to live in a box permanently but the troops and terrain at least need to be identified and easily amassed when needed.  An Anglo-Scots medieval, Robert the Bruce/Braveheart  sort of thing might be appropriate, or ACW or possibly a variant on Prince Valiant. Something related to local history would be good but I'm not sure I can easily translate my larger 40mm games into the format but a parallel project could be a possibility, possibility, not likelihood.



  1. Seems like quite a lot for six months? Well, by my standards anyway :-)

    I suppose the key question might be whether there are enough 'quick wins' in the mix to make it doable.

    1. Yes most or all of these have no more than 1 good weekend's worth of work left in them. I give myself about 10% chance of success. But if I manage even 2 of them I'll be ahead of last year!

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