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

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mock Up

Quick cloth mock up of the proposed gridded  card table battlefield with 1/72nd troops.

At lunch yesterday, Lentullus once again sang the praises of Pendraken 10mm so I spent some time on their website and decided that I could get everything I needed for a 10mm Boer War game. But the after effect of the Battlecry in the Sudan game at Ron's must have still been with me since I woke up in a 1/72nd frame of mind.

In the meantime, I had decided to  use another piece of that canvas drop sheet to make a mock of a 2" grid battlefield which turned into a 6cm grid when it occurred to me I had some 6cm square bases that might be useable as 10mm hills. This morning I discovered that some of my smaller wooden hill material (ie offcuts) were pretty close to compatible as multi-area hills. After doing it it occurred to me that if the grid was 2.5" then the hills could be multi-purpose and used on both the 5" full table grid and on the 1/2 size one (duhh).  I was stuck for roads and streams until I remembered  that masking tape takes paint well and is, of course, easy to remove. I didn't like the step effect of orthagonal roads so decided to allow diagonal movement and the heck with consequences!

Anyway, here is the mock up ready for Scenario 3 (Holding Action -1) from Scenarios for Wargames. Not exact but close enough. The choice was ACW or RCW since I only have a handful of painted Colonials and the RCW have not been out this year so RCW it is. I think some early 20thC Fictional Colonial actions may be coming this winter, British vs Russians and/or Afghans and/or British in South and/or East Africa. the final board(s) will be made of some 1/4 plywood-ish  stuff, possibly with a 3 sided backboard to hinder things from rolling off if ummh.. disturbed.

Hopefully a test game tonight.


  1. Ross - looks a nice basis for a game - good size. Interested that you have decided to allow diagonal movement (and ranges?) - how will you deal with this? I've steered away from square grids exactly because of the evil Pythagoras - if a diagonal move is taken as square-root-of-two times the distance moved then the game gets weird - you can, of course, count it as 1.5 and round up or down, to taste. The alternative of making a diagonal move equal to 2 x distance moved (assuming that it is actually 2 orthogonal moves) is closer to the spirit of Morschauser, but feels like just as much of a distortion to me.

    Every time I go through this thought process I finish up back at hexes!

    This is deja vu all over again, I know.

    1. the short answer is "I'm not sure yet". I like hexes for non-linear warfare but my experiments with cutting my own modular hex shaped hills quietly finished that. For linear war, say up to 1880's or maybe later, on hexes you can either have straight battle lines or straight movement not both so squares become easier to justify since you can have both and movement on an angle is awkward as it should be.

      I am currently contemplating 2 options.

      a) Since movement is short and less than what could be done, ignore it.
      b) Allow straight forward movement at full speed but penalize any other move by a reduction of something.

      There is also the problem of moving on the diagonal between 2 enemy units which will hopefully be handled by a ZOC sort of prohibition.

      Why is easy not?

  2. Ross Mac,

    Diagonal movement on a squared grid is problematic BUT it is not insurmountable. For example, moving on a diagonal could 'cost' twice what it costs to move orthogonally UNLESS the move is on a road, where the 'cost' might be as per normal orthogonal movement.

    This is the sort of compromise I am thinking about using.

    All the best,


    1. What about artillery ranges (for example)? How far away is a square which is 4 forward, 2 to the right? Not "square root of 20", presumably?

    2. I'm think of counting each diagonal in a move or fire path as 1.5 so by the shortest path it would be 5. ( 2 diagonals x 1.5 and 2 orthogonals x 1. The actual distance from the center of the front of the firing hex to the center of the target hex is 10 inches compared to 10.5" to the 5th square directly ahead.

      Arc of fire is an issue even without a grid, given that an arty unit will be at least a battery if not more, I suspect a 90 degree arc is too wide but its damned convenient so I'll probably let it stand.

    3. By George, I think you've got it...

  3. Ross, in terms of your "3 sided backboard" . . . have you considered making these along the lines of the Major General's Afghan hills?

    If you don't know what I mean, take a look at the hills in photo of mine:


    There are spacers between the levels to provide places for figures to stand.

    If you use the "Way Back Machine" apparently you can get to the Major General's website which has a nice tutorial on how to build these.

    They would not only help to stabilize the board, but would provide an excellent backdrop as well.

    -- Jeff

    1. I know the ones you mean Jeff, I hadn't considered but will, especially if I do an Afghan board. For the veldt I may just do sky and clouds.