EXCERPT 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, January 15, 2013

Sometimes a wheel is a wheel and a wall is a wall.

I knew from past experience that it was probably a doomed effort but sometimes its worth trying to push the rock up the hill again anyway. You might learn something when it comes rolling back down and I think I have. The process of trying to cover not only multiple periods but multiple game styles has helped to bring differences into relief beyond the obvious visible ones. There's been little time and less energy around here for hobby stuff over the last week but these things tend to continue to process in background mode and any time there are idle brain cycles, they tend to pop back to mind. (Probably helps explains why I live in a crooked house.)

I still don't want to rewrite 4 different rule sets front to back every time I get a new idea that seems to have wider application and I still want to have as many shared mechanisms as possible so that I can leap from 1 game to another and still remember how to play with minimal use of reference sheets which I misplace constantly during games. The new proposal, if I can work it, is to have a balance between shared and specific concepts and language. Where possible common rules, such as command control, will be written in as distinct paragraphs using shared terms so that can cut and paste whole paragraphs if there is a major change. Game specific paragraphs will contain as few as possible direct repetition of or reference to common rules so that one change will not require a cascade of changes.  I prefer having everything cross referenced and in specific language but it has been a pain whenever I have made changes and inevitably references get missed. Maybe, when the rules have each gone 5 years with no change, I'll come back and make them more user friendly.

So, that will leave me where I started with 4 separate rule sets that share some common methodology but each with distinct elements.:

Gathering of Hosts for fairly generic Ancient/Medieval//Fantasy games using indivisible units.

With MacDuff to the Frontier for single figure Horse & Musket/Rifle games, primarily for Table Top Teaser type games with forces normally  ranging from all arms detachments of roughly brigade size  up to division size. .

Hearts of Tin  (HofT) for slightly bigger battles using battalions with 3-5 elements as the normal unit and armies of Division to Corps size.

The Square Brigadier. My version of a small gridded game inspired by Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame but with mechanisms based on HofT.

If all goes well this afternoon, I intend to take a few hours of hobby time tonight and tomorrow  so perhaps a small game and some typing time.


  1. Ross,

    An idea to consider . . .

    You might want to "color code" your "boilerplate" rules paragraphs (say in blue) while the rules-specific pargraphs remain in black (or vice versa).

    -- Jeff

  2. That all sounds awfully well organised. My initial play tests tend to feature me leafing though pages of illegible notes and trying to remember the grand concept with which I began...

  3. And my longest running/most successful set of
    house rules started on a literal napkin over dinner with you...organization might be overrated. :-)

  4. Orleans: If any order may be thought upon.
    Bourbon: the devil take order now! I'll to the throng!
    Henry V' 4:5


    A useful post to see all your rules and the concepts / scales behind them explained.

  5. Henry: Once more unto the breach dear friends
    or close up the rules with our Tweakish dead

    Henry V 3:1

    (actually that may not be an accurate quote)