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

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

We have met the rules and they are......


The Director General's Body Guard finally gets another chance to dismount.

sighhh, yes indeed, a startling lack of imagination I'm afraid, or perhaps an unconscious message. I started well. I dug out Richard's one page rules (more like 3/4 than 1/2 but there's big print and lots of space). A lot of it was familiar, a die per 4 figures needing 5,6 to hit, and so on. So it wasn't what was there, its what was missing;.minimal movement restrictions, minimal morale, no command rules, no sequence of play, hmm. Anyway, I decided to do my own version. A few happy hours later I had a set that felt quite right,. I set to playing  and fine tuning and eventually realized that I had essentially recreated the original Morschauser Meets MacDuff from 10 years ago, before it became Hearts of Tin, just without bases though bases can still be used. Oh! That wasn't what I set out to do.

Oh well. That was the rule set that got me all fired up and was responsible for quite a few memorable games. That was of course before I decided to add more detail and historical flavour and try to test more historical incidents to see if the results were right for the right reasons, and to try to add a bit more predictability. Of course, one of the things I used to like was that you just couldn't count on things going as planned.This game felt like the days when I used HofT in preference to all other rules even for some fairly low level skirmishes with a handful of stands per side which it wasn't designed to handle, but did.

The basic combat procedures and movement haven't changed much from the recent HofT, there are just a few less restrictions and potentially drastic results are back as are persistent units. They are once again written for individual figures rather than elements or stands, like the original was written for "Strength Points"  which just happened to coincide with the number of figures. The biggest change from the current version is that I have again dropped the arbitrary Shaken/Disordered thing and that I dropped the Orders rule again and have gone back to the old rolling for initiative with a control test for units beyond command "radius".  I like the potential for the Orders PIPS but I've had trouble with implementing it. I think to get it to work, I would have to remove the brigadiers and get more rigid on units forming proper battle lines. As it is I almost never run short on orders which makes it a fairly pointless exercise. The initiative system has never failed to keep a game interesting.

So my quandary now is whether or not the existing HofT is worth keeping as a separate rule set or whether the differences are too small and the Rattle of the Dice  version so much better as to eclipse it. At the very least that calls for a 1/72nd playtest and then some period unit stats and special rule sheets for the ACW and 18thC. .

Duncan Adams playing in an early Morschauser Meets MacDuff 54mm 1812 game
  down at Lancaster some 9 years ago. Hmm some of the terrain looks a little familiar.

Tomorrow or Thursday I will post a battle report and then its on to getting busy. The table is only temporary right now, some boards laid on bookcases so I need a frame and I need to paint it and start making my OSW hills. I also need to finish painting the room and trim and getting settled into the new configuration. I also need to cast and paint a bunch of figures!

I'll post the new version as a variant for now in case any one wants a look.


  1. I've had a look at Rattle of Dice (RoD?) and it feels like a leaner meaner version of the latest HofT I read a couple of days ago.

    No bad thing perhaps, but really they both seemed fine, which I guess isn't a very helpful comment :-)

    1. It doesn't help that I spent yesterday evening merging the 2 page Rattling of Dice into a copy of the existing Hoft thus obscuring any differences. The only things of real note in the previous one that I'm unsure of is the Orders dice which I am unsure of in practice and the added morale bits which are a bit artificial and led to me tinkering with combat. There is 2/3 reduction in ranges but that was all around as a practical issue. I need to think about that.

  2. Ross Mac,

    It is interesting how we both seem to have 'returned to our roots' so to speak. I felt that my rules were getting a bit too complex and inflexible ... and hence my return to Morschauser's 'Frontier' rules for a bit in inspiration. Mind you, I have yet to manage a play-test and I am already getting advice and ideas for other people as to how they can be developed!

    What I want to do is to give then a try 'as is' and then to look at developing them. The problem is setting aside enough time to run a play-test as I need to do some tidying up in my wargames room first (sound familiar, does it?). Hopefully I should manage to run a game on Satuday ... unless real-life intervenes yet again.

    I am following your 'journey' with interest, especially as you seem to be a bit further down the road than I am.

    All the best,


    1. It seems much easier to put things into the rules, its too bad it doesn't always make them better!