MacDuff is at heart a simple set of rules but it looks so much more complex than Rattle of Dice that I decided to count the number of rules in each of MacDuff and Rattle as a starting point for analysis. Depending on how you define "a rule" (eg does each sub paragraph count as a rule? What about each modifier?) MacDuff has 16 named rules vs 9 (disguised as 8) in Rattle. If you expand to include sub rules it goes up to between 50 and 70+ rules vs around 20 for Rattle.
Huh! How about that?
In part this is because MacDuff attempts to be more prescriptive or at least more definitive, listing, for example, 17 troop types versus none. (Rattle presumes that some one who doesn't know what "infantry" or "cavalry" are, will google the terms and make their own mind up.) Since I don't believe that a set of rules is a good way to teach history to a player, do not believe a player can be forced to play a game as intended if it differs from what he wants to do, don't intend MacDuff to ever be published again and since anyone downloading them is free to email me, I think I will strip out most of the explanations and the various special rules for oddities. As I have time and interest I will add some appendices with the optional extras and oddities perhaps some design notes to guide players.
At the same time, I have been waffling for ages over die modifiers for things like cover and range which reduce the probability of a hit but do not affect the minimum and maximum hits that can be inflicted versus a Charge! or Kriegspiel like halving of effect which absolutely reduces the number of hits. I like the latter better and this is how MacDuff started but the former is slightly simpler, especially when more than one reduction applies and is the current system. I'm going to go back to halving.
While I'm at it, I'm going to experiment with an older fashioned play sequence. I've been using a combined movement and shooting phase since the mid-1980's but after re-reading an old Featherstone book this week, I've been reminded that the initiative roll that I borrowed from him originally had a sequence of Side A moves, Side B moves, Side B shoots, Side A shoots, then all resolve melees. This puts an interesting extra twist on the decision to go first or second and eliminates the chances of one side firing twice without the other side having a chance to reply when having troops NOT return fire was the historical problem, without putting in reaction fire or more complicated rules.
I think I'll try all 3 ideas on for size later this week. After all both the Zoauves and the Queen's Lancers are now up to strength and Lord Snooty has been promised a battle.