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

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Introducing 20th Century Square Brigadier

Well here we are, the first draft of The 20th Century Square Brigadier hss been posted as a blog page (see tab above). If this works I'll see about migrating other rules to the same format.

The changes to my original concept were a little more drastic than anticipated. Partly this was to harmonize but it was because I wanted the feel of units being shot at as they moved. I actually tried this with the Square Brigadier at one point but stumbled because I was using the same mechanism in melee but I've since found my way around that.

A key concept of the rules series are that things are relative. There are basic troop types which can have various attributes added such as inferior for shooting or superior in melee and so on to add more granularity and flavour. So US infantry would with bazookas might be rated as having superior anti-tank capabilities in 1943, average in 1945 but inferior when facing T34s in Korea unless they had the new 3.5" super bazooka.  So there is a crucial bit missing from the rules as posted, army lists with ratings, ranges etc.. I'll work at adding some samples for what I'll use before long but you can easily make up your own.
The Red Army attacks a hasty White Army trench line.
The lighting downstairs at night is too dim for the tablet camera but hopefully you can at least get an idea of the game set up.
The test game turned out to be Russian Civil War since that was ready to go. This means I didn't really get a chance to test the tank rules very far. What I did test worked well though.

I made up the scenario as I pulled troops and scenery out of the box and started laying things out. This is what I ended up with.
White Army is defending some hastily dug trenches counting as cover and a broken ground obstacle. (It looks like I am going to have to break down and make some simple,  robust,  barbed wire entaglements. Hate that sort of fiddly work.) They have:
White Army
Brigade HQ 2 area radius
Artillery battery with observer connected by telephone.
Battalion HQ 2 area radius
8 units of infantry average shooting, average morale and assault, inferior at
2 units mg
1 mortar direct area fire only, range 4

Red Army.
Brigade HQ 2 area radius
1 slow tank, inferior firepower
2 batteries of artillery, no observers

Cavalry HQ 2 area radius
5 units cavalry, no firepower, superior assault

Battalion HQ
5 units infantry average firepower,
1 mg
1 mortar direct area fire only, range 4.

White had insufficient firepower to even slow down Reds infantry but they did hurt it and repulsed the first attack on the woods. The Red gunners were spot on while they had targets but the Whites held on as long as possible, shifting reserves to hold the attack through the woods which was slowly working around the flank.

A headlong charge by cavalry on the other trench, supported by the tank, was repulsed bloodily. It was supposed to go at the same time as a flank attack over the river but the Red HQ rarely rolled high enough to move everything at once. Neither did White but being on the defense it was ususlly less critical. When that cavalry charge finally went in, it cost a regimental commander and 1/2 the men but they over ran the battery and cracked White's morale just as the last few companies of infantry on the other flank finally took the wood.


PS  I did start a test of a post WWII game but not only do I need a larger playing area (in terms of numbers of squares big enough to hold a tank) I also need to work out troop and equipment stats and army organization as well as building more terrain. The scenario at very least needs to be adapted to the small grid. :)


  1. Looks like a good fun game. I'm not into anything as modern as the 20th century, but it seems like these sorts of rules/games could be fairly easily adapted to other periods (and even genres), so every time I see people like you and Bob Cordery doing these sorts of games I keep thinking I should try it (maybe with some of my fantasy figures/armies, or maybe some sort of steampunkish/Victorian or even some earlier historical period I am interested in). Thanks for sharing!

    1. I do have a 19thC version, its undergoing some revision but should be reposted sometime this week. Good quick way to get a quick game set up, played and put away.

  2. Ross Mac,

    These rules seem to be coming together very nicely.

    I like the RCW battle report very much indeed. That period has a nice balance of unit types, tactical opportunities, and unit quality. Where else will you be able to see cavalry charging alongside tanks whilst biplane fighters fly overhead?

    All the best,


    1. Agreed an interesting time. I've been finetuning today but having fun with the 1960 stuff too while I test but I suspect 1920 wil be my focus.

  3. I long for some cavalry for my Army Men project...

    Youse guys are really starting to get me thinking about a whole rethink of my wargames projects and to look seriously into this gridded wargames gig. If those squares up there are 4" square, then that's a 4' by 3' 8" board. Well I have one of comparable size! That will be a bit friendlier on space than the heavy 6' x 4' board I usually use.

    1. You might be able to convert some cowboys from the same source. Either just to them in slouch hats or do head or torso swaps. There are also a few poses, like grenade throwers and dome smg types who can have their bases cut off, their umh tender parts hollowed out abit and can then fit reasonably well on a horse.

      I'm going to be putting 4" squares on my maintable but the board for the RCW game actually has 3" squares and is 30" by 36". TOne nice thing about the grid is that the rules and measurements, ranges etc don't have to change when I go from one to the other. As long as the units fit, its seemless.

    2. I do have a few cowboy figures, but barely enough for a squad, and the horrible horses they came with I've nicked for draught teams. Yoked in pairs, at least they can stand up! I may have to do without cavalry in the end...

      As for the square sizes, I think I might compromise on 8cm squares - a 15x15 array on a 4' (120cm) square table top. There's plenty of food for thought there!