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, February 11, 2014

Up 100

One of the main reasons for play testing is to see what ideas were off target and what was missed so you can adjust before playing for effect. 

Roscian forces deploy to seize control of a disputed area on the border with Lital.

 didn't really have time to play a game on Sunday but I got a break mid afternoon and decided to see if I could rearrange a scenario for the 1950s game to fit on the 8x10 grid of 9cm squares. The tanks being too big to fit on the 3" grid. The first stab at it had led me to believe that the only option was to restrict these games to the full table but I suspected the layout was the real issue. By turning the game 90 degrees, bending the roads to the corners so as to prevent lead mechanized elements from reaching the center on the initial turn and by using terrain to restrict line of sight, it suddenly seemed doable. I set up a few units to check but of coarse I had to move them on for a turn or two to be sure, and that of course meant that they were engaged. I confess that I was quite surprised when my wife arrived home early, just as I was deciding that the Roscians had just lost yet another encounter, and commented on the dying embers in the wood stove we rely on. Ooops. 

Lital Pershings work their way through the palm groves in a bid to outflank the Roscian troops. The red counters are reminders that they have been getting the worse of a duel with some Centurions.
So as you might have guessed I was enjoying the game and finding it engaging but I also identified one major issue and a couple of small ones. The big one was that since I hadn't really planned on getting the Lital forces into action this quick, I hadn't figured out their organization and I hadn't stopped to classify any of the units on either side for use with TCSB so I had to wing it. The minor things included having forgotten to write in a road bonus and not knowing if the mechanized infantry and their apc should be 1 unit or 2, and realizing that I had no mount/dismount rule. During the game I realized that the way I was treating HQ units like a 19th C commanders was not sitting well.  Rating the various tanks was a real headache and having looked at various ways of representing the effect of heavy armour and various guns, I found myself getting confused and changing my mind mid game until I sat down  chose unit capabilities and decided to play it as written. That worked better.

Having lost 1 troop of Centurions and suffered severe infantry casualties in heavy street fighting, the Roscians pull back.

By Sunday night all updates were made and the rules are ready for more testing. I need to do some work on miniatures, background and organization of the nearly modern stuff and I want to get some more RCW figures painted (finally) so it might be a week or three. A game might be sooner but I am also nearly done updating the 19th C version to use the same sequence and methods of applying modifiers and determining  retreats and the 1/72 ACW lads haven't had a chance to try out their new bases yet.


  1. Sounds like a nice game, beautiful terrain and interesting system...

  2. It's looking good. I think I recognize that fellow with the sten gun and pointing left hand as a Revell WW2 British figure?
    One of the things I miss/don't miss about my time in the Valley was heating the house with wood. :)

  3. Yep, Revell's Brigade of Guards, not a man under 6ft.

    I actually like the wood, need to get my exercise somehow.

  4. Hi Ross,

    Actually for a one-off game a lack of organization really is not a terrible problem. You simply assume that both sides had taken a beating and that what was left was bits and pieces cobbled together for this battle. I realize that taking the broader view that a usable TOE and OB would help tremendously when fighting a campaign is more sensible. But the game appeared to be fun and that's really all that matters in the short term.
    In addition, when play testing something like you are describing, deconstructing as you go is not such a bad thing. even if played with a few good friends, this shouldn't be terribly difficult to do. You are so good at defining your gaming issues that all of this ought to be child's play. The game sounded like a heck of an enjoyable and interesting time.

    1. Quite right Jerry, not a huge problem to brainstorm a bit during a game but it did muddy the waters a bit when I realized I wasn't sure how many HQ were on table or should be and if any issues were rules issues or game set up issues. All grist for the mill.