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

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Tin Brigadier Russian Ahead

Ahh The Labour Day Weekend. Summer's end (culturally at least), I should be out enjoying the fresh air but Kathy's off to a dogshow, rules are bouncing around my head and I've been wanting to give the 1/72 Russian Civil War lads an outing, partly for their own sake, partly to make sure whatever I do works for all of the period candidates and partly to separate the game from the shiny toy soldier look.

The Green Army is laid out ready to attack the Grey Army on their hill. An HQ, 1 sub commander, 4 infantry, 2 MG, 3 cavalry, 2 guns and a tank vs an HQ, 3 infantry, 1 MG, 3 cavalry and 2 guns.
I really must get some better lighting and figure out what's wrong with my camera!
Yesterday I sat down and started writing up an officious version of The Square Brigadier with multi-layer organizations, formations and tactics and soon realized this was not where I had wanted to go. So I stopped.

Late last night I stopped by to read about a skirmish in Carpet Valley in the Duchy of Tragardland  and  was reminded of where I had been headed.  Today I polished the Tin Brigadier up a bit, added a pin rule, amended it for use with or without a grid and tried it out with the RCW lads divided into Green and Grey forces since they're all a muddle. For sake of comparison I kept the same scenario but again, for sake of variety, rerolled the Programmed attacker options. The result was an engaging hour and a half cliff hanger where the attacker finally won a game, by the skin of his teeth.

The rules are not prescriptive and will happily allow you to either ignore historical OB's and scales or to use them if you want. I think it incorporates at least some aspect of just about every influence I have mentioned over the last 5 weeks as I have been working on rules for this venture!  I also think it resolves all my organizational dilemmas, probably because I used my existing organization as a starting point....., perhaps I am learning.

I'm a little stuck for a name since it isn't really the Square Brigadier though it replaces it, nor is it really a new Hearts of Tin though it is likely to replace that as well once I do a Horse and Musket variant.  I am tempted to stay with The Tin Brigadier since it has a nice ring and is a sort of homage to its predecessors but the player is as likely to be a Major General as a Brigadier so it may not be apt. Another contender is The Tin Army but I am wide open to suggestions.

Green's cavalry harassed Grey's right, pinning it in place and drawing off artillery fire without being destroyed while the remainder of the army concentrated on Grey's left, ignoring the center. A fierce Green cavalry charge is seen here driving in more than twice their numbers on Grey's left. Red markers indicate pinned units, little green dice are marking hits.

The Tin Brigadier
Oct 15 draft.3 of a simple set of Wargame rules for the late 19thC/early 20th C.
Ranges and moves are list as numbers. These can be squares, hexes, or increments of inches (eg 1=6" etc) or centimeters as selected but roughly equal to the frontage of an extended infantry unit.

Setup. A wargame army consists of a General Head Quarters (GHQ), up to 1 subordinate HQ per 8 units and as many units as desired. The units are intended to be battalion level but the rules may be used as is with units being companies for low level engagements. An average unit is intended to be around 8 infantry, 4 cavalry and guns, machine guns and vehicles  with 2, 3 or 4 crew but they may be any size that pleases you. If using multi-figure bases you may count noses or assign an arbitrary strength to each base. Qualifiers such as Superior/Inferior firepower, Shock troops, Elite/Stubborn or Poor morale are relative terms that may be used as desired. Other troop types and variations may be added as needed as well as carrying capacity of boats etc..

Hits represent fatigue, disorganization, stragglers, killed, wounded and prisoners and everything else that lowers the ability of a unit to fight. Each hit removes 1 figure. When a unit is reduced to 0 it is removed.

Sequence: igougo. Roll 1d6 for orders per commander. Move or shoot units and declare charges as desired (subject to the rules) and rally units, then test morale of enemy units that took hits from shooting, then resolve charges and pursuits.
Orders. An order is required to move, shoot, charge or do engineering. No order is required to defend against a charge. The Army HQ may store up to 6 unused orders. Other unused orders are lost. A subordinate commander may only order units within range 3. The Army HQ may order any unit. +1 to order die of Army HQ if observation balloon or spotter plane is available.

Infantry In Extended formation: move 2 or move 1 and shoot or charge.
Infantry Close Order:  Move 2 and charge or stand and shoot.
Cavalry move 4 and charge.  May dismount and shoot..
Artillery Move 3 if Light or Field, 4 if Horse Artillery, 2 if Heavy artillery.
MG: Move 1 or shoot.
Motor Machine Gun/Armoured Car: Move 4 or Move 2 and shoot.
Tank Move 1 and Shoot or Charge.
Train, Boat, Move 4 or Move 2 and shoot. Trains only move by rail, boats only by water.

Terrain: Reduces all moves to 1 if passable. Define by scenario.
Road If in road column add 1 to move and ignore other terrain but may not charge or shoot.

Units may advance or retreat at full speed and can wheel measuring the distance. If using a grid a wheel can be included when moving from one area to another but a wheel within an area counts as moving 1 area. Subtract 1 from a move to change formation, limber/unlimber, mount/dismount, or embark/disembark..

Shooting. Must have LOS to chosen target except indirect arty fire. Arc of fire 45 degrees either side.
Rifles: range 2. 5,6 hits  1 die per 2 extended or entrenched infantry or dismounted.
cavalry.  1 die per 4 close order  infantry. Round up remainders of ½ or more.
MG inc Motor MG range 3,  5,6 hits  3 dice per gun
Tank. range 1  5,6 hits  3 dice per tank
Deployed Artillery. Direct Fire: Light gun: 2d range 4, Medium Gun 3d range 6, Heavy gun 4d range 8. Indirect fire 1/2 dice at double direct range. Requires an order each turn (abstraction of need to observe fire, pass fire request etc). Howitzers may fire  over terrain and troops, other guns may not shoot over terrain or troops within 1 or at target with 1 of dead ground or over high hills.
+1 per die if superior firepower, marksmen,
-1 per die if inferior firepower
Double casualties vs close order or road column
1/2  effect vs entrenched or in cover. Round down.
Killing zone: Reroll misses vs next unit in line of fire within range 1 of original target.

Target Reaction. A unit which is in the open and takes 1 or more hits from shooting must test morale at the start of its next move. 4,5,6 pass. 1,2,3 fail. 0 Rout. +1 Elite -1 Poor. Fail = Extended infantry, deployed MG and engineers are pinned, others retreat a full move and are then pinned until they rally. A pinned unit may not advance or shoot and counts 1/2 in melee until it rallies.

Charges. The Defender may choose to shoot and remove enemy casualties and test for pins before melee or may fight in melee. In melee roll 1d per infantry or cavalry or crew figure, (x1/2 if pinned rounding up). 5,6 hits. +1 If Elite, +1 mounted shock cavalry -1 if Poor .
If a unit took more hits from melee and defensive fire than it inflicted it is defeated and must retreat a double move and must test morale as for shooting.  A unit that charged and won must advance and occupy the ground. Cavalry which charged and won may advance up to a full move and charge again. If it wins again it must occupy the ground but may not charge a 3rd time.  

Rallying. A unit which is pinned may rally if it does not move. No order is required.

Engineering.. An infantry unit with tools may entrench instead of all other activity. Roll 1d6  needing to accumulate 10 pts to entrench. Add 1 d6 if sappers are attached. Entrenchment is lost if unit moves. Engineers may similarly prepare a roadblock or clear a path through an obstacle needing 6 pts or mine and blow a bridge etc  by laying 1 d6 per turn to represent the charges. When the bridge is blown, roll all of the charges and add them needing a total of 6 to destroy a small one, 10 to blow a large one. Other tasks may be defined as needed.  .

Army Morale. Unless specified otherwise by the scenario, a player that has lost over ½ of his units either destroyed or forced to retreat off table must concede.

At this point Grey has inflicted more hits than it received and most Green units are close to destruction with only 1 being unscathed but Green's concentration pays off and within 3 turns Grey reaches its breakpoint with most remaining units intact.


  1. I don't know if you've read today's post from Tradgardmastare, but he is looking for some 18th century "portable wargame style" rules. I thought that you might be able to help him:


    -- Jeff

  2. Hi Ross - very good of You to write up Your Rules and Publish them- I could see that Your Rules could be used Post 1900 perhaps1920? or even later....the Ranges had me be-fuddled till I read the Gamer can use 6" for each range band - this would be ideal for 25mm...adapting a Ground Scale of say 1" = 10m for 25mm would make sense too.... interesting Topic Rules- Thanks for the Post Ross - like Your photos very much! Regards. KEV.

  3. Dear Ross,
    When used for the Russian Civil War why not can them "The Tin Commissar"? Just sayin'....