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

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Round 'em Up and Head 'em Out!

Having had nearly a month's break, I have had time to reflect on a few things. One of the major subjects was the background story for my early 20thC Atlantica campaign. I was thinking that the conflict between Faraway and Oerberg (which is what I'm hankering to do right now) escalated into full scale island wide conflict. Those forces aren't ready and won't be for a while so I did some more digging and it turns out that the Oerberg campaign was actually a result of the war in Southern Atlantica reaching a stalemate as both sides dug in. The area north of the mountains was important to both sides due to trade and resources as well as history. It also forms a possible basis for a strategic outflanking maneuver. So it was that, in an effort to break the deadlock, Faraway began to press Oerberg to cease trade with Oberhilse and allow free transit to Faraway troops. We've seen what that request led to. Now its time to go back and find out what happened in the south to cause the stalemate.

When last we checked, Farway troops had just managed to repulse a preemptive Oberhilse attack. The attacking forces had taken heavy losses and were in danger of being cut off by superior numbers and so were forced to retreat precipitously. We catch up with them at the crossing at Little Bridgetown where Faraway's advance guard has marched through the night to catch the Oberhilse army before its supply train could be conveyed across the Hard River. (Scenario 8 in Scenarios for All Ages, a situation eerily familiar to the better known Battle of Sittingbad).

Oberhilse forces wake up and resume the retreat as Faraway cavalry appear on the table edge.
With nearly a month between games the various rules issues and attempts had time to settle a bit. There had been 1 main issue left unresolved and two minor ones. 

The major issue was command control. I had been torn between keeping a DBA-like orders or PIP systems or reverting to an older system of rolling for initiative with a die roll for detached or isolated units. A decision was being held up because I had trouble getting the orders system to work seamlessly with small, medium and large games. I had come up with a solution to that which worked well in the WW1 game I played early this month so now I was now able to compare this to the Atlantica game played in Mid October which used the Initiative method and reach a decision now that the heat of battle had subsided. Since I was satisfied with how each of the alternatives worked, the question was not which was better but rather which had the right "feel" for me in this context.  The result is that I have chosen the initiative system with a die roll for being 'out of command'. 

The second issue was "what is a 'unit' and how many should I have?". Since I am committed to the 4 man company as the basic unit, it was really how should I group them and how to translate scenarios to the table. With the orders system it was a key question. With the initiative, it really just boils down to how many or how few figures I want on the table so I'm leaving it open.

The third issue which I only gave brief consideration to was whether or not to allow continued melees. I have been see-sawing about this question for more than a decade but usually settling on no carried over melees until recently. I'll blame Bob Cordery for getting me thinking about it again (in a good naturedly grateful fashion). The rules would certainly be smoother without carried over melees and I think charges would be even more dramatic. So I'm going to try a one round melee with the attacker breaking contact if neither side is defeated but being capable of renewing the attack next turn.

Right! We are ready to go. Hopefully there will be time Sunday to play.

1 comment:

  1. So interesting, what you are thinking about. You are so innovative, especially concerning new games, stories and sceneries. It sounds like a good framework for a longer story plenty of recurrent episodes on different places, but always coherent on a basic story book, I like such very much!
    Peter

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