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

Friday, January 31, 2014

More Modern Musings and a Framework.

There is a long way to go but I've decided enough things to start.

Another day, another Roscian border post, this time on the Lital frontier, c 1964
but who is that coming down the road?
A. The game must work for both small scenarios on a small board and larger scenarios  on the full table, whatever its final size,  and must use a common board with other gridded games. The 3" grid squares are a bit too small for some units  but the experimental 9 cm squares seem to work for all the periods and units that I'm considering for use on a grid.   I would like to find room for a slightly larger portable board but for now I will plan on a minimum board of 8x10 squares. Any increase will be gravy.

B. I will stick with platoon sized units but the larger grid will allow 2 units in a square allowing concentration and combined arms but of course with increased risk from area fire. It will also allow me to use a rough scale of 150 to 200 yds per square or 5 or 6 squares to a km. To put it another way, if I ran the Kennetcook river down 1 edge of the main table and put my house on the Belmont Road on the middle of one edge, Newport Landing would go in the far corner with the  Avondale road turning and running up as far as Poplar Grove. That allows me to picture what I'm looking st in terms of ranges, movement and terrain.

C. Abstraction. When dealing with units vs individuals it can be hard to abstract things like rate of fire, accuracy, training doctrine,  armor protection,  casualties, morale etc into simple but reasonable rule mechanisms. Luckily I have given myself the advantage of using fictional armies which will make it easier as I can level out equipment,  training and doctrine if I choose.

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Overview

Sequence of play will be igougo with a command dieroll to activate company headquarters or individual platoons. Activated HQs can activate any unit within 3 squares  (Counting orthogonally).

Activation will allow a unit to move or shoot or move and close assault or go into over watch allowing reaction fire during the enemy turn.  Any unit subjected to a close assault will get a defensive fire after movement but before the enemy roll. Each activated unit or group of units will resolve movement and fire before the next one starts so HQs are important to coordinate attacks.

When a call is made for area fire from mortars or artillery, fire against registered target squares  will be resolved immediately.  Against other targets a marker indicating   ranging shots will be placed but the fire will be resolved next turn. Unless registered the fire may wander when it comes down. Area fire and air attacks will be made against all units in the target square. I'll need to figure out a method for calling air support.

Combat Effects.  My first instinct was to fallback on the old roll to hit then roll for effect but I do like the simple elegance of the Memoir single roll. I will probably reduce the number of hit results though and since I don't have the nice dice with pretty pictures it will rely on numbers. I think a loss of dice to shoot to the rear.

Morale. Elite units will be able to take an extra hit and ignore 1 retreat. Some units may also get an extra die when shooting. Poor units will take 1 less hit than normal and will retreat 2 squares for each retreat result.

The first appearance of the Lital army on a tabletop.


Alas that's it for now.  I need to get another test game of the latest Macduff on the table in preparation for Huzzah but the Lital Wars will return in a few days.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Modern Musings

I know, I know the 1950s/60s is no longer considered modern by most people but compared to Greeks and Persians the designation stands.

As soon as I started looking at rules I realized there was a major problem,  I don't know what I'm doing.  Not in either sense. What are my units; sections, platoons or companies? What is the scale? Who is the player?

Looking at Memoir is not much help since it explicitly does not have one, units might be anything from squads to battalions depending on the scenario. Its about feel and the different uses of the arms and how they work together.  Its also a fun game. Both of these are objectives that I applaud but that's easier said than done.

Out of habit, I called my units platoons and operated them in company groups. When I first started gaming WWII all the rules  I used were at a low level where a tank was a tank and a group of 10 to 20 infantry was a platoon. Things at that level made sense except for the time factor, I never trained as an infantryman but between being in the Black Watch cadets and doing Basic Officer training, one picked up a bit and I can remember getting to do the  occasional weekend exercises, humping through the bush with an FN rifle and a tinpot for a hat. Just enough to know how confusing it can get even when everyone is firing blanks not real bullets and aren't really trying to kill you.

I think Panzer Blitz was my first exposure to a game where a tank was a  unit etc, not that I played many games. There was probably a link somewhere between that and designing home rules in the 80's where units were platoons but I can't think what it was, maybe CD although I hadn't played it yet. Anyway, looking at the gridded game, if each unit is a platoon, each square is probably  around about 100 yds and a 20pdr tank gun can easily fire across the table if it had LOS. That's definitely not the kind of game I want to play.

If as seems logical, I promote units to companies, I hit the snag, I haven't studied that level of command and 20thC warfare enough, have no personal knowledge and have no rulesets to crib from! It will also cause some severe visual disconnects between the 20mm models and a small playing board. I'm not sure yet if that will help or hinder!  Anyway, after reading a little about a couple of Korean, Indo-Pakistan, and Sino Indian battles, I think its the right level. Its goung to take some thought to do that as a game of army men without rosters or too many markers but is the task I see before me.


A Hasty Attack (with tanks)

Winter has been dragging on, as it does, and to dispel the looming threat of cabin fever I decided a quick, minimal preparation game was in order, preferably something using at least something from my Christmas present.  The Green infantry aren't quite ready so the Naryatrians were up again with a shiny new T34 and a new Pershing. Since they won the last two games, they are pressing the attack and the Roscians are dug in on the defence.

Last year I built a portable, gridded, game board so I could play downstairson occasion. Due to various things including uncertainty about the sort of games I wanted to play and the size of grid, leading to a lack of portable terrain, I haven't used it much this winter but I'm hoping to fix that. The previous "modern" (aka 1950's/60's)  games have been played on the upstairs table partly to  gain maneuvering room, partly for optics esp range vs model size. This was leading me towards 8 infantry or 2 vehicle/gun platoons. With my decision to refocus and keep the sideshows small, I decided to try downsizing the 1950s onto the small grid using 4 man or single vehicle platoons. It'll mean a surplus of unpainted 1/72nd plastic figures for now at least but they are cheap, they keep well and  don't take up much room.

The armies deploy. 
I wanted to play, not work on figures or terrain and certainly not muck about with rules so I made a few quick decisions in my head and improvised as I went. The cards worked well enough last time but not well enough to warrant planning on taking them downstairs and finding room for decks and hands. Instead I grouped up to 3 platoons into companies and rolled 1d6 per turn to see how many companies could be activated. I basically used the movement and combat  from Memoir but counting diagonals as 2 for shooting with movement being orthogonal only.

The Roscians were dug in with 2 pillboxes and 2 trench lines (aka old 15mm horse and musket redoubts) in lieu of not yet constructed foxholes. They had 3 platoons of militia (3 figs), 6 of regulars, 2 mortars plus an HMG platoon and a recoilless rifle manning the pillboxes.  There was a platoon of Centurions off table  which could be activated on a roll of 5,6.  The Naryatrians had 3 platoons of elite Lion Brigade Commandos (5 figs), 6 of regular infantry, a mortar,  a truck mounted rocket launcher, 2 mechanicals and 2 off table tank platoons in reserve, 1 of 2 T34s, 1 with a single Pershing.

The tanks arrive as the Roscian right flank collapses.
The game rolled alone at a good pace with a good mix of player decision and random frustration for command control and the usual no guarantee combat results so with a bit of tension and excitement.

The end of the prolonged tank battle. Black 'smoke' marks each hit. Destroyed tanks are flipped over until they get in the way. 
To sum up, it was a fun game taking a little over an hour to play a very simple situation. It left me wanting to play more but also wanting to fix a few things since I'm not really playing Memoir any more. I liked the way the company activation worked and I have an ample supply of officers and radio men now. I've never liked the short range and the 'diminishing with range' effect of the artillery. I suspect it has to do with the flex-scale of the original game but artillery that only has twice the range of a rifle platoon and has to get with rifle range to be effective but against which entrenchments are of no value, just doesn't feel right to me. I also don't like the ability of long range infantry  fire to chip away at tanks and the possibility of moving up and close assaulting someone with no defensive fire.  The ranges look a little short when the tanks engage, but keeping ranges down helps make the board feel larger so I'll think about that one. All easily fixed but I think I'll start with looking at my Russian Civil War rules and see if I can make them compatible to ease the strain on my brain.

 Over all, I think this has good possibilities for a quick evening's game in the wreck room but I will need to rethink the Lital front.  The lower number of figures is good but I need to work on a back story that will let me play over green but open fields. Too many tall trees on a small, portable board are a nuisance, especially when the ones on the edge look tasty and fun to chew (to the dogs not me).  Terrain that is easy to store and  transport is what's needed so production needs to resume on matching roads,streams and hills plus buildings and woods etc. The question still needs to be resolved though, do I work with the 3" grid and flocked terrain.meaning the figures for the portable game should be flocked to match, or should I see if I can make a board big enough to work if using 9cm squares, painted to match the table upstairs for maximum flexibility of terrain pieces and figures.
The situation at the point where the Roscians were forced to retreat. A narrow victory for the attackers, only a few more actual hits vs retreats would have stopped them.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

March to the Sea Concluded.

F
 We resume the tale with the arrival of Brigadier Zinn's brigade.  At this point the Blue army had lost 4 units broken against a break point of 6 and had 1 more unit close to the break point but had also lost 3 out of 4 commanders. Red had not lost any units against a breakpoint of 5 and held the objective but did have 3 units approaching their breakpoint.

There was a short pause as both sides reordered their battle lines covered by their artillery. Red reopened the ball by moving forward the veteran Green Tigers infantry unit to sweep away the Bangor Volunteers with the bayonet, hoping to break through and rout the Blue army. To everyone's surprise the volunteers stood their ground and threw back the the overconfident attack with heavy losses.

The already battered Dover Fusiliers resumed the fight while the Tigers rallied.  Unleashing a shattering volley they charged,  driving the Volunteers back in disorder but failing to break them by 1 hit. The way forward was now open for Zinn's brigade.
 The 2nd infantry led the attack breaking the Dover Regiment then pursuing into the barely rallied Tigers who were only 3 hits from breaking. With no other Red unit left on that side of the field except the battery,  General Turner rode forward to steady the ranks and the 2nd infantry was repulsed. Swiftly rallying,  they pressed forward and engaged in an extended firefight while the Tigers slowly fellback before them and only Turner's influence kept them on the field.

It was now the 1st Infantry's turn. Pushing rapidly forward without pausing to fire,  they threw themselves forward against the stone walls of the town, Brigadier Zinn at their head. Including supports the defenders outnumbered the attackers 3:2 and were bolstered by Brigadier Spye. It was a last forlorn hope.
But it worked! Suddenly  Blue held the objective! They lacked the strength to do more than defend themselves but Red was running short of infantry for a counter offensive. A cavalry attack up the valley to the left drove back an attempt by Blue dragoons to pick off badly battered red units but it was the Red artillery that finally shattered the 2nd Infantry forcing Zinn to concede the battle and withdraw.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

March to the Sea continued

We left off as the first skirmishing gave way to a more decisive clash between the Oberhilse volunteers and Faraway regulars. 
 As the Queen's infantry deployed,  General Scott decided to risk a quick charge by his volunteer cavalry while the Light Horse moved ahead to secure the road entrance to the pass leading to the harbor.  The Peipur Tigers responded by rolling 4" on 3 dice, even doubled for the charge that was no where near enough so they wheeled to face the Red infantry but the moment had passed and next turn they were ordered to support the light horse.

The volunteer riflemen did not have time (high enough movement roll technically) to occupy the building but they were able to get close enough to prevent anyone else from occupying it without a fight. The Lafayette Volunteers pressed forward and due to a series of card draws in their favour, were able to get off the first volley. 4 dice, 4 hits (45,6 with 6 being 2 hits), a heavy blow! The fusiliers were down a die before they could shoot. Undaunted, these veteran troops proceeded to roll up 5 hits on 3 dice! (6,6,4) as they returned fire. A short debate followed about weapon ranges resulting in a return to the original range bands but which did not affect this exchange as the units were within 6".

The Fusiliers followed up with a bayonet charge and the Brigadiers on both sides pitched in to steady their troops. When the dice cleared 1 more figure was down on each side but so was Brigadier Grey.  It was a tied melee but a crucial loss for Blue. The activation system allows a Brigadier to activate all of his units with 12" when his card is drawn OR 1 unit. With the Brigadier removed only 1 unit in the Brigade would be able to move or initiate combat each turn, the rest could only defend themselves by returning fire or reacting to a charge. At the moment this wasn't too bad as the General was close enough to fill in but it reduced his options and if he should be wounded.....


With the Dover regiment locked in melee the Royals fired at pointblank range and charged supported by the Victoria Rifles. The volunteer rifles had already taken casualties during several turns of skirmishing and now they broke under the storm of fire   and fled the table. The Royals pursued into the Newton Greys who put an unexpectedly tough fight, managing to hold the Royals for a turn before falling back. A second charge was required to finally rout them but in the meantime General Scott had galloped over to steady them in a desperate attempt to maintain a battleline. He in turn was shot down.

While the infantry fight raged, the opposing cavalry faced off, militia and irregular mounted rifles vs regulars and elites. The Republicans put up a bettet fight than expected but the 2nd charge by the Queen's cavalry routed both enemy units and their Brigadier and took control of the exit road.

While all this was  happening the remaing troops had entered and begun to deploy.  Now the leader casualties began to really hurt Oberhilse.  With no one to coordinate their movements the remnants of the volunteer brigade were blocking Zinn's men from engaging. As it was the Bangor regiment had barely time to deploy before the Lafeyette boys came streaming back in disorder, defeated but not  broken.

Things looked bleak but it turned out that with the tenacious veteran Brigadier Zinn and the Oberhilse Field Force on hand, the battle was far from over.

Next post: the concludion.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

With MacDuff to the Sea

Some readers may be wondering what was so wrong with the MacDuff rules that I had to fiddle with them again. The short answer is nothing. The medium length answer is that  there just wasn't  enough of the original rules left in them, they had somehow lost too much of their inner MacDuff-ness as it were.  I had no intention of reverting to the original rules,  my tastes have changed too much, but I was hoping that returning to variable length moves and replacing the  limited, rather boring, often forgotten command check by something more subtle and intrinsic that I would regain something. I think it worked but more test games are needed before Huzzah! in May.
The opposing armies march on and engage.  When setting up the table I found a scrap of wall paper border that used to be behind a shelf display of toy soldiers and decided to prop it up. I was surprised at how it immediately affected the story line and added a sense of place and purpose to the game. Not a new idea but one to think on.

The scenario was pulled from Stuart Asquith's book on solo wargaming. Two opposing forces, different in detail but of balanced power, converge on a small town. Both sides are tasked with placing a garrison in the village and moving on with the rest of their force, to Backdrop Cove in this case. I set the game c1840 with units being 8 cavalry or light infantry, 16 infantry with musket or 1 gun with 5 crew, and deployed the following:

BLUE (Oberhilse)

General Scott and staff
Cavalry: Brigadier St. John
   Frontier Light Horse Irregular cavalry w rifles
   The Peipur Tigers) Militia cavalry.
    2nd Dragoons. Regular Cavalry (Detached)
Volunteer Brigade: Brigadier Grey
   Green Mountain Rifles. Light Infantry w rifle.
    Newton Volunteers. Militia
    Bangor Volunteers. Militia
    Lafayette Volunteers.  Regulars
Oberhilse Field Force.  Brigadier Zinn
    1st, 2nd 3rd Infantry
     Mountain Battery (light gun)

Lord Snooty, foreign observer and all round good egg watches as Scott rides over to urge the riflemen on.
RED (Faraway)
General Turner and staff
First Brigade: Brigadier Spye.
    Victoria Rifles light infantry w rifles
    Dover Fusiliers
    Royal Fusiliers Elite
    Foot Artillery
Cavalry: Brevet Brigadier Flowerdew
    Queen's Lancers
    Princess Charlotte Dragoons Elite
Second Brigade: Brigadier Stone
    Young Buffs
    Green Tigers
     Brooklyn Fusliers

Each side were initially given 1 card per commander plus an extra. Each card activates 1 commander with his units that are in command OR any 1 unit.  The rules do not require pre assignment of cards to commanders but I like to do that. This left 1 unassigned wild card which could be used for any unit, one out of control or perhaps a key one that was not yet activated. At first I liked this and I even started thinking about using it to allow a unit an extra move. Before long though it was obvious that it was too easy to activste units. I pulled the wild cards and went back to just 1 card per commander. The extra card could certainly be used in sone scenarios.
The Lafeyette Rifles ready for the enemy. Oberhilse has seized the village and their cavalry is heading on.

The game rolled along smoothly but I was surprised to realize how much I had missed the variable moves. Before long though I remembered one reason why I dropped them. The maximum moves were fine but on average the moves were too slow and basically ceased if any maneuver was carried out.  After a worrisome few moments I remembered that just before dropping variable moves I had been experimenting with a march bonus vs a maneuver or fire penalty.  I tried it and it answered handsomely,  just the ticket to resolve one of my oldest bugbears.

Another old issue was finding the balance between rolling fistfulls of dice for combat and having results that were either too predictable or too unpredictable. This is one of the issues that involve the delicate balance between representation of history,  game experience and visual impression, all subjective areas. Once again I had decided to try the double hits on a 6 but this time limited it to shooting. Worked like a charm.
The weapon ranges are still a problem for me with the 40s but I decided that  in this situation I'd rather look right and be wrong. I finally restored the original ranges and they felt right.


Next post I'll get into some of the nitty gritty of a hard fought seesaw battle.



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I saw you! You're alive.


Yes my AAR is days late but in the meantime  here's  my nod to the 50th anniversary to that great  movie :Zulu.
Would this game from a while back have ever happened without  it?


Or this one? 



As long as I'm digressing, one reason the AAR didn't get finished yesterday was  the belated arrival of my Christmas present to myself. Since this is a minor, casual sideshow its understandable that the box of liliputian Herald copies has now been pretty much painted already .  Actually, it would be finished except that I goofed. The colour scheme was  supposed to be mid- olive green combat fatigues with darker green webbing and helmet but I under estimated how much darker these shades of green are when dry. Twice. Even after 3 progressively lighter coats and then a damp brush they are still too dark for what I wanted. Luckily by then I had run out of time for finishing the rest. Another dry brush I think and a lighter green on the helmet. Luckily the moment has passed and I can do 1 sample to get it right before going to mass production.

The figures are as small as I feared . Not a match for 1/72 at all. Barely even 1/76 more like  1/86. Luckily I had been starting to think that I didn't really want to touch the Naryatrian stuff at  all. It was something done at a time and place. Also it is clearly an African army while that of Roscia is just as clearly  not. Since painted plastic armymen, in North America at least, were often divided into Green and Tan armies I decided to do a Khaki and Green equivalent. Looking at how small the new figures are, they almost seem to be a different race. Hmmm. Thus was born Roscia's northern neighbor , the mountainous forest Kingdom of Lital.

Hmm the colors in this picture are a bit browner than in life, but you get the idea.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Meanwhile back on the table

A test game of the latest revision of Macduff gets underway.
Oberhilsian  cavalry approach a Faraway seaport from landward, apparently unopposed.

Busted



Johnson's Greens getting ready to cross the border for a raid on Portland in May. Huzzah! 

Well its official. I am no longer a "painter". This isn't news but I thought it might be just a phase. Its not that I used to do amazing work, its that I used to enjoy the process of trying to do the best, most interesting figures possible with just the right shading and highlighting colors and contrast,  sharp lines and detail  etc, now it all feels like a chore rather than relaxing fun. 

Probably this is partly physical as even with my special painting glasses I have issues,  for example I was dotting the eyes and found that my depth of field was so narrow that I could focus on the eye socket or the tip of the brush which was a mm away but not on both! Add in the occasional hand twitch at inconvenient moments and the frustration mounts. When you consider that once done, any subtleties are lost on me at arms length while harsh contrasts still look ugly and there is no after joy to compensate, especially since I don't really care if the figure is precisely accurate in every detail for a particular moment in history. 

Luckily I still enjoy painting bright,  cheery toy soldiers and this ties into the next two things I'm busted on. I haven't lost my interest in history despite not reading anywhere near as much as I used to and I  still play games set vaguely into an historical context and even the occasional historical refight but my interest in using wargames as a means to explore history continues to wain to the point where I'm not really comfortable calling myself an Historical Wargamer anymore despite not yet finding an appropriate label to replace it.

All of which brings me to the realization two weeks ago that I am off track on my hobby plans and heading farther off if I don't do something.  In particular my planned 40mm early mid19thC Atlantica collection has been badly neglected over the last year as I turned to other things  including later 19thC while I floundered on direction on the main collection. At times it seemed  I  was ready to  do anything except follow the plan. One side effect has been a splintering of  toy soldier eras and continued expansion of chunky non toy historical collections. Since time, space, money and energy are limited this has become a problem. 

After two weeks of pondering and exploration of possibilities I have decided that overall the plan was good and that I just need to tighten up. This will probably mean some retraction and limits on the other horse & musket eras and probably an effort to sell as many of the chunky 1812 40's as possible but I hope to get  going again on something other than yet more line units in incompatible uniforms from yet another period.

The 40mm AWI might just go as well,  but not until after I run a game at Huzzah!  Maybe right after if someone brings cash! 




Monday, January 13, 2014

Grenadiers with a Slow Fuse

Its been 2 years since I began work on a grenadier company for the Rossish  Irish Regiment. Last year I got inspired enough to cast up enough to finish the unit . This month I finally painted them .



By an odd coincidence it seems that the pay for the Irish, who have been  billeted amongst the rebels for the last year, is three months behind and their paychest was one of the things captured in last month's ambush.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Memoir tanks revisited

Today Ron and I got in 2 more games of Memoir, Yanks in Tunisia.  The scenario was Crossroads,  a meeting engagement from Programmed Scenarios. This time we doubled all of the units which allowed us more tanks. The first game was over quickly thanks partly to the Yanks arriving en mass while the Germans dribbled on in penny packets. However, in a situation where the armor varied from Honeys and PzrIIs to Tigers,  the latest armour/AT rules didn't work so well and seemed to encourage some odd tactics.
Game 1: American Armoured Infantry debus to support the Stuart against the PzrIIs. 

For the 2nd game we reverted to the previous method which was that light tanks could only take 2 hits but move 4 while heavies could take 4 hits but only move 2. Light guns only get 2 dice and heavy guns get 4. This time however we didn't bother with adjusting ranges since the way the rules work any tank that can shoot can usually move and the range distances almost never mattered.  In practice this simpler version,  inspired by the original Tiger rule, delivered a better feel. The Tigers were awesome,  the light tanks were ok against other light tanks but against heavier tanks their only real chance was to use their fast speed to swarm it and close assault hoping to get additional breakthrough attacks and/or block retreats causing additional retreats.

For interest sake, the armour heavy German force had 2 Tigers rated heavy/heavy, 4 PzrIV rated medium/medium and 2 PzrII rated light/light. The armoured portion of the American force had 2 Shermans, medium/medium, 2 Lees rated medium armour light gun (the 37mm), a Stuart rated light/light and a Tank Destroyer light armour, heavy gun. By the end of the game I had lost every tank and 2 infantry while only getting 4 of his tanks and even that was partly due to my infantry and their bazookas.  Neither of us got all of our troops on table. 

It was actually a closer game than it sounds though and was a great deal of fun.

Game 2. Blitzed by Panzers.




Wednesday, January 8, 2014

MacDuff Rattles and Now He Rolls Again

Poor MacDuff has been having a rough decade. He's not down and out yet though.

There were 2 main reasons that I originally started fiddling, apart from the periodic urge to try out a new idea which be devils all of my rules. The 1st and main one was that games took too long to finish despite playing at  a good clip. The 2nd was that I felt that there were too many, sometimes conflicting, devices to inflict friction and uncertainty.

There were 3  non-enemy related friction mechanisms, card draw play sequence, command check including personality and variable length moves.  It didn't take much tweaking to make the rules work with either the card draw or an initiative or even igougo play as desired. The command system was harder as I struggled to write a simple rule that didn't need a GM or 2 very in-sync, reasonable, fairminded, story oriented, non-competitive opponents but still gave reasonable results. I finally gave up. The rule I've used for the last while is purely negative and easy to forget.  Its not a good rule.

In the meantime I started thinking about the variable length moves. I had 2 practical objections and 2 theoretical ones. The process added time as players weighed their options  then rolled then changed their minds and it was a source of double jeopardy where a successful card sequence and command roll was followed by a negligible movement roll. On the theory side, I had been looking at the delay as a terrain effect crossed with unforseen delays. When comparing theoretical movement rates and time and ground scales, it was obvious that even the longedt moves were barely a quarter of the theoretical maximum so there was already room for delay.  The other issue was what happened when a charge ran short. People don't freeze in mid step when in danger, waiting for a green light to continue.  Its not that simple of course and there are aspects about the variable moves that I do like in both theory and practice but to limit what I was trying to manage and as an  easy way to speed things I swapped the variable moves for fixed ones. have missed them.

Recently as I pondered yet again what my 40mm games, esp the Atlantica ones, would look like I turned back to Macduff yet again as well as revisiting Rattle of Dice to remind myself that letting go of some things can improve the flow of a game. Belatedly I thought about looking upon the variable moves as a command and morale issue which, if combined with  limiting the number of cards which I experimented with a year or so ago, and if players were forced to declare intentions before rolling, ala BP, then that would be speedy, integrated (thus harder to foget) fun and allow that friction. Personality can be handled best by multi-player games or those keen on it can add on RPG elements for commanders.

While I was fiddling I tried on various play sequences but either they were too weird or just didn't feel like Macduff. I'm planning on a test game this weekend but so far this looks like it'll be the closest version to the original in a long time. I may even think about putting more designer notes and tips on organizing etc back in.

The untested draft is available here:

2014 version of With MacDuff To the Frontier