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

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Fine Tuning My Requirements

So why did I upset the apple cart just when everything was working so well?  In short, I wanted more figures on the table without adding more units. So how is that going to work then? That's the bit I'm having trouble with.  Just using more figures with the rules as is just didn't feel quite right, which is where we came in a few days ago.

There seems to be a fairly wide consensus that gridded games work best when units are indivisible and there is a 1:1 relationship between grid areas and units. The existing 4 figure Square Brigadier units felt OK with units as battalions for Division sized battles or, for the 20th C or Colonial skirmish games, as companies. When it comes to low level actions between mid to late 19th century armies, a battalion can occupy as small an area as 50 yards wide and 10 yards deep in mass or up to under 500 yards wide and 500 yards deep if deployed as skirmishers and supports.  More than that, it was fairly common, especially in a small force, to detach companies for specific tasks, such as to clear a wood to the flank.

Oberhilse's American Legion deployed for battle  occupying 4 squares.
oops too many men in the skirmish line!)
To make movement and transport to and from the table easier my latest units have been mounted 2 to a base as I recommended to myself last fall. One of the things I am considering is calling each stand a company and letting them mass up to a stacking limit of 8 stands or spread out as few as 1 per square. 1 stand in an area would be considered skirmishers and be harder to hit, more than 4 would be a dense target. Cavalry and artillery would count double.

Since command control ranges would remain tight, widespread skirmishers would become hard to control while masses would be vulnerable and a poor use of resources in the front line as only front rank stands can fire. They would be handy for reserves in dead ground though and an in between formation would be good for assaults since they could withstand some hits. Morale for the battalion would be based on over all losses.

Still working on the details. I have till Saturday morning......

Gratuitous picture of my old recast Britain's Fort Henry Guard being reviewed by Rossi Pasha before he left to serve in a Russo Turkish War c 1999. To my great annoyance when the picture came back from being developed, the right company is on the left and vice versa so the officers and pioneer are out of place. At the time they were formed to take part in Volley & Bayonet battles against ACW invaders using the proposed regiment level game. 



  1. Ross your boundless enthusiasm is great,you keep striving and experimenting.You are an inspiration to us. Keep working towards your ideal game and inspiring us to try and do the same.
    Once again a stimulating post with good reasons for change and something for me to think about on the way to work today.I think the stand idea has much to commend it and i look forward to seeing the companies in action...

    1. Slight hitch when I counted how many grid squares I'd need for the number of companies this addds up to, but I'm still swinging.

    2. Slight hitch when I counted how many grid squares I'd need for the number of companies this addds up to, but I'm still swinging.

  2. Never used grids, but always felt (Ancients influence?) that the problem is that they're square - most units tend to be linear. Have thought about the option of 'quarter grids', so that a 'unit' covers 2 grid frontages rather than 1, but still only 1 grid deep.

    1. In earlier periods that is true but even in the 18th C one had to leave deployment room behind units and room for caissons for artillery. Later one gets the distance between skirmish line and supports. Still I have thought about a multi square solution.