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

Sunday, June 7, 2015

I fought the game and the..

Back now to a 19th century skirmish, game vs pseudo kriegspiel and yes...the game won, again.

The more "realistic" my revised rules tried to be,  the more boring the wargame got without feeling more realistic overall as a counterbalance. OK that's been my usual experience and accords with Col Sykes comments to HG Wells but I still have the urge to test the approach now and again. So back to what works.

After consulting some non-gridded games intended for similar types of Colonial or little wars such as the original With MacDuff to the Frontier, the Rattle of Dice, Featherstone and Little Wars, I decided to increase ranges and movement while ruthlessly cutting fiddlyness, The basic concept as usual with quick and easy rules is that subordinate unit commanders are handling the details competently, unless of course the unit flubs its dice rolls and then obviously they screwed up somehow. So far it feels right and good after some small test games.

Faraway column again advances to try and evict Oberhilse troops occupying the crossroads.

Rough Summary of MacDuff Rattling around the Square
(or some more catchy name)
(The basic unit is the company of 4 infantry, 3 cavalry or 1 gun and 4 crew. ) 

  1. Orders. 1d6=orders available for the turn. An order is required to move. In addition to rolled orders each commander may issue 1 order to a unit which is adjacent to or stacked with him. An order may be applied to all or some of the units in an area.
  2. Stacking. Up to 4 infantry or 2 other units or 1 infantry and 1 gun may be stacked in an area. This limit may not be exceeded at any time including during movement.  A maximum of 2 units may shoot or fight. If more than 2 are in an area they count as a massed target and may not use road movement or move through any but open terrain. Hits should be distributed as evenly as possible with the owner choosing where any casualties go.
  3. Moves. Infantry may move 1 area and shoot with 1/2 figures  or may move 2 in the open. +1 on road but must end in road column.
    Artillery may move 2 or shoot + 1 on road. (3 if horse, 1 if heavy)
    Cavalry may dismount and move 1 and shoot with 1/2 or shoot if dismounted or may move 3 mounted in the open. 
  4. Woods. No arty, others stop upon entering.  Towns no reduction to move through by road. O/W takes a whole move to occupy if adjacent or on road in the area. Only inf and moutain guns on steep hills, 1 area per turn.
  5. Shooting. Must be deployed/dismounted. Round up remainders of 1/2 or more. Units may deploy and/or change facing without penalty. 
  6. Small arms 1d/4.   Rifles range 4, carbines 3, MG range 1d/crew range 4  
    Artillery. 1d/2 gunners. Range 8 for field gun, 6 for horse/mtn, 10 for heavy.
    To hit. 5,6, hits in open, 6 vs cover. +1 if superior or heavy, +1 vs mass or road column
  7. Attacks. Must stop when moving adjacent resolve melee at end of player turn. Arty may not attack. Both sides roll. Count 1/2 if in road column. 1d/2 if infantry or gunners, 1d/1 if mounted cavalry in open +1d if commander present. 5,6 hits in open, 6 vs cover. +1 if elite or superior firepower, Side taking more hits falls back 1 area if deployed infantry or dismounted regular cavalry, a full move if others. and checks morale if suffering 25% losses. 
  8. Morale. Test if 2 hits from shooting or if lost melee. 4,5,6 stand, 1,2,3 retreat a full move. 0 rout.+1 general with, +1 elite, -1 Militia, -1 under 1/2 strength.
  9. Rally. If commander joins unit not in melee may rally instead of move. Roll 1 die for each 2 figures 5,6 recovers 1 figure. +1 elite, -1 militia.
  10. Risk to commander. If with unit that takes casualties roll 1 die 1=commander hit and removed. If General killed no order die next turn then next in command takes over.


  1. The look of the game is great in the photograph.I probably need to add more scenery into my games.Are the fences of your own creation?

  2. Ross Mac,

    I like the simplicity of your latest rules ... and you have come up with some ideas that deal with some of the things I want to incorporate into my 'universal' rules.

    All the best,


  3. The rules seem like they are coming right along. I have to say that playing any rule set I find I am quite mercurial in what appeals to me. Sometimes I like how all the mechanisms work and sometimes I don't. It could just be that each battle has it's own personality and some match ups hit the sweet spot in whatever rules one is using. The 18th C. rules from last post look interesting too. I like how you adapted them to fit your collection.

  4. Ross Mac,

    The more I read these rules, the more I realise how many boxes on my like-list they tick. Once I have finished my current Waterloo project I hope to give them a try out.

    All the best,