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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Nil Desperandum

I've been busy taking care of business  (BTW 4 lots of  my old 15mm ACW on ebay (seller rmacfa) but have found bits of spare time to ponder rules, occasionally putter with dice on a corner of the table, review old posts and to watch youtube videos while sitting with the dogs.   

The result can be summed up as follows:

1. Despite the practical issues on the big grid I like the 1 stand units with only 2 hits. If I can't solve the multiple units in a 6" grid issue, I may even fall from the ranks and try a measuring stick but I'm not there yet. (A 3" grid is out because terrain and accessories won't fit.)

2. The "hit/rally hit" thing is still good in theory and bad in practice, too indecisive leading to long games where little happens. The June game worked better although  "give ground" needs to be adjusted to stop the unit from just retaking the position.  I did try a "pin/auto-remove pin" rule last fall and it worked ok but it didn't stop units from gaining ground, just slowed 'em down. Using the give ground and miss your next turn feels like "they tried to advance and were stopped".  

A shot from the Nine Years War.

3. Shortly after looking at the Nine Years War games from 2014 again with their mix of 1/72nd Boers and various uniformed troops on a greener, more settled, tabletop, I happened to watch a video, Foggy Dew played by the Chieftains and Sinead over scenes from the movie The Wind That Shakes the Barley. Its a sad, disturbing movie and I don't want to go there or to a VBCW, SCW etc type setting but the look of soldiers and armed civilians in early 20thC garb amidst villages, hedges and green fields had me suddenly slapping my head. I don't actually need a veldt/prairie or an 1812-1837 setting to get that sort of mix and so don't necessarily need separate theatres of war and dedicated armies.  I can just add some non-uniformed militia/volunteer units to any of the Atlantican campaigns with  a bit of thought. Less duplication and work and I can leave the Indians, Pirates and Metis for earlier wars as already depicted. I need  to study the map and recorded history of Atlantica but the Hougal Secession,  a 2nd Blue River Rebellion or another Origawn crisis all have promise.

Anyway,  some revised rules ideas to try this weekend.

Revised Post It Version of the New Tin Army

May be played on grid or measure using base width or agreed upon "lengths". I will be using 3" lengths on my 6" grid. Quadrants essentially
Units are destroyed by 2 hits, 3 if Elite just 1 if very Poor.

Sequence of play: IGUO

Chance Cards. (Optional) Make up custom deck or use playing cards. Assign red to 1 side, black to the other. Cards apply to that player. Only face cards and Aces are effective, others are no effect. Decide maximum number of turns to play and pull that many cards for a game deck. When the deck has been played the game is over. If joker appears roll d6 and discard that number of cards from the deck. At the start of each turn pull 1 card before rolling for initiative.
Sample chance effects:
King. Roll d6/2 and that many units may add 1 to move this turn even if attacking.
Queen. Roll d6/2 and your enemy may choose that many units that must remain halted this turn.
Jack. Roll d6/2  and your enemy may choose that many units not occupying cover that must immediately retreat 1 move.
Ace. A unit of unexpected reinforcements arrive or 1 destroyed unit is rallied and may be returned to service.

Infantry Move 2 OR shoot
Cavalry. Starting mounted move 4, starting dismounted move 1 OR shoot (inc dismount).
Artillery Move 2. Horse artillery move 3 Heavy moves 1.
Terrain  Stop on entry. (1 length) unless native infantry. Some may be impassible to some troop types.
Road +1 to move but no shoot or attack.

Isolated A unit not within 6 of a leader must roll 4,5,6 to move. +1 Elite, -1 Levy

Shooting. 1 unit at a time.
Ranges: Rifles 4, MG 6, Arty Light 8, Field 12, Hvy 16
2 dice per unit.  5,6 hits.
    +1 per d if an MG or other rated superior firepower.
    -1 per die if inferior firepower (carbine, untrained etc)
A unit may cancel 1 hit if it is in cover or it gives ground.

Melee. May not move adjacent (within 1 length) unless attacking or ambushed. Must resolve melee if adjacent during melee phase. The active player is the Attacker regardless of tactical situation. Attacker chooses order of melees to be fought. Each unit must pick 1 enemy to fight.
Defender Round. The defender rolls or gives ground.
Attacker Round. The attacker then rolls or gives ground. The defender may cancel 1 hit if in cover.
Resolution. The melee will continue in rounds until either 1 side is destroyed or gives ground.
If the defender is destroyed or gives ground a unit that attacked this turn must occupy the defender's position. Cavalry that attacked this turn and won may choose to resolve another melee after occupying the enemy's position.

3 dice per unit 5,6 hits     +1 per die if shock troops

If a commander with unit in melee roll 1 extra die 4,5,6 = hit, 1=cdr killed

Giving Ground.  A unit that gives ground retreats 1 move. It may not move or shoot on its next turn. It may not retreat adjacent to an enemy or through friendly troops or across impassible terrain.

Reform. Two adjacent units of the same type that are not with range and LofS of an enemy and have their Commander within 2 may move together. 1 unit is removed, the other is restored to full strength.

Brigade Morale. A Brigade  consists of a Commander  and 3 to 6 units. when over 1/2 of the units are lost the Brigade is exhausted and may not shoot or attack and must give ground if attacked.
Army Morale. When all of the Brigades in an army are exhausted or over 1/2 the Brigades are destroyed or forced off table.


  1. Ross,

    Good to see you back in harness - I think film you are referring to is "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" rather than the Foggy Dew.

    1. Yes of course it is. I couldn't remember and meant to go check before I posted but then I forgot that too! Its been that kind of week. Anyway, thank you! Fixed now.