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

Monday, July 20, 2015

Or was that Left Turn Junction?

I did play today, and I took more pictures but.......... while everything worked as envisaged, by the end of the game I remembered why I had dropped this approach. It takes too long with too many repetitive die rolls with little result while slowly working to a conclusion. Which is of course more how the real world works but I wanted  a quicker, more "exciting" game. I also have to admit that while the 1 -4 units per area held up initially, once the armies got really entangled with flanking and breakthroughs, it got really messy as to which units in which areas were in melee with which enemy units in which areas. More trouble than it was worth. (Yes yes, "you were right" to all those who advocated the 1 unit per grid area approach.)

After reviewing options, I reluctantly once again abandoned my renewed attempt to use 4 units + a commander as a battalion. Last fall I had gone from planning those 16 figure units to painting each 8 figure group as a separate unit so that I could paint a wider variety of uniforms. Since the lads are still grouped in 8's, I bowed to the inevitable and went back to the simpler, cleaner method of  1 unit per area. Since I don't need to track more than 2 hits on a unit (3rd & 4th are marked by removing stands) I have enough casualty caps to use them to mark hits while the bingo chits mark pinned units. Eventually I may add some more graphic markers. When I play a skirmish game I'll call them companies and probably call them battalion or wings or 1/2 battalions for everything else.

2nd time around. The last isolated garrison is surrounded and forced to surrender. Same battle plans both times and Oberhilse  lost both times. I think they needed a reserve and more active defence.
This meant falling back on a slightly different group of tried and tested methods including fixed dice  and 4 hits per unit. I reset the game. Same number of stands, 1/2 the units, 1/2 the time, twice the excitement. I kinda forgot to take pictures till the end so this one will have to do.

I'm just translating the jotted notes into rules again then its back to painting figures, writing up the background a little and starting to look at some work on terrain. I want to be into a campaign by September, both North and South of the mountains.


  1. I was thinking that your multiple stands per grid cell would have worked in the same way, but visually more easily, than the stacking conventions in the SPI/AH type of board game. If close combat situations spanning several cells becomes an issue, maybe some kind of visual 'aide memoire' can be devised?

    1. Yes I think it worked well enough, it just lacked drama as a game and wasn't the sort of short, light nerve wracking narrative filled game I had in mind. I just give up and play Battlecry but I'm stubborn.

      The problem with the close combat wasn't clarity on the table, it was trying to decide what "looked" right and what seemed rather gamey and it was trying to decide whether it was better to break it into single combats or settle the whole affair as a series of interrelated combats. In other words a decision I had not foreseen and didn't want to make mid game.

      I'm still pondering the 1 stand companies as manoeuvre and combat units but 4 stand battalions as narrative units as it were. But, combat would have to be clear and deadly, no slow built up of hits or a full game will take hours and be a tad boring.