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, September 18, 2015

When all else fails, try logic.

Military history is full of examples of soldiers being resistant to change, the old uniforms, old weapons and old tactics have served well, so why change just because this new weapon shoots farther or faster or that men are getting sick because the dress uniforms don't hold up in the field. You'd think some one who has spent so much time reading history and playing with toy soldiers wouldn't fall into the same traps even though there is no threat to life or liberty from failure to do so. The evidence however suggests that despite an openness to trying new things, this Gamer is as set in my ways  as any old General.

The Raid on St. Michel at Cold Wars 2010, this is what my mind wants to think of as a "typical" wargame.

I was able to analyse and determine that a small table would best suit my situation and that smaller games could provide ample entertainment for myself and that I need to reduce my remaining horde of miniatures in order to maximize my enjoyment of them by having space to display them and easy access to them when its their turn to play. All very rational, so what do I appear to have been doing? Yes looking for ways to play the biggest games possible with as many big figures  as I can cram onto the table. Riiiiight.........time to revist the swamp and look at the drainage again.

This little AWI cardtable game from last year is about as untraditional as you can get but each of the 5 games played were fun and challenging and it still dealt with the historical issues quite well.
Various thoughts in no particular order:

Painting on the Hessians is going well. (Brunswickers actually, I've been using the common American use of the name as including all German troops in British pay during the Revolution.) However, I'd forgotten how much I hate painting mid to late 18th uniforms with white crossbelts over narrow coloured lapels. Give me earlier closed coats and buff belts or tunics, preferably with black belts but even with white. No wonder I was plumping for ACW as the next PA series instead of SYW!.

Before having rediscovered that however, I did some math to help get a handle on the monetary cost benefit of under utilized moulds. Basically, to produce a 19 figure Charge! company + 1 member of the regimental staff to bring us to an even 20, costs in very round numbers $60Cdn for 3 molds inc shipping and exchange or $3Cdn a figure. ( or rather the command figures are $10@ while the privates are $1 -very rounded to the nearest dollar) I didn't have a 10 year old stockpile of ingots, it would be a bit more.

In comparison a bag of 20 Sash & Saber figures would the same $3Cdn, 20 Trident a bit more and 20 Scruby's a bit less. But if I cast 2 companies, there is no increase in total cost (until I use up my stock pile) and the cost per figure is halved. In other words, if I do at least 1 Charge! company or a MacDuff battalion then the molds are effectively paid for in comparison to having bought castings from some one else. If I double that I'm ahead. So no more guilt over not having cast at least 100 figures from each mold!

Last night I started reviewing posts from the last 5 years dealing with the subject of portable games and the potential I saw in them, a potential I have only partially reaped. Subconsciously I seem to have been slowly trying to increase the number of figures I can use in each one which might be a form of sabotage on the part of the traditionalist old gamer in me.  I need to revisit this to see if more of the sideshows can be kept small by combining limited numbers of units and by limiting foot print either by compressing  basing or by reducing numbers of figures and moving back towards the abstract visual for those games.

Oddly enough this enjoyable 2011 Hook's Farm game, using old 54mm Britain's and  Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame,  was played on an 8 x 8 grid and thus could be re-played on my current table.


In the interest of trying to have each part of the collection offering something different above and beyond uniforms and tactics, I also need to revisit skirmish games with a small number of figures. Prince Valiant is supposed to be carrying this banner but has been slowly growing towards small battles and I don't really have a musket or modern version at the moment, Something to think about and explore before I decide which way to jump.

Well that's enough rationality for now.




7 comments:

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  2. Bigger is best - although maybe not! This is a problem I wrestle with too!!!

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    1. Bigger figures and more of 'em, but I'm told less is more...

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  3. I smiled and nodded ruefully when I read this post, timely as ever (it's remarkable how often this blog echoes my own personal zeitgeist), as I'm conscious that whatever plans I come up with for a style of wargaming which is more economical of resources, especially space, there's a recidivist pull in the other direction.

    Looking at that top photo, my first reaction was that it looked great, then subsequently I pondered/brooded how much work it would be to set it up and move all the single figures about on the biggish table.

    I think my own drive towards a more compact format will continue, because the practical advantages are so compelling and above all else I do want to play more solo games, but it'll be a bouncy landing.

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    1. I have to remind myself that in most of the big games, I'm co-GM and there's 2 teams of 3-5 players doing tge pushing and dressing ranks. so, enjoying the spectacle but still lazy!

      On the otherhand I'm aways amazed that I can get so much challenge and pleasure out of games a handful of small units at Ron's. What I probably need at home is a better AI mechanism.

      Any way I was "this" close to putting the Britain's on the table today....

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  4. If You can field up Hook's Farm in 54mm on your new table top- what more could one wish for Ross? KEV.

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