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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Busted!

As much as I enjoyed the last game, there were a few niggling things to clear up about the look and feel of the game to get it to match what I imagine.


This is just the sort of thing that's in my head.
Photo lifted from Day of Battles FBook page, but according to Bob Cordery originally published in a Wargamer's Newsletter article about Gerard de Pre.
One of these was how to handle buildings. I spent some time playing with options for the ceramic and proposed new homemade buildings as well as whether or not 6" rather than 5" squares would help. I also broke out the little wooden houses.

Another was still a lingering wish that I could use each stand as a game piece. Things came to a head when I found myself writing and erasing rules for changing formation. The idea is that these sorts of details are being handled by Colonels and Brigadiers, not the General Officer Commanding, and should therefore be taken out of the player's hands. Failure to do their job being included amongst the unseen things represented by the dice. However, having 2 stand units brings a constant itch to play with unit formations.

Neither of these issues are new so I scrolled back through the archives looking at relevant posts.
This is the sort of look I'm actually after, but with bases full of close order troops rather than the small numbers of individual figures. From a game last February.

Two things quickly became apparent.

One is that while the little wooden buildings are a bit too small, the bigger ones, still under scale as they may be, change the feel of the board down towards a more grand skirmish game. I'm going to have to put nostalgia aside and make new, purpose built, towns and farms in order to get the "battle" look that I want.

A late 20th Century Colonial game from last May with each stand as a unit and multiple unts per square.

The other thing is that I've encountered the multiple units in a square issue before and now that I've been playing some non gridded, closer to original Morschauser Medieval games, I basically know how to handle the issue using based units where adjacent units can't get mixed up. Properly worded, the rules won't be hard to apply during a game, the difficulty is in writing, clear, concise, rules to describe how to do it. In other words, the real issue isn't that the game will be hard to play, just hard to write!

 In both cases, to get what I want is going to take some work from this lazy fellow!  I hear that's good for me though. Luckily the winter campaign season is close. We had our first dusting of snow yesterday.

12 comments:

  1. Have you considered printed paper buildings as a quick low cost way of trying out a couple of different scales? Just to see what fits.

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    1. Good idea. However, my having 6 thumbs when it comes to assembling paper and needing to fiddle with a graphics program to alter dimensions to be tall with a small footprint it would be too much work, foam core and paint is easier and faster for me.

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  2. The photo appeared in Wargamer's Newsletter but I'd have to check the issue (if I still have a,copy).
    Neil

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    1. Thanks Neil. That makes sense. I think I'll do what I should have if I hadn't been in such a hurry and just drop Chris a note and ask him.

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  3. Notice that on Mr. Sweet's table the buildings retain a decent height, but their "foot print" is minimal.

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    1. I did notice that. Some of my quickly knocked up wooden ones are similar and I was thinking that that is they to go with big figures on a small table. I'm also intrigued by so e 2d ones I've seen built as a cross so they face all 4 sides.

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  4. Ross Mac,

    Are you sure that it is Charlie Sweet in the first photograph? I thought that it was Gerard De Gre, who taught Joseph Morschauser at Bard College.

    I will check my records and get back to you.

    All the best,

    Bob

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    1. Ross Mac,

      I found the following copy of an article about Gerard De Gre's wargames from the WARGAMERS NEWSLETTER that features the photograph that you have used.

      I understand the De Gre worked with Charlie Sweet to develop at least one set of wargames rules, so it is hardly surprising that the two men are sometimes confused with each other.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Bob, this illustrates the danger of taking something off the internet without double checking the source. The table looks very much like Charlie's in the other photo I have seen but even after making allowance for the beard, it does not appear to be the same individual as in the other photo I have seen of Charlie.

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    3. Which is to say Busted again! Thanks for picking that up Bob.

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  5. The lead picture has more the look of a map, over which one might fight an operation involving battles played out over a 9, 16 or 25-square locality within the 256-square 'theatre'. It's an idea that I have had in mind for my 19th-Century project. With this in mind, I was using a 4-foot or 3-horse stand as a brigade, 3 or 4 stands a Division, and a gun stand as an Army Corps artillery park. Army Corps would comprise 9 or 12 infantry stands, 1 cavalry stand, 1 artillery stand and a command stand representing corps troops, staffs and commands. Whether a logistics element ought to be added, or is subsumed in the command stand, I have yet to decide.

    At any rate I seem to recognise some of the buildings in the lead picture as light card types that I have in my own collection of buildings (especially the ones in the foreground across the river). Seeing that, and your comment in respect of building scales and their compatibility with your own set up, induced me to take a quick, partial pictorial inventory of my own buildings. Having taken the pics, I'll be posting these on my blog spot shortly.
    Cheers,
    Ion

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  6. I suspect that the trend towards hyper-realistic buildings, such as the MDF factories with catwalks and whatnot that one can buy from 4Ground and others, is pushing the hobby towards 1-1 scale skirmish gaming, since when one has, say, a catwalk, one wants to put a sniper on it, and then of course have him fall off. Not terribly useful for big scale games, and a lot of tabletop gets used up.
    Even some of the lovely 6mm buildings I have from Timecast have very large footprints, and can only be rationalized as representing a village or town. Your idea looks very sensible.
    One of the things I like about 6mm is that my figures are based such that I can resist the temptation to fiddle with formations. The appropriate formation is assumed, allowing me, as you say, to be a general.
    Cheers,
    Michael

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