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, November 13, 2015

Boxes, Little Boxes

Finally, I may be on the verge of following in the footsteps of those pioneers who have successfully  converted dollar store stuff into cheap wargaming accessories!  Just need to add a top floor inside and repaint.

Xmas gift box houses in the making. Very close in size to my scratchbuilt foamcore stone house.

In other news, re-re-re-re-basing has commenced. The new bases have been cut from salvaged masonite fake wood panelling, probably 60's vintage. As I fiddled with the troops I had a nagging feeling that there was something I was forgetting. When in doubt, dally.

At last I remembered! The big battle 'thing' is intended to be an occasional change from the Teaser type games that I expect to remain my usual fare.  Since I want my shiny 40's to be my main "thing", they should be geared to the Teasers leaving the 1/72 ACW lads to fight the occasional Big Battle. This is exactly what I had decided last December for the same reason.  Phew!

So, I am long way from a rules draft but the framework is coalescing in my mind.  There is nothing terribly innovative I fear though perhaps mixed a little differently. The main time period will be from 1837 to 1869 with provision to include the War of 1812. Since my ACW lads are based on stands 1/2 the size of tge 40's, I may be able to use the same rules for both with all measurements and ranges being halved for the small guys (in other words measurement in base widths).

Each base or stand of troops will be a game entity or "unit" representing an average of 3-400 men for infantry so a small battalion or a wing of a large battalion. Brigade formations with stands touching each other will be important for controlling movement. Possibly this will mean a return to DBA style orders dice with 1 PIP needed to move a 'formation' or else Brigade orders with out of command rolls for units not in formation. With potentially over 150 1/72nd stands or 100 40mm ones on the table in a big game, I might not want to track 4 hits on every stand but rely instead on some sort of disorder/recoil/rout combat result.

More revolutionary for me is that I am going to try to write them as solo rules pitting me against a sort of manual AI rather than as a convention game with me roleplaying both sides. We'll see how that goes, it may be a 2 step process where I get the rules settled and then add the enemy action and reaction  tables.

Gotta keep them little grey cells alive!

9 comments:

  1. Re-re-re-basing is a bit of a labour of love and a sign either of patience or insanity. You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.
    Love the buildings! Very promising.

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  2. Instead of tracking the hits you could have a casualty roll when a stand takes hits. Roll a die and if it is equal or lower than the number of hits: bye-bye. If greater, the stand is fine. Hits don't carry over.

    Use a regular d6 or a d4 if you have such a thing. It does give another opportunity to grade units i.e. Guard units roll a d8, etc.

    But it is more die rolls and may mean looking for "special" dice when the rolls are needed. D6 of one, half a D12 of the other.

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    Replies
    1. Good idea. I want units to be fairly persistent though. I was considering of a 2nd roll for reaction or morale though. Still thinking!

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  3. I'm following this all with great interest, not least because my own semi-permanent table is almost the same size.

    I can see what you mean about tracking hits on so many stands. As to rebasing, I've decided controversially that it's creative and actually a good thing, because otherwise existing basing puts rules development in a straitjacket; OK, I accept the theory needs more work to sound plausible... :-)

    I realise that when playing solo over the years, I've almost always been fiddling a non-solo set and it's actually quite rare to have a set of rules explicitly designed for solo play, so the initiative you mention towards the end of the post is quite revolutionary, and certainly worthwhile I think.

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    Replies
    1. Steve I agree about the rules limiting effect, of course, feeling compelled to 60mm bases might have saved me 6 years of exploration but I'm sure it was good for me. I am fairly certain that figure retailers would rather I had bought new armies instead of rebasing.

      It is certainly going to be a challenge to attempt to codify what I do by instinct. We'll see.

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  4. Dear Ross,

    You mentioned that you were thinking of four hits where, I assume, two hits would disorder the unit, three cause a recoil, and four a rout. Why not use pipe cleaner pieces on each base? A white pipe cleaner would indicate a hit, yellow a disorder, blue a recoil and red a route. Two hits from any single cause would cause the unit to be bumped up another level possibly because of the shock of having a large chunk of your unit knocked out at one time. The other would be a "bump up" if the hits came from a unit which had not been observed either to the flank or rear. The single volley brought by the twelve US Sharpshooters and the lone company on the flank of the 20th Maine on Little Round Top apparently significantly led to the route of the attacking Alabamians. Pipe cleaners are cheap, easy to cut up with sprue snips, and come in a variety of colors. Other alternatives are results printed on card stock or blank die cut counters and for small games with limited numbers of units the roster sheet. With the latter, you can make up a blank sheet with a space for a unit's ID and next to it four boxes representing the number of hits it could take.
    The interesting thing about this system is that by filling in the first box prior to a game, you can represent units that start with shaky morale. Units with extraordinary morale can have an additional box which would represent their stubborness in the face of damage.
    All the best,
    Jerry

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    Replies
    1. Close Jerry, I picked up a pack of red faux pipe cleaners last month, chopped a few up and used them in the last 2 of the One Hour scenarios. They work well for the 40s, less so with the 20s since there is no room. Im not going to eorry about them right away though.

      The system I've been using for the last few years differentiates between slow erosion of capability or cohesion (hits) and current state caused by intense close range fighting.(normal/disordered/routed) so one could drop to strength 0 (25-50%) casualties and removal from battle without getting disordered or could lose a round of disorder 1 vs 0 and be forced to retire temporarily with only 1 hit.

      Delete
  5. Dear Ross,

    You mentioned that you were thinking of four hits where, I assume, two hits would disorder the unit, three cause a recoil, and four a rout. Why not use pipe cleaner pieces on each base? A white pipe cleaner would indicate a hit, yellow a disorder, blue a recoil and red a route. Two hits from any single cause would cause the unit to be bumped up another level possibly because of the shock of having a large chunk of your unit knocked out at one time. The other would be a "bump up" if the hits came from a unit which had not been observed either to the flank or rear. The single volley brought by the twelve US Sharpshooters and the lone company on the flank of the 20th Maine on Little Round Top apparently significantly led to the route of the attacking Alabamians. Pipe cleaners are cheap, easy to cut up with sprue snips, and come in a variety of colors. Other alternatives are results printed on card stock or blank die cut counters and for small games with limited numbers of units the roster sheet. With the latter, you can make up a blank sheet with a space for a unit's ID and next to it four boxes representing the number of hits it could take.
    The interesting thing about this system is that by filling in the first box prior to a game, you can represent units that start with shaky morale. Units with extraordinary morale can have an additional box which would represent their stubborness in the face of damage.
    All the best,
    Jerry

    ReplyDelete