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

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cautious Optimism

Wolf! Wolf!

No, seriously, there has been real progress on the 1812-1860 front, rules, organization etc, all coming together.

The Royal Fusiliers and Lafayette County Volunteers
 face off again in the 1st of 2 playtests.

Having reduced the number of separate armies/periods that I'm keeping and bearing in mind my rule that each of the remaining periods must offer a different sort of gaming experience, I have dropped the idea of using small variations on the same rule set for various horse and musket/rifle collections. This has allowed a much easier path to a very different approach to the game even while using some of my goto mechanisms.

This new set of rules has strong links to Hearts of Tin but essentially treats each unit as 1 stand  like the Square Brigadier did. Tthe sequence of play though is very different,  a variation on an old Featherstone one which I tested once with MacDuff. After determining initiative (card draw again in this case) 1 player moves then the other followed by a joint combat resolution. Here, for the first time, I resolve fire and close combat all in one phase using 1 mechanism. My thinking was that since each turn represents some 15 - 20 minutes, worrying about things like who fired first or whether or not infantry charged by cavalry managed to fom square or stood in line to repulse a charge or maybe got run over is beneath the grain. That is stuff for Colonels and Brigadiers, not the Model Major General in command.  His concern is the battle plan and the use of reserves and the like.

In essence the tactics aren't shown, we, as General,  roll some dice and see the result of the attack we ordered.

When all is said and done, despite the lack of low level detail, it felt to me more like a conventional "wargame" than many of my other gridded experiments. 
About 1/2 way through the 2nd test game. Some readers may recognize this variation on a classic scenario. The armies here represent an all arms force of about 5,000 men a side.
 Red's plan was an attack over the bridge and a holding action elsewhere. Blue's plan was an attack up the center,  over the ridge and across the run. Here we see the highwatermark of  Red's attack on the left and Blue being driven back up the ridge into the woods in the center. So much for plans.

So there is a new link at the right for  essentially all new Tin Army (Link)
I'm still debating names but this is in many ways a successor to Hearts of Tin and it does deal with armies albeit small ones rather than being a skirmish or Brigade action. Model Major General is another option and I am open to suggestions.
It was a 15 turn game. On turn 11 Blue was on the ropes, just a few hits from his break point after a surprise flanking move by Red's right wing cavalry and light infantry overran first one then the other blue battery shattering a regiment of Volunteers along the way. By the start of turn 14 both sides were within 1 or 2 hits from their breakpoint after some devastating counter attacks by Blue's cavlry reserve and some desperate defensive actions by battered Blue infantry units holding patches of woods against superior numbers. By the end of the turn a final all out, do or die assault by Red's rallied units sent Blue into a full  retreat. 

I could and should say more but its late and I'm heading into Halifax tomorrow to deal with another Martian offensive. 

The final stalemate on the right after assault and counter assault.


  1. I like the name Model Major General.

    1. So do I. Stake your claim to it before someone else does!

    2. An excellent name! As the advert says 'It does what it says on the tin!'

  2. Ross Mac,

    The new rules have a simplicity about them that is very attractive. I look forward to seeing them play-tested.

    All the best,


    1. I was pleased with the 1st game but I am looking forward to more.