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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Meet Me At The Oasis

During the final decade of the 20th Century a couple of us got into 54mm WWII. We started with Rapid Fire! then experimented a bit but drifted off to other things early this century.

After our last game of Airfix Battles, Ron decided that it wasn't quite what he was looking for so he picked up Bolt Action and yesterday we gave them a whirl. I'm not sure why I was expecting him to stay with his 20mm figures.

Once again 1/32 Airfix Ghurkas and Afrika Korps clash! Somewhere in that oasis is a vital well.

As usual, we like to do things our way and adapt rules to our purposes rather than mindlessly obeying so I shouldn't have been surprised when Ron hauled out the 54's  and we started discussing adapting BA to the hex grid.

For the curious, a basic squad of 5x54's will fit nicely in a 10cm Hexon hex so we just declared each grid equal to 3" for ranges and moving etc, rounded odd numbers when they appeared and declared that the 1" rule applied to adjacent hexes. Seemed to work well.

The highpoint of the battle. Several of Ron's units are pinned in the open and the infantry I had rushed into the oasis have located and seized the well.
The basic rules were pretty straight forward and made sense. There were some odd omissions and odd inclusions on the quick reference sheets which resulted in a lot of time spent checking and rechecking for basics like morale check details but by the time a couple of turns had been played it was flowing well.
As darkness fell (ie I realized that I was already an hour late) Ron offered me a draw since I still held the well, (technically). Since I only had 1 lone infantry squad left, my heavy weapons, which were all pinned down, were covering the approaches that his three remaing units of superior infantry no longer needed to use, and he had an infantry unit adjacent to and arguably contesting for control of the objective, I declined the generous offer and ceded the game.
One game is almost never enough to judge a set of rules by but we had fun and overall they seemed to work without too many oddities. Basic fire and move tactics, fire zones etc seemed to work and so on.

There were a few Warhammerish oddities such as the deadly Ninja-like rules for the Ghurkas which we only discovered when Ron charged one of my units to see what would happen and we cracked the close asssault rules. Things like that can be dealt with easily enough by house rules though.

There will be more games.


  1. The marriage of 54mm (some classic and wonderful poses there) and Hexon goes surprisingly well. I think you did well to get through and enjoy your first BA game so successfully as there is a lot going on in that rulebook.

    1. Well we stayed with the basics, no vehicles etc. The main rules seem to be written for those without a lot of miniatures experience, the basic rules seem to be pretty simple with old school roots with a new shine.

  2. Aha - I see you're not the only tinkerer in the Great White North.

  3. Oh my knees are a quiver. Just when I start losing my enthusiasm for 54mm WW2 I see things like this. I am currently dithering over grids, so the brief discussion over the merits of one hex size over another was helpful. Although I have BA books, I have not been excited by them (too many rules) the layout here still meets my aesthetic standard (that is, the game needs to look like a game). However, I am still enamourec by the square grid for some reason.

  4. The core system is actually very simple but they tske a LOT of book to lay them out. The add ons and extra are, no doubt, endless.

    I like how the hexes work but homemade square terrain is easier.

  5. I will have to take another look at the rules. I am dithering between 4" and 6" for 54mm. Experiments with a small square grid (3") shows that battles can be crowded with three men to a space and rules for vehicles 'fudged'. The bigger 6" grid would alleviate that and fortunately I have the space. Now if only I had the time.

  6. These rules are a hoot. I have been bitten by them in 28mm but plan to play in 15mm as well. I also bought Chain Action by TooFatLardies. Lots of neat ideas but more complicated than BA. Your %$s look the bomb!

    1. The %$s are Ron's not mine. I could see these being playable by a team.