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

Sunday, June 25, 2017

First Blood

There is nothing like having the troops hit the tabletop to help sort things out.

I've been a little under the weather  health-wise over the last week as well as having lots of yardwork to do so I didn't manage to finish painting the last batch of new figures until yesterday morning and didn't manage to play a game. However, I did manage to  look at some (a LOT actually) of my old blog posts, mostly battle reports  and rules ideas (a LOT of posts), as well as revisiting some old books while pondering just what sort of games I want to play.

The Nordmark Naval Regiment marches onto its first battlefield. 

The answer was some fast flowing Old School games with a handful of battalions and squadrons. Something Tabletop Teaser-ish with more "General" than 'Sergeant Major" and with most of the friction coming from the enemy, the combat dice and the player's mistakes.  That confirmed my earlier decision to break out Hearts of Tin (HofT).

I was momentarily perplexed by how Charge! companies of 19 infantry, 15 light infantry or 9 cavalry would fit HofT but eventually remembered that my French units were originally based 6 infantry or 3 cavalry or light infantry to a 60mm square base for the initial version of HofT. It was about 10 years ago now that I ripped them off their multi-figure stands and put them on washers or flexsteel bases to go onto magnetic stands. Patient lads! Anyway, that leaves me with an unused drummer for each infantry unit but I have an idea......

Having realized  that I'm in the mood for some traditional Old School type games I decided to do a straight encounter between opposing forces each having a Cavalry squadron, a light infantry battalion, 3 infantry battalions and a gun.
Turn 4. The Maritime Federation gets there first with the most thanks in part to a chance card which stalled the Rosmark road column for a turn. 
 Each side was able to bring on one unit per turn with a goal of controlling the town at nightfall. The game ended after 15 turns or if one side was forced to retreat by losing over 1/2 of its stands.

The Maritime Federation got the jump and aided by chance cards, occupied the town and then just had to repulse a series of attacks until just before dark when  Rosmark's casualties forced the Rosish general to order a retreat.

My new regiment, christened the Nordmark Naval Regiment, was steady in its first fight and repulsed several attacks, taking a casualty in the course of extended bombardment, musketry and fierce hand to hand fighting. Yes, "a" single casualty, lucky with dice apparently.

There were several fierce cavalry charges, much shooting and several assaults but the Rosmark forces never came close to evicting the Federation from the town and suffered three times the casualties. On turn 13 of 15, with Rosish forces on the brink of morale failure, I called it.

Not only was it an auspicious start for the Maritime Regiment, it was also just the sort of game I had in mind, the kind that makes me look forward to playing more including the occasional big one. I'm starting to think again about cutting my table down to 4x5 again and getting a second board of the same size so I can set up a 5x8 for special occasions.
Mid-game as the Queen's Foreigners prepare to assault. I was having real lighting issues and gave up trying to get use-able pictures of the rest.
Before you ask, No, I don't have a written version of the rules, I went by memory and improvised when needed.
However, if I'd had a postcard:

Improvised Rules
I used a card deck for initiative (Red Federation/Black Rosmark) with the usual chance cards included. Units not within 12" of the General had to test when activated.
Movement was 12" if column or light infantry, 6" in line, 18" for cavalry. 1/2 move to change formation etc. Light infantry may move and shoot.
All units except artillery were 3 stands strong and able to take hits equal to the figures (3 or 6). Firing was 1 die per stand for infantry with a range of 12", 2 for artillery with a range of 36". 6's hit troops in cover, 5,6 hit cavalry, artillery and skirmishers in the open, 4,5,6 hit line infantry in the open.
Melee and close range firefights (3") gave line infantry and cavalry 2 dice with both sides fighting and cavalry adding +1 per die if charging. A side in melee that took more hits than inflicted and at least 1 per stand  had to retreat in disorder and spend a turn reforming.

I need to get working on those magnetic stands, writing a good copy of the rules, working on the maps, backstory, personalities, and..oh my.

20 comments:

  1. Very good photos, a very attractive stage and especially miniatures very nice. Fantastic! Obviously you are a machine to make rules of wargame! Instead I continue with my two regulations (nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century) supported by PC for 20 years, although improving them every so often and correcting them to do what they are supposed to do. Greetings from the far Argentine Republic, behind the mists of viral conjunctivitis ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you but the rules machine is an illusion! I wrote these rules in 2003 But I have a restless nature and have been adjusting and experimenting with the ever since. Even my game on squares has the same base.
      I hope you get well soon. We need our eyes to enjoy our soldiers to the maximum!

      Delete
  2. Ross,
    Here is hoping your health improves during these summer months. Very nice photos of your great collections - well done indeed. Cheers. KEV.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kev, just adjusting to a new type of insulin.

      Delete
  3. An inspiration as always - another great post!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great to see your game and I hope you continue to feel better .
    Alan

    ReplyDelete
  5. Unusual for a newly painted unit to do well in their first game , good for them

    ReplyDelete
  6. I hope that your health will be as good as your pictures, especially the last one, fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry to hear you were under the weather Ross. This seems to have given you a bit of a filip though.

    ReplyDelete
  8. An auspicious beginning to a unit's history is usually a sign of more of the same to come. Yes, I understand probability and statistics, but I also understand story. The Mathematics of Narrative inform us of the correctness of Granny Weatherwax's aphorism: 'Thousand-to-one shots crop up nine times out of ten'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a few units that have established reputations, some good, some bad, and kept them for years. Is it an innate quality or is there a subconscious influence on how I use them during games and what I remember from the games?

      Delete
  9. I am glad you thought through exactly the kind of game you wanted to play and then attacked it head on. As we discussed in other posts, why write rules and play a game you don't want to play? Write the rules and play the kind of game you love. In my opinion, 6 to 12 units per side is the perfect battle size. Enough figures and units for fun, but not so many you get weary too soon (or take forever assembling and painting your force(s). I am looking forward to the definitive edition of HoT. Great looking battle and a lot of fun to boot! Who could ask for more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a vague formula in my head for game length along the lines of number of units x scenario complexity x rules complexity.

      The rules were progressing till my laptop died this morning. Nothing radical.

      Delete
  10. Normally the newest units rout first game, not sure what the mathematical formula is but it comes somewhere under "The Law of Sod". So this result is definitely in line with the Archdukes Granny's wise words!

    Hope you have a speedy recovery and get the new meds balance sorted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thing only consistent thing I've found is that Good, bad or in different on their first appearance, it tends to stay with them.

      Delete