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

Monday, August 21, 2017

After Words and Fore Thoughts.

So...Hooray! The Prince Michael game was as enjoyable as I had hoped, anticipated and remembered.

I did discover a small problem with my new " less than a base width apart" modification to the group rule when one loose group moved in between two other loose groups and suddenly it looked like I had a great long winding group facing various directions and fighting various enemy groups. Oh! My next try will be just forbidding individuals to move to within 1 base width of another friendly figure  unless joining or creating a group of touching figures.

I am always thankful when I can recover from a bad decision. In this case, the conjunction of the unexpected doubling of my Elastolin collection two years ago coupled with the ever present pressure to reduce my collections to fit the available spatial, mental and temporal limits that I work within led me to err. My idea had been to finally let go of my 40 year old 25mm medieval veterans and my occasional Prince Michael skirmish games and base up the enlarged horde of Elastolins to play the battles for revived Medieval-Fantasy campaign as my only pre-gunpowder collection. It was a solid logical decision except that it neglected my emotional ties to my oldest 25's and to Prince Valiant and the transition was rushed and the newly rebased figures didn't automatically fit into the look and feel of the existing fantasy backstory had not yet shed the Prince Valiant inspired one that I had built up over the previous 6 years. The result was games without "heart" and a lack of any 1:1 skirmish games, something that is on my  "one of each of these types games" list.

From Saturday's game. The defenders needed GM intervention to separate an accidental merger of unrelated groups.

That brings me to another, more recent  bad decision which I am forcing myself to cancel before it gets out of hand. Once again this comes down to my current situation where I am trying to do more than I can handle. For some years now I have been trying to select a small number of collections and campaigns to work on to give maximum flexibility and coverage of types of games while maintaining outside commitments and making maximum use of what I already have. This is partially due to resource constraints, especially space, but also due to an awareness of less time ahead than behind and thus a desire to getting on and making the best use of the next few decades.

To be more specific, last year I had decided to reduce my War of 1812 to a small, gridded (hex or square), historical,  card table, game and to quietly drop my plans for a full fledged horse and musket, Imperial vs Native Kingdom, full battle, campaign.  Instead I was going to keep two "battle" collections: my Prince August, Semi-flat, Not Quite the Seven Years War and my 1/72nd ACW collections and three small, semi-skirmish, collections one 40mm 1840's, one 54mm 1870's, and one 40mm early 20thC.  Some sort of memory lapse (I'll be kind) recently led me to start work again on the 1840's big battle Colonial wars project (the one that the disbanded Mexican War figures had belonged to...). It was the realization that my current plans implied an addition of at least 200-300 figures plus terrain and additional shelf and cupboard  spaceto hold it all. Not to mention time to play the games when already I'm not able to find enough time and energy to play the other games that I want to play even more.

So, (Sorry CK) it is again cancelled in favour of polishing the existing collections for small semi-skirmish games.  

This sort of thing is in, pitched battles in this theatre of war are out.

I've also decided that my ability to stage actual historical wargames has become too Iimited. At this point I can do small to medium sized ACW battles and can cobble a small 1914 game together. My 1812 collection has been stripped to the point where I can't stage a game without the 1820's and 30's troops. I was supposed to be turning the 1812 collection into an historical "cardtable" game but have backslid into once again mixing it in with my early Victorian figures for old school battles with 18-24 man battalions. That will be stopped and last year's plan enforced.

Something like this 2014 Crysler's Farm game but probably on hexes.


To do this I am going to turn to a grid, possibly hexes, and either reorganize into "units" of 4 figures in a single line when deployed, each representing around 200 men or  1/2 a battalion or else leave them as 6 figures in two ranks as a battalion meaning fewer game units for the same size army.  With some re-painting (galvanizing?) and the addition of a few more figures: chiefly gunners, cavalry and special units, I already have enough appropriate figures to do the largest battles that took place in Upper and Lower Canada at that scale. This will be a simple, Canadian history related, tabletop game, that I can 'plop' down in minutes for a visitor, especially  one who is new to wargames.

Airfix (and friends), carrying the 'conventional historical wargaming' banner.


So what's next? Well I still have yet to baptize my new 1/72nd ACW stone wall.

9 comments:

  1. Keeping a cap on the number of figures is a good idea , the trouble is that a big part of my hobby is I enjoy painting toy soldiers , Tony

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    1. That's how I got here!

      If you count 15's, 10's 6's as well as 25's, 40's, & 54's, I probably still own considerably fewer than 1/5 of what I've painted. Weight wise probably 1/3.....

      I don't enjoy it as much as I used to though. Ever increasing time and effort now required to achieve ever deteriorating results .

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    2. Struggle with 15mm now , find I'm doing simpler paint jobs - no shading , toy soldier style , they look just as good at 'wargaming distance' on the table , Tony

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    3. Isn't the solution here that Tony paints toy soldiers for Ross?

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    4. No I can still paint faster than I can find somewhere to put them. Someone needs to build me a bigger Wargames room!

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  2. I can relate to the problems of time space, and that real bummer, temptation. The gradually increasing awareness of one's mortality doesn't help, neither. My real problem is organising my stuff for easy retrieval - one I have never got close to solving for most my WW2 inventories in particular...

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  3. Ross Mac,

    I was sitting in my wargames room yesterday and thinking about the amount of stuff I own ... and coming to the conclusion that I need to rationalise my collection. The problem is that I don't want to go through the weeding-out process!

    It is something that I MUST do sooner or later. It's just getting up the enthusiasm to do so that is the main problem.

    Good luck with your plans.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Similar ruminations on time and space have crossed my mind. I have yet to take action. It's always of interest to see how others manage these issues.

    As far as your initial point about distance between figures, this is something I stumbled across early on in my rules tinkering/writing. The convention I use for any of my home brew systems is that figures are either in formation or not. If in formation, then all figures are in contact with other figures in the unit (whether it be geometric or something more amorphous depends on the system). Regardless, no individual figure can be closer than 1" from ANY other figure (that includes other formations). I also add the stipulation that formations cannot be closer than 1" to other formations, except in the case of being in contact with the enemy (when two attacking units may need to be closer than that to contact the enemy). So, good find: it works!

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    1. Oops. In the above, it should read, "no individual figure not in formation may be closer than 1" to ANY other figure..."

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