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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Action in the Pass

Its been a busy week but today I squeezed in a small Bolt Action game at Ron's, 54mm in Tunisia.
My Recce patrol runs into a Jerry patrol in a pass through some rugged hills.

It was a fun little game but I've rarely seen such a hard to read, poorly written set of rules that can require flipping through 2-4 sections in 2 books to find some very simple, basic, rules buried in a mass of trite trivial narrative in various places.

Losses have been heavy but our plucky lads have given more than they've taken. I feel a counter attack coming on. If we can just hold it... 
I still don't know if I like them once I get past the frustration. Some aspects work well, others just seem odd compared to my reading or against past expectation and habit (which obviously may comfortable rather than right) and seem to lead to unlikely tactics and too many fight to the last man situations. None the less, it was good to get the 54's back on the table and the game was fun and reached a definite conclusion after 4 hours. (Over 1/2 of which time was probably spent leafing through the books or discussing the possible intended meanings of what was found.)

It seems I have developed  a preference for rule books that seek to explain how the rules work rather than trying to entertain.

It was nip and tuck at times but while the Jerries poured in astounding quantities of very accurate fire, our blokes just wouldn't lie down and die. One of their 1/2 tracks did reverse off table at high speed shortly before the end though so I guess the Jerry mucky-mucks will know that we hold the pass.
An update on the War of 1812 in a day or so.

28 comments:

  1. I've read bolt action and tried to like (although never played) but just don't get it. You're game at least looked fun though!

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    1. Sometimes its the people you play with that make it fun. I can't help but wonder how some OS stuff would be. Battle or Featherstone. But must not get diverted right now....

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  2. Game looks great Ross. I recommend Chain of Command by Too Fat Ladies.

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    1. Hmm, if Ron were to buy them I'd be bound to give them a try but from the few times I tried a Lardy game and every game report or training video or interview I've seen/heard on any of their systems I don't think I like them.

      But its me not them....

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    2. I have a copy of CoC but I don't think I could play them. Seems too much like work.

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  3. I'm drooling. I have paired desert OHW 20mm armies...but 54mm as well as the ones I have. My fingers are twitching. The rules thing though gets to me. I have never played BA but it seems OTT for the kind of solo bash I play here. It's either PW or OHW. Of course the suggestion of some OS set like Tin Soldier plays is attractive. Thanks for sharing...now do I have any Amazon points?

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    1. I would think either of those would work. Our 54mm armies were built in the 90's for use with Rapid Fire! but we had just enough room to fit up to 200 54's on Ron's table then. I wonder how many figures would be needed to play Featherstone's rules....

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    2. Egads but I dreads to think. Of course the size battles would have to be smaller but at least they would be quicker than some modern rules.

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  4. Operation Warboard may not have been the best set of WWII rules. But they are probably the best explained set of rules.

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    1. I have a battered 3rd hand copy somewhere but never did more than flip through them.

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  5. I like the dice activation system in Bolt Action, though for me, credibility gets a little thin when things like a Katyusha (rocket launcher) is allowed on a tactical games table.

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    1. The dice in a bag is fundamentally the same as the older playing card draw system used by TS&TF amongst others. But they do make handy reminders of who was ordered to do what.

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  6. Ross, the game looks good. As for Bolt Action - it clearly has something going for it as it is being played. I think its main virtue is that it is bright and colourful and appears anywhere Ospreys are sold.

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    1. and the 'fist full of dice' approach means extremes of fortune are possible so very Hollywoodish results are possible.

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  7. Ross Mac,

    You're playing tabletop wargames with 54mm figures and I've spent a day last weekend photographing the same size figures during a re-fight of the Battle of Leipzig on a lawn; is this the start of a 'New Age' of wargaming?

    All the best,

    Bob

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    1. No Bob, just a continuation of how we began. But it did feel like a "New Dawn" in the 90's when we got back into 54's.

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    2. No it's the twilight. Our eyes are so dim anymore we can't paint never mind see the little felllows anymore.

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  8. Great looking terrain and figures, I've been tempted by Bolt Action but I don't have the patience for wading through rule books.

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  9. Hi Ross,

    Oh Yeah!!! Just thought I spend a few minutes on the computer and visit a couple of my favourite blogs and BOOM! the first thing I see is this great post! Fantastic! Always so wonderful seeing big guys in action! Especially Western Desert WWII action! As for for Bolt Action, maybe give it a couple more times. It has become my main WWII set these days simply because I find myself craving simple and heroic Hollywood-like games where I get to throw lots of dice and play with my Toy Soldiers. But despite my about blathering about Bolt Action, I love the fact that you guys originally created your 1/32 forces for Rapid Fire!! Ross, every one of my Deetails WWII guys is now screaming at a chance to play Rapid Fire! I wish you and your gaming friends were not on the other side of the country!

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    1. Ah you would have loved those games, a couple of hundred 54's on table, Vichy Syria, my Foreign Legion and Senegalese backed by a Somua and certain Chi Hai's pretending to be Renaults against Ron's 8th Army and Aussies with their Matildas. Or my Canadians backed by Shermans pushing across Sicily into Southern Italy.

      Those were the glory days!

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    2. Sounds amazing, Ross! Very inspiring too! I feel a whole lot of daydreaming coming on...

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  10. That pass looks a bit familiar.

    http://jim-duncan.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/old-school-ancients-battle-in-pass.html

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    1. Hmm, you're right, maybe our game was actually set during the Greek campaign!

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  11. hi Ross,
    This was pleasantly off-beat. A couple of points. My group never fights to the last man. When we get to the point of one man left in a squad we assume that he runs off to tell higher ups what happened or surrendered. As for the rules for this game would it help for someone simply to condense the important stuff and neatly put it on a piece of oak tag or, failing that, would it be possible to condense the rules onto one 8.5 X 11 inch piece of paper having typed everything on the computer. The good part about the latter process is that if you decide to change or add or delete it can happen quickly and neatly.
    All the best.
    Jerry

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    1. Jerry, I can't remember the last time one side was wiped out. In this case his last squad got the drop on one of mine but whiffed, doing little damage. That was the last activation of the turn and on the next turn the activations favoured me, I passed morale then rolled well
      And wiped him out before he could react. Very Hollywood. If he'd rolled average and gone first the odds were he would have routed mine and 2 of my support vehicles eould have withdrawn like his had and it would have been a toss up.

      Very Hollywood, squads tend to die rather than hide or run.

      if Ron decides to persevere with a set of rules he always does​ cheat sheets including any house amendments. The jury of 2 are still discussing the case however.

      The basic rules are 6-year-old simple and easy to remember but once past tge basics there are a myriad of special case rules hidden in odd places, not just in the rule book but in the supporting army books giving stats and special rules and clarity of writing dies not appear to have been on the agenda. There are also choices made which are probably love/hate depending on opinions on history and tastes in games.

      Anyway my rule is at someone else's house with their toys, their rules apply and I will help make the game run..

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    2. Jerry, I can't remember the last time one side was wiped out. In this case his last squad got the drop on one of mine but whiffed, doing little damage. That was the last activation of the turn and on the next turn the activations favoured me, I passed morale then rolled well
      And wiped him out before he could react. Very Hollywood. If he'd rolled average and gone first the odds were he would have routed mine and 2 of my support vehicles eould have withdrawn like his had and it would have been a toss up.

      Very Hollywood, squads tend to die rather than hide or run.

      if Ron decides to persevere with a set of rules he always does​ cheat sheets including any house amendments. The jury of 2 are still discussing the case however.

      The basic rules are 6-year-old simple and easy to remember but once past tge basics there are a myriad of special case rules hidden in odd places, not just in the rule book but in the supporting army books giving stats and special rules and clarity of writing dies not appear to have been on the agenda. There are also choices made which are probably love/hate depending on opinions on history and tastes in games.

      Anyway my rule is at someone else's house with their toys, their rules apply and I will help make the game run..

      Delete