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, June 18, 2018

More Cowbells

I've had trouble trying to figure out what it is about my Square Brigadier rules that feels like its missing for this Fantasian adventure.

The Morschauser base that the Square Brigadier was originally built on is fast and emphasizes the over all plan and general military  principles (concentration, maintenance of the aim etc) which is great for even small battles. It "kinda" lacks flavour though for low level scenarios though an active imagination can still invent such things to explain what is going on "below the grain".

I've been playing about with various alternate mechanisms and even found myself tempted to break my taboo on stealing recent, copyrighted published, original, mechanisms from anyone  that hasn't urged readers to borrow and modify their ideas to make one's own rules. However, after much thought, what's lacking for the sort of game I'm thinking about for the Fantasian campaign, is more colour than substance. The sort of colour and faux detail that I used to get from MacDuff.

That's given me some ideas for rewriting the rules with minor technical changes and bigger language changes to help deliver a different feel  for this Border campaign.

New Fantasian Recruits.  I want these lads assembled and cleaned up before their officer appears.

In the meantime, I have been casting! Tomorrow I will finish the Officer mould and then get serious but I not only have the rank and file cast for my Fort Henry Guard but also for my next Fantasian unit. This one will be inspired by Britain's Confederate Infantry set with riflemen firing or 'ready' plus command, all in grey with kepis except for one pose in Butternut and slouch hat.

I didn't have the metal version but I did have the Eyes Right version which followed the same pattern so have been looking forward to doing this unit.

15 comments:

  1. On the rules having the wrong 'feel,' it might help to play a test game with someone who doesn't know the setting flavor you're aiming for, and see what they think. It could be you're overthinking. Happens to me with practically everything I write.

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    1. True but they weren't written for the kind of game that I'm starting to think about which is a slightly different kind of game than what I wrote them for. They still work as intended for that but I am trying to give each collection a unique "feel". That might be a forlorn hope (sic).

      I also want to make any differences obvious enough that I don't confuse myself mid-game!

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  2. I have come to a similar conclusion. The smaller the number of units, the more “chrome” you can add to the rules. Call it color (or colour) if you like. I look forward to seeing what you decide to add. The rules link on the right does not seem to work for me. I get a message about being denied access. Can you help with this? I would love to see the most current rules SB and HoT.

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    1. AH-HA for some odd reason the page was trying to open in edit mode. Got it fixed and updated the links. There is no link to a generic SB as it doesn't exist in one place but there is a link to the War of 1812 version which is basically it without too many irrelevant bits.

      There is also no link to Hearts of Tin until I have time to figure out which, if any, of the dozens of drafts and proposed variants is the definitive version. This will need to be followed by much editing, adding and splicing. Won't be soon.

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    2. I still can not get to them. I get this message:

      “Your current account (my email address is shown here) does not have access to view this page. Click here to logout and change accounts.”

      Changing accounts seems to do no good.

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    3. OK, That was weird. When I checked this morning the link was opening the page in edit mode so I republished the page and the link seemed to work but since you were getting the same error I checked the code on the link page and sure enough it was still trying to edit the page. Not sure how that happened but it should be fixed now.

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    4. Success. Thank you for your persistence.

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  3. A themed Random Event table can help bring narrative to a game without adding rules overhead or fundamentally impacting on those mechanisms that already work.


    A table based around 2D6, with the most common outcomes sitting in positions 6,7 and 8 works well (rather than aD10 based table), with perhaps a roll of 7 being a 'no event' result.

    It is giving the excuse that generates a roll on the Event Table that needs consideration. I have rules in which a Random Event Table is rolled against at the start of every turn and other rules in which rolling doubles during play activates the Table.

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    1. True. I already have some "chance" cards built into the initiative deck but used to have a separate deck of chance/event cards to be drawn when triggered. (They were just printed on business cards). I used to pull one a turn but included 2/3 No Event cards ("A dog barks" etc) but with my current card initiative where face cards trigger an event I could skip the dummies and just pull an event instead of pre-assigning things. It would give a wider range. Chance cards certainly have a long history my first wargame book included them as a suggestion.


      However, colour was probably a poor choice of words. The rules in use were currently kept very vague as a sort of 'universal' set intended for quick games. For example, because of the intended scale, firefights at under 100 yards and bayonet charges are all wrapped up into one "combat" mechanism for adjacent foes with good end results in keeping with the "below the grain for the force commander" attitude but with a certain lack of flavour for toy soldiers. The main tweak will involve readdressing this to look at different ways to add that bit of narrative back in rather than imagining it afterwards.

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  4. Your Figures are coming along well- won't be long and you'l have them based ready for action!

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  5. It must be very satisfying to see the units progress all the way from the melting pot to the wargames table. I must summon the courage to get my efforts into a mould and see what comes out...

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    1. It is satisfying indeed, doubly so for original figures but even for conversions but still satisfying with store bought moulds.

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  6. You cannot copyright a mechanism. Copyright is in the words that describe a mechanism. So if you describe a mechanism in your own words you are not breaching copyright.

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    1. Mike, I'll take your word on it, I claim no expertise in Canadian intellectual property rights and am not concerned about legal action, only about trying to come up with something sufficiently different to be able to feel like its different from what's out there, something that feels "mine" the way that With MacDuff to the Frontier felt different and mine when it was published.

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