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, March 18, 2019

Go on, have another!

I wasn't going to replay this scenario.
The Queen's Grenadiers easily repulsed the first Rosmark attack.  

Actually, it wasn't until after I had cleared away the troops and the buildings on Friday that I decided that I was in the mood for another game. After a pause to consider options, I decided to reset and play the same scenario using the alternate activation method of just pulling one card to determine who goes first each turn. 
The Maritime Alliance chose to swap the Light Infantry unit for some Grenadiers and put its full weight into the left hook. Rosmark kept the same force but led the attack with infantry this time. The result was the same.
Rosmark decided to leave the village unoccupied and put all of their infantry into the field. The Alliance responded by sending the Grenadiers and mercenaries  over the right hand ford leaving the artillery and cavalry to hold the bridge. 

A charge by the King Michael Carabiniers hit the Grenadiers whose powder had been soaked in the river (their story) and sent them flying back over the ford.

On the other flank the 2nd Carabiniers crashed into the flank of the Queen's Regiment but inspired by the Brigadier's bravery these veterans held together as best they could and went at the enemy like 5's and 6's.  Still the cavalry and the long musket duel had taken their toll and the Maritime advance on their left has been halted. The attack on their right was still in progress but there was faint hope of it taking the town before dark.

The game was beginning to look like a draw but there was just time for Rosmark to make one more attack on the bridge. It depended on luck and timing (aka initiative).  

The Rosish gun was taken as the sun set but the Carabiniers still stood between the mercenaries and the town. The issue was to be decided at the bridge.

Rosmark was revenged.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Build me a Convoy!

Our Saturday game at Huzzah calls for 10 wagons, carts, carriages etc. I decided to see what I have on hand at the moment.

I have work to do!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

MacDuff Counter Attacks

The scenario I chose to play was "Counterattack" from Thomas' One Hour Wargames. The rules were the updated version of With MacDuff to the Frontier. Prince August's series of homecasting moulds  provided the armies.
The Nordmark Naval Regiment stands alone.
The scenario gives "Red"(Maritime Alliance) 1 unit to hold the bridge with 5 more units arriving on turn 3. "Blue" (Rosmark) has 6 units on his baseline. Unknown to Blue (Theoretically - this is where Solo play often requires a bit  of dual personality or at least roleplay.) there are 2 fords, one near each board edge. The winner is the side that holds both bridge and town at the end.

Rather than roll on the 6 unit chart, I prefer to roll twice on the 3 unit chart. That way, there is at least a chance of having an all arms force.

In the event, Blue rolled up 3 infantry, 2 cavalry, and 1 gun while Red rolled up 3 infantry, 1 light infantry, 1 cavalry and 1 gun.

After what felt like an eternity of artillery bombardment, cavalry charges and musket volleys, the Nordmark Naval Regiment was relieved to see the rest of the Alliance forces arrive.
For the last few years MacDuff has offered a choice of activation methods. The new one that works best for straightforward battles is a simple initiative card draw or die roll to see who goes first each turn. The original one which was designed for the confused situations found in frontier skirmishes involved card activation by single units or groups of units under a commander.  I opted for the latter.

The battered Naval Regiment has pulled back into reserve while the Alliance cavalry has met a Rossish cavalry charge and smashed it.

The main thing I wanted to do was to test my newest attempt to get my rally rules working smoothly. The rally rule has caused me  the most problems over the years while also doing exactly what I wanted it to do. At its most basic, the idea back in 1995 was that  not all "hits" were dead and wounded but included all those things that lower a unit's efficiency from men who have frozen up or been temporarily stunned, to disorder and confusion in the ranks to temporary ammo shortages  and so on. Therefore I allowed units to try to recover casualties when the unit rallied. I got a lot of push back from people who could only see wargame casualties as dead and wounded  but that wasn't the problem.

The problem was twofold. One issue was the logistics of tracking an increasing trail of bodies while waiting for a unit to rally and needing to differentiate between those who failed their rally and were out of the game and those who were still waiting for their chance. The second, more important issue, was that successful rally rolls prolonged the game, 5 hours was not unusual for larger games but having to make a decision about who won when time ran out was even more common.

After some fierce fighting the Rosmark forces have been flanked and driven back with heavy losses.
I won't bother trying to list all of the ways I tried to resolve the issues to my satisfaction but eventually I almost gave up altogether. Having a rally phase at the end of each turn simplified the logistics and rolling once for each pair of 'casualties' kept the recover rate reasonable but since rallying and reforming the ranks were tied together in my mind this meant that disorder was almost meaningless as  it was often removed before the enemy could take advantage and almost always removed before it affected the unit's own actions.
An attack by the Rossish reserve regiment has driven the Alliance cavalry back over the ford but Rosmark has taken many more casualties and half of their units have been driven from the field.

Recently, an obvious solution finally occurred to me. All I had to do was separate "reforming", which is an action which is done instead of shooting or moving, from "rallying" which has to do with morale and losses and can be done at the end of each turn and can be at the end of a turn without taking much away from the game.

The Garrison of Smalltown make a brave stand to give the army a chance to escape.

This was the first MacDuff game using the new approach though I used it successfully last week in my non-MacDuff 54mm game. It worked again in this game.  Its not perfect, and sometimes the end of turn rally seems little different from a traditional saving throw made immediately when the hits are taken but if a unit takes hits early in a turn, the difference can be critical  and from a purely "game mechanic" perspective, it works and is close enough to the original idea for me.