Viewer's Choice Celebration MiniCampaign

It has now been over 20 years since I launched "With MacDuff On the Web" and nearly 10 years since I launched my 2 blogs: Gathering of Hosts and Battle game of the Month.

To celebrate the years and the friends and the million hits I've decided to run a 3 game mini-campaign in late October. By popular vot e it will be set in the mid 18th Century.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Looking through a rose coloured moniter

Last night I managed 1 night at home in the country and managed to free up an hour or so to try out the original MacDuff. If I'd had a full day I would have tried something more complex but since every thing was set up, I tried going through the scenario yet one more time. I won't recount the action again but in brief, yes, I still the rules better than the current one but I am reminded that it still won't handle any but small games in a reasonable time, especially if both sides are largely regular troops.

Points noted:

  • Using a card draw for unit activation is a real pain if one is playing solo on a 6x8 table. Good exercise though. There is a lot to be said for both the alternate methods I've tried with these rules in the past: simultaneous moves according to written orders and igo-ugo based on an initiative roll. I see no reason why all 3 can't continue as options depending on the context (solo, 2 player, multi-player with gm etc). A revised sequence using a more traditional movement phase followed by a shooting phase would facilitate this. At one time I thought the resolution of shooting and movement throughout the turn as units were activated was an important part of the feel but I am not longer certain, dropping it would simplify many things.
  • The original command radius of 24" is too generous, which is probably why I dropped it to 12" for the FIW version but the idea of only rolling when beyond command control was better than rolling for every unit every turn. The control test and modifiers need some editing. 
  • Its a longggg tedious process to get rid of good quality regulars permanently. They rally too well. This was no accident as this was one of the features that allowed late 19thC British to face 4:1 odds and survive but when 2 regular armies face makes it hard to reach a conclusion except through turn limits and careful, well thought out victory conditions. There are several simple ways to fix this without removing it entirely as was done and I like the feel of units taking heavy losses, recoiling and being rallied and led back better than been driven back by lighter casualties and a morale check. The original idea was that the casualties were in part a sort of morale or cohesion result as well as physical casualties and thus a separate morale test was double jeopardy and  waste of time and dice roll
  • any other quibbles are minor but some are actual improvements to things that work. 
That's probably it for games for April, too busy relocating and renovating but work has already begun on the logistics of a small ancients mini-campaign for May/June (3-5 games expected). Casting and painting for the 19thC will finally resume at the same time in preparation for a summer campaign.  



  1. Again, I enjoy your thoughts on rule sets, Ross. Please continue to share them when you feel like it.

    -- Jeff

  2. I, too, am enjoying this blog and your "Gathering of Hosts" blog.

    Thanks for the effort.


  3. Jeff and Jim, thank you both for the encouragement. I'd rather be chatting about this stuff over a cuppa or a pint but this is the next best thing.