Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ticking Boxes

Sorry no pictures. I carried out a quick rerun of Palo Alta in 3 short sessions last night and this morning. Probably an hour in total and maybe 12 turns. Technically I could have carried on for a few more turns but the Americans gave up. I forgot about penalizing the Mexican artillery until partway through the game. Since they were rolling 6's like the caissons were stocked with them, they proved to be the battle winning weapon, sort of the reverse of history. The game was even more polyglot that usual and I didn't take any pictures. 

Over all the rules worked as expected which is good. (and yes tweaks came to mind in the midst of play but I refrained since they will need to be re-integrated into a complete package anyway, with definitions, explanations, less common troop types, special circumstance etc etc. I didn't miss the 
chance of units not moving as quickly as ordered all the time, nor some of the finer points. Actually the fire or move, defensive fire (both already in the rules) added to the simple rally rules seemed to handle all the various issues  covered by the orders test modifiers and old rally and recovery rules, but with less fuss.
Lessons re-confirmed are that single figures without trays take longer to move and doing so adds nothing to the game per se even if it is an enjoyable exercise in itself and thus possibly worth doing anyway. Using them only becomes feasible if combined with trays, not necessarily for movement during the game, but for moving to and from the shelves before and after! That's the tedious part, along with regrouping stray casualties with their proper unit. Not that I can't tell which unit the stray comes from, its just finding it that gets tricky. It felt like after a real battle, "3rd Ohio, Anyone seen the 3rd Ohio" "  2nd Dragoons Anyone know where the 2nd Dragoons are bivouacked? Obviously I need to impose order on my shelves. A tray for each brigade and all labelled and their place on the shelf labelled. A beaverish activity if I've ever seen one.

Anyway, since the little 4 man stands are just so darned convenient, I decided to give them 1 last chance. I cleared the table, adjusted the rules to say 3-5 stands per unit, 1 die per stand, 1 hit takes a stand off. Units fight to the last stand.  I then reset the table pitting my 40mm AWI vs my 1812 Americans only because these armies are both largely still based on 40-60mm 4-6 man bases. The game was over in 4 turns and about 15 minutes. 'Nuff said. 

So, since I'd like to get away from casualty caps and marker dice, either a unit must be 1 stand as per  PW2, complete with quality/effect rule so not all hits kill and fitting nicely in a grid,  or 16-24 individual toy soldiers. (unit being either a battalion or a wing, a wing being a 1/2 battalion but which would be treated as a separate unit for all purposes ). That is settled and projects will be separated into 1 or the other. But which for which?  I suspect that the game that will see the largest number of units would logically be the one for the 1 stand per per unit mode. Since my 1812 froces is already set up for 24 man up to 26 man battalions, it makes sense to pick them as the individual figure game. Since the Indian project is barely started,  they have time yet to pick a route but when I think of all those Mahratta irregulars.........

All that's left is to draw up new  orders of battle and I can get back to painting and basing. First step will be to draw an OB for the War of 1812, one which incorporates the existing chunkies. Once that is filled, I will be able to move on with a clear conscience and have a presentable game that can be put on the table on demand. I need to add about 40 Americans and 60 British/Canadian troops. About 2/3rd of which are on hand and waiting. Oh, and 16 movement trays. Home by Christmas? umh maybe, maybe not.





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