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

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Game for an Off Day

Much of my time and energy over the last week, at least on the non-rainy days,  has been spent ripping the rotted bits off the roof of our over-sized garden shed and replacing it. Yesterday was a bit of an extra push to get it roof tight by sundown before the rain came again and I found myself tired and sore this morning without the oomph to get up to much of anything useful. A low energy game of toy soldiers seemed like one way to help pass the day but despite, or because of having over a dozen choices of size, ,scale period, rules etc., that wasn't as easy to arrange as I expected. 

For starters, several of my collections have reached the point where the story matters to me and I didn't have the energy to work out or record a story line. I wasn't in the mood for a big game that required thought not to mention the 'work' of pushing a lot of figures about, nor did I feel like digging out a lot of scenery. Some other things just aren't table ready, flag poles without flags, tattered old figures or mixed up units and the like  and I have been hoping to field less and less such games. Last but not least, for somethings, I just wasn't in the mood. If I actually owned a copy of Battlecry, more  Hex terrain, and suitably organized armies, or if Ron lived closer, that would have been just the ticket .
Obviously I need to give that portable wargame set up some more work and thought.

At last, my eye fell for the 3rd time on the core Oberhilse and Faraway armies, still based for Hearts of Tin. Not enough for a good game of HofT I thought but I have been meaning to give them a run through before deciding to rebase for MacDuff. I'll just write it off as a forgotten incident from one of the many wars and not worry about why or exactly where the battle was fought or what if any the consequences were. 

Since the table still had a selection of terrain pieces scattered about amongst other debris such as flocking tins, books and trays of unpainted ACW, I just cleared the table and arranged the hills into a pass. Red was given 2 Brigadiers, 2 units of light infantry, 2 of line, 2 of cavalry and 1 gun to defend the pass with. Blue got 3 Brigadiers, 1 light infantry, 4 infantry, 3 cavalry and 2 guns. The lights were 2 stands and rifle armed, the infantry were 4 stands and musket armed with the Blue Guards being elite. .

As I suspected, the game rattled through quickly and was enjoyable enough  but lacked the depth to be really engaging. Luckily it was about right for the state I was in. Blue's battle plan was decided mostly by dicing for options. Red's plan was decided on before the game and adjusted when needed, or just a little bit later than needed towards the end. Blue ended up attacking up the right with all infantry while the cavalry observed on the left and threatened the red cavalry. Several checks to see if the plan changed indicated no change. The first units in the first Blue brigade broke with little damage done but they rallied and the Blue Guard then broke the Red line. Red had decided to hold the line and not risk any spoiling attacks. The plan was to hold a cavalry unit back as a reserve but it got sucked into close support on the right and when the red infantry suddenly broke and didn't rally, they were too late to move back and plug the gap.

The rules worked well again. The red position was a formidable one and if the Blue Guard's elite status hadn't carried it through, the red line would have held.

My only concern, one I had last game, is that the artillery is too weak so I have given them another die and changed the vulnerable target bonus from doubling dice to adding 1 per stand.

Once again the multi-figure bases were easy to handle when setting up and moving troops but awkward in and about terrain and markers were more tedious and less fun than removing casualties. Given that I would need more units which means going back to 4 man bases to fit them on table, and then still being crowded,  the game has confirmed my intention to play HofT with the 1/72nd ACW and use MacDuff for the 40mm games, even if I keep playing with the existing multi-figure bases for now. Actually, I ought to reset the table and do just that tomorrow.


  1. Perhaps the artillery crews had been mending roofs all day as well-hence their lacklustre performance?

  2. Well, that's a thought but they did roll really well.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Anyway, nice photos and a great period to play!

  5. Ross: Of all your proyects, the Faraway-Oberhilse is my favourite. For me, it has the Young-Grant Imaginations spirit but with your own and unique personal touch. It is always a pleasure to read about it.
    Talking about this particular setup, I think this kind of hills works better with individual figures, a cloth terrain with hill-shape pieces of polyestirene under it is the best choice if you employ multi-figures bases.
    Kind regards, Cesar.

    1. Cesar, I thought of you as I was taking the pictures and looking at the hills. :)

      I think that once the troops are back on washers they will be able to use both types of terrain, as long as the hills aren't too steep.

      The cloth is more work to set up though.