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

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Modern Musings

I know, I know the 1950s/60s is no longer considered modern by most people but compared to Greeks and Persians the designation stands.

As soon as I started looking at rules I realized there was a major problem,  I don't know what I'm doing.  Not in either sense. What are my units; sections, platoons or companies? What is the scale? Who is the player?

Looking at Memoir is not much help since it explicitly does not have one, units might be anything from squads to battalions depending on the scenario. Its about feel and the different uses of the arms and how they work together.  Its also a fun game. Both of these are objectives that I applaud but that's easier said than done.

Out of habit, I called my units platoons and operated them in company groups. When I first started gaming WWII all the rules  I used were at a low level where a tank was a tank and a group of 10 to 20 infantry was a platoon. Things at that level made sense except for the time factor, I never trained as an infantryman but between being in the Black Watch cadets and doing Basic Officer training, one picked up a bit and I can remember getting to do the  occasional weekend exercises, humping through the bush with an FN rifle and a tinpot for a hat. Just enough to know how confusing it can get even when everyone is firing blanks not real bullets and aren't really trying to kill you.

I think Panzer Blitz was my first exposure to a game where a tank was a  unit etc, not that I played many games. There was probably a link somewhere between that and designing home rules in the 80's where units were platoons but I can't think what it was, maybe CD although I hadn't played it yet. Anyway, looking at the gridded game, if each unit is a platoon, each square is probably  around about 100 yds and a 20pdr tank gun can easily fire across the table if it had LOS. That's definitely not the kind of game I want to play.

If as seems logical, I promote units to companies, I hit the snag, I haven't studied that level of command and 20thC warfare enough, have no personal knowledge and have no rulesets to crib from! It will also cause some severe visual disconnects between the 20mm models and a small playing board. I'm not sure yet if that will help or hinder!  Anyway, after reading a little about a couple of Korean, Indo-Pakistan, and Sino Indian battles, I think its the right level. Its goung to take some thought to do that as a game of army men without rosters or too many markers but is the task I see before me.


  1. Hi Ross,
    I reached the same conclusion a while ago, which is why I gave up on creating a company-based gridded rules set and just used Hats of Tin with unspecified unit- time- and ground-scale. :)

    1. Ooh thanks for the reminder, I had forgotten all about Hats of Tin. I think I spent half my day reinventing it or something quite close.