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

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

With MacDuff on the Farm

There are more test games coming so I'll skip a detailed description of the action as well as some thoughts around designing convention participation games till another day and talk a little about the rules.

Trying on 12 man units for size.

To save repetion I would like to refer readers to 2 posts from 2010.

The first is what I look for in a wargame.

The second gives my thoughts on friction in a wargame

The short summary of the last 3 solo games is that With MacDuff to the Frontier is now, finally, meeting all of my criteria. They are giving me just what I want.

Does that mean that I will abandon all other rules? Don't be silly. I have new requirements dealing with convenience and a potential break through on efforts on the gridded game front!

Now we see the units beefed up to 16.

Ok some longer comments. A couple of key decisions have answered all of the concerns I had with the original variable moves from a practical POV. By stripping out most of the fiddly bits and unclenching enough to just live with the occasional extreme moments and by looking at the base roll as the restricted or basic move that can be doubled in some instances rather than a maximum to be reduced by almost everything, the game had a faster pace and a more free flowing feel which allows players to occasionally suprise the enemy or to have a clever combination foiled by a subordinate. All done in a quick and integrated one step method.

The light from the windows made it particularly  hard to take a shot of the whole table but I wanted to give some idea of the layout. On both flanks American columns advance along paths through the woods opposed by Indians and rangers while in the center militia advance across the open fields against regular infantry and a light gun. Obviously I could use a LOT more trees and bushes. This is a 20 square foot table, picture how naked my old 48 square foot would have been but how much more room for maneuvers or more figures!

Once again the fire chart with the double hit on a 6 provided just the right sort of result. (Thank you WRG for that one) Close range volleys were usually average, taking several turns to resolve but every now and then there would be a devastating volley that would decide the issue or an ineffective one allowing the enemy an opening.

I was uneasy about not having the double hit in melee but it works. Infantry is best relying on firepower until the enemy is shaken unless he is defending cover in which case closing is best.
The cavalry may seem weak vs infantry but the pursuit move should normally help especially if the enemy is in the open and unsupported. Still, its best to wait until the infantry has been shot up a bit.
Charging the gun with a battalion of militia that had already been shot up seemed like a dodgy move. With 3 dice of cannister at least 2 hits would be likely and as many as 6 were possible. As it turns out no hits at all was another possibility! Apparently the gunners must have been too busy limbering to shoot, after losing the melee they managed to outrun pursuit covered by their supports, just, not for long. Next time it was the brown coated Canadian Regiment and no one got away.

The revised shaken rule is having the right result. Units do not automatically flee the table but they become so vulnerable and ineffective that not pulling them back is a desperate act.

The chance cards are still fun. The last game was almost reversed when the Americans pulled a card allowing them to stop one enemy unit from moving. There were the Elite Highlanders, general at their head, about to charge into a continental unit that they had just decimated with return fire.

Saved by a chance card but on the next turn the American general errs and finally succeeds in turning a clear victory into a bloody draw in the King's favour.

Now, if the American general had just considered that a bunch of indians that had been sniping at him from the woods might charge into his rear when he led the Blues against the Jagers who could only either stand at 1:2 without bayonets or flee the table, or remembered that more dice with a better chance to hit doesn't guarantee success or that you can't really retreat when surrounded.....

Next post its back to well almost the present with Mk3 Hats of Tin.

1 comment:

  1. It has been a long way Ross! It good to know you now have what what you were looking for.
    "Of Horses and Courses" is one of my favourite posts and now that I have played several games with different rules, I could say I agree with you about Control vs Friction in wargames. So I think I will like this new version of McDuff rules. I am anxious to test them.
    Hope to see more McDuff games in the near future.
    Regards, Cesar.