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.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Free State cavalry on the march.  
For some reason when I look at this image, I hear the instrumental version of 13 Days of Glory from the opening scene of John Wayne's The Alamo.

This Nine Years War will be what I call a "Narrative Campaign". In other words, no maps, no logistics and record keeping, I just make up a story to explain how we got from the last game to this one. 

For example, the first game was the opener so I did an encounter between advance guards. Since Sawmill Village is an old favorite and only requires 6 units on each side, I prepared that many units. The invading Nottinglish lost so I saw the next game as some sort of rearguard action with reinforcements.

Before I got the game going I decided to make the reactionary forces an alliance. That suggested a game involving two poorly coordinated armies trying to join up with a pursuing force trying to separate them and assume a central position. 12 units a side happened to be what I had available so I started there crossed with the useable terrain on hand.

Up to this point I hadn't even thought about where the Imperial troops came from but if there was a shared border why hadn't the Emperor sent a division or more over the border rather than a brigade of Colonial Marines? 

With one army wearing  red coats and blue pants and the other wearing blue coats and red pants, there also lurks the possibility of a left side/right side sort of tension. I decided that since the armies hadn't actually joined yet that there would not be an over all General and that commanders could not order allied units yet.

An overview of the table at the start of the game.
This table is a mere 1/6 of my main table a couple of years ago. Hmm. 

After some experimentation I ended up with a small town at a T junction. One end of the road running through the town ran over a bridge towards the Imperial landing area while the other end ran off towards the Nottinglish camp.

The Nottinglish started deployed in and around the town. In order to win, the allies have to join up and control the road joining the two camps including the bridge, town and road exit. The on table force is a General, heavy gun, machine gun,
mounted rifle unit, 2 Guard infantry units (shock), 2 infantry units.

The Imperial forces start off table and need to roll a 6 to bring on a unit of shock cavalry. Once that is on they begin again to dice with a 6 bringing on a general, a gun and 3 infantry units.

The Free State forces enter in column on the road. First a commander and 4 units of mounted rifles, already on table then moving on, the General, a 2nd brigade commander, 2 units of sharpshooters 2 guns, and 4 infantry units including 1 Elite. Their goal is to sieze the road junction and prevent the enemy from joining up.

The armies will have an equal number of units but the Allies will have more infantry and artillery if the Imperial troops ever arrive. The Free Staters are more mobile, have better command control and will be more concentrated with a bit of luck. They also have a faster force which can hold its own or better in a shooting match but which is weaker on the attack in melee. Since so many of the figures are Boers I thought about giving them superior firepower but decided to go with the basic unit types from the rules trusting that they would work as is.
Burghers Sir! Dozens of 'em! Bugler, sound Alarm!

Next post, the game!


  1. I like the looks of this so far.
    1/6!? wow

  2. Well this table is 3ft x 2.5ft. My old table was 6x8 ft. Almost room for a mini campaign.

  3. Great looking game and splendid fellows...

  4. Just a reminder, Ross . . . there are quite a few "mini-campaigns" using Grant scenarios posted here:

    Just click on the links (blue within parentheses) to go to the full explanation of each mini-campaign.

    -- Jeff

    1. I remember Jeff, once the armies are done, I'll probably incorporate a few of them.

  5. Ross Mac,

    This is looking good!

    A 3' x 2.5' table is about the size of the tabletop that I can set up both in my wargames room and the 'new' conservatory without any problem. Your wargame has shown that the small, portable wargame can provide players with excellent gaming opportunities, and that small does not mean limited.

    I look forward to reading your battle report.

    All the best,


    1. Bob, my question now is do I focus on using the bigger table with a grid with more squares and thus more scenario possibilities and larger forces or on using it for a grid with a similar number of larger squares accommodating bigger figures?

    2. Ross Mac,

      An interesting conundrum. Knowing your love of 40mm and 54mm-scale figures I suspect that larger grid squares and bigger figures might well be the most attractive option ... but are both possible on the same board? If you used 6-inch squares they will suit your larger figures, but a small dot in the centre of each larger square would divide it into four smaller squares that could be used with smaller figures.

      All the best,


  6. I like the idea of "Narrative Campaign" for wargaming. I have used it in the past. Of course then comes the problem of how do you decide the goal of the campaign and when is one side the clear victor? That's usually when I start running into trouble.

    I was wondering what size is the squares on your table? I am thinking of going back to squares for my games and like your landscaping.

    1. Ah, the goal of this campaign is easy: provide several years of gaming. Having one side win before I'm tired of it would be problematic and call for deus ex machina or GM interference!

      The board is a grid of 10x12 3" squares. It was designed to fit the space I had available with the smallest squares that would work with what I have and look good to me. I need to do more terrain, esp hills to match the board.

  7. That is an ideal goal! I have to stop trying to use logic when the idea is to have fun with toy soldiers. I have been looking at my "Toy Soldier" battles and your campaign idea is just what I need to continue this game. With your narrative campaign goal and C.S. Grant's scenario books the possibilities are endless!