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, June 18, 2014

Moroccan Bound

Its hard to believe that three months have passed since I got all excited about the feel and flow of a test Atlantica game and surprised at a wash of nostalgia, but there was Huzzah, both getting ready and then afterwards putting some thought into next year, then this Privateer thing and well here I am, finally back at it.

It may not be apparent from the picture but my room is in a bit of disarray at the moment as is my table itself. (Yes that's the bottom of a piece of it.) However, neither this nor a host of other gardening and renovating chores have completely  kept me away from picking up on where I was.

I was taken by surprise by the nostralgia I felt after the Treacle Creek game in March, especially since it was at least partially triggered by something about the look of the 3 figure stands like those above.  The nostalgic, Old School, attraction I have to single figures is largely borrowed.  It has more to do with the pictures in Little War than my personal experience. I tend to think of my standard basing/rules style as stands or elements with infantry based 2 deep but really these were a development from the late 80's, before that my armies were all based 1 deep, usually with some elements split to allow figure removal, surely the least efficient system of all? (Esp in 15mm) However, I never based in 3 figure elements so why did something about that look strike a cord?  The answer surprised me but a quick look through clippings confirmed that  the bases reminded me of various AWI pictures in Gene McCoy's Wargamers Digest. Huh! How about that?

However, the basing was only a small part of the "feels right" feeling. More important was the pace and feel of the game and the over all look of the `armies' of smaller footprint units on the table. The last Atlantica game I played before Huzzah actually rolled back some of the decisons from that Treacle Creek game, including cutting the test bases to allow for figure removal but I didn't like the feel of that game as much as the two previous ones so its one step back to units of 4-6 stand which is pretty much where HofT began.  As a result, in between other things, I have been  experimenting with exact base dimensions and considering what it would cost to order yet another wave of precut bases vs what it would take to do homemade ones.

One material I did not consider initially were the Moroccan Orange crates that I use for all sorts of wargaming terrain, movement trays and so on. However, they are cheap, easily available, easy to cut and tasty to empty.  The prototype is a complete success and only took a few minutes so we are On the Road and like Webster's dictionary,  we are Morocco bound, just wood not leather.

If the plan works, I will have my room sorted enough to get the 5x6 table ready for a game on Sunday.


  1. I'm not sure where my own interest in single figures comes from, but lately I've come to think that it's somewhat counter-intuitive for close order infantry in the horse&musket era. The three-figure bases do look very handy.

    Good luck with getting the table ready for Sunday, I find there are a lot of distractions this time of the (Northern Hemisphere) year. Note to self, buy a house with a smaller garden or none at all... :-)

    1. I sort of managed it, just ran out of time and energy to use it.

  2. Ironically I remember you having to convince me to reluctantly change from single figure basing to multiple many years ago.

  3. Dear Ross,

    Since playing one of your NQSYW games with huge regiments of individually based figures, it is apparent that that type of basing reflects two things: a game system that uses individual figures to determine firing and HtH combat and personal convenience. IMHO, either is a perfectly good reason to follow various demands for basing. The good thing about individual basing is that it gives you a number of options in developing your play. You can use a totally skirmish level rules set or alternatively wrestle with whether you want to have your troops fire in two or three ranks in big battles.
    Really large figures do look better singly based, IMHO. It's simply a question of esthetics and my affinity to Old School systems like thos of Charge or The Wargame. If you were playing with 6 mm figures I would offer the opinion that those itty-bitty figures simply look better based in units reflecting either two or three deep firing organization.
    Hope the nice weather finds you in good health,


    1. Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.comJune 22, 2014 at 8:50 PM
      Jerry, you're not wrong but my conclusion after several years of exploration is that large units of individual big figures work best on large tables. For some reason the tightly packed elements and smaller units allow me to accept a greater degree of abstraction in scale, etc.

      Thanks for the wish, I just hope good weather finds me!