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.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring Planning

Another mini-project not quite finished. In order to match the existing figures I just need to apply sawdust and glue to the bases and paint. That of course involves locating where the cookie tin full of sawdust hid during the latest furniture shuffle.......could be a while. Painted bases will serve till then so I put them away.
Six guns a side with 6 more in the box and a number of crew painted or unpainted waiting for me to decide that I have room for more.
Spring has arrived in Nova Scotia, earlier than many years but no earlier than expected, just warmer and drier. On Sunday I spent most of my intended game time outside raking and burning (and thinking). I am slowly making progress on reducing and consolidating to fit into my physical and mental space. As usual more doing and less day dreaming would help clear things away of course. 

I am still stuck with one thorny problem that appears beyond my ability to resolve without a violation of my plan one way or the other.  The goal has long been to avoid essential (vs technical) duplication as much as possible while not getting rid of things I want to keep and not trying to force myself to play games and paint figures that I don't want to. To this end, I have been trying to find another use for my mid 19thC 40mm toy soldiers or else a different way to use the 1/72nd ACW troops since both collections are organized at the same level for the same era of weapons and tactics. 

Technically I could argue that its not duplication since the 40's have been painted for a fictional rather than historical setting and the 1/72nd armies can field more figures on the same size table but for all practical purposes either collection could be used to fight any given scenario if uniform details are ignored and so do form an essential duplication. My attempts to avoid this over the last 5 years have included trying to bump one or the other up to army level games or down to near skirmish levels, trying to force the 40's to go backwards or forwards in time to smoothbore rifle or breechloader tactics or to at least have one be a portable cardtable game and the other a full table game. None of these worked for me so I am at the point of acceptance. 

One set of rules for rifled musket era warfare with traditional OS battalion/regiment sized units, 2 scales, 2 different campaign settings; one historical, one fictional. I'm also going to drop the idea of doing the War of 1812 a 3rd time and will just roll the Shako types in as 1850's troops in the old uniforms. One set of fictional 19th C 40mm troops, and one of historical 1/72nd figures for the era, one set of rules, much simpler. So be it.  
A shot of a few of the metal figures that were mixed in with the Airfix ones in the donation.
Now to figure out when to squeeze in a game so I can see if the new batteries are up to snuff.


  1. Hi Ross,
    Seems like if you run the 1/72 as strictly historical ACW (even with fictional campaigns and battles), then you could provide your 40mm armies with gatling/gardner guns, better repeaters, and better breech-loading artillery to get a somewhat different gaming experience in a similar era. Depending on the degree of non-historical elements acceptable in Atlantica, you could even add armored trains and/or armored steam-cars.
    A campaign based on control of a major river system or two with more balanced naval forces than the ACW presented could also prove interesting, with ironclads battling it out and providing gunfire support. It might even be more fun if neither side had ironclads available, possibly allowing more freedom of river movement and even deep riverine raids along with the usual cavalry variety.
    Just some thoughts. You usually get my gaming juices flowing.

    Ross, are you planning on doing any map campaigns in Atlantica (or elsewhere), or continue with the narrative-joined scenario-based approach?

    1. Good ideas but the armour and modern weapons will be well covered by the early 20th century games. The earlier period will probably keep an experimental gatling since it exists but it will slide forward a little to the Crimea and Indian Mutiny era as originally planned with more cavalry and some smoothbore armed units. Ideally the focus will finally give me time and space to do more colonial type games in the north against the occasionally mentioned native kingdom.

      No map campaigns yet but I do intend to do more mapping and background and then eventually there may be some proper campaigns.

  2. It is possibl that the answer to the dilemma might lie less in what the troops represent and can do, but in the settings. The settings for the ACW varied quite a bit, but even in relatively settled regions, the country fought over was thinly populated. The conflict wasn't particularly a Colonial one, neither (though it has some elements of one). That gives two alternatives for your 40mm armies, and I think there is a third:

    1. War in a densely populated region, such as Europe.
    2. Colonial warfare, with relatively small forces. I was thinking along those lines for my own 19th Century project (until I changed my mind). The two Colonial Powers, (Ruberia and Azuria) were to comprise Brigade groups of three or four battalions, a squadron of cavalry, and a battery of rifled cannon. The Ruberan infantry battlaion was to comprise 4x12-figure companies, a Gatling or Maxim detachment of 4 figures, and a command element of three. The Azurians would be similar, the only difference being 3x16-figure companies, and the mitrailleuse detachment. Both sides' horsed squadrons would have 16 officers and men; and the gun battery, four guns or howitzers.

    Such a project ought to have included a native force or contingent, which might range from a militant native Power taking a dim view of these interloping Europeans, or perhaps annoyed locals disturbed in their peaceable farming pursuits allying themselves temporarily with one side or the other whilst hoping both would go away...

    3.Something a bit more akin to the Mexican Adventure of the mid-1860s, again with the troops representing small forces operating in a vast, almost empty, theatre. Someone wrote a really good series about such a project in Wargames Illustrated maybe 20 years or so ago.

    For the small-scale wars, you might want to include a train of three or four wagons as essential logistic support in an ill-provisioned country. I tend to think of the battle technique in such conflicts as being the kind of loose and flexible type that is supposed to have characterised the ACW in its closing months.

    1. Thanks Ion, there are some good thoughts there though I'm not sure that the main theatres of the ACW were sparsely populated even if the population was less dense than much of western europe. Its rather a matter of the distribution being different I think with more individual farms strung along roads rather than being clustered around towns and villages. Pretty well every battle fields straddles various farms with towns nearby when you look at detailed period maps.

      Regardless of that I am not starting from scratch. The country and the nature of the armies and warfare is set already by scores of web and blog reports over the last 8 years, at least for Southern Atlantica. Northern Atlantica has 2 big areas of unknown around a native kingdom that has been mentioned but never in detail. The hope was always to come up with some cross between India and Mexico with battles inspired by the Mexican American war and Indian Mutiny (which is in period for the Enfield rifle).

      Amongst my dead ends have been some tentative essays back into lower level games with companies as units but my head isn't there and I have accepted that the armies are set with 12-18 man battalions as scenario units.

      The typical Oberhilse and Faraway battles will continue but I'm hoping that the last year of reduction in numbers of 'projects' accomplished in part by re-homing some troops and re-furbishing others will soon bring me to a place where I can start finally building that native power with a mix of regular troops and wilder native tribesmen/levies (and some more exotic terrain)