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, November 29, 2017

A Fortunate Unfortunate Oversight.

There are limits to how many times one can play a simple scenario over and over again. I did do a quick run through with the first draft of the revised Prince Valiant rules and they worked ok but a bit too fast and simple for such small forces. I decided to try the Armour Save version which allows more nuances and made one or two other tweaks but could not face another run through of the rearguard.

A quick flip through scenarios suitable for  the existing river suggested "An Unfortunate Oversight" in which the attacker sneaks over a ford while the defender is massed around the only bridge. 

"Release me and Rome shall acknowledge you as King of all the tribes from here to Portlandia and pay you a wagon full of gold."
The Romans had 1 unit of armoured Roman cavalry with bows, a unit of archers and a unit of armoured infantry while their Armorican allies had a unit of armoured shock cavalry and two units of infantry. All of these were massed around a village just off camera.

The Huns had 2 units of Hunnish horse archers and a unit of foot archers. Their Rugii allies  had a unit of Elite Shock infantry, a unit of infantry and a unit of archers. 

Somewhere around turn 4. The Hun cavalry has surrounded the Romans on the hill but the table is too small and one unit has been caught by an initiative flip and routed off table by the Roman cavalry. 
It was a quick game with several turns of fortune and a nail biter finish. A really satisfying straight up game using these rules would need  larger forces and a more complex scenario but that was rather the point. 

For a multi-player, 3-4 hour convention game on a table twice this size with more than twice the forces, most being independent with several being nonaligned, all with secret individual victory conditions, I want simple, easy to grasp combat rules so players can focus on the rest.  I need to polish the writing a bit and write out some of the assumptions but these will do. In any event the players will only have a one page summary and a verbal briefing  to guide them and I trust my co-GM's judgement should things crop up mid-game. 

The current version of these 2 page Castle Dangerous rules can be accessed here.
Several turns later: its all a bit of a bloody mess. The Hun King was slain early on in single combat against the Armorican Duke who was in turn slain by the King of the Rugii several turns later.  What is left of the Allied infantry is surrounded on the hill but the remnants of the Roman cavalry are rushing back to the rescue. The Rugii however are tough and inspired by their King and it all ends as seen in the first picture. 
Five months and change to go. The next step is to muster the painted troops, organize units under the new system, form 8 contingents each with a character leader and and assess what needs doing in terms of basing, repairs, painting touch up for some of the recruits (often a wash of burnt umber will do but...), and probably addition and conversion of new recruits from the unpainted kit supply. I know I have enough for 3 units per player but would prefer to provide 4 if I can.

I also want to find a way to id units to help players, armour or hair/helmet style, shield colours etc but if all else fails a colour swatch on the bottom of the base. Oh and add the siege bits since the setting involves the Huns and their allies besieging a castle.

While doing the practical bits,  I also need to come up with names for the 8 factions and the characters for each as well as a back story, individual victory conditions and background and so on as well as table layout. (Not that I'll be able to blog that stuff till late May.) The only time I designed and ran a game of this sort as primary GM was over 12 years ago and I spent most of my time worrying what to do if I only had 3 or 4 players show up for an 8 player, 8 am Saturday morning game and none  of my time planning to cope with 16 players. Luckily it all worked out with 8 teams of 2 friends each.

9 comments:

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    1. Those are vintage 40mm Elastolin hard plastics from the 60's (when my parents couldn't afford them) One of my sillier fascinations that suddenly came within my reach within reach over the last decade. Most of the ones I have were from late 60's/70's kit rereleases rather than original German factory painted sets.

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    2. ps I should mention that Revel included 1/72nd copies of many of the Elastolin figures in some of their older sets.

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  2. Those figures always look like they've just walked off a production of the Ring Cycle.

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    1. Possibly not a coincidence being of German origin.

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  3. For unit IDs you could do specific basing for each unit. e.g. this unit has white rocks on the bases. This unit has logs. Flowers, taller grass, different shades of flock and ground color could al be used. You'd have to redo some of your existing (probably) but it shouldn't be too bad.

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    1. I was thinking of a splash of paint on the back of the base but that would be less conspicuous. Only about 15% are based so that's not an issue. There will only be a few units that are not unique in appearance but they will need differentiation so I'll keep the idea in mind. Thanks.

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  4. I only know that I will be running a game at Huzzah at this point-- I'm impressed at your progress!

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    1. Well, once I'd made the decision that I wanted to run something I hadn't run at Huzzah before, that cut the options down pretty drastically and a plan to run a similar game last year petered out so stubbornness clinched it.

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