Saturday, January 27, 2018

Rebooting Preparation Planning for Huzzah!

Having decided that I want to switch my planned Huzzah! game to a 1914 game set in France, I now need to figure out exactly what I want it to look and feel like and what I have to do to get there by May.

In 2014 I decided on a glossy Toy Soldier look for my WWI games so that is how this game will be presented. Gritty realism is usually considered more appropriate for such serious topics these days but there we are. With this in mind I have been looking at terrain in photographs and film clips, reading descriptions in memoirs and so on, as well as looking at  other people's shiny toy soldier games for ideas on how I want the game to look.

The first game of MY Great War, 8 Oct 2014. 

Since my existing troops include 1914 German, British, Indian and French units, and I don't want to get into trench warfare, the scenario will be set in France during the Battle of La Bassée where the Indian Corps first saw action October 1914. They were committed piecemeal in a series of chaotic actions sometimes involving units from both French and Anglo-Indian armies which is rather handy in the circumstances. 

Terrain is a big consideration for convention games. The need to drag a table full of not yet existing mountainous terrain for my desired Dunsterforce game was one of the primary reasons that I decided to let that slide for this year. If nothing else, I have nowhere to store it at home at the moment!

A fore runner of games yet to come!

So far, I see a need for a few hastily scraped shelter trenches (low front parapet only) rather than the later complex trench systems so that will be easy, especially with a toy soldier look in mind. I will need more trees and bushes to line roads and streams since the table will be bigger than mine. If I have time, a few new buildings of an appropriate style would be good.

Its easier to take a cloth gaming mat to a convention  than a painted tabletop which brings me to the next decision. I have been using gridded rules for my WWI games but my usual convention cloth is NOT gridded. I started fiddling with taking the rules off grid without getting sidetracked into other changes but while it can be done, I've decided I'd rather present my game the way I play it. Shiny and squared.

If the remains of my 2012 green canvas are big enough I will spiffy it up, if not there will be a temptation to buy a couple of Hotz hex mats. (Yes, they do offer squares but if I'm going to spend money....)

This is the 5" square grid mat that I might spiffy up and take to Huzzah. Shot from a 2016 OHW game.

Next, I need to actually write up the WWI rules. For the last 2 years I've been playing largely by habit reinforced by scribbled quick reference sheets varied by impromptu experiments and reversions. I'm now out of new ideas as well as happy with how the rules are playing so its time to say "good'nuff" and put in the hours of work required to type up a "final" edition and QRS.

That just leaves a scenario and OB. I have a rough idea for a scenario and a better idea of what forces I have and how many more men I will need. The Germans are easy because I can cast and paint as many as I need quite quickly.  All of the Brits are individually converted while my Zouaves are OOP plastic, so it would be best if I made at least one new mould. I don't want a lot of British in peaked caps because I intend to focus on campaigns where the Wolsey sun helmet and shorts are more appropriate.

The French arrive. OK those are actually ACW Zouaves but close enough.

I think my first step will be to add some French then a Highlander. I'd like some French in great coat and red pants but Turkos would be most useful afterwards as well as appropriate for the scenario. Maybe one then the other.


  1. Lovely minis and pictures, love the atmospheric last one!

    1. Thank you. This was supposed to be a quick diversion but it is just this sort of image that draws me back.

  2. Ross Mac,

    I shall follow this project with great interest as it ticks loads if boxes with me.

    Some years ago I saw a picture of British infantry in slouch hats. It was a post Boer War photo, but pre World War I, and was taken during the period when it was proposed that infantry wear the slouch hat on campaign. Perhaps such a unit might be able to take its place in your British Army?

    All the best,


    1. Even if I "have" to do some ANZACs there will be a unit in slouch hats eventually.

  3. The Zouaves are very smart. The early war period is much more interesting for the Wargamer, before the horror of the trenches began. Along time ago I started making an early war Belgian army in 20mm; must find them and add to this year's list!

    1. Some of the later battles were pretty horrific affairs but the mud, blood, and horror seem to have expanded in our collective minds and made us forget that it wasn't all muddy deadlock all the time. Might get to some of that later.

  4. Nice photos, I particularly like the Mons like one with the British gun!