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 20, 2018

Plans and Contact

"They" do say that the one never survives the other for long.

The first of several gratuitous shots of Toy Soldiers in battle.
I did play the game in the teaser shots with a handful of 6 figure units on each side. Of course, I tweaked the rules to suit having fewer but larger units. The resulting game was pretty good with an 11th hour victory but I was too busy playing to remember to take pictures. Worse, it brought my mind back to my uncertainties about  certain aspects of the then current version of my Tin Army/Square Brigadier rules which I've been honing for my WW1 game.

There was only one real option then, reset and play a game with my standard organization and rules. The shorter ranges and so on of an 1870's game would have some effect on the feel but already armies were fighting primarily with firing lines and supports so the game mechanics would remain relevant.

Game 2. Back to normal, let the game begin again! 
The resulting half a game was OK BUT all of my concerns showed up. Basically rules that were supposed to help bring out the feel of units having trouble advancing under fire while making the players feel like they were in charge and not just trying to survive the dice were driving the game off track. I realized part way through that as a player my attention was focused on company commander decisions, not Brigadier/Force Commander ones and that the rules supposedly designed to encourage typical brigade formations and tactics were resulting in some very questionable game tactics.

Gratuitous shot from game 2 or maybe 3...

I knew the basics of the rules were sound  so it had to be the combined effect of misdirected intent and the particular implementation of various sub-rules that I have been fiddling with. Several hours later I had a revised version of the rules, sufficiently more Tin Army than Square Brigadier and for the same reason that the two both exist.

In essence the re-revised rules removed various low level tactical choices such as "go pinned or suck it up and press on" from the player and automated them, leaving the player to fight his whole force rather than focusing too much on individual units in isolation. I also followed the old Tin Army versions and again removed the old Square Brigadier rally rules while at the same time stopping the risk of a unit being quickly swept away by long range fire. (Close range fighting, say under 150 yards, is as deadly as ever.) This is enhanced by the retention of a modified support rule to reflect the stress placed on the value of support in so many low level battle accounts.

As hoped, the third game flowed better, the armies maintained battalion formations because they worked, not because they had to. As player I had fewer unit level decisions to make and this kept my eye on the over all battle while keeping me constantly scared!

Game 3.  From tied but on the cusp of a US victory on turn 12 of 15 to sudden US collapse followed by a Canadian victory on turn 14. 

Of course, whether this is all in my head or not will have to wait for the next multi-player game.



  1. Classic gaming - love the shelves full of soldiers!

    1. Thanks Dean, now if someone would just tidy the place up a bit...

  2. Hurrah for the Canadians- great photos Ross. ( Especially like the 1st Photo).

  3. Lovely gratuitous toy soldier pictures