My gut usually knows when something is right or wrong but my brain can be slow to get from wrong to right. I understood well enough that what worked for a quick game with a handful of units was not working as well for a larger, longer game.
My first guess was that maybe I was after something more traditional and something "more". I just wasn't sure exactly what sort of traditional or what "more" meant so during the dribs and drabs of time I've had this week I scoured various old favourite rules and scenario books as well as past versions of my own rules and doodled with various drastic changes, none of which made it to the table.
|My floor lamp died today so the pictures are even worse than usual.|
Today it dawned on me that the rules had been slipping back into focusing the Tabletop General's attention on unit details. They were also allowing too many opportunities to micromanage risk and allowing careful management to assure obedience to orders subject only to combat results and carelessness.
So, the first main step was to remove the various ways that had crept in to keep units in the game. Now, to be fair, in most of the sorts of small wars engagements in the era that my Toy Soldier games are set in, during most battles, most units survived the day despite heavy losses. Battles like Little Big Horn, Isandlwana, and Maiwand, were exceptions which is what made them so famous as catastrophes. However, removing units is much more dramatic and fun and simpler in a game than any of the alternative ways of tracking an army's capability to keep fighting.
|Somewhere around turn 10 of 15. A flanking counterattack by Rebel cavalry has shattered the Highlanders and nearly turned the tables but the Queen's gunners had their range. |
So, for the umpteenth time, I removed the various overt rules designed to reflect the tactical value of close support etc in favour of removing units after a standard number of hits which in turn increases the value of local supports and reserves to react to flanking moves and to plug gaps.
Then I reinstated my old Orders Dice system inspired by DBA's pips system. This works by rolling 1d6 to determine how many formed Brigades and detached units may move this turn. Unused orders may be stored to top up the next die roll. I kept the turn tracking and chance card deck but only for those two tasks.
I also once again replaced any rally rules with upping the number of hits each unit can take and allowing 2 battered units to merge at the cost of taking a step closer to army morale collapse.
The combat and other rules remain very close to what I have been using for the last few years.
Calling the resulting rules "The Square Brigadier" didn't feel right since the player is obviously intended to normally be a Divisional Commander or equivalent and I want to still have a small, quick game for the war of 1812 so I'll leave that be. There is proof reading and expanding of explanations to be done but I am happy to finally have a set of rules to carry the name: The Model Major General
which I've been wanting to use.
A trial, medium sized, game was needed, it was a rainy day and the table was still set up so I reset, swapping sides. The result was a squeaker of a two hour game with a dramatic finish with my attention focused on overall tactics.
|Turn 15, the setting sun casts long shadows as the Rebel's finally break.|
It looks like a busy couple of weeks ahead with some away games in view but hopefully I can get some more toy soldiers painted up before I get sidetracked into the 16thC again.