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

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Huzzah 2019 Game 2

Home at last! (Stopped to enjoy some family time and not to mention watching GofT finale in good company. (I liked it btw, pretty close to what I had been expecting for a while but that's not relevant here. )

Back to Huzzah!.

Friday night's game was the first ambush scenario from CS Grant's Scenarios for Wargames. This is another old favourite that I have played scores of times and in almost every scale and period. Easy to draw, hard for either side to win. This time the rules were With MacDuff to the Frontier.

Pictures are a bit scarce on this one and pretty low quality due to low lighting and inadequate skill on the part of the cameraman.
The King Michael Pandours begin their long struggle to push back and eliminate the enemy skirmishers

The convoy under Brent and Arofan took a rare and (imho) rash decision to press ahead with the whole escort, leaving the wagons to trundle on alone without an escort. Luckily for them, the ambushers under Eric and Vicky decided to focus on the roadblock.

Throughout the game I tried hard to avoid giving advice to either side but did allow myself to occasionally remind each side of the victory conditions when, as often happens, the fight itself becomes the focus.

A die roll allowed the attackers to spot one the defenders' hidden units so the shooting started early. 

Essentially the attack started off well but as so often happens,  the attackers were unable to resist trying to chase the ambushers through the hills and broken ground. The escort was able to drive back the light troops and almost destroyed them but they were soon out of the battle themselves due to the distance and the slowness of line troops in broken ground.

The escort had trouble deploying in the narrow gap and started to spread out, pushing the ambushers back. The Defenders responded by bringing up their main force.
The fighting in the hills and across the river was fierce and prolonged with wave after wave of cavalry and infantry being thrown back. Even the Grenadiers were unable to save the day. Partly the attacks failed by being launched piecemeal across an obstacle but Fortuna played her role to the hilt as well.
The Pandours were eventually cut up by the enemy light troops, their place being taken by the Blues. The escort cavalry being already badly battered, a new infantry assault was organized to carry the bridge. 

The battle up the road is always hard and usually bloody for both sides if the blocking force is large which it was here. This time the blocking force held.  A draw looked likely.

The Light Infantry who had been driven out of their initial ambush position had eventually moved by the flank towards the road exit and became the defacto escort for the enemy wagons. 

With darkness coming on the wagons were going to have to retreat for a draw......BUT....this is where the ignored victory conditions came in. The ambushers had a battered unit of light infantry that had worked around the flank and were now the closest unit to the unescorted wagons and closest to the escape route.  I awarded Victory to the ambushers since even it the wagons got off table there was no one in position to stop the pursuing light infantry from snapping them up.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Huzzah 2019 Game 1

Not quite home yet but there's time for a blog post.

Rob and I RV'd nicely, arriving at our destination about an hour apart after each making an approach march of about 1,000 km. How's that for converging columns?

Rosmark's forces deploy. To keep things simple I set out a few terrain pieces and we deployed symmetrical forces. 
Rob had grabbed a free table and there was just time for a test game of Howard Whitehouse's new A Gentleman's War rules.

I proposed 3 objectives: the 2 houses and the hill. Victory going to the one who held 2 at the end.

The Shuffling-Bushwackers deploy. (I may have spelled that wrong...or maybe I've accidently used the Rosmark slang for the enemy....) 
 After lots of page flipping we were ready and the first card was drawn.

The game was atable! (Sic)

Red for Rosmark! Whats the range on artillery again?"..."FIRE!"  
First shot, first blood.
Rob's Light infantry seized the first house and he was going to take the hill easily.  I used 2 brigade moves to drive him out and occupy the whole village.

"Ah, this is going to be easy....HEY! Where'd that cannon ball come from? Oh well, 5 of my troopers can easily deal with 6 of his." 
First cavalry melee, 5 dice for me: 1 hit, 6 dice for Rob: 3 hits. Doubled and Shaken...Morale test:1.....
"RUN AWAY!"
 Meanwhile, on the far flank, my light infantry whittled down his Hussars significantly and he pulled back. "I shall answer him with my Lancers" (Sorry, just rewatched Waterloo last week
Not a great day for my cavalry but at least my lancers didn't run off the board.
The result of a long(ish) multi unit firefight. 
 In the centre and left the game settled into an extended firefight where having my supporting artillery closer and my troops more concentrated and rolling better seemed to be balanced by Rob's troops being  more than a little bit stubborn.

It couldn't last forever though. As MacDuff's Grenadiers closed in on the annoying gun, the  Shoeffen-Busch-Hagen army dropped below 50% of units unrouted and on table. With  both houses being well garrisoned by my troops, Rob gave the order to retreat.

The game is up.

The rules are quite easy but in a few areas there is slightly more detail than I am used to and the charts are more detailed. Won't take long to learn and remember the commonly used bits but there was a lot of page flipping and I was surprised later at how many little things we missed or got wrong on the first go. A QRS, especially a periodic specific QRS would have been useful and will be once we make one.

Overall though, the game was quick, fun and exciting. In the end, victory felt satisfying and earned after hard fighting and manouevring rather than being a random event decided by dice.

We broke for supper with 4 Nova Scotian gamers and 4 HAWKs from Maryland seated around the table. The conversation was lively and it was only when Jeff started a round of self-introductions that I suddenly realized that I was the only one there who knew everyone in both groups and considered them all friends, in some cases friends over decades rather than years. Felt good to have that change.

After supper we had to step out smartly for Rob and I to get our game set up and underway, but that's a post for another day.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Huzzah! Too busy having fun to blog

Oops meant to make time for some quick blog posts but between yacking with friends and playing 4 games in 2 days....well...



Great con with a LOT of great games and great people.

More later.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

We're no awa' to bide awa'

Up packs!  Time to go,

and... we're off!  That's us, Martin in the driver's seat and me in the coach crossing over the Kennetcook towards the Wentworth Pass and points South.


Hopefully everything that is needed is in the bins and bags or can be borrowed, bought or improvised on site!  We fully expect reports to be wired in by our correspondent at the front.

Meanwhile, for your listening pleasure:


The Corries with "We're no awa to bide awa"

Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Funny Thing Happened on My Way .......

No its not that I decided to put aside more important things to add 6 figures to the Rosmark Provincial Regiment so that I can take it to Huzzah rather than one of 3 other regiments.

No, if you look at the picture you see a crumpled, empty, tube of superglue like glue. Empty! I don't think I have ever suceeded in accessing all the contents of a tube yet.

I even poked a hole in the side when I couldn't get anyout despite sending a probe down  the nozzle to be sure it was clear.

It would be hubris to claim that I was learning, and it is a small tube, but we'll see how the next one goes.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Did you say you wanted a revolution?

I'm not quite ready for this year's Huzzah, almost but not quite. So, logically (?) I started work on next year's game by doing a test conversion of a F&IW highlander into a War of the First Coalition or French Revolutionary War highlander.

I'm not convinced the full belted plaid was worn over to the Low Countries but I have two uniform paintings of it being worn so that's good enough for me. 
A picture borrowed from..... somewhere on the net (oops should have made a note).

This game is only in the Proof of Concept stage but the idea is promising. It will be A Gentleman's Wargame affair based around Rob's collection of 40+mm homecast figures which he converted and painted for a series of Scarlet Pimpernel skirmish games 10 or 15 years ago.

A picture of one of Rob's Scarlet Pimpernal games from....some Cold Wars a decade or so ago. The  armed sans culottes guarding the wagons are examples of my fairly early sculpting.
Picture taken from Rob's blog.



Wednesday, May 8, 2019

And.....the Winner IS......

Thanks to all who left a comment they were much appreciated. 


For much of the last forty years I have had a sort of fear of being thought conventional. That has receded so while I still abjure trendiness, I'm no longer harbouring a secret urge to be different for the sake of being different.

In this case, once the idea of an old toy approach hit me, I was uncertain if I liked it or just thought it quirky and something different.

So I asked for opinions  and have decided to allow myself to be persuaded by them to follow my original plan and keep my customary fluff. (Not cotton balls though, salvaged stuffing from ex-pillows and deceased stuffed toys. Waste not etc..)

I am, however, going to press on with gluing this to a base to raise it to muzzle height and to try to discourage it from floating off on the slightest draft in search of a tree or house to snag itself on.

After various internal debates about things like hiding the post in a bush, I've decided to paint it sky coloured though you have to put your eye at table level and look towards a backdrop to get the full effect. When looking down from a standing position, the post isn't terribly noticeable on a crowded battlefield anyway.

Flash update. As per Peter's comment below I tried using black for the post. I think that might be the way to go.



Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Smoke of War, but which?

A few days ago, I was gathering up the various bits of fluff that I use to indicate  units that have fired, and thinking about Huzzah.  I decided that it was time to upgrade, but how?

What looks better, the "toy" version with just paint or the fluff version?
 My first idea was just to get some sort of base to make the fluff (aka fibrefill) easier to deploy, control and collect during games. Since I had some spare foamcore on hand, I decided to use  that as a base and glue the fluff to it.

The fluffy prototype. 

However, while assembling them, it occurred to me that a painted version would be suggestive of the old painted toy soldier explosions  that were sometimes sold with sets of toy soldiers, especially painted flat and semiflat toy soldiers. They would also be easier to store and transport. Hmmmm...

One of the Toy Soldier version prototypes.

With "real" toy soldiers.

I'm used to fluff as smoke and have myself brainwashed to see it as "smoke" BUT to my surprise I kinda like the toy soldier look and feel of the painted one.

So....whaddiya think? Fuzzy or painted?
(yes I'm soliciting opinions)

Monday, May 6, 2019

It Was a Terrible Struggle

Not the battle on the table, though it had its moments, it was the struggle in my head. Luckily, Victory has been declared!
The 2nd Battalion of the Highland Brigade goes in !
This week I had the luxury of time and the intent to "find" my game for my toy soldiers. Ideally one should know what one wants to do before setting out to do it but my desires were too vague and past good experiences and familiar systems and assumptions were pulling me in several different,  opposing directions as far as not just mechanisms but what I want to show overtly,

In short, I didn't know exactly what I wanted, I just knew very clearly that I wanted it.
The Black Watch attacked after heavy losses in a prolonged firefight but were met by a hail of 5's and 6's and repulsed. 
 I played the first 6 turns using 8 or more variations on about 4 different  sets of rules.  Some of these were based on one or another of my own past rules, others were based on Featherstone or Morschauser with all sorts of other inspirations  finding their way in from somewhere. Often I would get excited and think "I've got it!" only to start rolling dice and find myself thinking "Nope, not right, its too (insert complaint)..". 

It wasn't lost time though as identifying and marking wrong choices helped make it clear what my subconscious actually wanted. Based on past experience, there were times that I was as addicted to chrome, fiddly bits and artificial friction as many other gamers, but these days the shine is off all of that and I want a game that runs quickly, provides a satisfying balance of my decisions vs unpredictability and feeds my imagination.

In the end of course, I manged to roll things back to more simplicity than I thought I'd be able to stand but of course, it worked! The damned Rebels fought better than I had planned for but that's a good thing as it shows I can't get my own way in a solo game unless I take to cheating.
The Grenadiers and Fusiliers seized the Stone Inn that overlooks the bridges. 
 So, once I got rid of all the really clever bits here is roughly what's left:
  • My usual card draw for initiative.
  • 'A' moves or shoots then both sides resolve close combat then 'B' does the same (essentially the engine behind Hearts of Tin and Sq Brig ).
  • Variable length moves for easy friction.
  • Simple to hit die rolls with few modifiers but saving throws. Essentially my old rally roll but rolled right away so that some hit are removed at once while the rest are just out for the rest of the turn. 
  • Melee includes defensive fire and close range firefights as well as charges. Again as per HofT and Sq Brigadier.
  • No morale tests. (Morale being included in combat resolution which includes musketry, morale, and the threat or use of cold steel, in one mechanism) and in the Rally or Saving throw mechanism.) Units below 1/2 strength are penalized.
  • Standard Units: 8 inf, 1 gun, 4 cav. (Some in this game were 12 but they were too big for my table and the ranges)

    The rules as used for the last 4 turns are here

The Rebel forces rallied but there were not enough men left to reestablish a stable bridgehead so they pulled back.
I can't wait to get back to this and to painting more toy soldiers. Limbers are high on my priority and several units are still shy a couple of figures but there is also a list pf new units in waiting now that bigger armies will be feasible in the time and space available.

HOWEVER, I leave for Huzzah in 10 days and there are a few things to do to improve the look of the game as well as player aids to print, packing to be done and on and on. There is also a matter of a prototype figure to be painted and brought along to take part in discussions about  next year's joint game which Rob and I are already discussing. Lots to do!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Macfarlanes in Song and Story

One doesn't often hear a reference to Clan Macfarlane in song but I found one today.



Hmm I'm not sure, but I think we've been insulted despite helping the MacGregors allies come to their aid......perhaps its as well we're not often mentioned. (Update, did a bit more digging, it seems we also contributed fighting men which explains why the Macfarlanes were proscribed along with the MacGregors. I've long known we had been prescribed around then but the reason had always been vague.)

The Bloody Sarks
A song about the Battle of Glen Fruin which led to Clan MacGregor being outlawed.
lyrics taken from 
https://www.kinglaoghaire.com 


The young McGregor o Glen Strae wi eighty o his men
Upon the Argyll sleekit word pit Finla's glen a flame
The burning theiving hieland rant drove a the beast awa
And left ahint twa dirkit men to perish in the snaw

By Fallisdall the letter come frae black Dumbarton toon
To show the way they were tae bring McGregor doon
The bloody sarks o butchered men tae Jamie's court maun gae
The widow women for to show and tell of the afray

Colquhoun o Luss could thole nae mair wi trampeled savaged pride
Buchanan levies mounted up to tan McGregor hide
From Leven's vale, Dumbarton toon and all these lowland parts
The burgesses and fairmers came wi vengeance in their hearts

The Campbell and the Cameron, MacDonald o Glencoe
Ranked alang wi Gregorach and marched o'er the snaw
Far o'er the loch frae Arklet glen and doon the past Parlan
By Loch Long whose shores are held by the thieves o MacFarlane

Colquhoun wi his lowland mob lined o'er the Fruin glen
Five hundred foot, arrayed aboot three hundred moutned men
Yon godless hoard o Gregorach and others o their kind
Will creep nae mair frae their lair wi murdering in their minds

Aye whether be it for some stirks or just a ween o blacks
They’re ay'ways quick thier dirks to stick in ain anither backs
For honest men and guid Scots law we'll tramp the vermin oot
Just steady bide God's on our side o that there is nae doubt

Then like a torrent frae the glen McGregor's scarlet charge
The sassenach could ne'er withstand the claymore and the targe
And all around the hellish screams o torn and dying men
Their precious blood seeped in the mud and drained in Fruin Glen

And every beast was lead awa a full twa thoosand heid
And the sairest price the victors paid was twa McGregors dead
But bide ye yet the victor's feast the worst still to show
For the king proclaimed the Gregorach henceforth to be outlaw

Aye the bold McGregor and his clan were a declared outlaw

_________________________
In other news, the game is done and rules broadly settled but more on that tomorrow then it's all Huzzah till I get back.


Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Work in Progress but Time is Running Out

Two weeks from today I leave for Huzzah!.

While I could pack up and go tomorrow, there is still  a lot I'd like to do to get ready and it looks like the next week at least will  be ideal for much needed yardwork and gardening. Two expected down days have been compromised by  unexpected domestic duties. There has been some time to work on honing my 54mm rules but not enough time to get play more than a turn or two. 

I really like the way the game is  heading though with a blend of old and new ideas but soon I need to haul my mind away from matters toy soldier and back to preparing terrain and figures for Huzzah.

Don't be fooled by the absence of a grid, this game is intended to be able to played either on or off grid.

Having gotten the scale monster our of my head for a bit, I've settled on a 4 figure "company" as the basic unit. (Essentially what fits in a 4" square.) This may be independent or be grouped into "battalions" of 2-4 companies. A couple of these plus a Brigadier make a Brigade. How it all works is mostly still in my head but the on line rules have been kept up to date as new ideas get added, tested and rejected or expanded.

If I get at it early maybe I can finish the actual playing Friday morning before its warm enough to get back to work outside.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Review, Revise, Re-engage

Back in the 70's there was a set of Quick Play Napoleonic rules published in Gene McCoy's Wargamer's Digest which was a bit of a shock to a young gamer deep into WRG and indoctrinated in the importance of scale and detail. I forget the author and details of the rules but I remember the aim including something like being "close enough to smell the powder but not close enough to be burnt".

I like that thought.



Experience has shown me that fast and simple is good BUT it can also border on boring if one isn't careful. I put considerable effort into getting my Toy Soldier rules adjusted to where troops moved up into range and quickly got bogged down in a firefight as seems to have often happened in the historical actions I was using for inspiration. It didn't make for a great gaming experience though and didn't encourage the deployment of more units on an already crowded battlefield given the theoretical scales. It also reminded me that past attempts have suggested that wanting to accurately recreate drawn out historical skirmishes where casualties were low and gallant charges rare was always going to be a weak start towards an exciting game and that it would probably take a better mind and different tastes than mine to accomplish that task.

All is not lost though, I like the general flow of my game and the balance between friction and control is about right for me. What I need is to allow more to happen each turn and make the individual turns more decisive. In practice this means that each turn should represent a longer time span and should be interactive at critical points with more happening per turn. Its been done by several rule sets in the past and  was effectively how my Hearts of Tin rules worked.



 This approach will also more or less demand that the armies be both theoretically and actually bigger than what the originally envisaged historical setting would allow. More TOYS? OK, if I MUST....

Looks like the game will now be Thursday with today's version of the rules:
The Defended Frontier.

ps: all distances are multiples of 4", like the grid underneath the cloth. Very convenient....

Monday, April 29, 2019

They're Back!

After their recent repulse, the rebels have regrouped, moved by the flank, and thrown a brigade over the river but Dominion forces are already  on the scene.

I really need to work on the lighting in my room.

Taxes, yard work, household taxes, preparations for Huzzah, some local volunteer stuff, and....and....and suddenly I felt like I needed to play a simple, meaningless, solo game. Well I got it set up anyway. Might even be able to play on Wednesday before I get back to Huzzah preparations.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Thundering Hooves in the Valley

"and on the right the veteran Rossius, Lord of Belmontia stood surrounded by his bold horsemen"


Today's game with the Greenwood Wargamers was a live test of Jeff's Huzzah game: Gaugamela!  using the Epic C&C Ancients system.

It was good to see some familiar faces on the table. Well good to see the ones around it too but Jeff kindly gave a home to what was left of my 25mm Persian and Greek armies.  Now refurbished and based up for C&C they have joined with his forces and are marching off to war again, a sight to gladden the heart.


The game was enjoyable and at one point late in the day we had victory within our grasp with just a little luck but the luck didn't come, Alexander came instead!


If you're going to be at Huzzah! and like Ancients, check Jeff's game out!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Three Weeks and Counting

Three weeks to go.

First mock up of the layout.
There are more troops on hand than are needed but those selected will be be inspected and touched up before embarking. 

First priority at the moment is the table. The convention table will be 12" longer and 6" wider than mine so I have to keep that in mind. 

Still lots of work to be done but Saturday is game day in Kingston and this time, I'm just a player.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

An Ether Wargame

Today I "Hungout" at  Rob's place  2,000 km away for a playtest of our Ambush scenario for Huzzah.

End Game. The ambushers will retire and the wagons will make it through.
Photo by Rob since I couldn't figure out how to do a screen capture on the new version of Google Hangouts.


We had a host of unrelated technical problems but we overcame them and managed a good play through and chat. We also tweaked the rules to help them run a little quicker and more decisively in aid of reaching a conclusion within out timeslot. The OB will also be tweaked a little.

One month to go!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Well, I did have my doubts BUT.....

It had to be tried.

The Grand Experiment grinds to a halt as the list of unresolved rules questions begins to grow exponentially.
I had previously  tried a similar approach using the Square Brigadier but this was going to be less abstract and enable me to fight reasonable recreations of small historical actions like the Battles of Ridgeway and Cut Knife Creek. It took nearly two turns for me to decide that if I added a lot of detail, dealt with all the grey areas  and made a bunch of markers to track unit status etc, it might turn into a reasonable wargame. It was never going to be the sort of fast easy game of toy soldiers that I was looking for though.

The armies have now been quickly but gently nudged back into their natural units, the rules adjusted and the battle resumed. 

Without pausing for second thought, I shuffled the units back into their usual 8 figure units (whatever they represent) . This gave each side 3 small Brigades each of 2 battalions, plus a small brigade of 2 cavalry squadrons and a battery. Too big for an historical Fenian Battle but just right for a Toy Solider game. 

I then quickly implemented the other set of movement and combat rules that I had  been planning to use when I set the game out then I  continued to play.
Fighting rages around North Farm.

At this moment, the rules are just a few scribbled notes flushed out by habit but the four page version will be written up in short order and expanded later.  What follows is a brief look at some of the mechanics.

Basically the game follows an old Don Featherstone sequence from Battles with Model Soldiers with a Card draw each turn (Don used a die roll)  to see who goes first that turn.  The turn them proceeds as follows:  1st player moves, 2nd player moves, 2nd player shoots, 1st player shoots, resolve charges and melee. One of the reasons I like this because the player going second MIGHT get a double move so the 1st player always has to keep that in mind. It is also balanced with the 2nd player having the advantage of first shot.

All situational die modifiers are as ruled by umpire or by consensus between players. (An idea I borrowed from a friend. It is simple and effective and reminds me of Kriegsspiel with an umpire.)

The battle lines are heavily engaged, The Fort Henry Guard is reserve, the only unit still formed for rapid marching rather than deployed for combat .

Shooting is 1 die per 2 figures (artillery counts the limber crew to give them 3 dice. Long range hits on 6, Medium 5,6, Close 4,5,6. +1 if unit is deemed to have an advantage (sharpshooter, enfilade etc), -1 if the unit is at a disadvantage (tgt in cover etc) 

Melee is the same process but  1d per figure for 5,6 then modified for advantages and disadvantages.

General Douglas had to intervene personally to reinforce his order to the cavalry to charge but Col. Denison's reluctance was justified when the attack up the hill into heavy carbine fire was repulsed with losses including the good Colonel himself.

Morale is checked if a unit takes shooting casualties of at least 25% of current strength or if it loses a melee or the situation requires it. 4,5,6 OK, 1,2,3 Halt no advance, 0 Retreat full move test to rally next turn. +1 If Elite or in an especially advantageous situation -1  if Militia or in a bad situation (eg flanked, isolated etc) , -1 @25% lost to date. +1 joined by an inspiring commander.

The Rebels are pressing the attack on the Farm. Heavy fire from William's Rebel Brigade which has turned the flank has reduced the 2nd Highlanders to 1/2 strength but these Veterans brace themselves  as the enemy closes in. Coming on top of the repulsed cavalry attack it looks bad for the Dominion.
Lastly I brought back a version of my old control check from the 1980's which has appeared in various formats ever since. An isolated unit or detached commander  must check when activated:
5,6 No retreat, take appropriate aggressive action
3,4 Act as player wishes
1,2 No Advance.
Modify for situation and Commander personality.

Never say die!
A  heavy fire from the Grenadiers has broken the the Elite Zouaves as the cavalry, having rallied, has returned to the charge. Eager to revenge their fallen leader they ride over the Rebel cavalry.  On the far flank the rebel 2nd Infantry is shattered by rifle fire from the Highlanders and the 3rd Brigade commander decides that he is not going to sacrifice his men in an assault on that farm.. As the sun sets, neither farm has fallen but the Rebels have lost 4 units out of 9 and are now outflanked and outnumbered. The Dominion has taken some heavy casualties but has not lost a unit. The field is theirs.
 

I'm already looking forward to the next game.

That this video was one of the musical selections played in the background might or might not have affected my Redcoats' performance in battle. I should really paint up a small band for each side shouldn't I?



Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Reconnaissance by Fire

Since my logical mind was having trouble figuring out exactly what my emotional mind was looking for,  I decided to try laying out the soldiers and more or less pushing them around to see what developed and let the rules take shape as I went. So far it seems to be working.
5 turns in, this encounter battle is starting to develop nicely. 
Here's what I have figured out so far. None of it is really new to me but it is a slightly different mix that seems to be developing.

A. The grid stays.

B.  I want the lowest level of unit to fit in a grid square and I want to keep the 4" grid so my basic 54mm "companies"/"squadrons" will be old Square Brigadier  units of  4 infantry or 3 cavalry because that fits regardless of pose.

C. I want a  hierarchical organization lie the original MacDuff where a group of companies  plus a commander forms a larger unit which in turn is formed of a commander plus a number of mid-level units. At this point, 2-4 "companies"  plus a Commander form a "Brigade" (battalions of detachments really brigaded in the old sense).

D. I miss having subordinate commanders with personalities and want to go back there, even if its just a simple Rash, Bold, Cautious sort of thing.

E. I want the player to be in control even if there are situations where things don't happen the way he wanted. So no activation rolls or card activation but commanders who are more than 3 squares away the general will take a control check each turn which might affect what they do. I have kept the turn initiative and chance card deck to shake things up a bit.

F. I want manoeuvre to be important so I have lengthened moves and kept ranges short.

G. I want the game to operate simultaneously at what are essentially different scales, like Charge! did with its 3 company battalions or The Wargame with 2 battalion Brigades and historical battles refought by a handful or battalions over a battlefield drawn up using a different scale than the rules so that the whole thing works.

Well, that's a start anyway and I'm liking the feel that is starting to emerge. Its going to need more than 2 sides of a piece of paper to describe but I expect to be able to play and post more over the weekend.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Words. Choose them carefully.

Having made a comment about randomness in my Saturday post, I spent a fair amount of time yesterday thinking about it and thinking about various comments until it hit me that I was way off track.

The problem wasn't a lack of randomness and fun, (I'm not really keen on either of those) but once mentioned that stuck with me. The actual problem would be better summed up as being a shortage of the important decision points that keep my brain engaged along with a lack of period flavour.
Toy Soldiers are always ready to play.
So I spent more time yesterday and today revisiting relevant historical actions, various old rules and some old games while thinking about what I do like based on experience. I was soon reminded of how much I enjoyed the Battle of Weeburg in February and where I had been headed.

So, I jotted down some outline rules, started to push some figures about and roll some dice.   Much better.

Toy Soldiers are also very patient, battle will recommence in a day or two,
Alas, after a good start, time was up! Duty called so the game halted but will resume another day.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

What to do on a Sunday?

It occurred to me this week that one possible reason that several of my recent games have seemed a little dull is that I had again allowed my suppressed suspicion of randomness to coax me into limiting the range of possible combat results.


I suspect its a byproduct of having  played too much WRG Ancients at too young an age. At least I'm not rolling average dice and consulting charts but I have been making rules decisions that limit extreme results and encourage average ones. No wonder the  games have been more average and less exciting than those I imagined. It was me!  Its been a frequent seesaw battle for years, usually taking place in my subconscious where it is fairly safe but its out now and I've gone back and tweaked my 54mm rules to increase the possible range of combat and rallying results.

It needs testing though, a little game perhaps. Just the thing for a quiet Sunday.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Wagons Rolled Out ....

Bridge? Check!
Convoy? Check!
The Supply Train has 5 weeks to get to Huzzah! but its ready to roll.
1 carriage, 5 carts, 4 pack horses. The rest will stay home.
In case anyone thinks comments have no effect, I had just about talked myself out of putting in the work to make the bridge sides thicker but Fitz-Badger's comment spurred me to go ahead. I was right, I had to add 2 layers to each side but it was worth it.

Thanks for all the other comments as well, they are always welcome and read with intent.


I like an old fashioned look to go with my glossy toy soldiers so I went old school, just a bit of fine sawdust for texture over the cardboard and masking tape and then paint. Its not art but I like it and it'll fit with my houses.  I suppose that's the next concern, how few buildings can I get away with and do I need to add anymore?

and it works with my 54's. 

Since not everyone will know or remember the great old Lighthouse song that gave me my blogpost title, here, for your listening pleasure, is 1849 by Lighthouse.  Another old favourite of mine from the 70's.