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.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A New Way of Doing Things

I was tired yesterday with no afternoon obligations so I hauled out One Hour Wargames, my 54's and The Square Brigadier and had a small, quick, and rather dissatisfying clash of advance guards over an isolated hill in the middle of nowhere. Having time left over I started thinking back to last fall's ideas about a different, more 'Old School' approach to my gridded games. In no time at all I had decided that I needed to change the grid, rebase all of my 54's and paint extra figures to bring the units back to 8 figures each. Wisely, at that point, I called a recess and left the room.

Today was a snow day, lots of time for some proper analysis of the issues and possible solutions and time for a test game of a  different, more traditional approach with bigger, multi-stand units.
The NorthWest Mounted Rifles dismount and open fire.
(Ok ok, here they appear to be armed with lances and pistols but that's merely artistic licence. )

The result is much closer to my Hearts of Tin rules than to the Square Brigadier but uses the grid for measuring to avoid the mid-game search for rulers and squinting at small numbers(and not just because my eyes are dim and I'm occasionally stubborn).

It'll take me a while to get the quick jottings translated into (hopefully) clear rules but not too long.  Essentially standard units will switch to 4 stands of 3 infantry (because that's how they're based and partially organized now), 3 stands of 2 cavalry and a gun stand with 2 crew + a limber stand with 2 crew.

My grid of 6" squares is now a grid of 3" squares (theoretically at this point) each of which will hold 1 stand. The stands of a unit must maintain unit integrity by staying in adjacent or diagonally touching squares unless they are detached to become a separate unit, to garrison a house for example. Movement and shooting ranges are measured for each stand.

From there its pretty conventional but now, for example, my 6 unit forces saw 60 infantry and a gun fighting 48 infantry, 6 cavalry and a gun instead of 15 and a gun vs 12, 2 and a gun. The extra number of figures (or strength points)  allowed for more dice and thus a more average curve of results while still leaving room for extremes. At the same time, the reduced number of manoeuvre elements made each command choice more significant with less room for error thus increasing the tension and mental focus for players.
Mid-Game. The Queen's army is finally all on table but the Rebels are still straggling on and the hardest fighting is still ahead.

Next post should be a battle report. A link to the new rules should follow by the weekend.


  1. I shall follow this with plenty of interest, having considered it for Wars of the Roses armies. Spreading a single unit over more than 1 cell is not without its quirks, undoubtedly new rule questions (and solutions and rule creep) will arise from a variety of situations that fall out of multi cell units. Good stuff.

    1. No doubt. I'm not very deep into it but so far the grid has only been used for measuring distance and angles so not noticeably different from the non gridded version beyond the lack of tapes and rulers cluttering the table. Time will tell.

  2. Sensible unit integrity rule - allows for limited flexibility whilst taking into account disorganisation if the line is broken in battle. Always nice to see 'the fog of war' reproduced in some way like 'showing' guns being fired.

    1. I missed the smoke clouds in the 20thC game! Helps remind me what's going on in a photo the next day.

  3. Ross Mac,

    The idea of having the separate elements/bases of units acting as one as long as the grid areas they occupy are contiguous is one that I used in my Big Battle PNW rules. I found that it worked well. I look forward to seeing how these new rules turn out.

    All the best,


    1. I did notice that Bob. Only read the first section properly so far but scanned it all. Once my 1812 lads are reorganized and back on some sort of bases I intend to give them a whirl. Hard to believe that after 40 years of Napoleonic and French Revolutionary armies, I no longer have any!

  4. I too will follow this with interest. I always find it useful to see how others tackle and overcome their problems at the table. Many changes my end as well, a I work towards my eventual goal (actually, now not far from seeing fruition).

    I really enjoy reading your earlier posts and have slowly been reading from the very start of your blog, all the way to the current, and find your endeavours most insightful to me.

    Looking forward to reading your next battle report.

    1. It seems to me that I'm never far from fruition but rarely if ever reach it!

      Is always interesting when I go back to look at early posts. So many changes and somethings that never seem to change.