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, May 29, 2019

Finnigan, Begin Again

Huzzah 2019 is over, preparations for 2020 have begun!



I'm a little stuck at the moment since I need some modelling putty for conversions and for some new master figures but these Prince August SYW Hussars will do fine as les Hussards de la Mort.

Image from Wiki article.

Sure, in some realities they only lasted as an independent unit until 1793 but on my wargames table, well, the possibilities are unlimited!

Don't worry though, the usual variety of posts and periods will now resume.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Huzzah2019 Another AGW Game ( and Booty)

Nothing like a casual game to wind down after a good but busy convention.

Since Rob already had an actual   copy of A Gentleman's Wargame and   Vicky volunteered to play,  Rob was able to GM which was a big help in learning on the go.
Ready to Roll.
There is a long series of sharp photographs detailing the action which no one took so this is it.

We both fielded  4 infantry, a gun and a cavalry unit but this time we used the distinctions. I went with a fire bonus for my battery and my unit which was actually aiming, plus something for the grenadiers.  I can't remember the enemy's distinctions with any certainty.

My plan was to stick my gun on the hill supported by my cavalry and a line of infantry then await attack while I carried out a long range bombardment. The resulting firefight was prolonged but the opposing lines were not initially parallel and my artillery was closer so I had a distinct numerical advantage at the start.

The result was that Vicky's units slowly started to collapse despite displaying the highest steadiness when checking morale. A sweeping flank charge by my cavalry settled it.

 With Rob acting as GM we picked up on a few nuances that we had got wrong on Friday and the game flowed well. The cards and dice played their role but in the end being a veteran historical gamer familiar  with both period tactics and similar rules made the difference. The more I play the rules, the more I like them.
And that's a wrap!
All that was left was lunch with friends then I bundled into the passenger seat and we were off.

However.... I did actually find something to buy this year!

Wee Wolf (https://weewolfminiatures.com/) has some excellent miniatures but they are the wrong scale/period for me these days. However, they also had some other ranges with them including  a Footsore 25mmish armoured dark age warrior labelled "Guinevere" (obviously not the traditional medieval court damsel version)    so I brought her home to join the Westfolk under the Lion Queen.

I also found some inexpensive 3d printed vehicles in what looks like 1/48th, or maybe 1/56th scale including a Rolls-Royce armoured car and a staff car. As suspected they are noticeably  smaller than  my 1/43rd   Matchbox vehicles. 

It got me thinking again about resurrecting my old 30mm Marx toys for a post WW1 Colonial or Rebellion game but to me they look as big with the antique 30's as they look small with my OS 40's.


Since they'll be in a fictional setting I may be able to use the new AC as an extra light armoured car or just keep the vehicles well separated.  A decision for another day, might even be possible for it to do double duty if I proove foolish enough to buy some of the recast 30mm Marx arabs or US cavalry or..........

Well, now I'm home and infected with the plague, I have time to ponder the question of "What do I want to do now?". Straight into French Revolution? Get Prince Valiant out? Or....... Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Huuzah 2019 Charge! Saturday Game 4

This will be a very short post as there are much better pictures and background here: der resin kavalier blog

That's me on a horse, behind the gun. :)
It was Saturday night, I was dead tired, I love Charge! and I love 54mm.  This was enough to make me nostalgic for my 54mm plastic 1812 and AWI armies, just not nostalgic enough to be tempted to rebuild them. It was a real pleasure to play with these ones though.

What better way to end an excellent weekend of gaming and talking than to play in a game of 54mm Charge! run by veteran gamer Alan Coughlin?  There isn't one really.
Overview but really, check out Alan's blog for some actual pictures of these beautiful toy soldier armies and a  2 part battle report.

And that was a wrap, just another breakfast with 7 friends at the Cracker Barrel next door and then...well....and then Rob said "We have time for another AGW game after breakfast". 

We're not done yet folks!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Huzzah 2019 Sittingbad - Game 3

Saturday afternoon was what I thought of as our main game though it wasn't much bigger than the previous game once I'd scaled down the unit sizes and table size so we could finish in the time available. I figured 4-6 players would be optimum but was prepared for as few as 1 (or none) with GM's playing or as large as 8. Happily we had 4 players once I succeeded in pressing  Don into service (with the permission of his wife of course).

The game begins!


The scenario was a slight adaptation of Sittingbad, the sample battle from the venerable Charge! rules but played using the FINAL (Stop sniggering in the back!) version of my With MacDuff to the Frontier rules which were originally published in The Courier in 1997. The game uses a card activation system which allows 1 unit or group of units to act on each card with one side being assigned 1 colour or sometimes 1 suite in multi faction games.

The scenario is a delaying action which requires one side to hold up waves of attacking enemy units until vital supplies can be evacuated over a bridge along with as many troops as possible, then blow the bridge to delay pursuit. This scenario seems to always end with a bang  (sorry) with the advantage teetering back and forth to the last moment.


Dawn and the Shoeffen-Busch-Hagen army and train begins to stir.
Shoeffen-Busch-Hagen played the role of the defending or Imperial forces, Rosmark, that of the attacking or Elector's forces. 

Naturally, with all the work that had gone into preparing and testing the game and the excitement of the fluid manoeuvres and combat as cunning plan met cunning counterplan, well, I barely took any pictures. A frequent problem for me when the rules are fluid and interactive with no clear break between turns.
I also need to learn how to get the most out of my low end phone when its in a dark place.



Rosmark rolls on. This is 2 waves, there are 2 more to come.


The Rosish commanders decided to send their cavalry wide and rely on artillery and skirmisher fire to drive the enemy from the advanced town. Well, the rules have provisions that prohibit ignore enemy if you're within 6" of their front (which is all around if its a defended village) and that soon became a problem for the advancing Rosish forces.  This might have been just a loss of time if the defenders had sat back and watched but the defending cavalry was aggressive but disciplined throughout the game and several times were able to even the odds by hitting at the right moment.

A closer look at the convoy and the bridge whose preparation regular blog readers had to suffer through. The driver for the General's coach seemed to have deserted his post. He'll probably be found in the Inn's taproom when the town falls.
 The attacking cavalry, supported by long range artillery fire, did its best to quickly blow a hole through the line of defending cavalry and infantry but it was a hard slog with heavy casualties on both sides and the forlorn hope in the advanced post clung to their position with surprising determination. (The original rules used a sort of saving throw system which has been replaced by a morale check and a random card that allows you the possibility to recover a few figures. SB was lucky in this respect with several cards drawn at the right time in both games.)

Finally the advanced post was forced to retreat and the way was open to push the attacking infantry up the road at nearly double the speed of cross country lines.
(I thought the new "unit has fired" markers did their job well.)

Shortly after this we were interrupted by some very generous, hardworking members of the club that makes it possible for us to have such a great time with friends and explore parts of the hobby we may not see at home.

It was a welcome interruption though. 

Rob and I have both received various awards over the last 20 years of co-hosting games including a Best in Show at Cold Wars 2005 but still each one is special and appreciated. Each time, I look around at all the great games many with better terrain or really creative ideas, throngs of excited players and so on and can't help thinking "Why me when there are so many worthy others to choose from?" .
 
Then I find myself wanting to think up something even better to work on for next year! 

By now, time was short! There was some hard fighting helped by the cards seeming to favour the defenders at times but there was just time to play through to a conclusion, a tense conclusion.

The Crown Prince Pandours led the way and stormed into the town, putting the garrison of the Stone House to the sword. They were within musket or bayonet charge  range of the engineers on the bridge if they got 1st card. If the engineers got 1st card next turn they could try to blow the bridge but they only had 3 charges (1d6@ needing a total of 12 to succeed) planted so it would have to a slightly better than average roll. The defenders decided to gamble and laid a 4th charge. Before the attackers could move, a joker ended the turn. The next turn began with another black card!!  The General rode over the bridge and gave the order, The fuses were lit, the 4 dice rolled, 13!! ....BOOOM!
Mission accomplished though very few combat troops managed to retreat over the bridge. Could be a few years before Shoeffen-Busch-Hagen  is ready to take the field against Rosmark again.
(
OK so plans for something different were already underway but its my blog....)

As co-GM this game was a great deal of fun to run which mostly down to the great friends and gamers who took part and to my friend and co-host Rob Dean (Sharp End of the Brush blog).

2 small games left to go!


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....