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.

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)


  1. fluff is commonly used, I colored mine with some inks to give it a more black powder feel

    in a recent convention game the game host of an ECW battle was using black fluff (from flames of war used for oil burning I think) for the 'fired' condition of the cannon. At first I was not thinking this was such a good look, after taking some long table shots and comparing them to a set of photos from a Napoleonic re-enactment I saw that the just black puff actually gave a better look than the white stuff commonly used.

    Just another input for you in your planning.

    The 'toy' look one just covers up the minis that you have painted so beautifully too much in my view.

  2. Fluffy stuff on the table without the base?

  3. Fluff looks more like the whisps of smoke disbursing

  4. Think the fluffy is better , but not very O.S. , I can see where your coming from .

  5. Cotton Balls will do the trick nicely.

  6. Ross Mac,

    I'd vote for the fluff, as it looks more smoke-like. Perhaps it might look better if it were more light grey than white ... but that is being really picky on my part!

    All the best,


  7. Fluff for me every time. Fluffy things good.

  8. As a regular shooter of muzzle loading black powder muskets and rifles, I would say that fluff is most like the after effects of a good volley.
    Best wishes,

  9. Looking at the photos I think the fluff works best.

  10. I prefer the fluff myself. Of course, with all the stuffed toys my dog tears apart through my house, I have an endless supply of the stuff!

  11. I'll add my vote, as long as you're asking: fluff. It has the additional advantage of being much more flexible (ie, if a unit is in proximity to some sort of terrain it will conform to the space).

  12. I much prefer the fluff - cotton wool or the packing material on sometimes find. I now use the latter. If you want black smoke, try the cottony stuff you can get in halloween supply shops. This stuff stretches into cobwebby strands, not what you really want, but in its 'natural' unstretched state, makes fine smoke for burning buildings, bridges and boats.

    The stuff I use, being as fluffy as it is, tends to stand up to muzzle height quite well. I don't paint or colour it in any way, preferring the 'stylised' look of the white. If using cotton wool, I like to tease it out a bit to give it a more smoky look.
    In the attached, I have used my favourite packing stuff. The occasional spirally threads seem to 'add' a little something to my mind...