Sunday, August 16, 2020

Why is so hard?

 Keep It Simple Stupid!

I did get a chance to try my "improved", more 'accurate', less 'gamey' version of the rules and once again by the time the game was over, it was tedious, bordering on boring actually, and taking far too long for a quick solo game. (Please imagine a clever gif of me scrounching up a piece of paper and dunking it in a waste basket.) 

So I did what works best for me. I did other things for a while (including a 16thC game over Hangouts where I was rightfully trounced - sorry no pics but I expect the game will appear on the Sharp Brush blog.). 

Then, today, I came back with a fresh eye and an open mind.

Once more unto the Bridge! 
Turn 8ish of 15: the armies are all on board and well engaged.

The first step was to spend some time with my nose in books. Then, I let my subconscious mind guide me as I poked at the figures and started to think of other mechanisms, "the look of the thing", what needs to be shown and what doesn't and about the sorts of decisions I want to be making as a player.

Casualties mount. The Bodyguards charge into the battered grey infantry!

The next thing was to again regroup the figures into units of 8 infantry or 4 other figures which is how they are painted. I then dumped the existing command control and activation rules, the fiddlyier bits, the existing morale rules, the mutiphase charge resolution and the proposed reintroduction of pinned and rally rules.

...and they pursue, sweeping away the fleeing rebels. Then, once the refugees were clear..... the two Rebel batteries opened fire on them at close range! The Guards quickly retreated to lick their wounds.

I then scribbled some note outlining the new simple game, tweaked it once or twice for things that arose mid game, and played an engaging, very close, occasionally nail biting, rematch of the same OHW scenario in roughly an hour. 

The details are more abstracted but then so are the shiny toys and the things I had to think about as player seemed to me more like things a General should be thinking about.

Turn 13/15. The Hochelaga Fusiliers are the last fresh Dominion unit. "Fix Bayonets" "CHARGE!!" and the last remnants  of shaken rebel units flee over the bridge. Another incursion has been repulsed.

So, that's one happy test game. The rules have been amended to match and the link posted on my Rules blog page. 

I think its time to do some casting and painting and the like, and then try it again with a bigger scenario and more men! 


  1. I do hope to get yesterday’s battle written up, but I took a leaf from your book today and set up a solo game, so that blog post may be a double...

    1. Why waste a perfectly good terrain set up? Recyle Reuse!

  2. It seems that today’s experience has in many respects had you embracing the very simplicity that Neil Thomas espouses in his One Hour Wargame book, by jettisoning the bits that don’t earn their keep in the world of ‘simple’.

    1. I have been working that way for a few years but he goes way too far for me. I dislike banning historical tactics in order to avoid giving players any choices in tactics. (eg troops like ACW cavalry being forbidden from charging despite many examples or infantry having no reason to advance once within maximum range. etc)
      So, I lean more to Old School simplicity such as Morschauser and the basic Charge!

      Hard to break decades of habits, detail, complexity, command control, randomized friction in movement, separating morale from combat results, etc etc but change is good for the brain and the spirit. Helps keep one young.

  3. I know the feeling! Every time I get my "own" rules (which own a great deal to the hobby pioneers if we're brutally honest about it) whittled down to five or six steps easily committed to memory, something else occurs to me, and, you guessed it, complications ensue. Simplicity and playability seem to be, for very human reasons, the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Stu Asquith's point about comfortable wargaming should become my mantra. Do we really need morale rules?

    Late Night Regards,


  4. "The look of the thing" is fantastic in my opinion

  5. KISS is a very useful approach.
    If you can't keep the overall rules and structure in your head and have to keep looking things up, or keep forgetting some rules in the flow of the game, then for me this is not simple enough Back of the postcard / one brain cell rules. Donald Featherstone and Stuart Asquith are good to go to here: