Showing posts with label war gaming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label war gaming. Show all posts

Monday, 27 July 2020

Battle of Fontenoy: The Austrian Netherlands 1st May 1745.

Prior to this battle, the French Army had not done very well in Northern Italy. It was decided in Council that the Austrian Netherlands being on France's Northern border would be an easier target. The King of France, Louis 15th was also keen to campaign with his army so this would allow him to do so without being in harm's way much to the relief of his Generals.

The French army at this time was being led by possibly the best General of the age; Maurice of Saxony. He knew where the Allied army was likely to advance South. Therefore knowing that his troops were not at their best when going toe-to-toe with the English, he set up a killing field to channel the allied attack.

If the French army were being led by the best, the Allied Army had one of the worst. The Duke of Cumberland was the son of King George 2nd, King of Britain and Elector of Hanover. He did bring in some much needed improvements to the life of his troops, however his grasp of tactics was limited to leading his men into the heaviest enemy fire and keeping them there!

The British army at this point in time was not the finely honed force it would become under the Duke of Wellington. It was, when on the Continent, an auxiliary force to the Hanovarian Army. The Duke of Cumberland was in command of the Pragmatic Army because his social rank. The Pragmatic Army was the name given to the nation's allied to Austria, these being ; Hanover ( with Britain ), Holland,( at this time known as The United Provinces ) and Piedmont-Sardinia.

The opposition consisted of Prussia, France/Spain ( a family alliance ) along with Bavaria.

The Pragmatic Army.

The British;
16,000 foot inc Artillery and Generals.
16 points x 2 = 32 points.
4,500 horse = 4.5 points x 2 = 9 points.

C-in-C Duke of Cumberland = 1 point.
General John Ligonier = 1 point.
2 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points = 8 points.
5 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 15 points.
2 stands of Scots light Infantry Skirmishers @ 2 points = 4 points.
2 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 2 points.
3 stands of Dragoon Cavalry @ 3 points = 9 points.

The Hanoverian Brigade.

4,000 foot inc Artillery and Generals.
4 points x 2 = 8 points.
2,000 horse = 2 points x 2 = 4 points.

General Zastrow = 1 point.
1 stand of Light Artillery @ 1 point.
2 stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 6 points.
2 stands of Lìght Dragoons @ 2 points = 4 points.

The Dutch Army ( also known as the United Provinces ).

22,000 foot ìnc Artillery and Generals.
22 points x 2 = 44 points.
3,000 Horse = 3 points x 2 = 6 points.

General Karl August, Prince of Waldecķ @ 1 point.
General Constrom @ 1 point.
2 stands of Grenadier Ìnfantry @ 4 points = 8 points.
10 stands of Line Infantry @ 3points = 30 points.
4 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 4 points.
3 stands of Light Dragoon Cavalry @ 2 points = 6 points.

The Austrian Netherlands Brigade.

1,500 Horse = 1.5 points x 2 = 3 points ( inc a General ).
500 foot = 0.5 points x 2 = 1 points.

General Count Lothar Konigsegg = 1point.
1 stand of  Light Dragoon Cavalry = 2 points.
1 stand of Militia Line Infantry = 1 point.

The French Army.

32,000 foot inc Artillery and Generals.
32 points x 2 = 64 points.
14,000 cavalry.
14 points x 2 = 28 points.

C-in-C General Maurice De Saxe @ 3 points.
General Vauguyon @ 1 point.
General Lutteaux @ 1 point.

3 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points = 12 points.
11 stands Line Infantry @ 3 points = 33 points.
3 stands Light Infantry Skirmishers @ 2 points = 6 points.

4 stands of Heavy Artillery @ 2 points = 8 points.

8 stands of Line Dragoon Cavalry @ 3 points = 24 points.
2 stands of Light Dragoon Cavalry @ 2 points = 4 points.

Here is a map of the battle;

Here is the armies laid out;


● The ground in front of the British/ Hanovarians sloped up toward the French position. It did not seem to make any difference to the movement so I left it flat.

● The French troops facing the Dutch troops were positioned behind a raised track which ran between Anthoing and Fontenoy. As with the British, it didn't affect the battle in any way so, once again I left it flat.

● King Louis 15th was present at the battle but he did not take command.

● The French Artillery cannot move. If any model gets a "move-back" result from fire or combat, 2 points will be removed from the die roll of each gun model firing back during the same Game-Turn.

● The defense works are treated as trenches. Stands positioned behind them get cover from fire. In combat, both sides use the normal rules.

● The Duke of Cumberland dismounted to lead the British Infantry attack. The British player can have a dismounted version of Cumberland if desired. The model will move at infantry speed.  The Duke ignored advice from his Generals about the redoubt in the woods of Barry!.

● If any British stand has to move back as a result of Fire while the army is positioned on the board edge, the stand is removed!.

● Initial Moves;

On the British side, only the Dutch army moves on the first Game-Turn. From the second Game-Turn onward the game is played as normal.

The Solo Game;

On the British side, only the Dutch army is moved for the first two Game-Turns. From the third Game Turn onward, the British Player uses two thirds of their points for the British/ Hanovarian group first. This is because the Dutch attack was not pushed home.


The figures are mostly Miniature Figurines supplemented with Peter Pig and Essex miniatures. There are also a stand of Hallmark pioneers. The coach in the bottom corner is from Essex.

The defense works are from a company called Last Man Last Bullet, and supplemented by sections from the Fire and Sword company.

The buildings are from Total Battle Miniatures.

The little supply waggon and the tent base is from Peter Pig.

All the items listed are 15mm and the interpretation of the battle is my own. The flags are hand painted by myself on masking tape.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

The Battle of Luzzera; Italy 1702.

This battle was one of a number of battles between France and Imperial Austria to take control of Italy. The battle took place in Lombardy on the 15th of August. This battle was a tough one with heavy casualties on both sides. At the end of the day, the French were fought to a standstill, with the Austrians to tired to push home their attack. Both sides dug in on the battlefield. A few months later the French Army retired.

The Armies are as follows;

24,500 Infantry. = 24 1/2 points x2 = 49 points.
10,000 Cavalry. = 10 points x2 = 20 points.
Total = 69 points.

1) General Louis Joseph Duc De Vendome C-in-C =1point.
2) General Charles De Lorraine Prince De Commerci =1 point.
3) General Nicholas Catinat =1 point.

2 Stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points =8 points.
11 Stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points = 33 points.
5 Stands of Line Cavalry @ 3 points = 15 points.
2 Stands of Light Dragoons @ 2 points = 4 points.
3 Stands of Heavy Artillery @ 2 points = 6 points.

Imperial Austria.
17,500 Infantry. = 17 1/2 points. x 2 = 35 points.
7,500 Cavalry. = 7 1/2 points. x 2 = 15 points.
Total 50 points.

A) General Prince Eugene of Savoy C-in-C = 2 points.
B) General Visconti = 1 point.
C) General Vaudemont = 1 point.

1 Stand of Grenadier Infantry @ 4 points. = 4 points.
7 Stands of Line Infantry @ 3 points. = 21 points.
3 Stands of Heavy Artillery @ 2 points = 6 points.
5 Stands of Line Cavalry @ 3 points = 15 points.

● Stands can only be moved up onto the Dyke
via the slope at either end.

● Stands moving over the irrigation ditches must stop once the Stand is on them. The stand can be moved normally in the next movement phase.

● A Stand involved in combat whilst positioned in an irrigation ditch, deduct 2 points from their combat die roll.

● The fields do not impede movement or line-of-sight.

● The buildings represent large Farm complexes called "Casines". Stone farmhouses and buildings encompassed by a wall.

● The river Po can only be crossed via the pontoon bridge.

● The Dragoons can dismount.

The Prince De Commerci; This particularly brave Gentlemen was wounded seven times leading cavalry  charges! and expired at the end of the battle!. Therefore;
Each time the French Cavalry under his command move back or are removed,this figure suffers a wound. Should he gain 3 wounds within eight Game-Turns,the figure is removed.

●The battle is fought for 8 Game-Turns.The loser is the army with the most number
of stands lost. If the number of stands lost on both sides is equal, the side with the most
Points in stands looses the battle.

● I fought this battle three times. The first was solo. The second and third with my Wife Joyce and my Stepson Jason. The Austrians won twice and the French once.

This is a map of the battlefield with the positions of the respective armies.

This is the battlefield. I used 15mm 18th century figures. These are mostly Miniature Figurines with some Peter Pig additions.

The square bases are from picture framing card. The round 40mm mdf bases are supplied by Minibits.

The Dyke;
I made this from cardboard in sections. I then covered the sections with texturing
Paste and painting them once the paste had dried.

The fields are Mdf bases sectioned with Cold curing clay. I bought some " wheatfield"
Scenic scatter from War World Scenics. (

The mdf bases came from S and A scenics, and Sarrisa Precision.

The mdf river sections came from a pack supplied by Sarrisa Precision. I added the river bank with Green Stuff putty. I then used emulsion paint and acrylic gloss varnish to finish them off.

The bridge " pontoons" were scratchbuilt as were the farmhouses using picture framing card and foamboard covered with texturing paste.

Friday, 20 September 2019

The Battle of Ceder Mountain 9th August 1862

The letters and numbers are references on the map below.

Union Forces;

2nd Corps; 8,800 = 8.8points x 3 = 27 points rounded up.

E) C-C Nathaniel P Banks @ 1 point

Williams Division;

D) Alpheus Williams @ 1 point.

A) Crawford, 1 x 2nd class Line Infantry @ 2 points.
1 x 1st class Line Infantry @ 3 points.

B) Gordon, 1 x 1st class Line Infantry @ 3points.

C) 1 Heavy Rifled Battery @ 2 points.

Augers Division;

F) Christopher Auger @ 1 point.
G) Geary 1 x 2nd class Line Infantry @ 2 points.
H) Prince 1 x 2nd class Line Infantry @ 2 points.
J) Green 1 x 1st class Line Infantry @ 3 points.

L) 2 x Light Rifled Artillery Batteries  @ 1 point = 2 points.

K) Bayards Cavalry Brigade ( 1 stand) @ 3 points. This brigade can dismount if required. This stand would be represented by 1 stand of horses ( 0 points) and 1 stand of dismounted cavalrymen at 2 points.

Confederate Forces

Jackson= 15000 = 15pts x 3 = 45pts.
A. P. Hill = 10,000 = 10pts x 3 = 30pts.

( 8 ) :  C-in-C :  Stonewall Jackson = 2pts.

Ewell,s Division.

( 1 ) : Richard Ewell = 1pt.

( 2 ) : Trimble :  2 x 2nd class Line Infantry ( 2pts ) = 4pts.

( 3 ) : Forno :  2 x 2nd class Line Infantry ( 2pts ) = 4pts.

( 5 ) : Early  : 1 x 1st class Line Infantry = 3pts. 1 x 2nd class Line Infantry = 2pts. = 5pts.

( 4 ) : 3 x Heavy Smoothbore Batteries (2pts) =6pts.

Winder,s Division.

( 6 ) : Charles Winder ( 1pt ).

( 7 ) : Ronald ( stonewall ) 2 x 1st class Line Infantry ( 3pts ) = 6pts.

( 9 ) : 3 Heavy Smoothbore Batteries ( 2pts) = 6pts.

( 10 ) : Taliaferro: 2 x 2nd class Line Infantry ( 2pts ) = 4pts.

( 11 ) : Garnet : 3 x 2nd class Line Infantry ( 2pts ) = 6 pts.

Hill,s Division.

( 17 ) Ambrose Powell Hill ( 1pt ).

( 12 ) Thomas : 2 x 2nd class Line Infantry ( 2pts ) = 4pts. 1 x 1st class Line Infantry 3pts. = 7pts.

( 13 ) Branch : 2 x 1st class Infantry ( 3pts ) = 6pts.

( 14 ) Pender : 2 x 1st class Infantry ( 3pts )= 6 pts.

( 15 ) Archer : 1 x 2nd class Line Infantry ( 2pts ).  2 x 1st class Line Infantry ( 3pts ) = 8pts.

( 16 ) 2 x Light Smoothbore Batteries ( 1pt ) = 2pts.


■ Only the Divisional Commanders are represented in the battle, but
I have listed the Brigade Commanders should you want to do your
own recreation.

■  The Union Army moves first on every Game-Turn.

■ The Union Army gets the initiative point on every Game -Turn.

■ Ceder Creek can be forded.

■ General Winder.
If a field gun in an adjacent square to General Winder is removed as a casualty, General Winder himself is also removed.

After a one Game-Turn gap, the General himself is restored asGeneral Taliaferro ( pronounced Toliver ).
General Winder was mortally wounded sighting the guns.

A.P. Hill,s Division.

No stand of A.P. Hill,s Division can be moved until a stand of Union troops
enters the wood on the South side of the Wheatfield ( marked with an " x " ).

Special movement.

The 2pt infantry are Line infantry. They can move in any direction but
cannot be diced for " avoidance".

Light Field Guns of 1pt can move as Horse Artillery.

Army Equipment.

All muskets are rifled = 3 squares range.

Rifled Cannon = 6 squares range.

Confederate Cannon are minus 1 when firing. ( poor ammiunition.)

Victory Conditions.

《1》The Confederates must remove 5 stands of Union troops by
the end of Game-Turn 8.

《2》The Union must get 2 infantry stands into the woods ( even if they get removed ) and must not loose more than 4 stands by the end of the 8th  Game-Turn. ( not including Generals ).

《3》The Confederates win if the Union army leaves the field
before the end of the 8th Game-Turn.

Well, as before this is my take on the battle based on my own perceptions. Myself and my Wife Joyce have played this twice and I have solo gamed it once. The Confederates can win but they do suffer!

On the day of battle it was extremely hot and the Cofederates suffered from the heat.

 There was also great confusion with the orders as General Jackson didn't let his Divisional Commanders know what he intended.

 General Hill got very angry with Jackson. His Division was further back to the left of the road, but I've represented his Division on table with conditions, as his Division came into the battle piecemeal.

On the Union side, Banks was still smarting from previous defeats. He was ordered to take up a defensive position.

However he was itching to redeem himself and ordered an attack not realising he was outnumbered 3-to-1!!.

I used dismounted cavalry markers for the 2pt infantry stands.

I used 15mm figures and those shown are from Miniature Figurines, Peter Pig and Essex.
The flags are by Peter Pig as are the buildings.

The hills were made by Brian at Essex.
The trees are by various manufacturers.
The outline bases for the wooded areas are by S and A Scenics.

The rivers, road and fields were made from thin cardboard.

The snake fencing is ready painted in 10mm and from
Northumbria Painting Service and MBM Scenery.

This is how the battle was set up on a 3 feet x 2 feet ( 90cm x 60cm ) table with 2 inch ( 50mm ) squares.

A map of the battlefield;

Sunday, 1 September 2019

The Great Northern War Part 3 : Narva 20th November 1700

The forces I used were scaled down as follows;

Swedish Army : 11,000 = 11 points.
(11 points x 3= 33 points).

General Rehnskiold ( C-in-C )

2 stands of  line Cavalry @ 3points = 6 points.

 3 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points =6 points.
1 stand of Grenadier Inf @ 3 points.

 1 General=2 points.

General Vellingk:

2 stands of Line Cavalry @ 3 points= 6 points.

3 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points = 6 points.

1 stand of Grenadier Infantry @3 pts= 3 points.
1 General @ 1 point.

The Russian Army : 20,000 = 20 points.
( 20 points x 3= 60pts ).

General Duke Charles Eugene De Croy  C-in-C.
General Sjeremetiev.

 3  stands of Cavalry @ 3 points = 9 points ( dismounted ).

 3 stands of Grenadier Infantry @ 3 points= 9 points.
14 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 points = 28 points.

  6 stands of Militia Infantry Skirmishers @ 1 point = 6 points.

 3 stands of Cossack Light Cavalry @ 2 points = 6 points.
 2 Generals @ 1pt= 2pts.

NOTE:  The Swedes get the initiative on every Game-turn.

●  The Swedish garrison did not play any part in the battle.

●  The artillery of both sides did not play any part in the actual battle.

●  The Russian army totalled 45,000 men, but only 20,000 faced the Swedish army.

●  The Russian defenseworks were given as 2 metres ( 6 feet 6 inches ) in height.

●  The  Swedes managed to break through in two places, hence the gaps. Therefore stands of both sides cannot move over the defense works or engage in close combat.

●  Opposed stands cannot fire across the defenseworks at each other if positioned in squares either side of the defenseworks. However Russian stands can fire out at the Swedish stands if the Russian stands are positioned against the defenseworks on their side and the Swedes are two squares away on the outside.

●  Stands cannot add points for " support " if there is a defense work section between friendly stands.

●  If any Russian stands suffer a " move-back" as a result of Firing or Combat, those stands are  moved toward either the camp or the bridge depending on their position and facing. Any stands that cannot be " moved back" are removed as casualties.

●  At the end of any Ģame-turn should the Russians have two stands on the bridge, a 6 sided die is thrown.   If a " 1" is thrown, the bridge collapses and any stands on it are lost.

Map of the Battle of Narva based on a 2" ( 50mm ) grid.

The " Snowstorm" at Narva.

The Swedes attacked as the storm blew toward the Russian position. Thìs is a procedure devised in an attempt to simulate the event.

GAME-TURN 1:     The Snowstorm is moved forward to the next square as shown in the  photo below. The Swedish stands are moved first.

 If the Swedish stands are moved beyond the " Storm" they  can  be shot at by the Russians.
If any Russian stands are moved there are only two options.

     A:  Turned on the spot.
     B:  They are moved toward the bridge WITH BACKS TO THE ENEMY. 

GAME-TURN 2:    The Snowstorm is moved forward to the 2nd position. The Swedish stands are moved forward.

If any Swedish stands are moved beyond the storm they can be shot at by the Russians.

The Russian movement is either on the spot or toward the bridge.


The Swedish player throws a 6 sided die. If a 1or 2 is  scored the storm lifts. The Swedes become visible to the Russians.
GAME-TURN 3:  The Storm is moved forward to the 3rd position shown on the map. The Swedish player moves their stands. The Russian stands can be turned on the spot or toward the bridge.

AT THE END OF GAME-TURN 3:   The Storm is lifted!.

GAME-TURNS 4 TO 8 :  These are now played as normal, however even in Solo play the Swedish army moves first on every turn.


At the end of the 8th Game-Turn : This will be the player who has lost the lower number of stands.

This photo shows the starting position of the respective armies;

In the actual battle the Swedes charged into the Russian positions under cover of the storm even managing to move some cheveu-de-frise out of the way.

The Swedes needed to win. The small Swedish garrison in Narva was close to exhaustion. The Swedes in the attacking force had left their greatcoats and packs at their camp. The cannon were not used by the Swedes so as not to slow the attack.

The Russians didn't fire their cannon because they could not see the Swedes advancing.

The Russian high command did not expect the outnumbered Swedes to attack!.

Toward the end of the battle a large number of Russians ran for the bridge. There were so many Russian soldiers on the bridge, it collapsed and many drowned in the
icey waters. 

Well, this is my take on the battle. Because this is a 3 foot x 2 foot table ( 90cm x 60cm) I only put in stuff that actually affected the situation.

Credits:   As explained in the previous blog the figures are a mix of Peter Pig and Miniature Figurines. The scenery is from the following souces:

The defense works are homemade using cardboard and cold-cure clay.

I  painted them white then painted over with Tamiya snow-effect paste.

The trees, I got from Amazon. I glued them to to 40mm square cardboard. I mixed up some white acrylic paint and some PVA glue with water so it's nice and runny. I then brushed the mixture onto the tree.

While the mixture was wet my Wife Joyce helped me in sprinkling on the snow dust. I got a " snow kit " from:

The " snowstorm" is white card. The bases I got from:

The tents of the Russian camp are resin and from the Peter Pig scenic range which I painted white and with snow scenic material added.

Finally, the field is overlapping  thin white card sheets with grey squares painted on.  The river is thin blue card. It doesn't look as picturesque as custom made river sections but it makes it easier forming sections for different battles.

I have played this game solo and with my Wife Joyce. In both instances the Swedes won. However if the storm of snow clears early, the Swedes could face a storm of lead instead!!.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Genesis of a ruleset

It sounds a bit grand doesn't it?. It's been a long road. I started war gaming in 1968. I had a game called " Battle of the Bighorn produced by a company called Waddingtons. For those of a much younger age, the game provided plastic figures of the U.S. Cavalry on foot and American Indians.

The soldiers were set up in the middle of the board and the Indians were set up around the edges. The idea of the game was to try and get the standard off the table with as many soldiers as possible ( I think!). The main thing about this game was that it was played on squares.

That set me thinking. At that time Airfix were producing plastic figures of Romans and Gaullic tribesmen. I made up my own board of 1 inch squares and started using a modified rule set from the game to fight the battles.

Moving on to 1970 and Don Featherstones book : Battles with Model Soldiers made its appearance. For me it was a revelation!. Proper Wargaming. All through the 70,s and 80,s this book was the bedrock of all subsequent gaming activities with my mates. Other inventions and systems were used and or amended as required.

Through all this time there were  good and not so good games. I was the one entrusted to write the rules and on occasion, especially when things were not going to well for one side or the other the inevitable arguments would rise to the surface.

" that unit is out of range because the distant is short by 1/8th of an inch"!
" that's not a melee  because you moved them, and even right at the end of the move distance they are still 1/8th of an inch short so you cannot use your melee bonus to decimate my unit!
And so on.

I wanted to use squares but my mates didn't like them so you go with the majority vote. As one of them said " you cannot cheat with squares!
Indeed at one point I was so depressed with the constant wrangling I actually binned an entire  group  of 150 figures that I had only just converted and painted!!.

Well, you know how it is. Once war gaming is in the blood you cannot give it up, and I started back in 6mm. I bought a load of Heroics and Ros English civil War figures. The main reasons for this is because, ( a) they were cheap and (b) they were quick to paint.
 I wrote some rules for using them and  the same group used them. This was one of the the best situations we ever did.

A mate of mine came up with a campaign and he also did an area campaign map of Britain. There were 6 of us, three Royalist and three Parliamentarians. ( Yes, I was Charles the 1st which gives you some idea of what happened to me!!).

However, the campaign went really well. We fought small actions using my mates 28mm figures and the larger actions using my 6mm stuff. Even without doing anything totally historical the campaign culminated in the siege of Oxford. We actually recreated roughly the city of Oxford and it's defences on a 6' by 4' table using all my 6mm figures and buildings.

The city fell and ended the campaign. The rules that I used seem to work well and  were accepted by the group.  I wrote them up ,and entitled " Matchlock " I submitted the set to Partizan Press who published them in 1988.

Situations never stay the same, and thus it was for our group. Everyone went their separate ways as life guided each individual on their separate path to follow  their own destiny ( profound philosophy here!!).

I was having the odd game on remote occasions but more often solo. I met Joyce and after a time together she asked about war gaming. Well, she had a go, but it was obvious that that the historical complexities were going over her head.

However I did not want to dent her enthusiasm so, that's when I decided to ditch the historical stuff and go right back to basics. With squares. Once again I had to start from scratch having had to sell most of my figures to cover debts. This time I started again with 15mm.

I wrote up a rule set using the squares and Joyce picked up on it really quickly. In time I also met other blokes who were interested in Wargaming and also had a go at the game using the squares. One in particular (sadly deceased) wanted to try Fantasy gaming but could not get his head around  the rules printed by the Nottingham Empire. After playing the grid game I had set up, he was hooked. Joyce was instrumental in the way the game was structured in order that It could be picked up quickly and easily.

I married Joyce.

With extensive  help of my Brother- in- Law Des, who had a computer and  Jill, one of Joyce's friends, who typed up the original manuscript, the first attempt at publishing came about.

" Wavey Bayonets And Spaghetti  Spears" was the first attempt at this. It got a small write up in Miniature Wargames , the title came from an article I had read. Needless to say it got a few sells but died quietly!!

By this time I had realised that the hobby was moving upmarket with some big hitters making their presence known. The rule system worked so ,with some add- ons and a colour cover, Table Top Armies made its appearance. Once again with my brother- in -laws help plus a review in Wargames Soldiers and Strategy we tried to get it out there. Another quiet death!!

I must admit I was ready to give up, but something kept driving me. I knew the rule system was good. People who had never wargamed had tried it and enjoyed playing. Those that had time were coming back. At this time my financial situation was picking up a bit but I realised  I had to present something a bit more " professional ".

So, once again with a great deal of help from my Brother in Law with his computer skills plus a ISBN NUMBER, TABLE TOP BATTLES. came out. At this time I was also running a postal campaign based on the War of the Austrian Succession. I did a later one based on the Seven years War. Both went very well.

 There was a good review in Battlegames, and Patizan Press were doing the distribution. This time there was some movement and I was told that small numbers were selling world  wide . Since 2007 it has been selling in small numbers.

Fast forward to 2018. During that year a review suddenly appears in Miniature Wargames. I was a bit surprised. The basic premise was that the rule set was ok but a bit history-lite and not for serious gamers.
Well, mentally I agreed with this in principle, however I still felt that they could still hold an historical game together.

A time later I received a letter from a friend telling me that a member of the Solo Wargames Association ( now online and called Lone Warrior. Editor is Richard Barbuto.) had reviewed them and played an historical game. The reviewer found that although Table Top Battles was not historical the rule set still gave a historical result!

My morale was restored by reading of this.  I still felt that the rule system rocked!!
In the last few years the Wargames Association of Reading has allowed me to present  a Participation Game at their annual Warfare event in Reading. This has also been well received by those members of the public who tried a game.

Now here we are in 2019 with  digital technology well and truly wrapped around humanity. One of my Stepsons suggested putting the book on-line. I also thought about going the whole distance by updating the book with a new cover etc.
After 46 years of work I had also been lucky to reach retirement!

So it was that Table Top Battles version 2 appeared both as a paperback and pdf file. It has been selling slowly but steady. On a personal level I felt vindicated. It won't be everybody's "cup of tea" but judging by the success of  Richard Borgs Command and Colours system using hexes. Peter Pigs rules, some of which use squares ( and pre-date my efforts). The release of " To the Strongest " by Simon Miller and " Tin Soldiers in Action by Rudiger and Klaus Hofrichter more recently, show that the use of the square grid in war gaming has found its place in the hobby.

Joe Morschauser started using squares back in the 60s and Charles Sweet continued in the70s but very few people ( including myself) knew of them until recently.

 I feel proud that I have helped kickstart this particular form of wargaming back in to the mainstream. As stated in previous blog posts, using a grid makes a lot  of movement rules redundant. There is no argument about whether a target is in or out of range and  close combat is unequivocal. I will continue using squares and my one regret is not sticking to this system in the first place. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!!

Hopefully you, dear reader have managed to stay awake through all the above! Next time I will be writing about scratchbuilding ships.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

What's my Timeline

As a " cardigan dude" in the grand scheme of war gaming, I have gamed many historical and a few non historical eras. When I started I knew very little of actual military history. Like most wargamers I was influenced by the film's that I watched or books that I read. My early war gaming consisted of a grid of 1 inch squares with a plastic figure in each square. You had to roll a six to hit.

Having read Donald Featherstones Battles with Model soldiers when it appeared in 1970, I started out with the American Civil War. At that time Airfix had both Union and Confederate boxes of figures on sale. Information about the war were in plentiful supply at the library. The figures were never painted or based!, the game was more important.

The first foray into metal came when I read a copy of the Airfix magazine. A company called Miniature Figurines were advertising metal figures in 25mm (??).
Infantry were 1 shilling (5 pence ) and Cavalry were 2 shillings ( 10 pence ). I think at that time I bought some Imperial Romans and Barbarians. The game was always a fight on the edge of Hadrians wall ( a company called Britain's made farmyard walling which was quite tall compared to the figures.

Anyway, I,m waffling, more to the point what do I actually like war gaming.

First: The 18th century. There were conflicts going on all over the planet from small scale skirmishes to full scale battles. The numbers involved in a large battle were between 20/50 thousand. Those in a small battle maybe 500 to a few thousand. You can pitch Europeans against Amerindians or Asian warriors. Alliance's changed at various times so that one minute the Austrians were fighting the French the next time they would be allies. Famous commanders didn't always have it their own way. In this century, the British army were auxilliaries to the Hanovarian army with the Duke of Cumberland making a fair few blunders! Even Frederick the Great lost battles simply by underestimating his opponents!!

The uniforms are straightforward to paint and nowhere as complicated as the Napoleonic wars. As a bonus one or more countries used more or less the same colours. In addition to this the Navy played a more integrated part in moving troops around. So, virtually any scenario you can think of can be played out on the table.

Number 2: The late Roman Empire. By this time in history the Western Empire was suffering. As ground was being lost to small tribes of Barbarians the amount of money in taxes was also being reduced. Emperors were fighting userpers with Roman armies fighting each other and the Barbarians. Eventually the Native tribesmen became the Roman army. As central authority broke down, petty kingdoms rose up. Even the Huns were employed by the Romans as auxiliary cavalry. So you can mix and match troop types to make up opposing forces.

3: The American Civil War. This needs no intro. Most people know about the war if not the politics. In this instance you either need infantry and guns or cavalry. Very few battles were fought with all three arms present. Most of the bigger battles were fought in the East.

The Western theatre had the smaller but more diverse armies. This theatre also created a lot of raids. Once again the uniforms are a doddle to paint, with the added bonus that most of the combatants  looked pretty tatty after a few months in the field. ( to be honest our war game armies are a lot more well dressed and tidy than their real life counterparts!!)

Even groups of Amerindians were part of the armies on both sides. Well, these are the three main eras that I have armies for, and I have the greatest and longest interest in. I have done others ;

The Thirty Years War. The English Civil War.  The Napoleonic Wars in Italy , The 14th century in Italy. The Roman Republic and Hannibalic Wars (all in various scales ) but I,ve always maintained in interest in the three listed above. Don't ask me why. I think in part it's because of the simplicity and diversity in each of the three periods. Armies do not have to be massive and the individual formations don't have to have loads of figures.

I have also had science fiction forces in 6mm and 28mm. 10mm armies of Orcs and Humans have also been part of my wargaming life.

I have never done other 19th century eras or done anything on World War 1 or 2.
Maybe because my parents and their relatives were involved. I don't know. However as a " last Hurrah!" I might go into 6mm once again mainly because of the space I have to store stuff.One is the Russo-Polish war 1917 to 1925 and/or the Franco Austrian war of 1859.

One final era that I have some figures for is the 12th century ( 28mm!!),. I'm thinking of doing some actions on Sicily at skirmish level.  We shall see. Apart from this there are a few sci- fi figures sitting in a draw waiting to see the light of day!!

Just to clarify, I use 15mm figures for the 18th century and the American Civil War, and 20mm plastics  ( with a few metal figures ) for the Late Roman Empire.

Next time I'll write some stuff about the current rule set. Oh! and some board games!

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

What about the Figures.

This is always the tricky bit of the hobby. You get an idea in your head of a particular
period of history you are interested in. Next you start looking for figures ( or Minis) for that period. This is the first hurdle.

Many, are the cupboards, lofts, sheds and garages the length and breadth of the nation containing boxes of metal and plastic figures symbolizing the dreams and aspirations of wargamers never to be realized. Their ultimate destiny being a bring and buy stall ,church bazaar or car boot sale!

Why is this?. It usually starts with a book, a film, or an article in a war game magazine. In our minds eye we can picture the thundering charges of armoured cavalry, the closed ranks of legionary shields holding back hordes of barbarians or mighty tanks smashing enemy defences.

Next, having seen the coloured photos of lavish war game tables groaning under the weight of exellently painted figures or having been taken to a war game show, the spell becomes harder to resist. The colour! The spectacle! I must buy!!

Before you know it a small fortune has been spent on acquiring bags or boxes of figures (all rhyme and reason out the window) along with paints and brushes. These are stored in a place ready for those aspirations to be magically realised.

That's when the cold light of reason hits home. Four incidents usually happen.

1 : You finally realize that you haven't got the patience and none of the skill required to turn this pile of lead/ plastic into something resembling the pictures/games you have seen.

2 : Your domestic situation has changed whereby that spare room has been taken up by a returning sibling maybe with grand siblings in tow. Your regular home/ work routine has been knocked sideways by unforeseen circumstances.

3:  Having sat and thought about it for a few weeks you realise you have selected the wrong scale of figues combined with the amount of space not being available for the formations you envisaged.(note the bigger the figures the bigger the scenery. Have you the room for that as well as the figures!!).

4: There are no Wargame groups in your area that cater for large scale games or
     the group of mates you wargamed with have moved on to a different era, don't want to do that era of history, or have split up to go their separate ways.
This last one also contains the poison chalice whereby you have all the figures of one side only. If you wish to continue then you have to collect enough stuff to form the opposition. A double whammy!!!.

All these situations have happened to this blogger in the last 50 years and no doubt to many other gamers. On top of all this , if you have a partner ,will they tolerate your interest in " toy soldiers".

If you can spare a moment to give all the above some thought a lot of effort and money will be saved.

The photo above this post is my interpretation of a Sassanid Army. It took me about 8 weeks to paint taking roughly an hour a day. All the figures are Hat Industries. The metal spears are either dressmaker pins, or javelins cut down from North Star Miniatures. The War Elephants are the Carthaginian types again from Hat Industries.

All the plastic figures were supplied from
The figures below are 15 mm metal.

Mostly Miniature Figurines with some Peter Pig and Essex Miniatures.


Wednesday, 7 November 2018

What's my Grid

 What size of grid to use?. At the heart of this question are two other considerations. The size of the figures and the formations you wish to create or have already created.

Let's take a 24 figure formation in 28mm. They would be on 4 bases each of 6 figures. Each base would be 60mm wide by 40mm deep. To accomodate this fomation in Line means your grid square would have to be 240mm (9 and a half inches) wide. Six of these formations will just about fit onto a table 144cm long (57 inches).

If you put each group of four bases into a 2x2 formation you can get 4 formations into one gridsquare. This also allows room within each gridsquare for formation changes,Generals, artillery and small pieces of scenery.

The board would also need depth to allow for longer Cavalry moves. Using a square of 240mm the board would need to be 5 squares deep. 120 cm (4 feet). In total you can comfortably fit 24 formations on one long side of a 144cm(57inches) board.

Using the same formations in 15mm,you can comfortably fit 6 infantry two lines of three figures on a 40mm Frontage by 30mm deep base. Using six formations in line, each square would need to be 16cm (6 and a half inches).The board would need to be 96cm (approximately 38 inches long). 5 squares deep would be 80cm (approximately 32 inches deep.

Bases for 6mm, 10mm and 12mm, would also be 40mm width by 30mm depth, ( possibly shallower), so the same size board would be used as for the 15mm figures. If you use bases with a 30mm width, four of these in line would need a square 12cm (approximately 5 and a half inches). The board would be 72cm (approximately 29 inches long) by 60cm deep ( 24inches)

The point of all this waffle is;  How much space do you have available for a war game?.
My own board is 3feet x 2feet ( approximately 92cm x 61cm) which sits on a fold-up T.v table in one corner of a room and can be packed away when not in use. The board is marked out in two inch (50mm) squares.

My 15mm metal and plastic figures are on "stands" of thick cardboard 40mm x 40mm square. Each base is a unit in its own right.


15mm figures;  my 18th century Line Infantry are 8 figures in two lines of 4. My light  Infantry are four to a Stand. The Cavalry are 4 to a Stand ( I have to zig-zag em' a bit!). The light cavalry are three to a Stand. The guns are singly mounted with two or three gunners.

I still wanted to keep the 40mm Stands for the 20mm plastic I  started collecting. So, it was three Infantry or two Cavalry. I've  made them up into Units of four Stands but I still use them as individual Stands on the table. My Generals are on individual Stands.

I have recently changed my command Stands to 40mm mdf round Stands to make them stand out more. I'll  talk more about the actual mechanics I  use next time.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

The Grid in the Wargame

I went back to using a grid when my Wife said that she would like to try a game. A wise man once told me that if your partner is onside with your hobby then you are truly blessed.

The rules that I  wrote were pretty basic so that myself and my Wife did not have to many mechanics to remember. Our first game went really well.

After that first game, I  convinced a few non-wargamers to try out a game. This also went very well. Another time a couple of Fantasy gamers well used to tape measures and encyclopedic rule books. They enjoyed the game and commented that it was a nice chance to play something easy.

I realised that using a Grid is a basic Game mechanic that everyone mentally equates to. Using a Grid greatly reduces the number of rules required for movement, Firing and Combat. This in turn means that a game ceases to be a mental strain on people, not only in trying to explain the mechanics,but also not confusing the hell out of them!!

At the time I  myself didn't know that other Wargamers had also used squares  prior to the rules that I  eventually published.

In America in the1960,s Joe Morshauser came up with a set that never saw the light of day until a few years ago. Charles Sweet is another American Gamer who has recently been more widely known about.

There is also a Gent in Austria  who has been using squares  in his war gaming activities for many years. Prior to my scribblings there was only one commercial company that I was aware of that did ,( and still does) use a Grid in their rule sets.

After I  published, more rule sets have appeared which uses a square as the basic mechanic. Despite this the majority of Wargamers in the hobby do not like the Grid. For those who expend a great deal of time and effort on creating well painted  historically correct figures vehicles and scenery, they say it ruins the aesthetics. For the "win at all cost"Brigade they hate it because it makes it harder to bend the rules.

Myself, I  think maybe the hobby missed a trick here. By introducing the square, the hobby might become more generally acceptable to the public. It would put the emphasis on war GAMING, not WAR gaming.

In my next blog I'll  be writing about the size of Grid I  use.