The ‘universal’ wargames rules that are evolving are based upon the work I had previously done when I wrote the following:
- THE PORTABLE WARGAME
- MEMOIR OF BATTLE (MOB)
- MEMOIR OF MODERN BATTLE (MOBAT)
- ITCHY & SCRATCHY
They also draw heavily upon the work of Joseph Morschauser and Richard Borg.
In a nutshell the rules can be summarised as follows:
- Units have initial strength values of 4 (infantry), 3 (cavalry), and 2 (artillery);
- Units retain an undiminished ability to fight (i.e. they throw the same number of combat dice) until they are destroyed (i.e. their strength value is reduced to 0);
- When one side’s remaining strength value is reduced to 50% of the combined strength value they began the battle with, they cannot continue to advance from their existing positions, although they may withdraw and continue to defend themselves; when both sides are reduced to 50% of the combined strength value they began the battle with, the battle ends;
- A card-driven unit activation system is used;
- Unit movement is restricted by the terrain the unit is moving through and whether or not it is engaging in combat during its current activation;
- One combat resolution system for both fire and close combat;
- The combat resolution system uses standard D6 dice, with the number of dice thrown depending upon the range at which the combat is taking place;
- The combat resolution system uses pairs of dice to determine ‘hits’ on enemy units (i.e. 1 + 1 = ‘hit’ on an enemy artillery unit; 2 + 2 or 3 + 3 = ‘hit’ on an enemy cavalry unit; 4 + 4 or 5 + 5 or 6 + 6 = ‘hit’ on an enemy infantry unit; enemy units in cover require these scores plus an additional pair to be ‘hit’)
I had initially decided to use special D6 dice similar to those used in Richard Borg’s BATTLE CRY and MEMOIR ’44 rules, but I found that my attempts to do so were flawed (i.e. the dice seemed to end up unbalanced) so I reverted to a simpler system based on the one used in my ITCHY & SCRATCHY rules. (The original idea for this combat resolution system came from Archduke Piccolo [see my blog entry of 14th September 2013 and his blog entry of 13th September 2013].)
These rules have now been set down on paper, but require some more play-testing before I make them more widely available. In the meantime I want to complete varnishing and basing my collection of Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures before the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo in June.
The problem is that I had thought that what I was doing was going to be a simple ‘cut and paste’ job that would require a little bit of tidying up at the end. That is how I started out … and that is why I have not got to where I wanted to be.
I am now in something of a quandary and need to find an answer to the following questions:
- Do I persist with my current draft and try to iron out the problems?
- Do I start again from scratch?
- Do I walk away from my idea for the time being with the intention of returning to it at a later date?
- Do I give up trying to do what I set out to do and move onto a new project?
I am very tempted to answer ‘No‘, ‘No‘, ‘Possibly‘, and ‘Yes‘ to these questions … but before I do I intend have a good night’s sleep first.
When I call then a first rough draft I mean that they are very rough indeed. In fact I know that there a still a few things that need to be ironed out before I can even begin thinking about play-testing them. As I am going to be rather busy for the rest of today (I have an important Lodge meeting this afternoon and evening) and for most of tomorrow (we had a guest staying overnight), I will have to leave the ‘ironing’ until later in the week.
During my bout of sleeplessness I began thinking about the various Morschauser-based rules I have written over the years … and how much fun and enjoyment they have given me. This morning I glanced through the computer file containing those rules, and began to hear (in my imagination) the siren call of Morschauser … and I must admit that ‘going back to Morschauser basics’ has a tremendous appeal.
I am trying to resist … but I doubt if I will be able to do so for very long!
By the time I had finished I was feeling rather tired and did little else before lunch. After lunch I helped my wife to try to sort out the information she had acquired concerning her father’s army career. We used a variety of different documents provided by the Army Records Department as well his Pay Book and Soldiers Book. None of the documents showed a complete breakdown of where he was, what unit/formation he served with, and the places he served in throughout his service. In the end I used a spreadsheet to enter and sort the information, and we finally have a slightly less confused idea about his army career, although there still appear to be some anomalies and quite a few gaps.
Towards the latter part of the afternoon I decided to try to do some more work on my combined OP14 and ITCHY AND SCRATCHY wargame rules … but despite my best intentions I was ‘dragged’ away by a recent addition to my collection of articles written by or about Joseph Morschauser. This happened because the VINTAGE WARGAMING blog had published a copy of Joseph Morschauser’s contribution to the 1966/67 edition of Donald Featherstone’s WARGAMERS YEARBOOK and I had printed off a copy of what he had written.
Over the years I have been transcribing and saving all the relevant articles that I can find. As a result I have a small but gradually expanding archive of Morschauser’s work … and this afternoon – as a consequence of reading the latest addition to my collection – I made the mistake of sitting back and reading through everything in the archive, with the result that I did very little work on anything else.
One thing in the latest article did make me sit up and think. It was the following paragraph:
I have been playing around with grids and small war game boards for some time now and have finally developed a workable and interesting method of conducting full-scale battles on a 3 by 3 foot board lined with a 3 inch grid. To push things to the limit so to speak I have designed this one for use with 54mm troops figuring that if it were possible to fight a full battle with these on such a small board any other scale would work.
Visions of some of my Britains 54mm figures being used on my small tabletop suddenly came to mind … as did the idea for a ‘Very Little Wars’ game! I even went into my toy/wargames room to see if I had a large enough piece of green felt on which to mark out a 12 x 12 grid of 3-inch squares before sanity returned and I decided that I needed to try to get one project finished first before I started another.
Yet again I had almost been seduced away from what I should have been doing by Morschauser!
As a result I decided to spend some time in the garden cutting up and shredding the laurel hedge branches that had broken off and fallen down during the recent storms. After a couple of hours work I had managed to get all the branches together and had cut up and shredded about a third of them.
The time I spent gardening gave me the opportunity to do some thinking about how I am going to combine some elements of Richard Brooks’ OP14 wargame rules with those drawn from my own ITCHY AND SCRATCHY wargame rules … and with luck I should be able to start work on the first draft later today.
The main changes that I finally introduced (after quite a lot of thought) can be summarised as follows:
- The Flotation Values of all ship types have been increased.
- Ships can turn without having to move forward first.
- Torpedoes now reduce a target ship’s Flotation Value by 2D6.
- Rules for minefields have been added.
I hope to be able to play-test this new draft of the rules in the near future.
I also produced an amended version of the ITCHY AND SCRATCHY rules so that they can be used to fight early twentieth century battles. The data for smooth-bore artillery has been removed and new data (and rules) for tanks, armoured cars, and motorised transport have been added.