Working towards a set of ‘universal’ wargames rules

Whilst I was on my recent cruise I had time to give quite a lot of thought to the rules I have been using in the Zubia-based mini-campaigns I have fought since Christmas … and have come to the conclusion that I am on the verge of putting together a set of simple, fast-play wargames rules that will be adaptable to a variety of different historical periods.

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.


Barbarossa Mini-campaign: Battle No.3: Triple line

Having beaten off the determined Russian counter-attack, the somewhat weakened Germans continued their advance into Soviet territory. By this stage Russian resistance was weak, and the Germans knew that if they were to reach Moscow before the snows of Winter arrived, they had to push on and destroy all remaining Russian forces.

This was the third battle of my Barbarossa Mini-campaign.


Triple LineThis battle used Scenario 26 from Neil Thomas’s ONE-HOUR WARGAMES. The Germans had six units and the Russians had four units.

The Germans had:

  • Three Infantry Units (= 12 Strength Points)
  • One Machine Gun Unit (= 4 Strength Points)
  • One Artillery Unit (= 2 Strength Points)
  • One Tank Unit (= 3 Strength Points)

Note: The German will become exhausted when they have lost 11 Strength Points.

The Russians had:

  • Two Infantry Units (= 8 Strength Points)
  • One Machine Gun Unit (= 4 Strength Points)
  • One Artillery Unit (= 2 Strength Points)

Note: The Russians will become exhausted when they have lost 7 Strength Points but as they are defending and will obey Stalin’s ‘Not one step back!‘ order, this will not seriously effect them.

The terrain looked like this:

Note: In the original scenario the defenders do not have any fieldworks, trenches etc. For this battle I decided that the second line of defenders would have had time to dig in, and I have therefore allowed them a line of trenches.

The battle began when the leading German units entered the battlefield.

The Russians were already in their defences … waiting.

They did not have to wait long. The German Tank Unit moved forward and engaged the Russian Infantry Unit that was guarding the bridge, forcing it to retire.

The Germans then moved their Artillery Unit onto the battlefield.

Having clearer away the bridge’s defenders, the German Tank Unit advanced across it and fired for a second time at the same Russian Infantry Unit, inflicting 25% casualties upon it and forcing it to fall back yet again.

The right-hand German Infantry Unit moved towards the bridge to support the advancing Tank Unit …

… as did the German Machine Gun Unit.

The Russian Artillery Unit opened fire on the German Tank Unit … and hit it.

Whilst this was happening the foremost Russian Infantry Unit advanced into the woods near the river as this enable them to threaten any German units moving forward over the bridge.

The German Tank Unit moved across the front of the Russian trenches and engaged the right-hand Russian Infantry Unit. Despite being in trenches, the Russian Infantry Unit lost 25% of its initial strength.

The leading German Infantry Unit advanced across the bridge, but was unable to fire at any of the Russian defenders.

The Russian Machine Gun Unit fired at the leading German Infantry Unit and hit it.

The German Infantry Unit was then fired upon by the Russian Infantry Unit that was in the woods, and although no casualties were inflicted, the German Infantry Unit was forced to retreat onto the bridge.

The Russian Artillery Unit fired for a second time at the German Tank Unit … and destroyed it!

Despite the loss of the Tank Unit, the Germans pushed forward in the hope of achieving a quick and decisive victory.

First the German Infantry Unit on the bridge moved forward and into the woods on its right.

Secondly the German Machine Gun Unit moved forward on to the bridge, …

… and the remaining German Infantry Unit entered the battlefield.

The Russians failed to respond to this movement, and the German continued to press forward.

Fighting broke out in the woods near the bridge, and resulted in further losses for the Russian Infantry Unit therein.

The German Machine Gun Unit advanced and opened fire on its opposite number in the Russian trenches … and inflicted casualties on them.

One of the other German Infantry Units reached the bridge and began to cross it …

… followed by the German Artillery Unit.

The fighting in the woods continued, although this resulted in losses for the Germans rather than the Russians.

These losses were offset when the Russian Machine Gun Unit lost further casualties at the hands of its German counterpart.

The combat in the woods was finally resolved when the Russian Infantry Unit was forced to retire, but the cost was heavy and the German Infantry Unit was destroyed.

The retreating Russian Infantry Unit was engaged by the German Machine Gun Unit, and forced to fall back even further.

Unfortunately for the Germans, the fact that the German Machine Gun Unit had not moved resulted in a traffic jam by the bridge, with units lining up to cross.

In order to clear the way for other units to cross the bridge, the German Machine Gun Unit moved to its left and fired at the Russian Infantry Unit that was in the trenches. This resulted in further losses for the Russian Infantry Unit.

The leading German Infantry Unit moved across the bridge and engaged the Russian Machine Gun Unit … but with no effect.

The situation then suddenly swung in favour of the Russians. The Russian Artillery Unit fired at the leading German Infantry Unit and inflicted 50% losses upon it.

The German Infantry Unit was then fired at by the Russian Machine Gun Unit … and wiped out!

At this point the Germans had almost become exhausted, and it was obvious that they would be unable to prise the Russians out of their defences without further reinforcements. The German Machine Gun Unit therefore withdrew to the other side of the bridge, where the Germans began to form a defence line.


This was the final battle of my mini-campaign. The Germans had won the first two battles, but the final one was drawn, leaving the Russians bruised but unbeaten and the Germans seriously in need of further troops. As happened in the real Operation Barbarossa, the Germans had pushed just a little too far and the Russians were able to dig in and hold out.

I rather enjoyed the whole process of the mini-campaign. It gave the flavour of a much large campaign without becoming too tedious. The outcome of the battles was reasonably realistic and all the battles were fun to fight. Although I fought them as solo wargames, my playing card-driven unit activation system ensured that I could not favour either side and the combat system (which is almost entirely drawn from Richard Borg‘s MEMOIR ’44) produced reasonably balanced results that were also unpredictable.

I will certainly use this mini-campaign structure again, and I thoroughly recommend it to other wargamers who fight solo wargames or who do not have easy access to a wargames club where they can take part in a campaign.


Barbarossa Mini-campaign: Battle No.2: Late arrivals

Once the Germans had broken through the Russian front-line they advanced as rapidly as they could into Soviet territory. The Russian response was to send all available units forward to meet the invaders, to defeat them, and then to throw them back across the border.

This was the second battle of my Barbarossa Mini-campaign.


Late ArrivalsThis battle used Scenario 10 from Neil Thomas’s ONE-HOUR WARGAMES. Both sides had six units available to take part in the battle.

The Germans had:

  • Three Infantry Units (= 12 Strength Points)
  • One Machine Gun Unit (= 4 Strength Points)
  • Two Tank Units (= 6 Strength Points)

Note: The German will become exhausted when they have lost 11 Strength Points.

The Russians had:

  • Four Infantry Units (one of which was Militia) (= 15 Strength Points)
  • One Anti-tank Gun Unit (= 2 Strength Points)
  • One Tank Unit (= 3 Strength Points)

Note: The Russians will become exhausted when they have lost 10 Strength Points.

The terrain looked like this:

The leading German troops had outstripped their supporting units and had halted in order for them to catch up. The Russians were already rushing reinforcements forward to stem the German advance, and a clash was inevitable. It was know that the German support units were moving up the road that ran through the built-up area in the corner of the wargaming board nearest the camera, and that the Russian troops would be arriving via the same road but from the opposite corner. The hill was deemed to be unclimbable and was regarded as impassable terrain.

The battle began when the first Russian units (led by their Tank Unit) entered the battlefield. The Russian Tank Unit immediately engaged the German Tank Unit …

… and missed!

The Germans responded by moving their Machine Gun Unit out onto their right-hand flank whilst their Tank Unit fired at the Russian Tank Unit and forced it to withdraw.

Further Russian units arrived on the battlefield …

… and this enabled the Russians to move forward.

The Russian Tank Unit’s fire forced the German Tank Unit to withdraw down the road towards the built-up area …

… whilst the Russian Anti-tank Unit was able to open fire on the German Machine Gun Unit and inflict 50% casualties on it.

At this point the first of the German support troops arrived, and this enabled the Germans to begin counter-attacking.

The German Tank Unit fired at the Russian Tank Unit and reduced its effectiveness by 33% …

… and the German Machine Gun Unit was able to return fire upon the Russian Anti-tank Gun Unit and kill half of its gunners.

The duel between the two Tank Units continued …

… but no further damage was caused.

A Russian Infantry Unit had moved forward and engaged the German Machine Gun Unit, but it was equally unsuccessful.

Events then began to favour the Germans when their Tank Unit was able to hit the Russian Tank Unit twice … knocking it out.

The German Machine Gun Unit switched target and fired at the Russian Infantry Unit, but was unable to hit it.

The German Tank Unit now moved forward and forced the foremost Russian Infantry Unit to fall back.

This success was followed up by the two German Infantry Units, which advanced on either flank of the Tank Unit.

The Russians responded by moving their Anti-tank Gun Unit into the woods (thus giving it some protection) and forming a road block with their Infantry Units.

The left-hand German Infantry Unit fired at the Russian Infantry Unit in the centre of the roadblock, inflicting 50% casualties upon it.

The German Machine Gun Unit also engaged this Russian Infantry Unit, and reduced to 25% of its original strength.

The German Tank Unit chose to fire at another of the Russian Infantry Units … with devastating effect.

At this point the Russians had reached their Exhaustion Level (they had lost 10 Strength Points) but were still in a position to defend … which they chose to do.

(Once a side reaches its Exhaustion Level it cannot take any offensive actions such as advance, but may either retreat or fight on in the hope that they will exhaust their opponent. In this case Stalin’s ‘Not one step back!‘ order seems to have been obeyed.)

The Russians quickly proved that they were unwilling to give up their positions. The Anti-tank Unit fired at and hit the German Tank Unit …

… and the Russian Militia Infantry Unit moved forward to support the Russian front-line.

At the same time the right-hand Russian Infantry Unit engaged the nearby German Infantry Unit and caused it to suffer 25% casualties.

The Germans reacted by moving their right-hand Infantry Unit forward, …

… bringing further troops onto the battlefield, …

… and wiping out the Infantry Unit in the centre of the Russian front-line.

In the hope that they could stem the German advance, the Russian Anti-tank Unit fired at the leading German Tank Unit and forced it to fall back.

The left-hand Russian Infantry Unit engaged the German Machine Gun Unit at long range, but their fire was ineffective.

The German response was vigorous and effective. The leading German Tank Unit moved forward and engaged the Russian Anti-tank Gun Unit … and destroyed it!

The second German Tank Unit also advanced and engaged the right-hand Russian Infantry Unit. The latter was already reduced to 25% of it original strength, and this attack wiped it out.

The left-hand German Infantry Unit also moved forward and fired at the Russian Militia Infantry Unit, but the range was long and the German Unit’s fire was ineffective.

The left-hand German Infantry Unit moved forward again, and this time its fire reduced the strength of the Russian Militia Infantry Unit by 33%.

The undamaged German Tank Unit advance and engaged the remaining Russian Infantry Unit, which it forced to retreat.

Both the Russian Infantry Units then fired at the nearest German Infantry Unit. The Russian Militia Infantry Unit’s fire had no effect …

… but the Russian Infantry Unit’s fire did inflict a 25% loss upon the German Infantry Unit.

It was now only a matter of time before the Germans prevailed … and when the end did come, it came very swiftly.

The right-hand German Tank Unit moved forward and fired at the remaining Russian Infantry Unit, inflicting 25% casualties on it

The left-hand German Tank Unit followed suit, and forced the Russian Infantry Unit to retreat.

Soon afterwards the leading German Infantry Unit engaged the Russian Militia Infantry … and wiped it out!

The sole remaining Russian Infantry Unit was destroyed moments later when the left-hand German Tank Unit advanced yet again and fired at the Russian Unit.

The Germans had won the battle … but at a cost. Its units were spread out all over the battlefield, and if the Russians were able to mount a counter-attack, the Germans could easily be pushed back. The Russians had also suffered casualties that might be difficult to replace if the campaign was to be a prolonged one.

At the end of the fighting the battlefield looked like this:


This battle was set up on Sunday night and fought in several short sessions on Monday and Tuesday. One of the joys of using the card-driven unit activation system is that it is possible to leave a battle in situ and return to it without having to worry as to which side had the initiative or whose turn it was to move their units next.

It was a real ‘ding-dong’ battle, and although the Russians ultimately lost, they had held up the German advance and inflicted a significant number of casualties.


Barbarossa Mini-campaign: Battle No.1 : Control the river

Finally – and slightly over a week later than expected – I began fighting the Barbarossa Mini-campaign I planned to fight to celebrate my sixty fifth birthday.

The organisation of the campaign was ‘stolen’ from the NUMBERS, WARGAMES AND ARSING ABOUT blog that is written by Old Trousers, and used a number of scenarios from Neil Thomas’s ONE-HOUR WARGAMES. All the battles were fought on Hexon II terrain set up on my new wargaming board, and the rules were a concoction of my own that use the combat system from Richard Borg‘s MEMOIR ’44 rules and my playing card-driven unit activation system.


Control the riverThis battle used Scenario 3 from Neil Thomas’s ONE-HOUR WARGAMES. Both sides had six units available to take part in the battle.

The invading Germans had:

  • Four Infantry Units (= 16 Strength Points)
  • One Artillery Unit (= 2 Strength Points)
  • One Machine Gun Unit (= 4 Strength Points)

Note: The German will become exhausted when they have lost 11 Strength Points.

The defending Russians had:

  • Three Infantry Units (= 12 Strength Points)
  • One Artillery Unit (= 2 Strength Points)
  • One Anti-tank Gun Unit (= 2 Strength Points)
  • One Machine Gun Unit (= 4 Strength Points)

Note: The Russians will become exhausted when they have lost 10 Strength Points.

The terrain looked like this:

The Germans were advancing from the side of the wargaming board nearest the camera and the Russians entered the battlefield from the edge furthest away.

The battle began with both sides sending troops forward to seize the bridges.

Supporting troops were then brought forward …

… and fighting broke out for control of one of the bridges.

One Russian Infantry Unit raced across the bridge, forcing one of the German Infantry Units to fall back …

… but at the cost of 75% casualties!

The Germans fought back with considerable ferocity, destroying the Russian Infantry Unit and forcing the Russian Machine Gun Unit to fall back.

Luck seemed to favour the Germans, who were able to bring their fire to bear on the foremost Russian Units, destroying a further Infantry Unit and forcing the Russian Machine Gun Unit to withdraw.

The Russians fought back …

… but to little avail, and the tide of battle seemed to be moving inexorably against them.

The fighting continued for some time, but eventually the Russians became exhausted and withdrew …

… leaving the Germans in control of the river!


This was a really fun little battle that took longer to write up that it did to fight. The size of the board and the number of units per side produced a fast but balanced game, and throughly vindicated my decision to follow the example set by ‘Norm‘ of BATTLEFIELDS & WARRIORS blog and to convert the whiteboard into a wargaming board for use with my Hexon II terrain.

Roll on the next battle in this mini-campaign!


Pushing even more toy soldiers about on the tabletop

I decided to make a few changes for my next play-test of my card-driven unit activation system … but they were all to do with the location of the ‘battle’ and the two participants. I decided that I would set up a meeting engagement between two similar sized opponents (in this case the Nuevo Ricans and the San Theodorans) in the desert that forms part of the border between these two bellicose countries.

For this play-test I reverted to my original card-driven unit activation system. I allocated both sides appropriately coloured playing cards with values 1, 2, 3, and 4 from two packs of playing cards, and added two Jokers to the pack. The pack was thoroughly shuffled and placed face down. The top playing card was then turned over, and the side whose colour was on that card was allowed to activate up to the same number of units as the value of the card.

The rules used were a slightly modified version of MEMOIR ’44.


ScenarioA small exploration team from one of the major American oil companies has been working in the desert border region between Nuevo Rico and San Theodoros … and has found what they think might be oil-bearing rock. As a result both nations have claimed the desert as their own, and are determined to enforce their respective claims with a military presence in the area. Nuevo Rica and San Theodoros have sent small expeditionary forces into the desert to look for sources of water and to set up military posts.

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

Nuevo Rican Forces (Black)

  • 2 x Infantry Units
  • 1 x Armoured Unit
  • 1 x Artillery Unit
  • 1 x Aircraft Unit (This will appear when the second Joker is turned over)

San Theodoran Forces (Red)

  • 4 x Infantry Units
  • 1 x Artillery Unit

The BattleThe sequence of playing cards turned over was as follows:

  • Red 1, Black 3, Red 4, Red 3, Black 1, Black 3, Black 2, Black 3

The situation after eight unit activation cards had been turned over.
Please click on the image to enlarge it.

  • Black 1, Red 2, Red 3, Red 2, Red 3, Red 1, Black 2, Red 2

The situation after sixteen unit activation cards had been turned over.
Please click on the image to enlarge it.

  • Joker: The pack was re-shuffled.
  • Black 4, Red 2, Black 1, Red 4, Red 3, Black 1, Red 4, Red 3

The situation after twenty four unit activation cards had been turned over.
Please click on the image to enlarge it.

  • Joker: The pack was re-shuffled and the Nuevo Rican Aircraft Unit became available.
  • Red 2, Black 3

The arrival of the Nuevo Rican Aircraft Unit was devastating. Its first attack destroyed a San Theodoran Infantry Unit.
Please click on the image to enlarge it.

  • Red 4, Black 4

The Nuevo Rican Aircraft Unit’s second attack wiped out the remaining crew member of the San Theodoran Artillery Unit.
Please click on the image to enlarge it.

At this point I decided that neither side was going to win the battle. The Nuevo Rican’s had managed to push back the San Theodorans at great cost, thanks mainly to the effectiveness of their Armour and Aircraft Units. The San Theodorans had inflicted a serious defeat on the Nuevo Rican Infantry Units and would have seized the border desert area had it not been for the Nuevo Rican Armoured and Aircraft Units.


ConclusionsI was much happier using this version of the card-driven unit activation system, and I think that I will continue to use it in future. The result of the battle was far more even than I had expected, although the arrival of the Nuevo Rican Aircraft Unit did ensure that the San Theodorans were not going to win.

The battle took about thirty minutes to fight, including taking the photographs. This means that I can fight several small battles during an afternoon or evening and still have plenty of time to record what happened as I go along. This is what I had hoped to achieve … and I am very pleased with the result.


Pushing some more toy soldiers about on the tabletop

After the recent play-test of my card-driven unit activation system, and in the light of some of the suggestions and comments I received, I decided to re-fight the scenario using modified versions of the system.


First play-test: Twin pack approach

  • I allocated both sides (Red and Black) appropriately coloured playing cards with values 2, 3, and 4 from two packs of playing cards.
  • I sorted the cards into a Red pile and a Black pile, added a Joker to each pile, and then shuffled the piles separately.
  • I placed the piles of playing cards face down and used a D6 to determine which side turned over a playing card first.
  • Each side then alternated turning over the top playing card of their pile and activated the number of units indicated by the value of the card
  • This continued until a Joker was turned over, at which point both piles of playing cards were re-shuffled.

Red ‘won’ the dice throw and turned their top card over first. The sequence of playing cards turned over was as follows:

  • Red 3, Black 4, Red 4, Black 2, Red 3, Black 3, Red 4, Black 2, Joker

The situation of both side’s Units at the point when the first Joker was turned over.

  • Red 4, Black 3, Red 4, Black 2, Red 3, Black 2, Red 2, Black 3, Red 2, Black 3, Red 4, Black 4, Joker

The situation of both side’s Units at the point when the second Joker was turned over.

At this point I decided to end the battle.

In some ways this was a more satisfactory way in which to use the card-driven unit activation system BUT I felt that it was just a bit too predictable for use in a solo context. I knew that whatever Red did, Black would have the opportunity to counter it because they would turn over the next playing card and be able to activate some units. I can see this working well in a conventional face-to-face wargame as a means of making the traditional IGOUGO system a bit unpredictable, but I think that it does not work as well in a solo wargame.


Second play-test: The asymmetric card value approach

  • I allocated Red appropriately-coloured playing cards with values 2, 3, and 4 from two packs of playing cards and Black appropriately-coloured playing cards with values 1, 2, and 3 from two packs of playing cards.
  • I sorted the cards into a single pile, added two Jokers to the pile, and then shuffled the pile.
  • I placed the pile of playing cards face down and turned over the top playing card of the pile; the side whose playing card was turned over activated the number of units indicated by the value of the card.
  • This continued until a Joker was turned over, at which point the pile of playing cards was re-shuffled.

The sequence of playing cards turned over was as follows:

  • Black 1, Joker
  • Red 2, Black 2, Black 2, Red 3, Black 3, Red 3, Joker

The situation of both side’s Units at the point when the second Joker was turned over.

  • Black 3, Black 2, Red 2, Red 4, Black 2, Black 3, Black 1, Red 4, Red 3, Red 2

At this point all of the Morschauserland Units had been wiped out and the battle ended.

The situation at the point when the battle ended.

I felt that this worked far better than the previous variant as it had an increased level of unpredictability due to the possibility that the sides could get a ‘string’ or ‘run’ of cards. I want to have this sort of unpredictability in my solo wargames, but I suspect that it might not be something that would work as well in a conventional face-to-face wargame. I felt that the use of asymmetric playing card values also worked well, and created problems for the ‘weaker’ side that the use of balanced playing card values did not generate.


ConclusionsAfter these two additional play-tests I feel that the card-driven unit activation system produces the sort of unpredictable wargames that I want to fight. It may not be perfect, but it is simple. It also has a flexibility that enables it to be tailored to meet the specific needs of a scenario. There are no conventional ‘turns’, and the absence of IGOUGO unit activation in the second of today’s play-tests made the wargame feel as if it seamlessly flowed along.

I want to mount some further play-tests of the asymmetric variant of the card-driven unit activation system … but already I feel that this is a simple and useful mechanism that I will probably incorporate into any future wargame rules that I design.


Pushing some toy soldiers about on the tabletop

After doing all the recent thinking and experimenting (well, a bit of both anyway), I decided that the best way to test the new card-driven unit activation system was to get some toys soldiers and terrain out, set up a scenario, and to give it a go.

To keep things a simple as possible I set myself the following parameters:

  1. To use the movement and combat rules from MEMOIR ’44
  2. To set up the terrain so that was nine hexes wide by ten hexes deep (i.e. slightly longer than it was wide)
  3. To use no more than a dozen or so units in total
  4. To use only playing cards with a value of 2, 3, or 4 (this should give an average of 3 unit ‘activations’ per card)
  5. To use a single Joker

For a scenario I turned to the perennial conflict between Morschauserland and Eastland.


ScenarioTension has been rising along the disputed border between Morschauserland and Eastland. Stories that increased numbers of Eastland troops have been gathering near the border have reached the ears of the Morschauserland Ministry of War, and the Minister has ordered increased vigilance in the border area. Defences have been manned by well-equipped troops who have orders to prevent any Eastland incursions.

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

Morschauserland Forces (Black):

  • 2 x Infantry Units with Machine Guns
  • 1 x Artillery Unit
  • 1 x Armoured Unit (This will appear when the first Joker is turned over)

Eastland Forces (Red):

  • 2 x Infantry Units
  • 2 x Infantry Units with Machine Guns
  • 1 x Infantry Unit with Anti-tank Guns
  • 1 x Artillery Unit
  • 2 x Armoured Units

The BattleBlack 4: Morschauserland: No units activated.

Black 4: Morschauserland: No units activated.

Red 3: Eastland: Two Armoured Units and an Infantry Unit with Machine Gun advanced towards the Morschauserland positions.

Red 4: Eastland: The two Armoured Units continued to advance towards the nearest Morschauserland position and an Infantry Unit and Artillery Unit moved up in support.

The two Armoured Units opened fire on the Morschauserland Infantry Unit with Machine Gun in front of them …

… and wiped out half of the Morschauserland Unit.

Red 4: Eastland: The two Armoured Units continued to advance towards the nearest Morschauserland position and a further Infantry Unit moved up in support. The Artillery Unit fired at the Morschauserland Infantry Unit that was directly in front of them … but their gunfire had no effect.

The gunfire from the two Armoured Units was much more effective …

… and the Morschauserland Infantry Unit with Machine Guns was destroyed.

Black 4: Morschauserland: No units activated.

Red 3: Eastland: The two Armoured advanced towards the Morschauserland Artillery Unit’s position and the Artillery Unit moved forward to reduce the range at which it had to fire.

The two Armoured Units opened fire on the Morschauserland Artillery Unit …

… and killed half of the Unit’s manpower.

Black 4: Morschauserland: The Artillery Unit now engaged one of the Eastland Armoured Units …

… and forced it to fall back.

Black 3: Morschauserland: The Artillery Unit now engaged the other Eastland Armoured Unit …

… and reduced it to two-thirds of its original strength.

Black 3: Morschauserland: Buoyed up by this success, the Artillery Unit engaged the Eastland Armoured Unit for a second time …

… and destroyed it!

Joker: The playing cards were shuffled anew and the Morschauserland Armoured Unit became available.

Red 3: Eastland: The remaining Infantry Units (one with a machine Gun and one with an Anti-tank Gun) moved into the battle area …

… and the Artillery Unit moved forward yet again to reduce the range at which it had to fire.

Red 3: Eastland: The remaining Armoured Unit moved forward and fired at the Morschauserland Artillery Unit, but its gunfire was ineffective.

The Artillery Unit also engaged the Morschauserland Artillery Unit, also without effect.

The Infantry Unit with Anti-tank Gun advanced and fired at the last remaining Morschauserland Infantry with Machine Gun unit, but its gunfire was similarly ineffective.

Black 4: Morschauserland: The arrival of the Armoured Unit marked the turning point in the battle. It fired at the Eastland Armoured Unit …

… and inflicted damage equivalent to two-thirds of its original strength.

Not to be outdone, the Artillery Unit also fired at the Eastland Armoured Unit …

… and knocked it out!

On the other flank of the Morschauserland defences, the Infantry with Machine Gun Unit fired at the Eastland Infantry with Anti-tank Gun Unit … but inflicted no casualties.

Black 3: Morschauserland: The Infantry with Machine Gun Unit fired again at the Eastland Infantry with Anti-tank Gun Unit …

… and this time they caused a casualty …

… as well as forcing them to retire.

The Armoured Unit pressed forward and engaged the Eastland Artillery Unit, …

… causing it to suffer 50% casualties as well as forcing it to retreat.

Black 2: Morschauserland: The Armoured Unit fired yet again at the Eastland Artillery Unit … and destroyed it.

Black 2: Morschauserland: Pressing home it advantage, the Armoured Unit engaged the nearby Eastland Infantry Unit …

… which suffered a casualty.

Black 4: Morschauserland: The Armoured Unit continued to fire at the Eastland Infantry Unit …

… causing it a further casualty as well as forcing it to retreat.

Joker: At this point I decided that the battle was close to ending. The Morschauserlanders had stopped the Eastland incursion, but were unable to exploit their success. The Eastlanders were in a position to push forward, but without Armoured support they felt that the possibility of victory was not assured.

Please click on the image to enlarge it.

Both sides decided to withdraw to their initial positions, and the tensions along the border eased very slightly.


ConclusionsI was very pleased with the way this card-driven unit activation system worked. The action on the tabletop seemed to flow much better than it would have done with a traditional IGOUGO system, and not knowing whether one side or the other would be able to develop an attack before their opponents could respond added just enough uncertainty to events to make it interesting. The effect one side getting a ‘string’ of unit activations can be seen in this play-test.

I think that this system has lots of potential, and I hope to run some further tests in the very near future.