Sunday, 29 November 2009

Will it ever stop raining?

It has rained again today (and we had hailstones as well) ... just like it rained yesterday ... and the day before that ... and the day before that ...

Now wet days should be good wargaming days, as they give you an excuse to stay indoors and keep dry ... and get on with all those wargaming tasks that you wanted to do. But life has a habit of finding other, more pressing things for you to do, and today has been no exception. So most of today has been dedicated to doing all sorts of non-wargaming things.

I had plans to make some minefields and pillboxes for my next play-test, but I have made no progress at all and have no idea when I will be able to sit down and make them.

C'est la vie!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

A typical Saturday

I have not been able to do much today on the wargaming front as most of my time has been taken up dealing with various family-related situations.

I did, however, manage to visit the Arts & Craft section of the small department store that is situated in the Retail Outlet Centre at Chatham Maritime, where I bought some more pieces of coloured felt. These will be used for the forthcoming play-test of the latest draft of the Modified Morschauser ‘Modern’ Period Wargames Rules.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Something to ponder ...

At what point does something cease to be a development of someone else's work and become one's own?

I pose this question because of the recent work I have done – with the help and assistance of Jim Wright and Ross Macfarlane – modifying and developing Joseph Morschauser's wargames rules.

Whilst the basic mechanisms are still very definitely Morschauser’s, the wording of the rules is gradually moving away from his style, content, and layout to become much more like my own. Rules have also been added to those in the original version, and some of the original ones have been changed or even removed. At some time in the future I intend to add some explanatory notes and diagrams to the text, and at that point I suspect that over 50% of the content will be my original work rather than Joseph Morschauser’s.

But is it right to call the result mine?

My gut feeling is that the answer to this question is ‘NO!’ because the fundamental elements of the rules will still be Joseph Morschauser’s.

Perhaps the answer is to look for a solution in the world of music, where composers have used the work of others to produce variations. For example, Brahms's wrote VARIATIONS AND FUGUE ON A THEME BY HANDEL and the VARIATIONS ON A THEME BY HAYDN. So when I cast around for a name for the rules I am still developing, perhaps I should subtitle them something along the lines of VARIATIONS ON A SET OF WARGAMES RULES BY MORSCHAUSER.

Comments anyone?

Modified Morschauser ‘Modern’ Period Wargames Rules

I have made a few changes as a result of the recent play-test. They can be summarised as being:
  • Reformatting the ‘Units’ table so that the Unit Types are separated into Infantry, Artillery, AFV, and Miscellaneous
  • Removing Antitank Grenades from the list of weapons in the ‘Units’ table that Infantry Units can use
  • Adding Minefields to the list of Unit Types
  • Removing the rules that allow Tank Units to run down other types of Unit
  • Removing the rules pertaining to the use of Antitank Grenades
  • Removing the rules that stopped Tank Units from engaging in Close Combat
  • Adding new rules that deal with Woods & Built-up Areas, Minefields, and Barbed Wire to the ‘Special Rules’ section.
Although these are still very much a ‘work in progress’, they are now becoming a very workable set of simple, fast-play ‘Modern’ period wargames rules.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Guy Debord and The Game of War

I am grateful to Clive Smithers of Vintage Wargaming for sending me a link to the Class Wargames website.

Class Wargames has recently launched a film about Guy Debord's THE GAME OF WAR, and it is possible to view the film in five sections on the website. Whilst I found this ... interesting ... I actually found the rules of Debord's game more relevant to my studies of wargames that use gridded playing surfaces. They are certainly worth looking at in more detail, and I shall be doing so sometime over the next few days.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Morschauser ‘Modern’ Period Wargames Rules – Even more thoughts on the recent play-test

Since my blog entry of yesterday I have time to think a bit more about the next draft of the rules and to exchange emails with Jim Wright. As a result I have:
  • Removed the section of the rules that allows Tank Units to run down other Units and destroy them (This immediately reduced the complexity of the rules and increased their simplicity)
  • Given AFV – Tanks a Close Combat Power = 3
  • Given AFV – Armoured Car a Close Combat Power = 5
  • Removed the use of Antitank Grenades from Infantry – Rifles and Infantry – Submachine Gun Units
  • Added a rule about what Units can move through woods off road
  • Added a rule about the ability of Units in woods to fire at enemy Units
  • Added a rule about the ability of Units to see enemy Units that are hidden inside woods
I am also thinking about introducing rules for minefields and barbed wire before the next play-test. Time ... and pressure of work ... will be the determining factors as to whether I manage to do so or not.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Morschauser ‘Modern’ Period Wargames Rules – Some thoughts on the recent play-test

Although the recent play-test went well, there was one aspect that did not seem to work for me – the ability of Tank Units to run down other Units and destroy them.

During the first Tank vs. Infantry encounters in World War I (and also during the early part of World War II) there were instances when the Infantry broke and ran, but once they had been trained how to deal with tanks at close-quarters the Infantry learned that staying and fighting was safer.

Morschauser’s rules do not seem allow this to happen. Furthermore, trying to explain the anomalies that arise in the rules as a result of Tank Units being the exception to the general Melee/Close Combat rules is adding a level of complication that could – and should – be avoided.

I have discussed this by email with Jim Wright, and I have decided that the next draft of the rules will reflect these changes:
  • AFV – Tanks will have a Close Combat Power = 2
  • AFV – Armoured Car will have a Close Combat Power = 3
  • Infantry – Rifles and Infantry – Submachine Gun Units will no longer have the option to use Antitank Grenades (they only had a range of 1 grid square, which is the same as the Close Combat range, and they are therefore subsumed into the Close Combat Power of the Infantry Units)
I am also thinking about introducing rules for minefields and barbed wire … but not until after the next play-test at the earliest.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Invasion of Morschauserland: Play-test 2 – The Combined Arms Assault

This short battle was fought to test the latest version of my adaptation of Joseph Morschauser’s ‘Modern’ period wargames rules for use on a 3-inch square gridded battlefield. I decided that in this battle Infantry, Artillery, and Tanks would be used so that I could gain a clearer understanding of the rules relating to the use of Armour. The latter have been the cause of much email discussion between myself and Jim Wright, and we both think that the rules – as written – need greater clarification, especially when Tanks come to grips with Infantry and Artillery at Close Combat range.

Scenario

The Eastlanders were smarting as a result of the defeat they suffered when the punitive force they sent across the border into Morschauserland was – to all intents and purposes – wiped out. They decided that national honour demanded that they send a more powerful force across the border to destroy the Morschauserland units that were there.

The Morschauserlanders were not unaware of the Eastlanders desire for revenge, and rearranged their border defences. They also sent one of their Tank units up to the border to reinforce the units that were already there.

Forces Deployed
    Morschauserland
    • 4th Grenadiers: 1 x Rifle Unit; 1 x Machine Gun Unit
    • 5th Grenadiers: 1 x Rifle Unit, 1 x Machine Gun Unit
    • 6th Grenadiers: 1 x Rifle Unit; 1 x Mortar Unit
    • 1st Artillery: 1 x Howitzer Unit
    • 1st Tanks (The Morschauser Bays): 2 x Tank Units
    Eastland
    • 103rd Rifles: 3 x Rifle Units
    • 104th Rifles: 3 x Rifle Units
    • 102nd Machine Guns: 1 x Machine Gun Unit
    • 102nd Mortars: 1 x Mortar Unit
    • 101st Artillery: 1 x Howitzer Unit
    • 101st Antitank Artillery: 1 x Antitank Gun Unit
    • 101st Tanks: 2 x Tank Units
Initial Positions

The following map shows the initial positions held by the Morschauserlanders and the main axes of attack used by the Eastlanders. The 103rd Rifles and 102nd Mortars were ordered to follow behind the 101st Tanks, and the 102nd Machine Guns and 101st Antitank Artillery were to advance behind the 104th Rifles. The 101st Artillery was to remain just off the battlefield and only move forward once the 104th Rifles had engaged any enemy unit on their axis of advance.

Turn 1

Both sides threw a die to see which side would move first; the Morschauserlanders threw a 1 and the Eastlanders threw a 3; therefore the Eastlanders moved first.

With the 101st Tanks in the lead, the northernmost Eastland troops advanced into Morschauserland. The 101st Tanks opened fire on the 5th Grenadiers directly to their front. The southernmost Tank Unit threw a 6, which destroyed the 5th Grenadier’s Machine Gun Unit, and the northernmost Tank Unit threw a 2, which meant that the Tank’s fire had missed its target.

First blood to the Eastlanders! The Machine Gun Unit of the 5th Grenadiers is destroyed.
The 104th Rifles then moved across the border in line, closely followed by 102nd Machine Guns and 101st Antitank Artillery. The 104th Rifles reached the edge of the woods, but as the 4th Grenadiers were in cover a simple 50:50 dice throw was used to determine if the 104th Rifles would see the 4th Grenadiers. Because the 104th Rifles were judged to have seen the 4th Grenadiers, they opened fire on them. Starting with the northernmost Unit, the 104th Rifles threw a 6, a 1, and a 2. As a result, the Rifle Unit of the 4th Grenadiers was destroyed.

The 4th Grenadiers are reduced to 50% of their original strength.
The 101st Artillery then crossed the border just south of the main road. It then opened fire on the Machine Gun Unit of 4th Grenadiers. The Eastlanders threw a 2, which meant that the Artillery had missed their target.

The 101st Artillery opens fire … and misses!
It was then the turn of the Morschauserlanders to move. The Machine Gun Unit of the 5th Grenadiers opened fire on the left-hand Rifle Unit of the 104th Rifles. They threw a 4, and the Rifle Unit was destroyed.

The Morschauserlanders strike back! A Unit of the 104th Rifles is destroyed by machine gun fire.
The 1st Artillery then opened fire on the right-hand Rifle Unit of the 104th Rifles, which was just in range. They threw a 5, which destroyed the Rifle Unit.

The 1st Artillery open fire with devastating effect on the enemy.
The 1st Tanks now moved forward to engage the 101st Tanks. Moving from their position behind the village, they advanced so that they straddled the road between the village and the remaining Unit of the 5th Grenadiers. They then opened fire on the advancing enemy tanks.

The northernmost Tank Unit threw a 1 … and missed its target! The right-hand Tank Unit threw a 2 … and also missed its target!

The two Units of the 1st Tanks open fire … and both miss their targets!
Turn 2

Both sides threw a die to see which side would move first; the Morschauserlanders threw a 4 and the Eastlanders threw a 5; therefore the Eastlanders moved first again.

The 101st Tanks moved forward, the right-hand Tank Unit running down the remaining Rifle Unit of the 5th Grenadiers. Both Tank Units then opened fire on the Tank Units of the 1st Tanks. The right-hand Tank Unit threw a 5 and destroyed the enemy Tank Unit that it was alongside. The other Eastlander Tank Unit threw a 6 … and destroyed the Morschauserlander’s last Tank Unit.

Short-range Tank vs. Tank engagements tend to be fast, furious, and deadly, and this one proved no exception to the rule.
The remaining Rifle Unit of 104th Rifles charged into the wood to its front and engaged the Machine Gun Unit of the 4th Grenadiers in Close Combat. The Eastlander’s threw two dice; a red one for themselves and a black one for the enemy Unit. The red dice score was 6 (which is great than its Close Combat Power) and the black dice score was 2 (which is less than the enemy Unit’s Close Combat Power). The Machine Gun Unit was destroyed!

The Machine Gun Unit of the 4th Grenadiers fights to the death against the remaining Rifle Unit of 104th Rifles.
The rest of the Eastland forces now continued their advance. The 101st Artillery opened fire on the concealed 1st Artillery, They threw a 5, which destroyed the 1st Artillery before it could reply.

The 101st Artillery firing at the opposing Artillery … with devastating results!
At this point it was apparent that the Eastlanders were going to prevail, and the 6th Grenadiers began to withdraw. All the Morschauserlanders could hope for was that reinforcements could be mobilised quickly and sent forward to stem the Eastland invasion.

Conclusions

As before this battle was fast and furious. The tanks did have an effect on the speed and decisiveness of the Eastland victory, as did the apparently one-sided dice scores! The melee rules (now renamed the Close Combat rules) worked well on the one occasion that they were used, and were much easier to understand now that they have been re-written.

Modified Morschauser ‘Modern’ Period Wargames Rules

After the success I had converting the last draft of these wargames rules into GIF images so that they could be downloaded without the need for security settings and passwords, I have done the same with the latest draft.

The rules are by no means finished, but they are now ready for play-testing.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

More retail therapy bargains!

I had to return to the Retail Outlet Centre at Chatham Maritime today, and as luck would have it I was able to re-visit the small department store where I previously bought some very useful Hasbro/Micromodels models from their INDIANA JONES range.

Again I was in luck and managed to buy two more models each of ‘Vogel’s Mark VII tank’ and the German Army truck. In addition I purchased two models of the 'Last Crusade Biplane' which are described as having two 50mm machine guns(!).

Once repainted, they will be ideal for use as reconnaissance or ground attack aircraft in any minor, between-the-wars conflicts.

Its all become very clear now!

Thanks to Thresh, I now know why the number of 'hits' on my blog shot up so suddenly!

Apparently the people who run the FLAMES OF WAR website put a link from their website to my blog entry about Edward Woodward.

It is good to know how high the esteem he - and his character Callan - we held in by wargamers of a certain generation.

It is also nice to know that the people at FLAMES OF WAR thought it important enough to make newer wargamers aware of his indirect contribution to wargaming.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Nugget 230 (and the Colour Supplement)

I collected the latest issue of THE NUGGET (NUGGET 230) from the printers this morning, and it is now in envelopes waiting to go into the post tomorrow. With any luck all the currently paid-up full members of Wargame Developments should receive their copy sometime in the next week or so.

In the meantime, the PDF version of THE NUGGET and THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT are available for full and e-members to read online via the Wargame Developments website.

Things seem to have settled down ... a bit

After having had 1539 'hits' yesterday, things have settled down a bit today.

So far this blog has had just over 500 'hits' today, and although this is still well over what I would normally expect, it seems to be dropping back towards a more normal level.

I still don't know what caused this surge; I can hope that it is down to a sudden rise in people interested in wargaming in general and my ramblings in particular ... but I suspect that it is more likely due to a computer glitch or a virus attack somewhere on the Internet.

Let's hope that everything returns to normal soon!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Something very odd is going on ...

I don't quite know what is happening. Normally my blog gets about 150 to 200 'hits' per day, and was averaging just over 120 'hits' per day since last February.

Today something very odd has happened. When I checked about ten minutes ago the number of 'hits' so far today is in excess of 1,000!

Now it is nice to be popular, and an average of 120 'hits' per day is, by the standard of most hobby-related blogs, good ... but 1,000 'hits' in a day is phenomenal ... and a bit disconcerting.

It is a total mystery to me. Has anyone out there got any idea why this is happening?

Shock! Horror! Yet another mistake!

Jim Wright has contact me to point out that the text of the latest draft of my adaptation of Joseph Morschauser's 'Modern' period wargames rules contains a serious error. The dice scores needed to cause 'hits' that are in the table at the top of the document are not the same as those quoted lower down in the rules.

This comes of my rushing to get the rules online; I should have proof read them before I did so ... but I didn't.

Oops! Sorry!

I will try to make a corrected version available online later today. In the meantime, just ignore the dice scores shown on the table; they are wrong.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Modified Morschauser ‘Modern’ Period Wargames Rules

By way of an experiment I have scanned in the most recent draft of these rules and created GIF images of them. The images can be downloaded directly from this blog, and this has meant that there is no need for me to add security settings and passwords.

The rules are still awaiting play-testing, but are now in what I hope is a somewhat more 'user-friendly' format than before.

Time will tell if I am right or not!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Modified Morschauser ‘Modern’ Period Wargames Rules

In the light of the excellent feedback I have had from Jim Wright and others I spent an hour or so this morning re-writing the existing draft of these rules. Whilst I have kept to the spirit of the original, the actual wording of the rules is now fast becoming either my own or Jim Wright’s.

Besides opting for the ‘high score = good result’ mechanisms suggested by Jim Wright, I have changed the term ‘Melee’ to ‘Close Combat’ throughout. I have also tried to sort out the anomaly regarding opposing Basic Units being in adjacent squares and not being obliged to fight each other that I included in my previous draft of Wednesday 4th November 2009.

I hope to play-test this new draft of the rules as soon as possible, but pressure of work might make it difficult for me to do so before next weekend. I have already sketched out a scenario that will enable both sides to field some Tank and Antitank Gun Basic Units in addition to their Infantry and Artillery, and it should be interesting to see how much difference these additional types of Basic Unit will make to the outcome of the battle.

Nugget 230

I am taking the latest issue of THE NUGGET to the printers this morning and I should be able to pick it up on Friday. I expect to get this issue out in the post by Saturday, and it should be with members later next week.

I intend to upload the PDF versions of the latest issues of THE NUGGET and THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT to the Wargame Developments website on Thursday or Friday so that members (including e-members) can read it before the printed version arrives in the post.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Morschauser’s ‘Modern’ Period Wargames Rules – Feedback from the first play-test

As will be obvious from the various comments that have been made in response to my blog entry about the first play-test I conducted, I had some problems with the procedure for resolving melees.

Because Joseph Morschauser used what seemed to be a double negative in his original text, I got the results of melees completely back-to-front. His text says:
1) If both dice show the Melee Power Numbers or less: Both Units are removed from the battlefield.

2) If one die shows the Melee Power Number or less and the other does not: The Unit represented by the die which does not show the Melee Power Number or less is removed.

3) If both dice do not show the Melee Power numbers of Units or less: It is a draw, and the dice should be rolled again at once.
The results felt wrong as I adjudicated them during the game, but I persisted with the rules as I thought they were intended to be used. The feedback and comments I received reinforced my feelings that I had got it wrong, and I was contemplating what to do next when Jim Wright kindly emailed me two suggestions.

The first is that the dice scores for firing should be rationalised so that they are easier to remember. Therefore Joseph Morschauser's existing rule that reads as follows ...
For Machine Guns Only: Roll one die for each shot. A 2, 4 or 6 is a hit.

For All Other Weapons: Roll one dies for each shot. A 4 or 6 is a hit.
... should be changed to read ...
For Machine Guns Only: Roll one die for each shot. A 4, 5 or 6 is a hit.

For All Other Weapons: Roll one dies for each shot. A 5 or 6 is a hit.
This makes eminent sense to me and will be incorporated in my revised draft of Joseph Morschauser's rules.

The second revision that Jim suggested was that the Basic Unit Melee Powers should be altered to make the results consistent with the principle of high score = good results and that the wording of the Melee Conduct section of the rules should be re-written to make it simpler and clearer to understand.

In the existing rules the Basic Unit Melee Power of a Rifle Unit is 4 that you have to equal or get less than to win. Jim suggests that it should be 3 that you have to equal or get more than to win. The end result is the same but it is also easier to remember.

Jim's simplified and clearer wording of the Melee Conduct section of the rules reads as follows:
1) If the Attacker's die roll is greater than or equal to its Basic Unit's Melee Power, the Defender is destroyed.

2) If the Defender's die roll is greater than or equal to its Basic Unit's Melee Power, the Attacker is destroyed.

3) If neither Basic Unit is destroyed, roll again until one or both Basic Units in Melee are destroyed.
I think that Jim's suggestions improve the rules without changing them dramatically, and are in keeping with the original spirit in which they were written

I will include these proposed changes in my next draft of the rules, and hopefully I will be able to use them in the next play-test which – work permitting – should take place later this week.

Edward Woodward

It was announced earlier today that Edward Woodward had died at the age of 79 years after a period of illness.

He was a consummate actor and singer who was probably most well known for his portrayal of the anti-hero CALLAN in the TV series of that name. What made David Callan (his character's full name) memorable was the fact that he was – besides being a 'fixer' and sometime assassin on behalf of an unnamed section of the British Security Services – a wargamer. For wargamers of a certain age this made wargaming look a bit less nerdy and a bit more macho and certainly changed public opinion about the hobby.

I was lucky enough to see the pilot episode for the series – A MAGNUM FOR SCHNEIDER – when it appeared on TV in February 1967, and I watched every episode thereafter. The pilot episode later went on to become the basis for the spin-off film entitled CALLAN. This featured an American Civil War wargame that was fought out on a beautiful created specially for the film by Peter Gilder. Peter also provided the figures, and it is rumoured that after filming Edward Woodward bought both the figures and the terrain for his own use.

Wargaming also featured in the episode entitled ACT OF KINDNESS, which was screened on Wednesday 27th May 1970. For personal reasons this was a memorable day for me, and whenever I watch this episode on DVD I do so with very fond memories.

Edward Woodward also starred in what I consider to be one of the more under-rated films about warfare, BREAKER MORANT. This dealt with the dark side of counter-insurgency warfare during the latter part of the Boer War.

He will be sorely missed by his many fans, of which I am one.

Edward Albert Arthur Woodward OBE
(1st June 1930 – 16th November 2009)
RIP

Sunday, 15 November 2009

The Invasion of Morschauserland: Play-test 1 – The Infantry Assault

The Invasion of Morschauserland: Play-test 1 – The Infantry Assault
This short battle was fought to test my adaptation of Joseph Morschauser’s ‘Modern’ period wargames rules for use on a 3-inch square gridded battlefield. I decided that this battle would be confined to Infantry and Artillery only as I wanted to get a feel for the way the rules worked before moving on to use Armour as well.

Scenario

Morschauserland had enjoyed over forty years of peace, but growing tension with her neighbour – Eastland – had made both countries prepare for war. The Morschauserlanders had reinforced the troops guarding their borders, hoping that this would persuade the Eastlanders to refrain from taking military action; the Eastlanders regarded this movement of troops as a direct provocation, and decided to cross the border and teach the Morschauserlanders a lesson.

The map shows the terrain over which the battle was fought. The top of the map is North, and the Eastlanders entered from the right-hand side.


Forces Deployed
    Morschauserland
    • 4th Grenadiers: 1 x Rifle Unit; 1 x Machine Gun Unit
    • 5th Grenadiers: 1 x Rifle Unit, 1 x Machine Gun Unit
    • 6th Grenadiers: 1 x Rifle Unit; 1 x Mortar Unit
    • 1st Artillery: 1 x Howitzer Unit
    Eastland
    • 101st Rifles: 3 x Rifle Units
    • 102nd Rifles: 3 x Rifle Units
    • 101st Machine Guns: 1 x Machine Gun Unit
    • 101st Mortars: 1 x Mortar Unit
    • 101st Artillery: 1 x Howitzer Unit
Initial Positions

The following map shows the initial positions held by the Morschauserlanders and the main axes of attack used by the Eastlanders. The 101st Mortars were ordered to follow behind the 101st Rifles, and the 101st Machine Guns were to advance behind the 102nd Rifles. The 101st Artillery was to remain just off the battlefield and only move forward once the 102nd Rifles had captured the village on their axis of advance.


4th Morschauserland Grenadiers.
5th Morschauserland Grenadiers.
6th Morschauserland Grenadiers.
1st Morschauserland Artillery.
Turn 1

Both sides threw a die to see which side would move first; the Morschauserlanders threw a 3 and the Eastlanders threw a 5; therefore the Eastlanders moved first.

The leading Rifle Unit of the 102nd Rifles reached the outskirts of the village and engaged the Machine Gun Unit of the 5th Grenadiers in a melee. The 102nd Rifles threw a 1 and the 5th Grenadiers threw a 5; because the dice score of Rifle Unit of the 102nd Rifles was equal to or less than their Melee Power, they were destroyed.

The 102nd Rifles reached the village and began to melee with the Morschauserland defenders.
The aftermath of the melee; the Eastlanders had lost a Rifle Unit.
Whilst this fighting was going on the 101st Rifles and 101st Mortars continued their advance unseen and unopposed.

It was then the turn of the Morschauserlanders to move. The Machine Gun Unit of the 5th Grenadiers opened fire on the leading Rifle Unit of the 102nd Rifles. They threw a 6, and the Rifle Unit was destroyed.

The Machine Gun Unit of the 4th Grenadiers then opened fire on the Machine Gun Unit of the 102nd Rifles, which was just in range. They threw a 2, and Machine Gun Unit was also destroyed.

The Eastlanders were fired on by two Morschauserland Machine Gun Units and lost a Rifle and Machine Gun Unit as a result. The 102nd Rifles were now down to 25% of their original strength, and were unlikely to achieve their objective.
Turn 2

Both sides threw a die to see which side would move first; the Morschauserlanders threw a 6 and the Eastlanders threw a 1; therefore the Morschauserlanders moved first.

Both the Morschauserlander Machine Gun units opened fire on the remaining Rifle Unit of the 102nd Rifles. They threw 4 and 5, and the Rifle Unit was destroyed.

The combined fire of both Morschauserland Machine Gun Units cut down the remaining Rifle Unit of the 102nd Rifles.
It was now the turn of the Eastlanders to move, and the 101st Rifles and 101st Mortars continued to advance. They did, however, deploy from column into a much looser formation.

Turn 3

Both sides threw a die to see which side would move first; the Morschauserlanders threw a 1 and the Eastlanders threw a 4; therefore the Eastlanders moved first.

The 101st Rifles moved forward to seize the main North-South road whilst the 101st Mortars moved forward and opened fire on the 1st Artillery. The Mortars threw a 5, and therefore missed their target.

The leading Rifle Unit of the 101st Rifles then opened fire on the 1st Artillery. They threw a 1, and the 1st Artillery remained unharmed.

The fire from both the 101st Mortars and the leading Rifle Unit of 101st Rifles failed to destroy the 1st Artillery.
It was now the Morschauserlanders turn to move.

Alerted to the presence of more Eastlanders to their North, the 5th Grenadiers charged out of the village and through the woods. The Rifle Unit meleed with the 101st Mortars and the Machine Gun unit opened fire on the nearest Eastland Rifle Unit.

The Rifle Unit of the 4th Grenadiers threw a 4 and the 101st Mortar Unit threw a 1; because the dice scores of Rifle Unit and the Mortar Unit were equal to or less than their Melee Power, it was a draw and the dice were thrown again.

The Rifle Unit of the 4th Grenadiers threw a 6 and the 101st Mortar Unit threw a 2; because the dice score of the Mortar Unit was equal to or less than their Melee Power, they were destroyed.

The 4th Grenadier Machine Gun Unit threw a 4, and the Mortar Unit was destroyed.

The 1st Artillery then opened fire on the nearest Rifle Unit of 101st Rifles. They threw a 3, and missed their target.

The final stages of the battle.
At this stage the Eastlanders were down to just two Rifle Units, and as it was obvious that they were outnumbered and unlikely to be able to retreat homeward, they surrendered.

Conclusions

This battle was fast and furious, with casualties being quite easy to inflict. The melee rules are a little confusing, and I will need to re-read them, and possible re-write them before my next play-test. I can see that with a larger battlefield and more Units things would probably be more balanced. Finally, the lack of rules regarding cover does not seem to cause any problems. If units are in cover and cannot be seen, only indirect fire weapons can target them. This seems reasonably realistic, but only further play-testing with prove or disprove this assertion.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Three-Inch Gridded Battlefield

Having had a spare hour this afternoon I sat down and drew a 3-inch grid onto my 90cms x 90cms piece of green felt. I then cut out some 7.5cms x 7.5cms pieces of grey felt for the built-up areas and some 2.5cm wide strips of tan felt for roads.

Now that I had all the bits that I needed I could not resist the opportunity to see what 'Morschauserland' (or the 3-inch square gridded battlefield to give it its proper name) would look like. The results are below:

The buildings are from the 'Wooden Village' I purchased last week, and they really look quite good on the gridded terrain. The trees are individually mounted 'bottle brush' trees from various manufacturers, and they are based on large metal washers.

Back on the road again ... to Hobbycraft

The local repair garage has managed to order and fit a new clutch to my Mazda Tribute, and I am no longer dependent on public transport to get anywhere. To celebrate my regained ‘mobility’ I went to the local branch of Hobbycraft.

I have been thinking about my planned play-test of Morschauser’s ‘Modern’ period wargame rules on a 3-inch squared gridded battlefield, and after one false start using some cheap green carpet tiles – it proved almost impossible to mark the grid on the tiles with any degree of accuracy – I decided to use a large piece of suitably marked green felt. In Hobbycraft I was able to buy a 90cms x 90cms piece of green felt and a couple of smaller grey and tan coloured pieces that I can use to represent built-up areas and roads, and I returned home feeling that all was right with the world … and then remembered that I should have also bought some darker green felt to represent wooded areas!

So its back to Hobbycraft tomorrow to buy some more felt; in the meantime I will begin marking the grid on the large piece of green felt and cutting the smaller pieces into town and road-sized bits.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Magic Land of Counterpane: More wargaming poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson

Thanks to arthur1815 and Ross Mac, I have now 'discovered' Robert Louis Stevenson's poem about a young child playing in bed whilst ill.
When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.
It reminded me of a time back in the late 1950s when I was recovering from having my appendix removed. I was confined to bed after coming out of hospital, and spent most of my time reading my collection of EAGLE comics and various historical novels by G A Henty.

On one day, however, I was allowed to play with my collection of toy soldiers. These were a rather eclectic mix of old (mostly broken) lead Britain's, some more modern plastic figures from the Britain's range (mainly British Infantry armed with EM-2 rifles I seem to remember), some Herald Miniatures Swoppet Cowboys, and plastic toy soldiers that were sold in Woolworths (including some British Guardsmen that were moulded in red plastic). My Britain's 25-Pounder Field Guns served as artillery for both 'sides', firing lengths of matchstick at my figures (until my mother stopped me!). There were no rules, but I suspect that my modern British Infantry probably won the battles I fought because they were my favourites figures.

The battles on my counterpane did a lot to take my mind off the real pain that I was in from my operation.

159 Years On: A Martial Elegy For Some Lead Soldiers

Today is the 159th anniversary of the birth of Robert Louis Stevenson.

Besides being one of the earliest wargamers he wrote what is probably the first (and possibly only) poem about wargaming:

For certain soldiers lately dead
Our reverent dirge shall here be said.
Them, when their martial leader called,
No dread preparative appalled;
But leaden-hearted, leaden-heeled,
I marked them steadfast in the field.
Death grimly sided with the foe,
And smote each leaden hero low.
Proudly they perished one by one:
The dread Pea-cannon's work was done!
O not for them the tears we shed,
Consigned to their congenial lead;
But while unmoved their sleep they take,
We mourn for their dear Captain's sake,
For their dear Captain, who shall smart
Both in his pocket and his heart,
Who saw his heroes shed their gore,
And lacked a shilling to buy more!
It says it all, doesn't it!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Losing my grip? No, just my clutch! A vote of thanks to an unknown Good Samaritan

Last night whilst driving back from work during the rush hour there was an unusual clunk as I changed gear ... and my car gradually came to a halt at the side of the road. The clutch had gone!

Luckily I had a colleague from work with me in the car, and we both attempted to push it off the main road (Shooters Hill Road in South-East London, one of the main roads leading from London out towards Kent) and into a side street. Now trying to push a heavy four-wheel drive car is not easy, and the only help we initially got was blaring horns from the drivers of cars that were being 'inconvenienced' by the slow progress we were making.

I was just on the verge of losing my temper with the next person to honk me when a very large American car drew up very close behind me ... and gave me a quick blast of its horn! I turned round to share my opinion of the driver of the car with him, and saw him waving to me to move out of the way! I stepped on to the pavement so that I could have word with him through the driver's window ... and he very gently moved his car forward so that he could use it to push my car with his bumper!

With this additional power we were able to push the car out of the way of the passing traffic very quickly, and to park it in the side street. I went to thank the driver for both his quick thinking and help ... and then discovered that he was deaf and dumb! He gave me the thumbs up, drove a little way up the road, parked his own car, and then came back to make sure we were all right.

I don't know who he is or what his name is, and I doubt if he will read this blog, but I would like to put on public record my thanks for his help when I needed it.

It goes to prove that there are still good people out there who are willing to do what they can to help others, and it goes a long way to restore one's faith in one's fellow human beings.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

When Empires Clash! – Colonial Wars: Latest draft uploaded to Red Hex Wargames website

I have now had the opportunity to check through all the feedback I have received about the previous draft of these rules, and I have made some small amendments and corrected several typographical errors in both the WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! – COLONIAL WARS Rules and the Army Lists. I have also used the opportunity to change all the diagrams over to the newer, clearer style featured in yesterday’s blog entry.

The latest drafts of the WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! – COLONIAL WARS Rules and Army Lists are – therefore – now available for download via the Red Hex Wargames website.

The password to open both files remains the same as before: wec-cw

Monday, 9 November 2009

When Empires Clash! – Colonial Wars: Redrawn diagrams

I have managed to spend part of this afternoon redrawing the various diagrams that I used in the last draft of WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! – COLONIAL WARS.

The original diagrams were produced using Microsoft’s Visio Drawing Program, and then transferred to Microsoft Paint to be tidied up and converted into bitmap images. The latter was done to reduce the size of file required to store the finished publication.

I was very aware that the lines on the diagrams were a bit too thick, and the new ones have much thinner lines. This makes them much more ‘user friendly’ and they don’t seem to dominate the page as much.

For example, here is one of the original diagrams …

… and here is the newer version of the same diagram.

I think that most of you will agree that the latter is much better than the former.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Another day for bargains

Yesterday my wife and I went to visit my father-in-law who lives near the sea in North East Kent. On the way we stopped at the Chatham Maritime Retail Outlet Centre – a rather long name for a large collection of shops that sell ‘ends of ranges’ etc. to the public – for something to eat and some retail therapy.

Since we last went there a small department store has been added, and we naturally gravitated towards it as we walked round. My wife wanted a ‘quick look round’ the seasonal section, and I expected to see nothing but Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, and greetings cards; you can therefore imagine my pleasant surprise when I found that ‘seasonal’ included some toys … which I bought!

Last year Hasbro/MicroMachines brought out a range of ‘Indiana Jones’ vehicles and figures that were part of a commercial tie-in with Lucas Films, and it was some of the models from this range that were on sale. I managed to buy two tanks and a cargo truck that will fit in very nicely with 15mm scale wargames figures.

The tanks are both described as ‘Vogel’s Mark VII tank’ and were featured in THE LAST CRUSADE. The box has the following information about them:

Only a very few of the formidable British Mark VII tanks survived the end of World War I, to be either sold or given to friendly governments in Africa and the Middle east. This one has been retrofitted to add a more modern swivelling turret gun on top, and heavier armour, rather than netting to deflect grenades.
What a lot of old tosh!

The Hasbro/Micromodels model of 'Vogel's Mark VII Tank' , as featured in THE LAST CRUSADE.
The model is actually a modified version of the Mark VIII (or Liberty Tank), which was the result of a project by the British and US Governments to produce a standard heavy tank. Unfortunately it only came into production at the end of the war, and never entered full service. The only Allied unit to be fully equipped with the Mark VIII was the US 67th Infantry (Tank) Regiment.

The Mark VIII or Liberty Tank.
Despite this historical inaccuracy, the model is very useful and could easily be used – after the removal of the extraneous turret – in wargames set in the early 1920s (or perhaps even slightly later). Paul Farrow (of MrFarrow2u (+ Jack & Amys!!) DBA 1500 Onwards Page fame) has two painted to represent captured British tanks in service with the German Army on his blog … and might fine they look!

The truck is very typical of the type used by the German Army in the late 1930s and 1940s. It comes with its own model figure of Professor Jones being dragged along behind – as featured in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK – but this will be easy to cut off.

The German Cargo Truck, as featured in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. The Indiana Jones figure can be seen being dragged behind the model.
I also visited the branch of ‘Past Times’ where I bought two bags of wooden houses for less than £5.00 each.

Each bag of buildings includes ten small single-storey houses, two slightly larger two-storey houses, a Dutch-style town house, a railway station, a Town Hall/School building, two towers and an arched gateway, eight lengths of wall, and numerous other bits and pieces.
I already own quite a few of these buildings … but you can never have too many! Their basic design is similar to the buildings featured in the photographs of Joseph Morschauser’s wargames, and this was an added incentive to buy them.

On our return home I found that Royal Mail had delivered a book I had ordered via Amazon.

HITLER’S WAR ON RUSSIA by Charles D Winchester (published by Osprey [2007] ISBN 978 1 84603 195 3) is an extensively re-written, new edition of the same author’s OSTFRONT (published by Osprey in 1998), and I am looking forward to reading over the next few weeks.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Adapting Joseph Morschauser’s Rules for Modern Wargames – Some additional thoughts

Just as I was dozing off to sleep last night it struck me that Morschauser’s rules do not include two Basic Units that I would have expected – Mortars and Antitank Guns.

When I woke up this morning I re-read the chapter in his book about his ‘Modern’ period rules … and realised that he does not mention either type of Basic Unit. I have, therefore, added them to my draft of his rules. I hope that I have kept to his basic design philosophy; play-testing (and the comments of other wargamers) will decide if I have got it wrong or not!

A) BASIC UNITS
Basic Unit Type: Mortar
  • Move: 3 grid squares
  • Melee Power: 2
  • Weapon Range: 5 grid squares
Basic Unit Type: Antitank Gun
  • Move: 2 grid squares
  • Melee Power: 1
  • Weapon Range: 8 grid squares
D) FIRE RULES:
f) All weapons except mortars and howitzers fire in a straight line-of-sight. Mortars and howitzers can fire over Basic Units, trees, hills, etc., and hit Basic Units behind these things.

The stats for the Mortar are based on those for the Machine Gun, but with the Howitzer’s ability to fire over other Basic Units etc. The stats for the Antitank Gun are a combination of those for the Field Gun (Move and Melee Power) and Tank (Weapon Range).

PS. Ross Macfarlane (of With MacDuff on The Web and Gathering of the Hosts fame) has suggested that Pillboxes be treated as immobile Armoured Scout Cars. This seems to be an excellent suggestion – especially as Ross is far more knowledgeable about Morschauser's rules than I am.

Friday, 6 November 2009

A nice bargain ... from a garden centre?!

My wife and I recently had to go to a garden centre, and whilst I was wandering around trying to keep myself occupied I came across a display of bargain books. One immediately caught my eye, and as the price was very reasonable (£3.99 reduced from £8.99), I bought it.

THE IRONCLADS by Peter Hore (published in 2006 by Anness Publications; ISBN 978 1 84476 299 6) is a slim (96 pages), A4-sized, soft-back monograph about the development of the armoured battleship from The Crimean War to the launch of HMS Dreadnought. It claims to have over 200 archive and museum photographs, illustrations and diagrams, and I am pleased to say that quite a few of them were new to me ... which is something that I cannot always say about publications that have made similar claims in the past.

Most of the book is devoted to a country-by-country description of the major pre-Dreadnought battleships that were built, and although this information is widely available in other publications, this slim volume was well worth its asking price.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Adapting Joseph Morschauser's rules for a squared grid has given me another idea

One thing that struck me as I was adapting Joseph Morschauser's 'Modern' period rules for use on a 3-inch square gridded battlefield was how easy it would be to adapt them for use with a hexed grid.

As I own a huge amount of HEXON II and HEROSCAPE hexed terrain, this would pose few problems for me but ...

I think that this is one step too far for the moment, but if the current adaptation works I cannot see why a move from squares to hexes would not be the next logical step to take, especially as hexes seem to work better than squares do when one is trying to recreate mid and late twentieth century warfare on the tabletop.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Joseph Morschauser’s Rules for Modern Wargames adapted for use with a 3-inch square gridded battlefield

Having decided to modify Joseph Morschauser’s ‘Modern’ period rules for use with a 3-inch square gridded battlefield, I had to modify the rules to take into account:
  • The change from inches to grid squares for all movement distances and weapon ranges
  • Rules for measuring those distances
The former was a simple process as most of the measurements were in multiples of 3-inches; for example Rifles had a range of 15”, which became 5 grid squares. The latter might have caused me some problems, but Morschauser’s ‘Frontier’ rules already included rules for measuring distances in grid squares; I simply copied the rules over from one set to the other.

I also added the arc of fire rules from the ‘Frontier’ rules as these seemed to fit in with the other changes I had made.

The final decision I had to make was what size of base/’tray’ to select. Morschauser’s original rules use 1-inch square bases/’trays’, but these are far too small for the larger 20mm figures that are now widely available. I had thought about using 1.5-inch square bases/'trays' but was unsure if this was the right thing to do. A quick look at Morschauser's book HOW TO PLAY WAR GAMES IN MINIATURE showed me that he had used 1.5-inch square bases/’trays’ for 30mm flat figures, and this confirmed my thinking that this would be the ideal size for the larger 20mm figures. An additional factor in their favour is that this is the size of base used in MEGABLITZ (so no re-basing would be necessary) and I can fit up to four Basic Infantry Units into a single grid square.

So here are the as yet untried, modified rules; Read and enjoy!

- o 0 o -

Joseph Morschauser’s Rules for Modern Wargames adapted for use with a 3-inch square gridded battlefield

A) BASIC UNITS
Basic Unit Type: Rifle
  • Move: 3 grid squares
  • Melee Power: 4
  • Weapon Range: 5 grid squares for rifle; 1 grid square for A.T Grenade
Basic Unit Type: Machine Gun
  • Move: 3 grid squares
  • Melee Power: 2
  • Weapon Range: 5 grid squares
Basic Unit Type: Antitank Rocket
  • Move: 3 grid squares
  • Melee Power: 2
  • Weapon Range: 3 grid squares
Basic Unit Type: Field Gun
  • Move: 2 grid squares
  • Melee Power: 1
  • Weapon Range: 12 grid squares
Basic Unit Type: Field Howitzer
  • Move: 2 grid squares
  • Melee Power: 1
  • Weapon Range: 8 grid squares
Basic Unit Type: Tank
  • On Roads: 4 grid squares
  • Off Roads: 3 grid squares
  • Weapon Range: 8 grid squares
Basic Unit Type: Armoured Scout Car (carries a machine gun)
  • On Roads: 6 grid squares
  • Off Roads: 2 grid squares
  • Weapon Range: 5 grid squares

B) SEQUENCE OF TURNS:
All turns are alternate, first one side taking a turn, then the other. Roll the dice to see whom moves first. The higher number moves first. A commander completes all moves, firing and melees of Basic Units during his turn, and then the other commander does the same.

C) MOVEMENT RULES:
a) Each Basic Unit may be moved only once each turn. All moves are made across the sides of grid squares, never across diagonals.

b) A Basic Unit may change its direction of move any number of times during its move.

c) A move may not be split. A Basic Unit may be moved all or part of its move during a turn, but this can be done only once during a turn. If a Basic Unit has been moved only part of its move during a turn, it may not be moved the rest of the distance later in the same turn.

d) A Basic Unit may be moved through grid squares adjacent to flank or rear of enemy Basic Units provided its own front does not face the enemy during the move past the enemy.

e) A Basic Unit may not move through grid squares adjacent to the front of an enemy Basic Unit. It must stop in that grid square, face the enemy, thus ending its move that turn.

D) FIRE RULES:
a) Each Basic Unit fires once (one shot) each turn. Range is counted off across sides of grid squares, never across diagonals. A hit destroys one enemy Basic Unit.
For Machine Guns Only: Roll one die for each shot. A 2, 4 or 6 is a hit.
For All Other Weapons: Roll one dies for each shot. A 4 or 6 is a hit.
b) Firing should be done at the beginning or end of the Basic Unit’s move only, never at mid-point of move.

c) Rifle fire and machine gun fire can destroy only Infantry and Artillery Basic Units.
Cannon fire, tank fire, antitank rocket fire and antitank grenades (thrown by Infantry Rifle Basic Units) can wipe out all types of Basic Units.

d) Infantry Rifle Basic Units may either fire their rifles or throw antitank grenades during a turn, not both.

e) Except for Tanks, arc of fire is 90 degrees forward, sweeping from one 45 degree diagonal line of squares to other. Tanks have a 360 degree arc of fire.

f) All weapons except howitzers fire in a straight line-of-sight. Howitzers can fire over Basic Units, trees, hills, etc., and hit Basic Units behind these things.

E) MELEE RULES:
a) Melee Range is 1 grid square. If Basic Units are in adjacent grid squares they are in Melee Range.

b) Basic Units in Melee Range must melee. A Basic Unit may not move past an enemy Basic Unit within Melee Range without meleeing.

c) Melee is conducted at the beginning or end of a move only. If a Basic Unit is blocked part way in its move by a melee situation, it cannot move farther.

d) Tanks do not engage in melee. If their move is blocked by an Infantry or Artillery Basic Unit, they may run down the Basic Unit, but their move is ended there. The run-down Basic Unit is removed, and the tank is placed in its spot on the battlefield. To run down an enemy, the tank must be able to completely move over the area of the enemy card. Just being in Melee Range is not enough.

Scout Cars may not melee or run down enemy Basic Units. If blocked during their move, they are stopped.

F) MELEE CONDUCT:
The Attacker rolls a die for his Basic Unit and a different colour die for the enemy Basic Unit at the same time.

1) If both dice show the Melee Power Numbers or less: Both Basic Units are removed from the battlefield.

2) If one die shows the Melee Power Number or less and the other does not: The Basic Unit represented by the die, which does not show the Melee Power Number, or less is removed.

3) If both dice do not show the Melee Power numbers of Basic Units or less: It is a draw, and the dice should be rolled again at once.

G) SPECIAL RULES:
1) Roads – Roads add no additional speed to Basic Units in general, except in those cases listed above.

2) Hills – Take one point of Melee Power from each Basic Unit which is attacking uphill against an enemy Basic Unit. The point is lost during the attack uphill only.

3) Rivers – In crossing a shallow spot in a river (ford), a Basic Unit moves into the river on turn A, moves out of the river on turn B its full move for that turn. No Basic Units in rivers may fire.

Take one point of Melee Power from a Basic Unit in a river attacking an enemy on the bank.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The Rules of the Modern Period ... by Joseph Morschauser: One of his games in progress

Joseph Morschauser's book HOW TO PLAY WAR GAMES IN MINIATURE only contains one picture of his 'Modern' period rules in use.

It is interesting to see that he used AIRFIX figures (mounted three to an Infantry Basic Unit base/'tray' and two plus a heavy weapon for the Machine Gun and Antitank Gun Basic Unit bases/'trays') and ROCO Minitank vehicles.

Looking at it reminded me of my own early World War II wargames that used a very similar collection of figures and vehicles.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Rules of the Modern Period ... by Joseph Morschauser

The following 'Modern' period wargames rules were first published in Joseph Morschauser's book HOW TO PLAY WAR GAMES IN MINIATURE (1962).

The Basic Units referred to in the rules are single bases or 'trays' of troops for Infantry and Artillery and individual vehicles for Tanks and Armoured Scout Cars. He recommended that for 20mm scale figures the bases or 'trays' should be 1-inch square, with one to four figures on the Infantry bases/'trays' and one gun and a one-man crew on the Artillery bases/'trays'. Whilst these were of a suitable size for the small Airfix figures he used, I am considering 1.5-inch square bases/'trays' for my somewhat larger figures.

The rules seem – on the face of it – to be very simple, but they do use some mechanisms that stand up to the test of time quite well.

- o 0 o -

Joseph Morschauser’s Rules for a Modern War Game

A) INFANTRY

Unit Type: Rifle
  • Move: 9"
  • Melee Power: 4
  • Weapon Range: 15” for rifle; 4” for A.T Grenade
Unit Type: Machine Gun
  • Move: 9"
  • Melee Power: 2
  • Weapon Range: 15”
Unit Type: Antitank Rocket
  • Move: 9"
  • Melee Power: 2
  • Weapon Range: 9”

B) ARTILLERY

Unit Type: Field Gun
  • Move: 6"
  • Melee Power: 1
  • Weapon Range: 36"
Unit Type: Field Howitzer
  • Move: 6"
  • Melee Power: 1
  • Weapon Range: 24"

C) VEHICLE

Unit Type: Tank
  • On Roads: 12"
  • Off Roads: 9"
  • Weapon Range: 24"
Unit Type: Armored Scout Car (carries a machine gun)
  • On Roads: 18"
  • Off Roads: 6"
  • Weapon Range: 15"

D) SEQUENCE OF TURNS:
All turns are alternate, first one side taking a turn, then the other. Roll the dice to see who moves first. The high number moves first. A commander completes all moves, firing and melees of Units during his turn, and then the other commander does the same.

E) MOVEMENT RULES:
a) Each vehicle and each tray (each Basic Unit) may be moved only once each turn.

b) A Basic Unit may change its direction of move any number of times during its move.

c) A move may not be split. A Unit may be moved all or part of its move during a turn, but this can be done only once during a turn. If a Unit has been moved only part of its move during a turn, it may not be moved the rest of the distance later in the same turn.

F) FIRE RULES:
a) Each Basic Unit fires once (one shot) each turn. A hit destroys one enemy Basic Unit.
For Machine Guns Only: Roll one die for each shot. A 2, 4 or 6 is a hit.
For All Other Weapons: Roll one dies for each shot. A 4 or 6 is a hit.
b) Firing should be done at the beginning or end of the Unit’s move only, never at mid-point of move.

c) Rifle fire and machine gun fire can destroy only Infantry and Artillery Units.
Cannon fire, tank fire, antitank rocket fire and antitank grenades (thrown by Infantry Rifle Units) can wipe out all types of Units.

d) Infantry Rifle Units may either fire their rifles or throw antitank grenades during a turn, not both.

e) FIRE ARCS. All weapons except howitzers fire in a straight line-of-sight. Howitzers can fire over Units, trees, hills, etc., and hit Units behind these things.

G) MELEE RULES:
a) Melee Range is two inches. If Units are two inches apart they are in Melee Range.

b) Units in Melee Range must melee. A Unit may not move past an enemy Unit within Melee Range without meleeing.

c) Melee is conducted at the beginning or end of a move only. If a Unit is blocked part way in its move by a melee situation, it cannot move farther.

d) Tanks do not engage in melee. If their move is blocked by an Infantry or Artillery Unit, they may run down the Unit, but their move is ended there. The run-down unit is removed, and the tank is placed in its spot on the battlefield. To run down an enemy, the tank must be able to completely move over the area of the enemy card. Just being in Melee Range is not enough.

Scout Cars may not melee or run down enemy units. If blocked during their move, they are stopped.

Melee Conduct

The Attacker rolls a die for his Unit and a different color die for the enemy Unit at the same time.

1) If both dice show the Melee Power Numbers or less: Both Units are removed from the battlefield.

2) If one die shows the Melee Power Number or less and the other does not: The Unit represented by the die which does not show the Melee Power Number or less is removed.

3) If both dice do not show the Melee Power numbers of Units or less: It is a draw, and the dice should be rolled again at once.

H) SPECIAL RULES:
1) Roads – Roads add no additional speed to Units in general, except in those cases listed above.

2) Hills – Take one point of Melee Power from each Unit which is attacking uphill against an enemy Unit. The point is lost during the attack uphill only.

3) Rivers – In crossing a shallow spot in a river (ford), a Unit moves into the river on turn A, moves out of the river on turn B its full move for that turn. No Units in rivers may fire.

Take one point of Melee Power from a Unit in a river attacking an enemy on the bank.
- o 0 o -

Once I had transcribed these rules into a format that I could modify, it immediately struck me that most of the measurements Morschauser used were in units of 3-inches. It should not, therefore, be very difficult to 'convert' them for use on a 3-inch square gridded battlefield.

Perhaps I see where I shall be going next in my quest to recover the 'lost secret' of Morschauser's gridded wargames rules!

PS. I have transcribed the rules as closely as I can to the way in which the original version was published. The main exceptions are sections A), B), and C), which were originally laid out as a set of small tables. I have retained the use of US spellings throughout.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

A break from When Empires Clash! – Colonial Wars ... and London

My break from working on WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! – COLONIAL WARS has involved me also taking a break from London.

My wife and I went away for a few days – as we often do at this time of year – with the intention of doing the bulk of our Christmas shopping away from the hustle and bustle of London. We stayed in our usual haunt – the Le Strange Arms Hotel, Old Hunstanton in Norfolk – where we ate very well indeed and enjoyed some marvellous company. We even managed to do some of the planned shopping as well.

I did, however, have to take some work with me – all my students have given me their UCAS Personal Statements to check – and this, combined with everything else we did, left me little time for doing anything wargames-related except to take the odd glance over Joseph Morschauser’s book … again!

I am now back home refreshed and raring to go. I am just hoping that my enthusiasm ... and energy will survive for longer than a few days once I get back to work.