Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Way Ahead

The title of this particular blog entry arose from my recent visit to the National Archives (they had a DVD of the 1940s film with that title on sale in the bookshop) ... and it summed up some of the things that I have been thinking about with regard to the way I want to develop Joseph Morschauser's FRONTIER wargames rules.

Rather than blunder forward without any real plans, I have decided to lay down a number of objectives that I wish to achieve. These have been set in the light of my previous experience of writing and developing wargames rules, and reflect what I want. As such they are in some ways rather prescriptive and may not be to other people's liking. That said, some of my regular blog readers might enjoy following my attempts to tailor Morschauser's rules to meet my requirements.

My objectives are:
  • To develop a core set of simple, fast-play, and easily memorised game mechanisms and rules that will be used – in the first instance – in both a Colonial/nineteenth century and a mid-twentieth century set of wargames rules.
  • That the core game mechanisms will be based on those used in Joseph Morschauser's FRONTIER wargames rules, and that they will adhere as closely as possible to his design philosophy.
  • That the game mechanisms will use standard D6 dice.
  • That the rules will use a gridded playing surface. Initially this will be a square grid, but the rules will be adaptable to a hexed grid.
  • That they will use a playing card tile-based turn sequence. (This will require a re-working of the existing turn sequence used in the FRONTIER wargames rules BUT will inject a degree of unpredictability that is currently missing.)
  • That the rules will be designed to meet my particular wargaming needs, and not necessarily those of the general wargaming public. (This latter objective may sound pretentious, but in the past I have tended to design wargames rules that I expected other people would want use. In this case I am going to design rules that reflect my requirements and prejudices. This does not – however – exclude or preclude other people from using them ... should they so desire to.)
Writing this list of objectives has already helped me to begin formulating my ideas about the design of the core game mechanisms and rules I want to use, and once COW2013 is over, I hope to start some serious design work, drafting, and play-testing.


  1. This looks like a sound plan, especially the point of designing them with your own games in mind. I have found, rather paradoxically, that this often seems to give a game that works better for others too. It may be a matter of improved focus.

    Best of luck going forward.

  2. Ross Mac,

    I suspect that you are right. If I concentrate on producing a good design that suits my requirements, I should produce a better overall set of rules.

    All the bet,


  3. Hi Bob,

    Sound and logical reasoning there my friend - and I shall look forward to seeing what comes out the other side. Using the card playing tiles has been a huge benefit - especially when employed in a solo context - so it is good to see it features so prominently.

    Looking forward to the outcomes in due course - and the hexed variants for each!

    All the best,


  4. David Crook,

    As you know, I am mainly - but not exclusively - a solo wargamer (as you are), and the use of playing card tiles to determine the order in which units are activated is a useful - and simple - means of introducing a degree of randomness that would be otherwise missing. Interestingly, the system also works in face-to-face games just as well, so although their use in my forthcoming rules might appear to be a little 'selfish', it is not.

    I know from previous experience that it should not be a very difficult task to 'convert' the rules from a squared to a hexed grid, so once I have the square grid version written and tested, the change over should be relatively simple and painless.

    All the best,