Friday, 15 January 2010

Single figure bases and Morschauser's Roster System

The very positive comments that I have so far received to yesterday's blog entry make me think that I might just have come up with something that will work ... and work well.

Before proceeding, however, I thought that I would re-read the chapter about The Roster System in Joseph Morschauser’s HOW TO PLAY WAR GAMES IN MINIATURE. This is part of what he wrote:
'The Roster System involves splitting Basic Units up into a number of parts, not physically, but on paper. When you form Basic Units on trays you place the name of each Unit on the Unit's tray. These names should now be written one below the other on a sheet of paper. Then after each name a number of small circles. This list of names with circles after each name is you army Roster.

Each of the circles after the Unit name on the Roster is a Section of the Basic Unit. If there are four circles, then the Basic Unit has a strength of four Sections. In general, you treat each Section in the same manner that you treated a Basic Unit in a game without the Roster system. In other words, if a Basic Unit of four Sections fires, it fires four shots; if it melees, four dice are rolled, one for each Section. The Basic Unit tray on your battlefield now represents four rather than just one.

When a Basic Unit of four Sections is hit by an enemy shot, one of the circles after its name on the Roster is crossed off. No changes are made on the tray on the battlefield. The casualty is marked off the Roster, and the tray now represents only three Sections. When it fires or melees, only three Sections do so. The Basic Unit tray should be left on the battlefield until all the circles next to its name on the Roster have been crossed off.

One word of caution: a Basic Unit, no matter how many Sections it contains, fires all of its shots during one turn at the same target at the same time. The fire of Sections of one Basic Unit may not be split between a number of enemy units during one turn. Melee by its basic rule is a little different. If a basic Unit of four Sections melees an enemy basic Unit of three Sections, three dice are rolled for the four-section Unit matching three Sections of Enemy Unit. Melee continues until one Unit is entirely wiped out. Then Survivor Unit may melee another Enemy Unit in range. Fire and melee is, however, still Unit-against-Unit, whether you use the Roster system or not.'
This section of text points the way forward for me. Essentially I am following Morschauser's lead, but without placing the figures on a common 'tray' or base. I am replacing the 'circles' on the Roster with single figures or – in the case of AFVs – with some form of as yet unspecified marker. As long as I remember that Units must stay together in the same grid square, Units may not split their fire and engage more than one enemy Unit during the same turn, and meleeing Units only throw as many dice as the 'strength' of the weakest Unit in the melee, I should be all right and the existing rules will not need much more than minimal redrafting.

I only hope that I have enough time over the coming weekend to redraft the rules and play-test them.


  1. Hi Bob, I have not read Morschauser but certainly the section quoted makes perfect sense. I had often wondered why a Memoir 44 did not reduce the number of dice rolled to allow for a reduction in unit size. I think that this may be the final link in the chain with these rules and that incorporating this will increase playability and the use of tactics enormously.

    All the best,


  2. Ogrefencer,

    I am hoping that you are right, and that this 'missing link' will make for a better set of rules all round.

    All the best,



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