Friday, 22 January 2010

The Visiting Fireman

Last night Tim Gow (a fellow member of Wargame Developments who co-organises the Conference of Wargamers [COW] every year) paid a visit. He was in London for a conference, had a spare evening, and popped over for a chat, dinner, and a wargame or two!

Tim’s visit gave me the opportunity to play-test the current version of my 19th century wargames rules in a face-to-face wargame rather than solo. The results were interesting.

Battle 1: This was fought on a fairly empty battlefield (very little terrain other than a small fortified village and a few native farms) between force of four Units (one Artillery and three Infantry Units) and five Units (one Machine Gun, one Artillery and three Infantry Units). The result was rather unbalanced as the first side to open fire was able to do massive damage to the other side. We decided to persist with the existing turn sequence for the next battle, but increased the size of the Artillery Unit to three figures.

Battle 2: This was fought on a slightly fuller battlefield (consisting of a few native farms and wooded areas) between force of five Units (one Artillery and four Infantry Units) and eight Units (one Machine Gun, one Artillery and six Infantry Units). The result was rather slightly less unbalanced because of the larger number of Units deployed and the increase in Artillery firepower, but the turn sequence meant that one player was left sitting, waiting too long whilst the other player moved and fired. We decided to use the card-activated turn sequence from the RED HEX rules to see if this improved the rules in any way.

Battle 3: This was fought on the same battlefield as the previous battle and with the same number of Units as before. The result was a much less unbalanced battle. The turn sequence made it far less easy for one side to achieve an early dominance on the battlefield that could not be overturned as the battle progressed. All-in-all this was the best battle of the evening, and I am now determined to include the changes we play-tested in the next draft of the rules.

My thanks go to Tim for making this set of play-tests possible; the results have moved the whole process of developing the rules forward by several leaps and bounds. It also shows how important it is to play-test rules in face-to-face battles rather than just in solo ones as I tend to do.


  1. Hi Bob, I only just noticed the fact that infantry and cavalry units are the same size i.e. 4 figures. Do you think that perhaps 3 figures may be better so that the 'vulnerability' of cavalry is represented by the 'look' of fewer figures? Cavalry units are usually smaller than infantry so this would have an aesthetic value as well as forcing commanders to handle the arme blanche with a little more care!

    Just a thought and I would be interested in your view on this.

    All the best,


  2. Ogrefencer,

    I had thought of it, but as Morschauser had set a cavalry Unit's strength on the roster as four I thought that I would stick with that for the time being.

    That said, a strength of three would make more sense ... and this change might just creep into the next draft.

    All the best,



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