Friday, 23 August 2013


I have suffered from insomnia for many years, and last night it was particularly bad. 1.00am, 2.00am, and 3.00am came and went ... and I was still awake. Finally at some point after 3.15am I began to doze off ... and then I suddenly had an wargaming idea that woke me up again! Obviously my subconscious mind had been whirring away whilst I was lying there unable to sleep, and as I had begun to go to sleep my brain had 'dumped' my subconscious thinking into my conscious mind.

So what was my wargaming idea? A possible way to meld together elements of various wargames rules that I have used or developed to create a new, simple operational-level set of 'Modern' wargames rules.

I am thinking of incorporating the following elements into these new rules:
  • Unit/Formation Order/Status Markers as used in Megablitz
  • Degradable unit strengths similar to those used in Memoir '44
  • The use of a playing card tile unit activation system
  • Allowing units to 'stack' in hexes (i.e. allowing more than one unit in each hex)
  • A separate artillery fire phase as used in Joseph Morschauser's rules
  • An artillery fire effect resolution system wherein all units in a target hex are affected by the artillery fire
  • An artillery fire effect resolution system that reflects the type of artillery that is firing (i.e. mountain, field, medium, and heavy artillery)
  • Area movement using 10cm hexes, with each hex representing an area that is 2.5km from hex face to hex face
  • Movement distances based on those used in Megablitz
  • A hex-to-hex combat system based on those used in Joseph Morschauser's rules
  • Logistics and re-supply rules similar to those used in Megablitz
I woke up this morning tired but enthusiastic about putting my ideas down on paper ... and I have a feeling that I may well turn these ideas into a set of wargames rules in the near future.


  1. Hi Bob,

    There are few things worse in my opinion than a bad nights sleep so you have my sympathies with that one!

    On the plus side the list of ideas looks a cracking one to play around with - a sort of Frontier Mega Hex Blitz 44!

    I will look forward to seeing what you come up with and as ever, if I can help I will be more than happy to.

    All the best,


  2. David Crook,

    I have always suffered from insomnia ... but since I retired I have had periods when it has been really bad. Mind you, if I get ideas like the ones I have outlined in my blog entry, it is a small price to pay,.

    I don't know how long it will be before I manage to write a draft of the rules ... but I would hope that it might be sometime during the next fortnight or so. Be assured that I will send you a draft as soon as it is completed.

    All the best,


  3. Sorry about the insomnia, but it sounds like you had a breakthrough. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for FMHB44.

  4. Sean,

    The insomnia is just something that I have had to learn to live with.

    As to FMNB44 (I'll have to come up with a simpler title!) ... well I hope to begin work on the first draft as soon as I can.

    All the best,


  5. "insomnia is just something that I have had to learn to live with."

    Insomnia is something I came to peace with a few years ago. I look on those wee small hours as "free" hours for reading history or new rules.

    I don't imagine you're a computer gamer, but I have a great time, while sleepless, playing online against North Americans during the night.

  6. Vladdd309,

    Thank God for the Kindle! It means that I can read in bed whilst my wife sleeps as I don't need to have the bedside light on.

    I must admit that I am not much of a computer gamer, although I have given the odd one a go.

    All the best,


  7. Hi Bob,
    From one insomniac to another: empathy, chumrade!

  8. The Dancing Cake Tin,

    There seem to be quite a few sufferers out there!

    How do you cope? I have tried all sorts of things, but none of them work ... so I have learned to accept it and try to live with it.

    All the best,


  9. I, too, suffer with insomnia. Ever since I was a young teen, sleepless or little sleep in the nights is a near daily constant.

    I have learned to keep a notebook near my bed. This way, when I have those moments of inspiration whilst my brain refuses to shut down, I am able to write down what comes to mind. Sometimes that helps to relax enough for sleep. At other times, it just helps me to sort the images and arguments withn my head.

    I write poetry and often, during these times, a complete poem is composed as I wrestle with sleep.

    The rules sound like something to pursue, triuly.

  10. Justin Penwith,

    It would appear that insomnia is more common that I thought! Even if I am physically exhausted, my sleep tends to be short and interrupted ... and getting to sleep can still be a problem.

    I have tried all sorts of 'remedies' including:
    1. going for a walk
    2. having a shower
    3. reading
    4. not reading
    5. drinking a hot drink

    None of them worked ... and - in fact - some of them made the situation worse!

    I will try to pad-and-pencil-by-the-bed idea. It will be no worse than some of the other things that I have tried ... and it may well be a solution.

    All the best,


  11. Your insomnia episodes remind me of my times with jetlag or jetlethargy as I like to call it.

    My wife and I are accustomed to spending anything from 5 to 8 weeks on vacation in America every year.

    This is great from a holiday point of view but usually I suffer terribly on return to the UK as it takes me forever to get back to a normal sleep pattern.

    2 years ago I took over 6 weeks to get back into routine. I was awakening around 3 or 4 am every day, and I mean wide awake. I used the extra hours to read or play computer games as I had little energy for anything else. I stayed awake most of the following day too!

    This year was a pleasant surprise as I got back into a normal sleep pattern within a couple of days. The only significant change that I can think of is that I had a wargaming weekend coming up within a few days of getting back and I think that helped my biological clock to focus and get reset.

    Hope you get better soon.

  12. Jim Duncan,

    I also suffer when I travel across time zones by ship. When sailing east-west most cruise ships change time zone at least every other day, and sometimes every day. For example, our recent cruise to the Baltic saw us getting up at 8.00am local time ... which was 5.00am UK time. If - like me - your body is still operating on UK time you can end up feeling very tired.

    As I get older I find it more and more difficult to get back to normal after a long trip.

    My current problem with insomnia seems to be due to me being physically tired but not mentally tired. I just cannot 'switch off' when I lie down. I know for experience that this will pass, but I wish it would do so soon.

    All the best,


  13. This is a me too on poor sleep, though mine is driven by my rheumatoid arthritis. One night is not too bad to cope with, several nights on the trot really wreck one.

    Still could be worse, and there is always one's hobbies to turn to for comfort.

  14. Ashley,

    I am surprised by the number of my regular blog readers who also suffer from insomnia. Like you I also suffer from arthritis (in my toes and two finger joints) ... but luckily the pain is manageable and does not cause my insomnia.

    You are right about wargaming being an excellent source of relief from the cares of the normal world. It has saved my sanity on more than one ocassion.

    All the best,


  15. Bob, in the USA/Canada there's a thing people with insomnia or jetlag take called melatonin - I ahve been using it for some time to help me get to sleep - though often staying asleep is the problem for me. I don't know if you can get this in Britain; I will take it with me to help with the jetlag on my trip there (just a few days now!).

    Perhaps we suffer more insomnia because we are more introspective - as I said, staying asleep is the problem for me because once I open my eyes at zer0-dark-I-don't-want-to-look-at-the-clock, my mind starts turning over and over. Meanwhile my wife, who must have an untroubled soul, snores until I finally get up and make the coffee.

    I get some good ideas in these times - came up with Guerrilla Checkers, one of my better ones, at this hour - so I look forward to seeing what you come up with in your operational rules! They sound like the sort of combination of things I am looking for too.


  16. Brtrain (Brian),

    Thanks for the advice. I have certainly heard of melatonin, but in the UK it is a prescription-only drug and not on sale to the general public as it is in the USA and Canada.

    I have tried various 'remedies', but I am very wary of seeking medical help as I don't want to be prescribed sedatives. I was given low dosage sedatives nearly thirty years ago ... and within days I was like a zombie. I took myself off them as they cause me more problems than they solved!

    Now that I am retired lack of sleep should not be a worry to me as it does not matter if I don't drop off until 2.00 or 3.00am ... but I am finding that I feel much better if I get up an do something rather than just lying there hoping that I will doze off. In fact I have recently found that I am doing some of my best work when my wife is asleep, the house is quiet, and I can concentrate without fear of interruption.

    All the best,


    PS. I have booked a place at the Connections UK conference next week. It looks like it could be an interesting couple of days, and I hope that we have a chance to chat during the conference.

  17. Oh, you're coming to Connections UK after all? Great! We will be sure to meet - there's a game demo session where you can see some of the stuff I've been doing the last couple of years.

    I've been trying to discipline myself into getting up after an hour or less of staring at the ceiling in the dark. I do get stuff done, but it's hard to do in the winter when the house is cold.

  18. Brtrain (Brian),

    My wife (Sue) and I were originally planning to go to Venice by ship on 3rd September, but the situation changed and we had to postpone our visit. (We will probably go in October instead).

    I hope to be able to have a good look at what people bring with them - including your games - during the session that has been set aside.

    In the meantime I am off to bed ... and I have a FLASHMAN novel to read if I don't feel tired!

    All the best,



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