Neglected 30mm Flats FMS Frontier Skirmish


Another squabble between two FMS or Forgotten Minor States of old Mittel-Mittel Europe in the late 19th century.


The lone KruzoKampo (KK) sentry leans against the barrier post in the first light at a minor border crossing on the edge of the small town of KruzoKampo (KK), in this rural region of the state of NigraKruzo. The area was once called Kreuzfeld during past Teutonic occupation.

The KK sentry fails to spot an advance party of Grizan infantry hedinf south towards him along the road. Beside him on the wall, primed and ready, sits a signal cannon to alert the other guards and the Town Reserve / Militia in the town.

The border post is manned by the blue-coated volunteer militia of the Hejma Gvardio (or LandSturm as their Teutonic neighbours would have it).  

A reconnaissance sketch map is shown below, carried by Grizan forces who attack from Grizan territory south towards the bridge and this largely forgotten foot crossing on the  rural NigraKruzo border. 

The Grizan troops have one objective, to seize this neglected border crossing and hold it until further Grizan reinforcements arrive down the road to the North. 



Turn 2 – The KK sentry rolls 5 (4,5,6 to spot movement, 1,2,3 did not notice) and so spots suspicious movement on the Grizan side in the dimsy early morning light. He rushes to bang on the border post / toll house door to rouse his fellow Hejma Gvardio militia. He then [completes his move to] fire the small signal cannon on the wall to alert the Reserve in the nearby town – it fails to fire first time!

[Signal Cannon – Fires 1,3,5, Fails 2,4,6]

Turn 3 – As the rest of the sleepy guards turn out of the Border hut, strapping on their equipment and readying their muskets and bayonets, they hear a small boom and echo. Success! The signal cannon fired.

The KK militia reserve troops from the town will take 5 turns to reach the border post (turn number decided by d6 throw)


The first Grizan troops take one move to dismantle the barrier. They are out of firing range. More Grizan troops follow from the Northwest field to the gap in the field wall, aiming for the bridge. 

A wider view of the border post and  the footbridge, which spans a fast and impassable river tributary of the Rivero Nigra that divides the  FMS state of Griza from its southern neighbour.

An ancient artillery piece sits facing the Grizan side of the river and bridge. The usual traffic is foot travellers and livestock to the market of the town, the bridge being too narrow for most waggons. 

IMG_1885The small and still sleepy group of border guards stumble out of the warmth of their border post to man the barricade. Their officer and artilleryman head behind the post to ready the ancient artillery piece. 

The sleepy militiamen are soon overcome by the bullets and bayonets of the Grizan advanced guard. 


It takes one turn to ready and prime the ancient cannon, and in their flustered state, they fire only one round which misses the Grizan troops on the road. 

The surviving KK Officer and artilleryman are surrounded and quickly surrender.

IMG_1887Disarmed the two prisoners are marched north over the border into Griza by two Grizan riflemen.  

The Grizan infantry now have two turns left to quickly fortify their position before the KK Town Militia will reach them on the outskirts of KruzoKampo. They hear the drum and calls of the KK militia in the distance. 

The Grizan officer quickly directs his men to line the field walls and barricade, whilst one crackshot occupies the window position in the border post. 


The sixteen surviving Grizan reserves and advanced guard, flag fluttering,  line  the KK border walls, ready to clash with the KK town reserve or militia as they arrive. 


On the other southeast side of the bridge, bayonets clash in melee over the low field border walls.  Eight of the KK Militia and five of the Grizan infantry are quickly  killed in the clash along the walls. 

In the next ragged volley from the Grizan troops, the KK militia officer and ensign are fatally wounded.

IMG_1894The two surviving KK troops, the drummer boy and a disarmed infantry man are rounded up and herded into the stores building out of the way.

The black cross of the NigraKruzo flag on the flagpole is symbolically toppled by the jubilant Grizan troops. 

The surviving thin grey line of Grizan troops inside the hut and along the walls settle down to hold the border crossing until their reinforcements arrive from the North.  


This game was inspired by the recent flats games by Alan ‘Duchy of Tradgardland’ Gruber.

Troops are 30mm ‘Nuremberg scale’ flats from a random painted and bashed selection of troops that I bought online in the last ten years. They were freshly based on MDF penny bases. 


Notes on Terrain 

Building:  Modern Chinese ‘Little Farm’ set copy of old Herald / Britain’s 54mm animal house and trough. The stores hut is an OO/HO railway building.  

Barricade – tile spacers and matchstick barrier or old Airfix / Dapol OO/HO windmill sail spar.  Flagpost cocktail stick and MDF tuppeny piece Warbases

Grass and roads / river – roll out coated A4 flocked paper – model railway shop, strips of felt (fabric shop) 

Bridge – 1960s plastic by “F G  T & Sons London England” – F.G. Taylor & Sons, Ltd. England Farm Series No. 539 Rustic Bridge, 

Wooden ‘stone’ walls from German toy village. Plastic rock and various stone chippings.   

Trees – old Britain’s / plastic dead tree and mini Christmas card wooden clip fir trees on Warbases MDF tuppeny bases.  

Back of Postcard Rules for this game 

Loosely based on Donald Featherstone 

Needs 6″ ruler and handful of d6 dice, some coloured.

Movement rates on Foot – 3 inches, 6 inches on road 

River impassable except by bridge – tree areas impassable. 


(Effective) Firing range – 6 inches, of which: 

Long Range LR – 5 to 6 inches – requires 6 to hit (d6 dice)

Medium Range MR – 3 to 4 inches – requires 5,6 to hit (d6 dice) 

Close Range CR – 1 to 2 inches – requires 4,5,6 to hit (d6 dice)

Savings Throws as you wish – roll one d6 for each casualty. 6 saves life, 5 or 6 if behind wall / barrier. 


IGO YUGO rules – Role 2 dice at start of each turn, one for each side. Highest score wins, those troops move first.  

  1. Winner moves  first [Melee?]
  2. Other side moves second [Melee?]
  • Remove casualties as you go 
  1. Winner fires first
  2. Other side fires second.

Turn ends. No morale checks etc. 


Melee system as you see fit 

Melee happens when two troops touch base, cross rifles bayonets, swords etc. 

Version A – 1d6 each for each  man and his opponent, highest wins.

Version B –  3 life points each, Parry and Lunge rules 

Version C – Kaptain Kobold reduction of B (Parry and Lunge) to single d6 dice rules  

3 life points each man, decide who is attacker, who defender 

1,2 – Hit on attacker, attacker loses one point 

3 – Both Hit (lose one point each) 

4 – Both Miss 

5,6 – Hit on Defender (defender loses one point)


Artillery Range – two crew minimum – nominate target / area

Close Range CR:  1″ up to 6″ – hit on 5,6 – roll 1 d6 for casualty numbers 

Medium Range MR: 6″ up to 12″ – hit on 6 – roll 1 d6 for casualty numbers 

Long Range LR: 6″ – 12″ up to 18″ – hit on 6 – roll 1 d6 for casualty numbers

  • Adjust number of casualty dice as you wish for different ranges

Write d6 rule for any decision you need e.g. if low numbers / isolated, roll d6:

  • 1,2 – retreat / head for safety or cover
  • 3,4 – surrender (or 3 – freeze, 4 – surrender)
  • 5,6 – attack, advance 
  • N.B. Surrendering troops are disarmed and escorted to rear by one guard to two prisoners

Write d6 or movement rules as needed e.g. 2 men to remove barricade one move. Crossing wall, half a move. 

Write fire rules as needed e.g. for signal gun – Fire: Yes 1,3,5 or Misfire 2,4,6 


Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 4/5 April 2021 




18 thoughts on “Neglected 30mm Flats FMS Frontier Skirmish”

  1. Having woken to a smattering of snow today this was just the tonic I needed to raise spirts a tad. What an excellent game , the flats work really well with the terrain and an exciting game ensued. Mittel mittel figures for a mittel mittel scenario, just the ticket! The rules are fun and I will give them a whirl at some point too. You have created a micro world , perhaps mini theatre in this game showing just how little space is needed ( not to mention figures) for a Wargame.
    Flats have the allure of the other, of beyond the Channel to a Britains free world where zinnfiguren ruled/rule supreme. Lovely to see your figures getting a game!


    1. Dear Mr. Gruber,
      Here at (Flat ThIN) Man of TIN blog, we work hard to make sure you enjoy your early morning cup of coffee!
      I hope you enjoy tinkering with these one brain cell rules. They would scale up and down well enough. A lot of this Infantry skirmish action descends on ragged volleys, bayonets, boots and fists. So historically quite accurate then!

      The rules would fit on the back of a large postcard if you wrote them small enough, although when I read the entries for the Miniature Wargames back of a postcard rules, starting with Drums Along the Watusi, these were sometimes no more than a QRS quick reference sheet. To me they were unplayable; there were a lot of unstated assumptions and things not stated / still in the writer’s head. N.B. There are no Cavalry rules.

      The game took an hour or two and was all over in about a dozen turns. You could of course recycle the casualties from the first encounters into reinforcements for the TO BE CONTINUED battle.

      What isn’t clear is why Griza attacked its FMS neighbour Nigra-Kruzo by this forgotten footbridge back door. It reminded me of your Zollverein cartoon(s).

      I like the pinch point of a tiny footbridge hardly worth manning in a Forgotten backwater – it has an Ardennes surprise feel to it.

      You are right – Somehow the Flats do have a theatrical air to them and they match the flat toy theatre paper figures / European paper soldiers style of animation. In terms of distant scenery, short of painting the back wall of the dining table area blue with a few clouds like Ross Macfarlane / Battle Game of the Month (oddly the idea wasn’t warmly received at home), I will rig up a suitable model railway scenery backdrop on foam board another time.

      This is the first time I have used these flat figures since I bought them at random 5 to 10 years ago. With a penny MDF base, they have a good satisfying feel in the hands, like the smaller Airfix.
      I have some cracking spirited Bersaglieri for another more mountainous, hilly game. They were too close to the Austrian type grey troops for this game.
      Answer to your other comment to follow.
      Mark Man of TIN


  2. P.s a question and a comment. What size is the battlefield? I really like the way the ww1 Austro Hungarian figures work alongside the Napoleonic Prussian Landwher (?) a look the part together. It again conveys a sense of an imaginary place very cleverly. The figures enhance each other rather than jar, terrific! I am interested in the potentiality of mixing different periods figures to convey something. I have an old set of science fiction skirmish rules from way back. On the cover or inside, l don’t recall which there is a figure in a bicorne and Napoleonicesque uniform alongside a tank. It worked!


  3. The Battlefield is an old noticeboard or photo frame from work – 22 inches by 18 inches – that had its glass cracked and was heading for the wood skip. The idea was to be able to hang it on the wall out of the way if needed. Again this exciting abstract modern artwork has not found much approval.

    The other side is wrapping paper squared back –

    It had its first proper outing on Pound Store Plastic Warriors where Grizan forces attacked Verdan neighbours sometime in the 1930s-50s. Prickly neighbours, these Grizans!

    Verda versus Griza pound store plastic soldiers 20mm Interbellum FMS skirmish, now with added Esperanto!

    The mix of figures was accidental in the sense that’s what I bought in several random lots and those attractively labelled mini cardboard zinnfiguren boxes the size of cigarette packets with the German handwriting and numbering.

    The mix of uniforms – it’s not that far fetched. The Belgians, French and Germans etc were still largely wearing Napoleonic uniforms or ones from the FPW 40 years before, so you can imagine that some minor FMS states would have similar impractical, penny-pinching unchanged uniforms, especially for their reluctant and neglected militia in rural areas.
    Ruritania rules!
    Many of the other WW1 era Flats “regiments of all nations” all look the drab same.

    Mark, (ThIN Flat) Man of TIN Blog


  4. Marvellous flats Mark and a brilliant game/story that you developed so well. I have to admit to thinking that the one border guard was gonna try to take them all on, MacGyver-style for a while! 🙂
    Regards, James


    1. Thanks James. I have had games where one man takes on many (armed only with a Swiss Army knife – no, my McGuyver joke there) and survives to turn the tide of a skirmish. Sadly this half asleep sentry did not survive long after sounding the alarm.


  5. Another great border skirmish! Those flats work well, but I can’t help thinking that they should have a defensive advantage when involved in bayonet-fighting… Roll on the next act of this particular tussle!


  6. Thank you – ‘Simple’ ably describes my ability to not understand any complex rules or rules systems. These simple rules I can keep in my head or on a single page. Result: Happiness.


  7. A truly inspirational little wargame. It shows that with imagination, a few figures and some interesting bits of terrain, a wonderful battle can be fought and a great narrative can be created by a solo wargamer. I particularly like the flats, which have a unique charm of their own.


  8. Thanks Bob -.a relaxed hour or two with little prep on a portable board and simple Featherstone style rules.
    It’s my first foray into Flats, being reminded that I had bought some random boxes by reading about Alan Tradgardland Gruber’s recent Flats games.


  9. Hi,

    I was having a go at converting more of those HTI figures. Morrocan colonial troops, Arab legion, Boers, black and tans, IRA (1920s), Union, Confederate and French Foriegn Legion. Hope you like them.

    In going to build up units of about 12 of each for skirmish wargames. [image/jpeg] [image/jpeg] [image/jpeg] [image/jpeg] [image/jpeg] [image/jpeg]


    1. Hello Vince The pictures sadly didn’t come through on this comment but I would like to see them. Can you send them to my Man of Tin blog Gmail account that I have used with you before?


  10. Sorry I missed this one! It reminds me (your map in particular) of one of the Duffer’s Drift imitators, the 1930s’ Defence of Bowler Bridge which can be found here:

    I’ve picked up a bunch of Wofun flats based on Peter Dennis’ Paperboys and have been experimenting with a couple different solo rule sets. As bases of multiple troops they wouldn’t work so well with your rules here, but the pandemic is STARTING to lift here and I hope to have the opportunity again to play with toy soldiers at work again in a few months!


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