Octagons are not Hexagons or my DIY Games Workshop Lost Patrol tiles

Alan Tradgardland Gruber’s post on Skirmish Kokoda Trail rules from Lone Warrior magazine reminded me of a failed experiment of mine last summer.

Maths was never one of my strongpoints.

I have often found that drawing hexagons that interlink well is not easy either.

I found this out about twenty years ago trying to plan some hexes to make a D & D style random terrain jungle path to suit Donald Featherstone’s Close Wars forest skirmish rules in the Appendix to his first War Games book (1962).

These simple rules call for impenetrable forests and dead ends to paths etc. as Natives track down Troops in the cluttered terrain on the tabletop terrain, mostly collected from the garden.

My 2020 card and 2000 paper versions of hex lost patrol type tiles, these 2000 paper hex and square ones survived tucked inside the card ticket holder of my old branch library copy of War Games by Donald Featherstone.

Template tin lid, Sharpie pen for doodling jungle plants, ridged garden wire for stranglewort weeds
My DIY cardboard version of Lost Patrol hexes with green paint & Black Sharpie pen doodle forest

I discovered some interesting things.

Hexagons are not Octagons.

One of them has six sides.

I noticed too late that the toffee tin castle lid that I found at home, my sure-fire way to mark out rough draft cardboard hexagons, had on closer examination eight sides.

I was happily looking through the photo archive of original and DIY versions of Games Workshop’s Lost Patrol minigame (2000) on Board Games Geek. The game was reissued in a different form in 2016 and here is also a useful Skip the Rule book on YouTube video on the rules and tile placing in the 2016 re-release.

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2268/lost-patrol

This difference between hexagons and octagons eventually explained why, as I tried to produce rough cardboard copy DIY version of the original tiles for Lost Patrol, that some curved path tiles and the ‘start’ clearing tile of six paths did not work for me. They did not copy across for some reason. It was admittedly quite late in the evening that I was roughing this out.

I wondered why it didn’t work.

One of my family pointed out that my cardboard tiles did not tessellate properly without square inserts. Hexagons should fit snugly together without gaps.

Featherstone’s Close Wars Appendix to his 1962 War Games that inspired my first hex attempts on tiny paper c. 1999 / 2000.

Maybe I would find the answer looking at my tiny flimsy paper hex versions from the year 2000?

Putting numbers on the paper hex tile edges meant that using a d6 dice roll could help to place the tiles for solo play at random. Throw one d6 for the connecting tile edge, another d6 for which of the newest tile sides is connected. And so your path randomly grows before the game or as you travel … d6 dice roll by d6 dice roll.

Fast forward to 2020: Late one evening a few weeks ago I decided to have another go at a random forest path of larger hex tiles.

I had been looking at the Solo Wargaming with Miniatures group on Facebook post on this attractive 3D DIY terrain hexes for Lost Patrol by Raymond Usher.

Raymond Usher’s solo 3D version of Lost Patrol

Obviously the attractive 3D terrain modelling would be more difficult to store than the original design of flat tiles but they looked very impressive.

Raymond Usher’s solo play ideas are very interesting including the random tile choosing tokens.

The interesting concealed enemy (originally ‘lurkers’) have the advantage that they can cross the jungle across country from tile to tile whereas troops need to stay on the paths, which are surrounded by impenetrable jungle forest.

The jungle grows around the troops and can even encircle them. Apparently it is very hard to survive and win in the original Lost Patrol game as the Marines.

Available secondhand online, Airfix Gurkhas along with the Australians, useful as jungle fighters?

The Lost Patrol type hex or octagon path could be easily adapted back from fantasy and futuristic sci-fi of “aliens and lurkers” back to other jungle encounters in colonial times, ImagiNations, Victorian and Interwar explorers or modern / WW2 jungle forces. This malicious forest has a strong fairy or folk tale feel to it.

The Original Lost Patrol rules by Jake Thornton 2000

Hulkskulker has posted the older unavailable Games Workshop rules for Lost Patrol (2000 version) online at the Trove.net – Copyright still belongs to Games Workshop https://thetrove.net/Books/Warhammer/40000/Tabletop/Dataslates%20&%20Supplements/Lost%20Patrol.pdf

Useful starter rules from Games Workshop’s Lost Patrol 2000 version game design / rules by Jake Thornton – reprinted by Hulkskulker on Trove.net

Looking at Board Game Geek, now that the GW 2000 Lost Patrol original is no longer available at sensible prices, there are lots of interesting DIY variations that people have posted including using hex tiles from other games like this urban warfare futuristic game.

One of the many variants using other game tiles – Board Game Geek is a great visual resource for games design.

Very helpful Board Game Geek photos showing original and DIY versions of Lost Patrol.

The Octagon and Hexagon thing aside, these tiles were ‘doodle relaxing’ to draw up as rough tile copies. They could hopefully pass for alien forests or earth jungles.

The original Lost Patrol had ensnaring Tangleweed tiles that you had to dice to escape from. I used ridged garden wire to create my own renamed ‘Snarewort’ tiles.

In the original 2000 Lost Patrol, lurking forces of spirits of the forest were represented by card markers, an idea which could be cheaply and easily adapted such as card markers for the forest Natives in Close Wars / French Indian Wars. Forest spirits? Spirit warriors or ghost soldiers (Thanks, Wargaming Pastor / Death Zapp! ) are another possibility. That’s why your troops should never camp on the old Indian burial ground …

The route out or victory and end condition for the troops is to make it to the crashed dropship and retrieve documents. They do not have to fight their way back anywhere in the original. Presumably they get zoomed somehow out of the situation.

Again the lure or target such as the ‘drop ship’ plans could be adapted to period – a rescue mission, rescuing plans or vital maps and secret documents from a lost wagon or appropriate era vehicle. Explorer figures would have to find the Jungle Temple artefact Indiana Jones style etc.

Like the random path, where will this idea go?

Who knows? I could add or insert 3D jungle elements to the square spacer tiles but again this is a challenge for storage.

First off, I will explore Raymond Usher’s solo wrgaming ideas, read through the original and simplify it to my level.

If it doesn’t work it has cost only cardboard, paint, some ink and some time. I will have relearnt again some basic geometry. Hexagons. octagons. One of these has six sides.

Hex-ctagons anyone?

Watch this space.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN August 2020 / 12 February 2021

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

The Lost Patrol is also a 1934 film which looks promising for games scenarios https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Patrol_(1934_film)

Quick plot summary from IMDB, which also has some dramatic and stylish film posters for The Lost Patrol: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025423/

A World War I British Army patrol is crossing the Mesopotomian desert when their commanding officer, the only one who knows their destination [and mission] is killed by the bullet of unseen bandits. The patrol’s sergeant keeps them heading north on the assumption that they will hit their brigade. They stop for the night at an oasis and awake the next morning to find their horses stolen, their sentry dead, the oasis surrounded and survival difficult.

“Mr M. And his brother Captain, hot from The Great War in South Africa” identified? H.G. Wells and Little Wars 1913

In the early chapter of Little Wars, H.G. Wells identifies by initials some of the men who had helped in the development of his ‘Floor Game’ that became Little Wars. This material was published first in magazine article form in late 1912 and in book form by Frank Palmer in Summer 1913.

A number of famous men are identified – J.K.J. – Jerome K. Jerome the writer, another writer and invalid friend of Wells was probably George Gissing, Mr. W as the socialist and writer Mr Graham Wallas.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/01/21/the-invisible-men-and-women-behind-h-g-wells-little-wars-and-floor-games/

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/01/22/mr-w-and-a-dear-friend-who-died-two-more-invisible-men-behind-little-wars-1913/

One of the unnamed men involved in developing the Little Wars game was “here a certain Mr. M and his brother, Captain M., hot from the Great War in South Africa came in helpfully to quicken it …”

https://archive.org/details/littlewarsgamefo00well/page/22/mode/2up

The Scholarly Editing team edited by Nigel Lepianka and Deanna Stover working on Little Wars identified Gissing and Mr. W – Graham Wallas – but had no idea who Mr M and Captain M were.

Scholarly Editing – Editor’s note 15. “This refers to the 1906–1907 Bambatha Rebellion where the Zulu revolted against the British. We have been unable to identify Captain M. or Mr. M.”

https://scholarlyediting.org/2017/editions/littlewars/fulltext.html#inlinenote15

I’m not sure if the Great War in South Africa meant the Boer War which Captain M. served in, the Great War not having yet acquired its WW1 connotation or this 1906 Bambatha Zulu Rebellion.

Having read H.G. Wells and his Family, the 1955 memoir by Mathilde Meyer, Swiss Governess to Wells’ two young sons Frank and Gip, I noticed that she described how on wet afternoons at Wells House, one of the favourite indoor pastimes was “The Floor Game” as it was called in the house. Three more of the named players were Liberal politician Charles F.G. Masterman, engineer Mr. Harold Hobson of the Bloomsbury literary set and Mr. E.S.P. Haynes.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2021/02/05/three-more-players-of-h-g-wells-floor-game-little-wars-1913/

This gave me a clue to who might be “a certain Mr. M” – could this be Mr Charles Masterman, important enough a political figure not be obviously named by Wells in association with Floor Games and Little Wars?

Did he have a “brother, Captain M. hot from the Great War in South Africa”?

I started tracing the Masterman family tree and a Boer War connection.

http://www.kentfallen.com/PDF%20REPORTS/TONBRIDGE%20BOER%20WAR.pdf

At first sight, the Tonbridge Boer War Memorial lists only a dead brother Captain Henry [Thomas] Masterman (1875-1900) who died on service in South Africa, a casualty like so many in that war of disease.

Listed as H.W. Masterman on the Tonbridge Boer War Memorial

MASTERMAN, HENRY (Harry) [Thomas]. Captain. 3rd Battalion, Welsh Regiment.
Died 28 November 1900. Aged 25.
Born Wimbledon, Surrey 17 July 1875.

Fifth son of Mrs. Margaret Hanson Masterman, (1841-1932) (née Gurney) of “Lonsdale,” Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and of the late Thomas William (Willie) Masterman, F.R.G.S. (1839-1894) of “The Hall,” Rotherfield, Sussex.
Buried Prieska, Northern Cape, South Africa.

“At the time of the 1881 census, the Masterman family resided at “South Villa,” Main Road, Bexley, Kent. Head of the house was 41 year old Wanstead, Essex native Thomas William Masterman, who was of Independent Means.

Henry was a Day Boy at Tonbridge School, Kent in 1889, and after leaving Tonbridge School he went to Weymouth College. At the latter establishment he was in the cricket and football teams. On leaving Weymouth College, Henry went up to St. John’s College, Cambridge, and afterwards to Christ’s College.”

“Whilst at Cambridge he was a Captain in the University Royal Volunteer Corps. In January 1899, he entered St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, but his battalion was embodied in December 1899, which he joined and accompanied to South Africa in February 1900. Whilst at Prieska he was appointed the Garrison Adjutant, a post which he held until he was taken ill. Henry died of Malaria and Meningitis at Prieska, which is situated on the south bank of the Orange River, Northern Cape, South Africa.”

This was not looking promising – Captain Henry Masterman died in 1900, so he could not be Captain M., until the same useful Kent Fallen Boer War Memorial Tunbridge publication mentioned another brother who became a Captain after service in the Boer War in South Africa:

“Henry’s brother; Walter Sydney Masterman was a Day Boy at Tonbridge School from 1889 to 1893, and he too served in the 3rd Battalion, Welsh Regiment which had included serving in the Second Boer War in 1900 and 1901.

Whilst at Tonbridge School, Walter won the Swimming Points Cup in 1893. From Tonbridge he went up to Christ’s College, Cambridgeshire.

In 1901 following the Second Boer War he was promoted to the rank of Captain, and attached to the 1st Cadet Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps.

In 1910 he became an Inspector of Musketry, and resided at 25, Woodbury Park Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent.”

Surely this must be our Captain M hot from the Great War in South Africa?

Amazingly a group photo of the six brothers by photographers Thomas Stearns exists at the National Portrait Gallery from 1899, the year before Henry was killed. https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw147474/The-Masterman-family?LinkID=mp93958&role=sit&rNo=0

The six Masterman brothers 1899
Howard (the future bishop) front left. middle front Ernest, front right Arthur
Captain Henry who died back left, centre back Charles ‘Mr. M’ and back right ‘Captain M’ Walter Masterman, an 1899 photograph taken prior to Henry’s death in the Boer War (NPG collection)

The six Masterman brothers were:

Arthur Thomas Masterman (1869-1941), Zoologist.

Charles Frederick Gurney Masterman (1874-1927), Politician and author.

Ernest William Gurney Masterman (1867-1943), Medical missionary and scholar.

Henry Wright (‘Harry’) Masterman (1875-1900), Army officer.

John Howard Bertram Masterman (1867-1933), Bishop of Plymouth and writer

Walter Sidney Masterman (1876-1946), Writer, civil servant and army officer

The back row – Captain Henry Masterman who died in 1900, Charles or Wells’ “certain Mr. M” and Wells’ “Captain M”., Walter Masterman – photographed in 1899. (NPG Collection Source)

What did Mr M and Captain M add to Little Wars?

Chapter 1: “But as there was nevertheless much that seemed to us extremely pretty and picturesque about the game, we set to work — and here a certain Mr M. with his brother, Captain M., hot from the Great War in South Africa, came in most helpfully—to quicken it. Manifestly the guns had to be reduced to manageable terms.

“We cut down the number of shots per move to four, and we required that four men should be within six inches of a gun for it to be in action at all. Without four men it could neither fire nor move—it was out of action; and if it moved, the four men had to go with it. Moreover, to put an end to that little resistant body of men behind a house, we required that after a gun had been fired it should remain, without alteration of the elevation, pointing in the direction of its last shot, and have two men placed one on either side of the end of its trail. This secured a certain exposure on the part of concealed and sheltered gunners. It was no longer possible to go on shooting out of a perfect security for ever. All this favoured the attack and led to a livelier game.”

[It is difficult to know how much of Little Wars was developed with Mr M (Charles Masterman) and Captain M (Walter Sidney Masterman) but I assume here that ‘We’ and ‘Our’ refers to his collaboration with Mr M and Captain M, quickening the game.]

“Our next step was to abolish the tedium due to the elaborate aiming of the guns, by fixing a time limit for every move. We made this an outside limit at first, ten minutes, but afterwards we discovered that it made the game much more warlike to cut the time down to a length that would barely permit a slow-moving player to fire all his guns and move all his men. This led to small bodies of men lagging and “getting left,” to careless exposures, to rapid, less accurate shooting, and just that eventfulness one would expect in the hurry and passion of real fighting. It also made the game brisker. We have since also made a limit, sometimes of four minutes, sometimes of five minutes, to the interval for adjustment and deliberation after one move is finished and before the next move begins. This further removes the game from the chess category, and approximates it to the likeness of active service. Most of a general’s decisions, once a fight has begun, must be made in such brief intervals of time. (But we leave unlimited time at the outset for the planning.)”

“As to our time-keeping, we catch a visitor with a stop-watch if we can, and if we cannot, we use a fair-sized clock with a second-hand: the player not moving says “Go,” and warns at the last two minutes, last minute, and last thirty seconds. But I think it would not be difficult to procure a cheap clock—because, of course, no one wants a very accurate agreement with Greenwich as to the length of a second—that would have minutes instead of hours and seconds instead of minutes, and that would ping at the end of every minute and discharge an alarm note at the end of the move. That would abolish the rather boring strain of time-keeping. One could just watch the fighting.”

“Moreover, in our desire to bring the game to a climax, we decided that instead of a fight to a finish we would fight to some determined point, and we found very good sport in supposing that the arrival of three men of one force upon the back line of the opponent’s side of the country was of such strategic importance as to determine the battle. But this form of battle we have since largely abandoned in favour of the old fight to a finish again. We found it led to one type of battle only, a massed rush at the antagonist’s line, and that our arrangements of time-limits and capture and so forth had eliminated most of the concluding drag upon the game.”

“Our game was now very much in its present form. We considered at various times the possibility of introducing some complication due to the bringing up of ammunition or supplies generally, and we decided that it would add little to the interest or reality of the game. Our battles are little brisk fights in which one may suppose that all the ammunition and food needed are carried by the men themselves.”

Little Wars, H.G. Wells, 1913

After Little And Great Wars

If we are correct about Captain M being Walter Sidney Masterman, then he had a strange career path after the War, not unlike H.G.Wells’ early career.

Colin Salter’s family blog has some interesting information about Harry and Walter at this stage of the Boer War and the years up to WW1 including the brothers’ sporting achievements. http://talltalesfromthetrees.blogspot.com/2013/10/harry-masterman-1875-1900-and-second.html

I wonder if their semi-professional football career and games had an effect on the shaping and briskness of Little Wars, as much as their military careers:

fight to some determined point, and we found very good sport in supposing that the arrival of three men of one force upon the back line of the opponent’s side of the country …We found it led to one type of battle only, a massed rush at the antagonist’s line.” (Little Wars, 1913)

Walter became an Assistant Headteacher (1903-5) in a private school after the Boer War in the period when Little Wars was being developed. He was also active as a Football player with Tunbridge Wells FC.

For a brief while Walter Masterman was part of the British Boy Scouts, the BBS, a more ‘pacifist’ Peace Scouts rival to the more ‘militaristic’ Baden Powell’s Scouting Movement –

http://talltalesfromthetrees.blogspot.com/2012/05/walter-sydney-masterman-1876-1946-and.html

Being an Inspector of Musketry attached to the 1st Cadet Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifles, at the same time as being part of the BBS or Peace Scouts, whilst also being involved as Captain M. in the shaping of Little Wars shows what a complex character Walter Masterman was and what odd times that he was living in.

He served as a Major with the Welsh Regiment during the Great War / WW1. After Demob in 1919, Walter became again a Fisheries Inspector (civil servant) in Grimsby in his zoologist brother Arthur’s area of fisheries.

According to Colin Salter, Walter married in 1920 one Olive Doreen Lowrie, 24 years his junior, the youngest of eight children of a Northumbrian commercial traveller. She was born in Cardiff. Walter appointed to the Fisheries Inspectorate about 1911 spent time in Wales. http://talltalesfromthetrees.blogspot.com/2013/03/olive-doreen-lowrie-1900-1973-and-death.htm. They had one daughter together.

According to his relative Colin Salter in his family history blog, this career ended in court and jail for three to four years in 1922 over allegations of embezzlement.

Walter Sidney Masterman, fishery inspector at Grimsby, a brother of a former Liberal Minister, is being charged with embezzling £862 belonging to the Board of Fisheries. The prosecution alleges that the defendant paid into his own account sums received, for the sale of coal and gear handed over from German trawlers.

February 1922 the Sunday Times of Perth in Western Australia

http://talltalesfromthetrees.blogspot.com/2011/10/walter-sydney-masterman-1876-1946-and.html

His ‘Former Liberal Minister’ Brother Charles’ position (Mr. M) was the only thing that made this newsworthy around the world.

His next career move in the mid 1920s was to become a writer of science fiction, detective and mystery novels as Walter S. Masterman.

His first book The Wrong Letter in 1926 had a Foreword or Preface by Charles and Wells’ mutual friend G.K. Chesterton which can be read here on these sample pages

I wonder if his author brothers Howard Masterman the bishop and Charles the Liberal Politician (Mr. M.) or H.G. Wells were in any way able to help or involved in aiding Walter’s postwar literary career?

Chesterton was also friends with Charles Masterman and dedicated a book What’s Wrong with the World to him – see

http://talltalesfromthetrees.blogspot.com/2012/04/charles-frederick-gurney-masterman-1873.html

This closeness with other authors helped Masterman set up the War Propaganda Bureau WPB and recruit authors like Wells or Chesterton for the Allied cause when War was declared in August 1914:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_S._Masterman

Most of his books are still in print via Ramble House Press. You can also sample the books on his Amazon author’s page. The originals with luridly coloured dust jackets still fetch good prices.

From Colin Salter’s blog

He published his last book in 1942 and died in Brighton in 1946.

Who could resist a biography and bibliography with titles like this?

• The Wrong Letter (1926) Foreword by G.K. Chesterton

http://talltalesfromthetrees.blogspot.com/2012/04/charles-frederick-gurney-masterman-1873.html

• The Curse of the Reckaviles (1927)

• 2 LO (1928)

• The Green Toad (1929)

• The Bloodhounds Bay (1930)

• The Yellow Mistletoe (1930)

• The Mystery of 52 (aka The Mystery of Fifty-Two) (1931)

• The Flying Beast (1932)

• Murder Beacon (1932), written with L. Patrick Greene

• The Nameless Crime (1932)

• The Crime of the Reckaviles (1934)

• The Baddington Horror (1934)

• The Perjured Alibi (1935)

• Death Turns Traitor (1936)

• The Rose of Death (1936)

• The Avenger Strikes (1937)

• The Border Line (1937)

• The Hunted Man (1938)

• The Wrong Verdict (1938)

• The Secret of the Downs (1939)

• The Hooded Monster (1939)

• The Curse of Cantire (1940)

• The Death Coins (1940)

• Back From the Grave (1940)

• The Silver Leopard (1941)

• The Man without a Head (1942)

The outline of plots sounds as outrageously odd as Wells’ early science fiction – underground races etc. Wells is also featured on the same sci-fi databases with an aptly very long entry:

http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/wells_h_g

http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/wellss_law

The list of titles and supernatural topics is not so far from fellow Little Wars witness and fellow Sussex resident, the author and ‘ghost hunter’ Robert Thurston Hopkins, also on such a sci-fi database.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2020/12/24/r-thurston-hopkins-on-rls-h-g-wells-and-little-wars/

The Rest of the Masterman Family

The Masterman family were quite amazingly accomplished – writers, bishops, politicians, army officers, medical missionaries and naturalists.

The two Captains Henry and Walter we have already mentioned.

They had one sister called ‘Daisy’ or Margaret Masterman, who had an academic career.

1. One older brother, easy to tell by his dog collar in the photo is the second son John Howard Bertram Masterman (1867-1933), Suffragan Bishop of Plymouth, author and Historian. Howard the bishop married Theresa Boroder (b. Saxony, Germany) and became father of Cyril Masterman (1896-1973) OBE (1956 for services as Technical Director, Underground Gasification Trials, Monistry of Fuel and Power). https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Masterman

2. His younger brother was the natural historian Dr Arthur Thomas Masterman FRS FRSE (1869 – 1941) was an English zoologist and author. He was an expert on the British fishing industry. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Masterman

http://talltalesfromthetrees.blogspot.com/2015/05/arthur-thomas-masterman-1869-1941-and.html

3. Ernest William Gurney Masterman, (1867-1943), Medical missionary, RCS surgeon, author and scholar

http://talltalesfromthetrees.blogspot.com/2013/02/ernest-william-gurney-masterman-1867.html

4. The youngest brother was the writer and Liberal MP Charles Frederick Gurney Masterman, H.G. Wells’ friend. He must be Wells’ Mr M.

There is an interesting 1914 Punch cartoon of Charles in this Colin Salter blog:

http://talltalesfromthetrees.blogspot.com/2014/11/charles-frederick-gurney-masterman-1873.html

http://talltalesfromthetrees.blogspot.com/2012/09/charles-frederick-gurney-masterman-1873.html

These were the six sons of Mrs. Margaret Hanson Masterman, (1841-1932) (née Gurney) of “Lonsdale,” Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and of the late Thomas William (Willie) Masterman, F.R.G.S. (1839-1894) of “The Hall,” Rotherfield Hall , Sussex. Rotherfield Hall in Sussex.

The Masterman brothers were the grandsons of William Brodie Gurney (and so a distant relation to prison reformer Elizabeth Fry through him). The Gurney and Masterman families were variously involved with Banking, shorthand, court stenography and with the Fox family of Quakers.

Thanks to Colin Salter for his interesting Tall Tales from The Trees family history blog – http://talltalesfromthetrees.blogspot.com/search/label/Masterman

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 4 February 2021.