TSAF Recon Mission Report, somewhere in the twin mists of The Great River and the 1930s:
The TSAF (Toy Soldier Air Force) is continuing and widening its search of the Yarden Forests of South Generica for any traces of missing explorer Colonel Bob “Jumbo” Fazackerly.
The skilled TSAF Pilots and their Observers / Navigators in their newly delivered Hybrid twin seater single engine monoplanes are scouring a wider and wider area around the upper reaches of the Great River, the Colonel’s last known position.
Colonel Fazackerley, a seasoned veteran of many a past military campaign, was last seen several months ago heading off “Up River” into the South Generican forests and mountains. Some say the Colonel was in search of inscriptions and artefacts in a rumoured lost cave temple of a lost ancient Generican tribe etc. etc.
Others mention that it is also known that descendants of these ‘lost’ tribes are not always friendly to outsiders. Rumours of unrest amongst these Yarden and Great River tribes have also reached the Colonial Governor, one of the many sons of Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond.
The exact nature of the Colonel’s Mission or Expedition has not been disclosed by the Governor.
How I made Colonel Fazackerley
Colonel Bob started life amongst the ranks of Johillco Line Infantry (shown right below).
At some point during his previous life or military career he lost his head and his rifle, as well as his left arm.
When he arrived amongst a job lot of Broken Britain’s and other damaged hollowcast lead toy soldiers that I am repairing, he barely had any paint left either.
I repainted his scarlet jacket and blue trousers with Gloss Acrylics but then had other ideas.
The Colonel was reborn from my Bits Box, Frankenstein style, thanks to a spare Dorset Soldiers head, and a homecast officer’s sword arm from the Prince August 54mm Traditional Toy Soldier set.
I could have repaired or restored him, as I have done with other similar broken Johillco figures, back to his original Line Infantry firing role.
However something about the look of the stub of the broken rifle reminded me of a chunky automatic American style revolver. This suggested an officer, so next it was finding the right individual sort of hat.
Johillco 54mm figures are a little heftier than the more slender Britain’s figures, so can more easily take the Prince August 54mm cast arms and head. I tried various heads. Eventually I settled on a Dorset Soldiers head with slouch or bush hat from my Bits Box.
This still left the problem of the missing left arm.
Rather than making a new one from a wire “arm-ature” wrapped in masking tape and a Fimo polymer clay hand, I rummaged through my Bits Box again and found a spare Prince August officer’s right sword arm from a past casting session.
Snipping and filing this sword arm at the elbow to match the left arm stump, it was simply attached by drilling stump and arm with a fine 1mm drill bit to insert a short wire stub which joined the two, secured by superglue.
This gives the look of a sword or long machete for slicing through jungle creepers and stylishly seeing off any hostile natives or fierce animals.
A shaved cocktail stick glued on made a simple scabbard.
A spare Dorset Soldiers backpack made a knapsack.
All that remains to make or find to equip the Colonel for campaigning is a suitable water bottle and pistol holster.
Leather knee boots and Sam Browne type belt / knapsack strap were simply painted on.
His shiny new shooter was painted in silver.
This Dorset head had no cast moustache, so I added a painted one and pink cheek dots to keep that old toy soldier look to the face. A coat of Gloss varnish over the Matt Acrylic Khaki suggested a more vintage toy soldier look too.
What I wanted to achieve was a simple, old-fashioned toy soldier factory paint scheme, nothing too fussy or realistic, more toy soldier or Tintin cartoon.
The Natives are (not always) Friendly …
I have spent several weeks repairing and repainting broken Britain’s and other 54mm hollowcast figures to form some suitable native tribes and troops for future garden, yarden and tabletop skirmish games. Spears and weapons were often missing, sometimes bases, legs and arms.
A mixture of Broken Britain’s and Johillco Zulus, Crescent and Britain’s Indians have so far joined the North and South Generican native tribes defending their hard-won territories against various civilising (for which read aggressive) Colonial Imperialists of many nations.
Rifles or spears were repaired or added with wire and masking tape.
These natives will give Colonel Fazackerley and friends something to watch over the shoulder for. I shall show more of these rearmed and repainted colourful tribes in the coming weeks.
A Man of Many Missions
When he is not lost in the Generican forests and mountains of my Yarden, Colonel Bob can relive the glories of his youth out and about on campaign with a variety of field forces from the Bore War (sorry, Boer War) to the North West Frontier, Boxer Rebellion, Burma, the old West and WW1 East Africa, a military family career stretching back and far and wide to his relatives fighting in the American Civil War (but on which side is not fully known). Did he ever tell you
Danger follows him where others fear to tread …
Look out Fazackerley, they’re behind you!
He is rumoured to have disappeared and spent some time in his youth soldiering in the ranks of the French Foreign Legion.
Fazackerley is a man who has served in many forces on many expeditions and missions under many Aliases, thanks no doubt to his gift for getting by in many languages.
Not all the Natives are Unfriendly …
Soon all will be ready for the forests, mountains and rocky plains of the back garden, Yarden or cluttered Close Wars terrain of the tabletop.
One blog reader (thanks!) suggested looking at Flint and Feather rules by Crucible Crush in Canada written by Howard Whitehouse.
I recognised this name from reading a fun and crazy set of “Caveman” conflict rules written by one Howard “Ugga” Whitehouse in Miniature Wargames many years ago (early 2000s?), again also with a Scissors, Paper, Stone game mechanic. I am now casting up some Prince August cavemen this summer to finally try this out as a solo game.
This uses a ‘Rock/Paper/Scissors’ form of deciding how warriors attack and defend. It was available in beta version (free) and being playtested.
Players choose or use a deck of cards (at the back of the PDF rule book) to indicate which option below is selected.
“Key Characters – not only Great Warriors and Companions but Shamen and Healers – get to choose their maneuver, placing the card face down on the table but keeping it hidden until both sides reveal their maneuvers. Others choose cards randomly and reveal once both sides have placed their cards face down on the table. Obviously, “Huh!” is an accidental choice that only occurs only when the figure rolls, rather than chooses, an option.” Flint and Feather rules PDF
1) Swing: a good strong swipe at the foe. Often risky … (Flint and Feather goes on to suggest the ‘Best’ weapon for each manoeuvre).
2) Cut: a dependable attack, without much risk of disaster …
3) Lunge: a fierce thrust …
4) Bash: A Strong overhead blow …
5) Taunt: no armed attack at all, but a pithy insult to taunt the enemy …
6) Huh!: accidentally failing to make any attack, and possibly making a fool of yourself in the process. Not a deliberate choice …
The Defender has also six options – again, “Huh!” is an accidental choice.
1) Counter Blow: hitting the other fellow before he strikes you! Risky …
2) Leap Aside: dodge that blow and show off your agility …
3) Jump Back: see him swing at thin air …
4) Duck: Drop down! …
5) Parry: the safest way of fending off an assault, with shield or with weapon. It’s good to have a shield! …
6) Huh!: accidentally failing to offer any defense at all. Usually not a deliberate choice.
One aspect I like is that it shares some of the move words from Gerard De Gre’s Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust duelling game.
Flint and Feather has a combat table that is similar in appearance but larger than to Gerard De Gre in Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust
Surely if they have a HuH! move, that nobody would choose by choice, there should also be a clumsy “whoops-a-daisy” move.
I have changed this into a more Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust type simple table.
Using The X cards used in Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust game means that you can have a mixture of Both Hit, None Hit / Both Miss and random event cards such as the Whoops- a-Daisy falling over, ducking, run away, etc and whether a hit is landed or not on either player.
Numbering the Attack and Defence Options 1-6 means that a solo or two player version could be used, rolling dice to randomly select attack, defence or both moves , rather than relying on cards.
If Huh! got too annoying, another unused move type could be added in such as Thrust and the Hit on Attacker / Defender options rewritten for this line.
It remains to be seen how Taunt will work outside of the Flint and Feather rules context. It sounds much like “sledging” in modern sport, designed to put your opponent off their game. It usually ends up with attackers being hit!
Testing Out a Dice version
I ran a quick play test of the dice choice option using suitable lead figures on a paper sheet using red dice for attacker, green dice for defender. Dice were used instead of cards for selecting the attack and defence options.
Instead of 5 combat point counters, quick scrawled circles are crossed off as combat points are lost or one added if you win the contest and defeat your opponent.
Sparking of Scissors Paper Stone, after a big of scratching of heads, I finally worked out what the current freebie Sainsbury’s handout Lego cards are supposed to be, having spotted scissors paper stone logos on the cards. Good fun as a family card game, along with fast snap and dominoes if you look at the brick dots on the back etc. They were free with purchases at Sainsbury’s (May to early June 2017).
Stone blunts scissors, scissors cut paper, paper wraps stone …
It has been a few weeks since I ran a solo game bigger than sword fighting and Bartitsu duelling. I feel that I have neglected my Peter Laing figures of late. To be fair I’ve been busy making the fortified Signal Tower as well.
I wanted to get a quick evening game in, based on the Bronte family’s Imagi-Nation of Angria, having read more of Charlotte Bronte’s Tales of Angria and the Oxford Companion to the Brontes. Both these books are slowly helping me work out maps and scenarios based on more of Bronte’s fictional realms or paracosms.
Small Angrian Skirmish Scenario:
By March 1836 – half of Angria is “in possession of our foes”.
During 1835-37 The Second Angrian War, Civil War between Angria and the Verdopolitan Union is happening at the same time as the Ashantee threat.
Early 1836, Angria, Western Central Africa: A group of invading Ashantee bowmen, part of Quashia Qamina’s forces, have discovered an abandoned Angrian supply waggon and remain in ambush on the rocks overlooking the crossing.
They are backed by a small sword and musket group of Sir Jehu MacTerrorGlen’s rampaging Scotsmen and Highland Warriors, led by one Captain Scotte, who are aiming to capture the river crossing and loot the abandoned Angrian supply waggon.
Location: The river crossing eventually feeds into one of the many tributaries of the River Olympia or Calabar, running down to the sea.
This waggon was part of a supply column along one of the many roads to the regional or provincial capital of Adrianoplous, all aid and supplies to The Duke of Zamorna. Zamorna is fighting to protect the Angrian province (that he is named after) against this invasion of Ashantees and MacTerrorGlen’s unruly Scots.
A rebellious and unruly kilted Highland Regiment in Africa? Many of the original settlers of the Bronte’s fictional realm of GlassTown and Angrian area of West Africa were of Scots, Irish and Yorkshire origin.
Coming to recover the waggon of supplies are Angrian forces under the Blood Red banner of the Rising Sun. These include a dismounted group of smart red-coated Angrian “Dragons” or Dragoons, along with some men of the “Fighting Fifth” (or “Filthy Fifth”), the 5th Angrian Infantry Regiment in homespun and motley campaign dress, led by a young Lieutenant called Prunty.
The scruffy nature of the Angrian Regiments on campaign in the ‘East’ in the Angrian Civil War is reminiscent of Confederate Butternut Infantry towards the end of the American Civil War. Their scruffy dress is commented on by one of Charlotte Bronte’s cynical narrators in the smart Regency Colonial society of the cities.
The Angrian dragoons had dismounted, leaving their horses up the valley and with the 5th Angrians in two groups were scouting the river, half their number in reinforcements a mile or two behind.
D6 dice rolls saw these troops delayed arriving, until the 5th and 6th turn in area 5 and 6 on the Angrian baseline.
The turns were short and brutal, mostly involving fast melee, using the Kaptain Kobold modification or d6 dice version of Gerard De Gre’s Lunge Cut and Stop Thrust melee or duelling rules.
1-2 Attacker Hit
3 Both Hit
4 Neither Hit
5-6 Defender Hit
Melees occurred from group stage in adjacent hexes or who have charged into their opponents. The Pell-Mell, Hell for Leather pace of the game meant that there were few casualties from rifle or musket fire, many more from Highland claymore, bayonet, short sword and rifle butt (and no doubt boot and fist).
Turn 1 and 2 saw rapid movement through the cluttered terrain towards the first shots and melees of Turn 3.
Turn 3 saw 9 Angrian troops and 12 of MacTerror Glen’s Scots killed, mostly when the Highland claymore warriors charged the Angrian troops.
By Turn 4, some of the outnumbered Angrian forces on the board retreated to await their reinforcements (D6 dice roll 1-3 Retreat, 4 Stay, 5-6 Advance).
This didn’t stop one party of three Angrian 5th Infantry being surrounded and outnumbered on two sides by Scots around the bridge. Luckily supporting fire from the Angrian command party and standard bearer picked off two further Scots musketeers.
In Turn 5 the advancing Scots moved into Melee with the Angrian Command and Colours party, leading to a doubly fatal duel between Highland claymore against Angrian officer’s broadsword.
Thankfully the rest of the Angrian Dragoons and Fifth Regiment arrived in Turn 5 and 6. Just in the nick of the time …
These Angrian reinforcements pushed back and pursued the last of MacTerrorGlen’s troops and the Scots command party and colours back over the bridge. They made their last stand outside the crossing hut. The Scots colours were lost when the command and colours party decided to fight to the finish (dice roll d6 roll 1-3 surrender, 4 – 6 fight on).
Throughout the early part of the battle, the Ashantee Bowmen on the high ground rocks were out of range and sight of many of the Angrian troops. Overall they played very little part in the whole battle, not even firing many volleys of arrows before they were engulfed in melee. Their officer or chief Khla managed to escape to carry on the invasion with the other invading Ashantees under Quashia Qamina.
At the end, the Angrian Armed Transport Corps hitched the abandoned supply waggon to their horses and slowly dragged this back up the valley to where the dismounted dragoon horses and horse holders would provide further armed escort back to Adrianopolis, Zamorna or Edwardston as needed.
Discarded weapons and the captured colours of MacTerrorGlen’s Scots are sent back onboard the supply waggon as victory trophies to inspire the flagging Angrian forces.
The remaining two Angrian Dragoons, Angrian standard bearer and drummer remain behind in the bridge crossing hut. Suitably armed with discarded carbines, muskets and ammunition, they make themselves busy fortifying this outpost and guarding the crossing until further Angrian reinforcements arrive. Burying the dead will have to briefly wait, but not too long in these African “Yorkshire Tropic” climes.
Arise Angria! Raise the Blood-Red Banner of the Rising Sun! Huzzah!
Figures and Terrain
All the figures are from the sadly now discontinued Peter Laing range of 15mm figures.
The Ashantee bowmen are from the Ancient Egyptian range (Nubian Archers F452 and their officer F453 Nubian Spearman).
The “Angrian Dragons” are ECW dismounted dragoons firing, F515, one of my favourite Peter Laing figures.
The homespun 5th Angrian Regiment in campaign dress are the ACW butternut infantry advancing F3012, along with the Boer Rifleman advancing at trail F622.
I quickly made and coloured an Angrian flag and added this to one of the Boer figures to make a standard bearer.
The Heroscape hex terrain terrain on my two portable gaming boards tries to create that curious mix of European and African or Yorkshire Tropical that exists in the Bronte’s limited but imaginative view of the world outside their native Haworth and Yorkshire. This was backed by PECO Scene Backgrounds Medium SK 44 Country with River with its great view of mountains and stone bridges over streams and slightly incongruous European stone farm houses, obviously in the Yorkshire / European influenced Angrian settler style.
Pine trees, impassable rocks, a raging stream or river form all part of a rugged and Romantic, almost Gothic landscape of hills, fields and craggy mountainous peaks of how the Bronte children saw Angria (West Africa). This fits well the restricted routes and impassable labyrinths of trees, logs and rocks that suit Donald Featherstone’s original Close Wars rules for forest skirmish that I have tweaked for hex board or garden games. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/
The waggon was an underscale diorama piece from the 54mm Safari figures Wild West Settlers Toob. Its eventual escorts were Peter Laing Boer War cavalry M603 or M605 Imperial Yeomanry figure.
This was a great fun game for an evening. Using the Gerald De Gre duelling rules in Kaptain Kobold’s simplified dice version for the first time as the Melee section with the rest of the Little Close Wars rules led to quick fast and murderous melees.
The look of the board / game?
I like the portable hex game boards but I would like to flock or sand more of the Heroscape hex pieces, and glue and flock some of the pine tree bases permanently to hex bases.
Part of the early evening was spent tidying up the portable game boards, removing the temporary masking tape letters and grid numbers and sanding the edges before rewriting them in a neater fashion. Eventually I think I will wood stain the outer edges and possibly acrylic paint (sap green) the inner sections of game board that show up as bare wood in the middle and edge. Hopefully they will look less intrusive but still allow each board to be used separately.
A swift outcome of a minor skirmish in the Angrian Civil War, a minor victory in a disastrous campaign.
This campaign led to Angria’s defeat at the Battle of Edwardston 26 June 1836, which saw Zamorna exiled and Angria savagely occupied by Ashantee and MacTerrorGlen’s forces throughout the rest of 1836. Angrian troops fight on in the hills.
Victory does not come until Zamorna returns and leads his forces to victory at the Battles of Leyden, Westwood and Evesham throughout 1837.
Hopefully Charlotte and Branwell Bronte would approve, their imaginary worlds having been sparked by a gift from their father of a box of toy soldiers.
To me, gaming since childhood, many rule sets look frighteningly both expensive and offputtingly complex what with ‘combat factors’ and worse still, lots of unfamiliar dice (always a bad sign that there’ll be advanced maths involved).
Airfix have recently launched or franchised a new battle game ‘system’ by Modiphius Games. It looks beautifully produced. You can use your old or new Airfix figures. It uses classic and familiar Airfix box artwork for illustrations. But is it more hidden maths? Is this likely to be as complicated to me as many of those dungeons and dragons rules that I could never understand as a child? (They also had lots of strange dice, another giveaway).
My Bish Bash Am-Bush ‘Close Wars’ rules
I currently use my adapted version of the simple two page appendix rules for ‘Close Wars’ out of the back of Donald Featherstone’s War Games 1962 book.
This book pictured below is a very old favourite: it’s the original copy from my childhood local branch library, withdrawn from lending and sold to me many years later. Still by my bedside and frequently reread.
Simple as Featherstone’s rules are in War Games, these two pages have always been a delight. They make up the core of my own fast quick simple small number of figures game that I can quickly and easily set up and play solo.
“It must be confessed that the question of how to fight a successful action with natives against disciplined troops has yet to be completely solved by the writer.”
This is a gaming problem that Donald Featherstone mentions with several brief solutions on page 58 of his “How to Start a War Game” chapter in War Games (1962). He solves it pretty well in my view in his Close Wars appendix (page 149-150).
A keen Colonial gamer, Featherstone was focussed here on “the type of fighting that happens between small numbers of men in forests, such as in the French and Indian Wars of the late eighteenth century in America” (page 149). Close Wars has many applications to other periods as brutal fighting in forests between organised troops and natives has not changed much since Ancient times.
Look out for future Close Little Wars scenarios and inspirations blogposts.
What do I like most about the Close Wars rules ?
“Small numbers of men in forests”, possibly large figure sizes
I’ve always liked these simple fast Bish Bash Am-Bush rules using about 20 to 25 odd figures each side. If rules have figures representing more than 1 figure: 1 man I get brain freeze and lose interest …
With such small numbers, you can also have Close Little Wars games set in many periods with only needing a few figures each side. Alternatively as I usually play Bronte style “imagi-nations”, I often mix the periods up if suitable figures aren’t around; this is not far from the plot of the 1969 Dr. Who ‘The War Game’ episodes (still available in book, audiobook or DVD form). https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_War_Games
2. “The terrain must be crowded with material”
“To play chess one needs a chessboard”, Featherstone writes as his opening to chapter 3, “How to Lay Out a Battlefield”.
After years of raiding and returning natural materials to the garden and yard for Close Wars terrain, I tried not very successfully making my own interlocking paper hexes (a bit like those “endless landscape” cards from Tobar / Hawkin’s Bazaar). Fiddly and unfulfilling. Much more happily, I then found on Ebay several damaged starter boxes of plastic MB ‘Heroscape’ sets, bought mostly to acquire the interlocking plastic hex tiles of rock, water, mud (and whatever else you paint them as ).
The starter sets include some useful fantastic / fantasy figures, dragons and usual (to me) incomprehensible rules. I think this game system bombed in the US and UK, apart from a very very niche cult following, hence the cheap starter sets around. I bought Heroscape partly so that I can build quick 3D landscapes for these Close Wars scenarios.
Heroscape is almost a 3D kind of early Minecraft but also combines well with natural materials. You can use the hexes as they come already coloured. Alternatively you can flock them, gravel them with railway ballast or fine beach sand / stones or paint them.
Piled up with garden or hard sourced twig logs, stones, lichen and moss bushes and other impassable features, these Heroscape hexes work really well with even just a small tray or table for a short skirmish. Being hexes, with adapted rules, there is no need for rulers and measuring inches.
“Fill any bare spaces with pieces of twig to represent fallen logs and trees …” Donald Featherstone.
Using natural materials to enhance the hex boards feels a little like the joy of Garden Wargames but with the comfort of indoors! A little less fuss about wet weather and creaky knees but still retaining some of the childhood fun of “fight them on the beaches” (sandpit), the “landing grounds” (lawn), the “jungles and forests” (shrubbery and flower beds) of childhood. A bit of dirt, some fresh air and sunshine, all that the childhood gurus want for modern children held prisoner indoors by tiny screens. Maybe Heroscape hexes are the indoor Terrarium or Bottle Garden version of garden wargaming, but it’s not far off the improvised spirit of H.G. Wells’ Floor Games and Little Wars use of real sprigs of bush and hedge trimmings.
I have also rediscovered on Project Gutenberg the original HG Wells Little Wars rules that I read once as a child in reprint and could never borrow again from my local branch library. It’s charmingly illustrated with line drawings in a suitably childish toy soldier way. Floor Gamesby Wells is also available on Project Gutenberg.
3. Flexible scales and figure sizes
My version of Donald Featherstone’s Close Wars rules and these interconnecting Heroscape hexes work really well with my original childhood 15mm Peter Laing English Civil War figures. I have been buying up some EBay oddments of Peter Laing figures, becoming more collectable now that Peter Laing has retired and the moulds vanished. (More on collecting Peter Laing in future blogposts.)
The rules and hexes work equally well with Airfix OO/HO or 1:72 figures.
As I scale up to DIY made ‘cakes of death’ figures (round about an inch high) or 30 to 40mm Prince August and Schneider home cast figures, I shall have to rethink the original Close Wars inches or my hexed up Bish Bash Am-Bush movement and shooting ranges.
Keeping the same inch / hex move and fire ranges for different scale figures presents some problems. Presumably the bigger the figure, the shorter the time period each hex move represents (if you simplistically keep to the same hex movement ranges) ? This doesn’t solve the firing range problem though.
There are some interesting thoughts on scaling up and down ranges and distances on the Sheil’s USA simple ‘sandpit’ rules for using plastic pound store figures on the Sheil family’s lovely USA Toy Army Men section of their Thor Trains website, adaptable to the garden, beach, sandpit or floor (though even these rapidly become a little complex for me).
“You decide what the basic range is. All others are multiples of that range.”
The Sheil family “Jersey Shore Battle Games: The Basics”
More on ranges and scales and Sheil family rules etc on a future blogpost The Sheil Sandpit rules seem to be in the spirit of H.G. Wells’ original rules.
And finally …
Close Little Wars, Bish Bash Bush! or Bish Bash Am-Bush!
Rules adapted from ‘Close Wars’ the 2 page Appendix of Donald Featherstone’s War Games (1962) in respectful tribute to Donald Featherstone (1918-2013)
Fast, simple and often fatal rules for small troop action versus ‘natives’ in cluttered bush terrain on a small scale table or hex grid for 15mm and 20mm troops or even outdoors with 54 mm troops in the garden, yard or sand pit.
Suits Cowboys, Indians, Bandits, Pirates, French-Indian wars, Natives and others … Whatever you have …
Especially suitable for solo play.
Donald Featherstone sets out simple aims or what would now be called Victory Conditions:
The aim of each force unless otherwise described is:
1. to seek out and destroy their enemy.
2. Alternatively, to get at least 50% of your troops to the opposite enemy baseline
However for each game, you can set your own scenario end or Victory Conditions. This usually involves fighting to the last man, but occasionally involves rescuing or escorting to safety the Governor General’s Daughter (always the same handy Airfix Wagon Train girl or lady civilian) or the secret plans.
Natives on foot move 9 inches per move or 3 hex / squares.
Troops in groups of 3 or less also move 9 inches or 3 hex / squares.
Uphill moves count as 2 hex / squares or half a move e.g. 4.5 inches.
Troops in groups of 4 or more move only 6 inches per move or 2 hex / squares. (Uphill moves of 1 hex square).
If deemed passable, Fording streams take 3 inches or 1 hex to cross. Fording places or bridges can be marked out.
Bogs and marshes (if deemed passable) at half speed eg 1 or 2 hex squares.
Moves on clear paths or roads (if they exist) have 3 inch extra or 1 hex extra BONUS.
Firing (if range of fire clear)
Range of rifles and longbows or crossbows (slingshots?) – 12 inches or 4 hexes
Pistols and spears half range – 6 inches or 2 hexes.
Throw one d6 dice per firing man: 6 scores a hit.
If firer is under cover or in buildings, 5 or 6 scores a hit on enemy.
For each man hit, throw a casualty saving throw.
If fired on, each casualty has a d6 thrown for him. 4,5,6 wounded and carry on. If 123, casualty is deaded.
If casualty under cover, 3,4,5,6 wounded and carry on. 123 deaded.
To check line of sight / range of fire, the Lionel Tarr reversed periscope can be used for fun to get you down to table top toy soldier eye level.
Turns consist of four sections:
a) First side moves (possible melee)
b) Other side fires.
c) First side fires
d) Other side moves (possible melee)
Throw dice at start of each game turn for each side to see who moves first.
Variations on this include: 1st side Move, 2nd side Move, 1st side Fire, 2nd side Fire.
Melee / Messy Bish Bash Bush bit!
Assume each man has something to fight at close hand with (pistols, clubs, swords, rifles, bayonets, fists or boots, etc)
We are playing 1:1 scale each figure represents one man.
Melee is joined when one group of figures invades or faces the other square / hex.
You can add +1 to d6 throw for attacking side if you choose / can be bothered. This is what Featherstone calls impetus bonus.
Choose pairs (of attacker vs. defender) and throw 1 d6 for each man involved.
Attacker can have the + 1 added to their d6 dice throw (if you choose or can be bothered).
Highest score wins, loser throws casualty saving throw to see if killed 1-3 or only wounded / unharmed.
Continue until each man has been involved in melee.
“Usual dice saving throws for melee Casualties” – Donald Featherstone. Or not if you want to speed things up.
Melee Morale Test (if desired / wanted / can be bothered)
At end of melee session, throw d6 for each side to see who wins melee morale test and who retires 1 hex backwards.
Then d6 again for losers to see if routed:
Throw 1-3 in rout unable to fire or move further that round. Roll again next move to see if still routed and retreating. A suitable coloured marker can be added to remember this.
or throw 4-6 in good order, retreat only one pace / hex.
Not really got round to adding cavalry or cannons yet in this Last of the Mohicans / Robin Hood / Hollywood B Movie cowboy ambush bash up or mash up.
Featherstone also adds the final paragraph section about attacking troops in the flank or rear that you can choose to use or not. Keep it as simple as you like.
Ancient warriors rules
If using your Knights, ancients or partly armoured men, Featherstone (and Tony Bath?) Ancients rules from War Games (1962) had various protection/ survival elements modifying casualty saving throws after firing or melee. Use as you see fit:
If casualty unarmoured and without shield, throw 6 to live.
If casualty wearing armour or shield, 5 or 6 to live.
If armour and shield, 4,5 or 6 to live.
Unarmoured cavalry 5 or 6 to live (6 saves rider alone).
Armoured cavalry 4, 5 or 6 to live (4 saves rider alone).
Inevitably over time, new troops acquired will need new rules. What about cavalry, if they can operate in such Close Wars terrain? What about artillery? It might be a small forest outpost fort you are defending with your single gun … An artillery train would be near impossible in such cluttered terrain as the British fought over in America.
Close Wars has many possible small fort scenarios – awaiting the relieving column, escorting a supply wagon, sending out or rescuing a patrol.
Most important rule
If you’re ever not sure of the rules or what to do next, especially if playing solo: If in doubt about a decision or situation devise a suitable d6 dice throw e.g. Roll 1 to 3, group retreat to safety, roll 4 to 6 attack nearest enemies.
Another example of a rule that was needed on the spot when troops had some rescued civilians / the Governor General’s daughter with them and were surrounded in a building: If figures are holed up in a building, throw 6 for automatic risking breakout (unless group decide or are ordered to leave). But then do civilians always follow orders? Throw again: 1 to 3 non combatants stay, 4 to 6 non combatants or civilians leave with the troops.
Another example of a “made up dice throw rule” which emerged: Crossing bridges (or fordable rivers)
Throw d6 for each man, roll 1= Lose footing and lost in river, to be eaten by crocodiles and piranhas etc; you can use casualty saving throws or not as required.
Officer casualties: If needed to determine an officer casualty amongst group, throw a coloured dice (for officer) amongst X others for correct X number of men. Lowest score loses etc. To be fair, officers don’t have much of a magical morale rule or role anyway in this Close Little Wars scenario.
Add rules or make them up as needed, play as you go …
Misquoting Miley Cyrus, “This is our house , this is our rules …” and I’m sticking to them for now. Anyway I don’t tend to argue with myself, playing solo.
Wilko (Wilkinsons) are an interesting if erratic source of cheap plastic gaming figures on the UK high street. Grab them while you can! Wilko do small £1 tubes of cowboys, Knights and rescue or emergency services. The sculpts of the Cowboys and Indians are the usual copies / pirates of Timpo and Airfix.
I like the simple graphic outlines of the available figure sets – one for the scrapbook when the tube is no more.
The emergency figures look like they have other possibilities. They are probably supposed to be modern US or European firefighters. They could be used for a range of Airforce ground crew … or 1950s aliens or space figures?
More of the firefighters with digging tools could pass as Cornish miners or generic construction workers with ropes and hard hats. Definitely a pasty or two in that crib box they are carrying!
Mining engineers, pioneers with pick axe and crow bar for blasting out big rocks or constructing fortifications? (from Wilko Firefighters).
Police figures could be used for armed civilians, revolutionaries …
Such heavily armed police or security figures could be involved in a bank robbery scenario or a hostage or seige scenario. Lots of gaming and rescue scenarios here! Taking on Wild wild animals or rampaging monsters?
Other police figures in the set are less well armed but useful civilian figures, artillery crew etc; other police and fire figures are around on eBay, often more heavily armed with more modern weapons.
There are 18 figures in this £1 pound tube, 9 red fire crew and 9 blue police figures. (prices correct UK May / June 2016). They are usually only available in store, rather than online.
These could be used for Artillery figures, writing notes or airforce pilots, Dan Dare type space figures?
Not yet got my paintbrushes out yet on any of these but there are some definite civilian, futuristic or gaming figure possibilities.