Sunday, June 12, 2016

Re-Gathering of Hosts

When a month went by without me being able to talk myself into playing another game or even painting or basing any figures for this high priority project I knew I had a problem. I decided to review my objectives and revisit the rules once again since I really wasn't sure where they were headed. Uncertainty is the death of enthusiasm.

Inside the walls of Nulpartium the anxious garrison watches a vital convoy under assault.

The primary goal was something new which would be suitable for a convention setting where there would be 6 or 8 players, each with up to a dozen units, who would be given a 5 minute briefing and a QRS and then thrown into battle. Past experience tells me that this can work, even with novice gamers, if the rules are simple and clear. A quick review confirmed my suspicion that I had been wandering away from straight forward.

A secondary goal was to develop something that a gamer in the 70's might have cobbled together bssed on published rules with the provisio that it had to work with single unit stands regardless of the number of figures. That pretty much left me working with Morschauser's Shock Period rules despite my own experience back then all being WRG and Featherstone. I'm sure there are other possible sources of inspiration but I'd as soon work with what I am already familiar with.

The last couple of drafts had wandered so far from Morschauser's rules that the inspiration was no longer recognizable. I got out my copy and started over.

A replay of the ol' wagon train. Romans under attack by Germanic allies of the Huns.
The first thing I did was to review the very bloody melee rules to look at the odds and whether converting the both die result to a tie would help or if there was at least a way to use his factors and simplicity. I managed the last two by turning the melee rating into the number of dice to be rolled and using his shooting dice scores for melee as well.

Next I ditched all the excess fidgety bits I had added about formations and low level tactics. I also ditched the new sequence of play and went back to move and/or shoot on your turn with a joint melee phase at the end. I kept the initiative roll since I like it and it goes back at least as far as Featherstone.
Just when all looked bleak with Barbarians amidst the Bullocks, the Tribune sacrificed himself to save the last wagon. By a freak of the dice the Barbarian chieftain was slain on the farside of the hill at the same time. When the dust settled both armies were shaken and could no longer shoot or attack. Only the city garrison was unaffected, including the unit of cavalry which had ridden out to save the convoy. One cart has been ransacked, another was abandoned when the driver panicked but can now be rescued while the 3rd was indeed saved by the Tribune since the Huns, who were about to slay the driver and pillage it, also panicked when their Chieftain fell.
The end result of this was a cracking little Wagon Train game that had me on the edge of my seat  until the whole thing was upturned and reversed at the last minute. I am stoked now to get back to painting and basing and to play some more games.

The Version 7 draft is now posted click here  or use the link to the left.


  1. Hi Ross,
    I've never tried Morschauser's rules because of the very bloody melee rules, but I have read them many times, and if I were ever going to, I have come up with an alternative interpretation that might be workable.
    Both units roll 2D6 and score hits normally, but enemy hits cancel your hits and vice-versa. Whoever suffers more hits is defeated. If defeated by 1 hit the unit must fall back disorganized (1 turn to recover); if defeated by 2 hits, destroyed. If a tie, then effect varies by number of hits each unit scored. 0 hits: locked in melee another turn. 1 hit: disengage 1/2 move each. 2 hits: both fall back disorganized.
    That way with 2 equal units destruction should only occur rarely and mutual destruction never -- although mutual disorganization is likely.
    If I were going to do that, I would also tone down the firing the same way: 2 dice, both must hit to kill, 1 hit disorganizes, and must fire before (or instead of) moving, so defender gets first fire.

    Are you using the roster system? Using casualty caps I assume to indicate hits, not an actual roster.


    1. I thought about mutusl hits cancelling but then it was just as wonky with, Knights for example, going from mutual destruction being the most common result to no result being the norm.

      I am nit using Morschauser's roster but rather am using fixed dice per unit based on type with a base of 4 hits per unit, 5 for Elites, 3 for Levies. Mot very Morschauserish but it seems to work. The only really Morschausery bit is the 1 stand is a unit. There is only so far nostalgia can tske me, esp when its not my nostalgia.