Buy The Book
“You people make me normal.”
Copyright, 2007, by
United States of America
are either new to the world of miniature gaming or you are an old hand to this
excellent hobby. This book is intended to promote the general creative fun of
designing, developing, and playing games in miniature. It is intended for all
age, interest, and experience levels.
The only caution is to ensure
participants completely understand the nature of your game which helps
eliminate disappointments. There are endless online resources, clubs, and web
sites that are easy to locate or discover. Above all keep the games light
hearted and fun!
Here are the general
concepts covered in this book:
For the purpose of this
book my genre will be colonial activities for the time period of 1865 through
1910. My primary reason for gaming this period is that the combination of
technology and cultures of vastly different peoples from all over the world clash
with spectacular result. Where else can you have men armed with swords and
spear charging en mass into a small troop of soldiers armed with rifles,
machine guns, and quick firing cannon?
I also modify historical accuracy at times to allow
fictional concepts from the same time period. This includes H.G. Wells, Jules
Verne, and many other authors. Imagine steam powered land ships, flying
machines, or the discovery of a hidden valley containing cavemen and dinosaurs!
Not to mention an attack from Mars followed by the exploration to that red
planet in kind. As you can see there truly is something for everyone. Future
volumes in this series will cover other periods of time in greater detail.
You are encouraged to play
any time period or genre of history that you want. It is only natural to modify
existing themes as you see fit. You can be traditional and have a straight
forward American War of Independence battle. But if you think it would be fun
to throw in some non-historic/fictional mercenaries or equipment then go right
ahead! Just make sure your players understand what they are getting into before
they settle down for the game.
I like to use 1/72 scale
plastic soldiers and models at a ratio of 1:1 or one model/figure representing
one vehicle/soldier. The reason is that this scale covers a wide variety of
troop and vehicles over a variety of different eras. Cost is also a
consideration as a box of 50 figures currently costs less than $10 USD making
it one of the least expensive options you have
to you – especially if you search for sales and auctions! Just be sure to game
with the scale and ratio of figures you think will make the experience the most
rewarding to you.
The rules you chose should
compliment your scale, ratio, available playing area, and number of players to ensure
a smooth game. Try out as many different rules as you can until you find a set
that works for you.
Remember – the point of the
game is to have fun. If the rules begin to wear you down then either modify
them until you are happy or ditch them in order to find or create something
better. Keep in mind that more players or larger armies will often require
simpler rules due to longer wait times so plan accordingly.
Location is important because
you may be able to build a table large enough to play your game on, but you
might not have the room to hold it! You may have to use a table in a common space,
such as a dining or living room. You also might create any number of variations
of folding or sectional playing surfaces that can be broken down and stored
For my own games I have
plywood on a light, wheeled frame which is located in a corner of my basement.
I can set up ahead of time, leave a game in mid play, and
not break it down until a later time. My table measures 4’ x 6’ and allows me
plenty of maneuver room for my models based on my scale and ratio.
Once you have a better idea
of the scale, ratio, and genre you want to play you will have an idea of the
surface you will need. If the table is too narrow or too wide it will effect
the game severely. If you only have one or two places to advance along the
outcome will become quickly apparent and tends to kill the excitement. Distances
that are too long require too much moving before action can take place and excess
waiting is enough to kill any amount of fun.
A good table size in one
that allows you and your opponent to maneuver sufficiently to allow some
individual initiative and choices. Big game areas are okay as long as the main units
in play can easily cover the distance by fire or maneuver within the normal time
span allotted for the game.
Today you can easily purchase
your terrain from numerous suppliers and stores from around the world. I
personally prefer to create as much of the terrain myself as this is one of
aspects of miniature gaming that I enjoy most.
most important factor in any miniature game is the models and how they are
represented on the table top.
What kind of game are you
going to play? Is it based on vehicles, dismounted soldiers or a combination of
both? It is important to have an idea of the size of the miniature you are
going to want to play with.This size
determines how much room you have to maneuver on the table and help dictates
the variety of games that you can play.
The grouping of the units that
your rule set specifies is important to know. If your units are supposed to be
mounted on a single base it can effect your decision as to what scale of
miniature and model to use.
As an example let us say
you love 1/32 scale plastic soldiers. They are great for play and loved for their
wonderful detail. If you wanted to reproduce the battle at Rorke’s Drift however
you would need a huge playing surface in order to do the game in that scale. You
could use a higher ratio of 1:10 but the game might look a
little silly with only a handful of model figures manning the defenses.
So you pick a smaller soldier
in 1/72 scale. The 139 British troops involved can easily be purchased these
days for around $20 USD. You could get a good portion of the Drift on the table top but
then you realize that you do not have much room for the Zulu warriors to
maneuver around as they attack.
So you go to a smaller scale
of 6mm. Now you can get the Drift and the surrounding terrain on one table
giving the Zulus plenty of room to move and the British space to fire. The
figure costs for the British are much less due to the price of the figures and
it becomes much easier to represent the 4,000 Zulu warriors although some creative
substitution may be in order.
So as you can see you
should play test the game you want to host until you get the kinks worked out.
Talk to fellow gamers to generate ideas that can save you time and money as it
is very likely others may have attempted such feats themselves.
Once you decide on the
scale and ratio of the figures you want to play you are ready to prepare your
figures. It is important to prep your figures as all molding processes are not
perfect and failure to remove unwanted substances from the surface of the
figure may lead to flaking of your detailed paint job later on.
Scrub your miniatures with
a mild soap and firm bristled brush or toothbrush. This bath helps to remove
any oils or coatings that may have found their way onto your miniatures from the
manufacture process or general handling.
a sharp hobby knife remove any pieces of the figure that are either
deformations or unwanted additional plastic. You are encouraged to really think
about what you want your soldiers to be carrying or wearing. This is the time
to modify him to satisfy your needs by adding or removing pieces of equipment,
or in more daring operations, heads or limbs.
With good glue secure equipment,
features, or body parts you want your figure to have. You may need to reinforce
the figure with pins or other material as needed to provide sufficient support
or strength. There are hundreds of options for troop modification and at least
ten different ways to do each. Research carefully and use your imagination to think
up and implement the best ideas.
After the figure has been
allowed to dry you are ready to mount them on their base. Mounting figures on a
fixed base gives them a stable footing and also gives something for a player to
grab hold of. You can also decorate the surface of the base in order to add a
level realism to your figures.
Depending on the type of
game and rules you want to play troops can be mounted individually or in
groups. I strongly suggest that you mount your figures individually but in a way
that they can be temporarily grouped together for ease of use with different
One way of doing this is to
use metal washers for base so that they can be placed on a piece of sheet magnet.
This allows you to move a group of figures with great ease. For those games
where the status of the unit must be noted an option is now available to remove
figures from the unit to reflect status. This also allows you the option of
storing your figures in drawers lined with magnet sheets so they do not become
entangled or damage one another.
Upon deciding on the
configuration that you wish to mount your troops a way to secure them to their
base is with a healthy dab of white glue. Place the bases on a sheet of
newspaper and apply a small amount of glue to the top surface. Place your
figure on the spot of glue and ensure that there is good coverage between the figure
and the base.
After the base is
sufficiently dry mix natural sand with more white glue until you get a slightly
wet paste that does not run or drip. Spread the paste in a layer that sufficiently
covers from the outer top edges of the base all the way up to the feet of your
When the putty or sand
paste mixture is completely dry you need to base coat the figure with some
paint. One method is to mix black paint with white glue and then paint this on
your figure. I prefer using a matt finish black spray paint that bonds with
Find a well ventilated
location protected from the wind and place the figures on an old window screen.
Start spraying off of the figure with good coverage, allowing the paint to dry completely
between coats. This prevents running and also tends to use less paint. Do not forget to get those hidden nooks
and crevices under arms and legs as the idea is to add shadow in order to give the
figure some sense of mass.
When the figure dries you
are ready to paint the details. You are encouraged to paint what you think
looks good or to research various uniform plates that show you exactly what
color should go where.
Regardless the next step is
to determine what type of paints to use. It is best to test paint on a single
figure to see how the colors look and hold. Also witness any adverse effects to
your models as those who rush ahead with any new process run the risk of
ruining a whole bunch of figures at once. I prefer acrylic but know a wide
variety of people who use oil paints.
Start painting your figure with
the hardest to reach places first. Rationale for this is you can afford to be
sloppy as you try to get into those places and later on it is easy to clean up the
mess with the next layer of detail. I prefer to have an assembly line of
figures where I paint the same feature on all first before proceeding with the
next. This tends to make the work go much faster and gives the various layers
of paint time to dry before I come back to work over them again.
Dry brushing is a great
technique where you have as little paint on the brush as possible. The reason
for this is to allow the dark recesses of the figure to remain untouched and to
have the undercoat show through your color. This helps to give some sense of depth
to your figure and the shadow forces the perspective of mass to add a level of
realism. Try to visualize places where shadow should fall on your miniature from
above and do your best to leave them dark. If you need help place the figure
under bright light and note how the shadows fall accordingly.
In the end I think you will
agree that this is a great technique as it requires less time, less paint, and
gives you a more realistic look once finished. Once again I encourage you to
try different techniques before you start knocking out hundreds of guys only to
realize you like a different technique later on down the road.
After the figure has dried overnight
I like to coat them with a wash of ink. By washing I mean the use of an
inexpensive water color brush which is dipped straight into the bottle of ink.
Taking the soaked brush gently spread the ink over the surface of the figure
coating it evenly. What this will do is darken the detail color to make them
more realistic and allow the ink to collect on the creases and corners of the
figure to bring out detail on the surface of your miniatures.
Depending on your taste you
can use a diluted wash of ink and water but I find that a nice dark brown ink darkens
and details nicely without over doing it. The brown hue of the ink looks more
natural to my eye as black tends to create a look of grey discoloration.
Once the wash has dried completely
spread white glue on the base of the figure spreading with a brush and needed.
Sprinkle the glue with some ground cover of sand, flock, grass, or what ever your heart
desires. It is suggested you use something that will look good in most
environments you plan to play on as the figures will be standing on everything
from street corners to building tops.
After the figure dries over
night gently tap off any excess material and remove any erroneously located
pieces with a clean dry brush. Be careful that the loose cover does not stick
to unwanted locations on your figure such as the tops of the feet.
The next step is to cover the
figure in a protective layer. I like to use a clear matte finish spray and apply
the same technique as mentioned earlier to prevent excess running. You can also
use a gloss finish for a more “traditional” look. Another technique is to dip
your figures in diluted glue and water or a bath of varnish. Bottom line is to put
some kind of protection between the paint job of your figure and the outside
world. Failure to do so ensures the eventual destruction of all your hard work
due to handling.
Hopefully by now you have
the hang of preparing and painting your soldiers. I think you will see very
quickly what techniques you can improve upon. If you discover a great technique
please share it and never forget to ask for ideas that may save you a lot of
work or frustration in the long run!
Storing figures is also an
interesting challenge. I prefer to use rolling plastic cabinets with drawers that
stand some five feet in height. This allows me to have a three inch
high drawer clearance for troops or vehicles and easily accepts a sheet of
magnet paper which keeps my soldiers from becoming dislodged when I work or
transport the drawers.
Depending on the scale of
your soldiers you will have several different options to choose from. A
suggestion is to select storage that allows you to label and see your figures
without having to open each one to identify the contents. For smaller scales
modified VCR tape cases are great for storing 6mm armies. Keep your eyes and
imagination open and soon you will have nifty containers of your own design!
How to transport your
miniatures on the road should be considered as well. I have a smaller five
drawer plastic cabinet that stands less than three feet tall. This is easily
secured with a seatbelt in the car for a road trip and my magnet sheeting keeps
my miniatures held fast even if they find themselves traveling at an extreme angle.
– more people telling you what to do!
WHERE TO START
Deciding on a set of rules
to play is easy. Just pick any set of rules, read them over, and learn what you
like or dislike about them through trial and error. Look for free rules or ask
to borrow a set from a fellow gamer.
A preferred technique is to
play with someone who already knows the rules. This may not always be possible
but will help you with the learning curve instead of stumbling through them by
Rules, like politics, have
many opinions as to which are good and which are terrible. In my opinion I
believe the primary focus should be based on fun. Rules that are arduous or
feel more like taking an exam should be avoided. That is not to say I do not
like realism, but to sacrifice game play for realism is not a good idea. Where
you can you do and where you cannot you should not.
HOSTING A GAME
Ultimately I believe that
every game should have a host. The host is the end all be all for the game and
rules interpretation and will help reduce arguing or disagreements over how the
rules are interpreted for that gaming session.
idea here is that it does not matter what the rules say as much as how the host
interprets the rules. If one person reads a rule to mean one thing and another
reads it to be something different, it is up to the host to decide how it will
be interpreted with all players agreeing bound by the decision.
A worst case scenario is where
someone has forgotten gaming is for fun. If a serious argument develops try to
find a way to please as many players as possible without constantly giving in
to the one doing all the complaining. To do so will only encourage the
individual to continue such behavior.
Should someone continue to
raise a fuss to the point that it is disrupting the game I encourage you to
remind them that the game is for fun. Should they persist I feel that the host
is within their right to ask the person to leave the game.
Now, how one handles
bullies and complainers is as different as the faces we carry, but the end goal
is for everyone to have fun. Thus I find that although host ruling may not be
“fair” to all opinions, it is a necessary role that needs to be filled to
ensure a smooth and fun game for the rest.
I often encourage others to
make up their own rules. I have my own set of rules I have been piecing
together for the last few years. They are named after the title of one of
Samuel Clemens’ (Mark Twain) works that I felt captured
the spirit of my games. In particular I enjoyed the aspect that in naming it
thus I give no loyalty to any genre, place, or time.
All steps are optional -
agree with your fellow gamers before you start playing. D6 means ‘six
sided dice’. 3D6 would mean roll three six sided dice.
ORGANIZE YOUR FORCE
Select a single figure to
be the Commander. Group the remaining miniatures into Units (usually of 10) and
assign a Leader figure to each.
Rating is how reliable the
soldier is – the more training and experience the more likely they will perform
as expected. To check if soldiers pass a Rating Check you must roll equal to or
less than the Rating value on 1D6.
Rating Checks can be
required as agreed to by the players for soldiers to move, shoot, hit, rally,
search, or perform a specific task such as destroy a row of fence or dig in.
The main idea is to only have to roll for success on those actions or
activities that you feel would
add flavor to the game by being left to chance without slowing down game play.
The Rating of Commanders,
Leaders and Troops may be randomly determined or selected by the players
themselves. A random determination can add a truly unique spin to any game and
is strongly encouraged!
Raw – untrained or mob
Green – some initial training
Seasoned –brief scrapes and marching
Veteran – has been engaged before
Elite – experienced and perfected
Figures can be marked with
colored pips or other markers on their bases to indicate their Rating to the
owning player. One technique is to place a colored piece of magnet sheet underneath
the base so that it is just visible. Others denote Rating by the type of
terrain decoration on the base, such as foliage, rock, or twig. This greatly
reduces book keeping and speeds up game play. Use what works best for you.
Movement around the board
is another important element. I prefer to have the distance a unit can move
somewhat left to chance as it adds spice. There is nothing like having the
enemy dash from the trees to
fall short of their objective by a couple of inches and be left stuck out in
For this selected genre
troops trained in the European style have limitations on their movement due to
the need to be precisely controlled as well as the uniforms and equipment they
Where movement can be done
by “Line” soldiers may be abreast or side by side to each other with no additional
limitations. If soldiers move by “Column” they travel further but can be no
more than two (2) soldiers wide along direction of travel. This represents the
ability of the troops to move faster by following the guy in front of them and
requires less coordination than paying attention to staying in line with the
fellow to your left and right.
Natives or war bands can
move on average more quickly. However units must be positioned in an outwardly
spiraling ring originating from the leader. This simulates the disorder in
which a war band finds itself gathered. For example if the leader moves his
band out to attack, first place the leader, then place his men around him in a
clock-wise fashion continuing to wrap layer after layer until all men have been
moved. If the leader reaches a destination the war band may disperse from the
leader as remaining movement points permit in order to take up the desired positions.
All troops have a base move equal to their Rating. Add
to this base distance the number rolled on the dice listed on the movement
|Man Handled Gun
||1" per man
|Horse Drawn Gun
||1D6 per horse
|| 2D6 Line; 3D6 Column
|| 6D6 for Line; 8D6 for Column
||(Max MPH/6)+1 = #D6
||(12 MPH/6)+1 = 3D6
Good old fashioned
hand-to-hand covers any non-missile fighting. Your soldier can get additional
+1s towards melee combat result for possessing each of the following:
- Specifically trained in melee combat
- Fanatical, Suicidal, or Altered Mind
- Melee weapons including pistols or shotguns
The idea is to give that
slight advantage to those figures where applicable in order to add more variety
to the game. Try not to abuse this as it will quickly lose any flair that it
might have added to your game.
This covers any thing that is
thrown, tossed, hurled, or fired. Troops armed with fire arms may fire from two
ranks deep so long as there is no terrain feature in front of the first rank of
firers. Thus troops gathered along a wall would not be able to take advantage
of this rule. Another example is only the first four troops in a column two
wide would be able to engage targets to the front illustrating the hazards of
advancing in such a formation towards the enemy.
Based on your game scale
identify how many meters/feet there are per unit of game measure. For my scale
of 1/72 one unit of measure (an inch) equals 5 scale feet. This allows me to
translate actual weapon maximum effective ranges into approximate game
measurements. Keep in mind this process is completely optional – you can
instead simply assign ranges as you think reasonable.
For yards I would calculate
the following: 100 yards x 3 feet = 300 feet; 300 feet / 5 feet = 60 units of
range. For meters I would calculate the following: 100
meters x 1.0936133 (conversion to yards) = 109 yards (rounded); 109 yards x 3 feet = 327 feet; 327 feet / 5
feet = 65 units of range.
I then further divide this number
by 5 (dropping the remainder) to get a basic range bracket. Each additional range
bracket required to reach a target is an additional penalty of -1 to hit. Below
you will find some common examples.
|Pistol or hand hurled spear, rock, grenade
|Smoothbore slug, short bow, or sling
|Long bow or crossbow
|Carbine or short rifle
|Rifle or bullet machinegun
|Pom-pom or rocket
|Mountain or pack gun
Take some time and get a
reasonable idea of the range of your weapons within a historical context. Keep
in mind to make you estimates fair and balanced so as not to create any
Most of you will notice
that in 1/72 the range brackets of the even carbines is quite a long reach on
my gaming table which has a max length of 72 inches. This reflects the nature
of modern fire arms when used in a close skirmish setting. Range is more a
factor in antiquated weapons or for smaller scale games we talked about
earlier. If I were playing a 10mm game the same carbine would have a range
bracket of 50mm or 5cm and thus the distance would have more of an effect on
Now we know
how far you can shoot but the next question is how often? There are two different
veins you have to keep in mind here: point and area fire. Point
fire is intended to engage one man sized target at a time. Area is when you
“spray and pray” shots into a particular location in order to attempt a hit.
Rate of fire for a point
weapon is the number of shots per minute divided by 5. Rate of fire for an area
weapon is determined by shots per minute divided by 50. Keep in mind that any
listed cyclic rates of fire will be
much higher and less realistic than a documented rate of fire.
Thus a Martini-Henry rifle
with 10 shots a minute (point) would have a game rate of fire of 2 dice per
figure. The Maxim machinegun with 500 shots per minute (area) would have a rate
of fire of 10 dice per gun.
Any machinegun or similar
weapon may jam on any roll of 6 which is then re-rolling a 6. This is to
reflect the mechanical nature of the weapon or the poor quality of the time
period. Rolling the dice in a sequence is encouraged as all shots after the jam
are considered lost. Different weapons may have different break numbers thus
giving better quality differentiations.
In the table below you will
find general guidelines for various weapon rates of fire.
||1 to 4shots per minute
||10 shots per minute
|Revolver or Clip
||Pistol or clip fed bolt action
||Magazine fed bolt action
||Pistol or Clip fed rifle
||BAR or light machinegun
||Canister fed, 350/min (area)
||Belt fed, 500 /min (area)
||Belt fed, 50/min (area)
In most instances the rate
of fire for a weapon can get out of hand in game scale. One way to reduce their
effect is to take into account the supply of ammunition. A Maxim machine gun firing
at full rate would exhaust 40 dice in only four rounds of firing. Telling the
owner that they only have a 50 dice supply of ammunition may help even the
playing field by forcing the firer to conserve their shots.
Field guns in particular
could have a limited supply of ammunition that only allows a number of shots to
be fired for the current engagement – failure to observe this limit could count
against victory conditions as a penalty for impacting future operations.
we have the damage of the weapon on the board. For typical small arms I assign
a value of 1D6. For the larger guns I try to research the actual
characteristics of the weapon and get it as close to accurate as possible but
within reason. Below you will find the successive methods I use to calculate
the number of D6 the weapon is assigned.
of Calculating Gun Damage
|Per 10mm of steel penetrated
||120mm = 12D6
|Per 5mm of the barrel bore
||75mm = 15D6
|Per quarter inch of the bore
|Per pound of the shot weight
||12pdr = 12D6
Please keep in mind that
this is a very rough estimate and if the different methods were applied to the
same gun you would very likely get different results. If this is the case try
to identify historically which result seems to be the most accurate or go with what
works best in game play.
Also different gun ammunition
types can have different effects as shrapnel, shell, and canister ammunition
have an area of effect and solid shot does not. Adventurous types will also
take range into account for reducing gun effect but I do not.
The following tables are
optional as some or all may be implemented.
Select or roll 1D6 for
||Good visibility, ideal for artillery and
||Portions of the board are open and close
||Poor visibility or short fields of view.
Next select or roll 1D6 for
||One of both
There are different
techniques for placing terrain. I prefer to have both players roll 3D6 with the
high roller selecting and placing a piece of terrain. Continue this process with
the remaining terrain until both players feel there is an accurate coverage of
the table. Other games may be dictated by scenario or historical limitations
and as always use your judgment.
Light & Weather
Roll 2D6 and consult the
appropriate table(s) below.
conditions effect movement due to the condition of the surrounding terrain.
|5 - 9
||Dry - no mud, snow drifts, or flooding.
|4 or 10
||Occasional mud, snow drifts, or flooding.
|3 or 11
||Frequent mud, snow drifts, or flooding.
|2 or 12
||Severe mud, snow drifts, or flooding.
effects command radius, shooting, and spotting checks.
|5 - 9
||No rain or snow.
|4 or 10
||Light rain or snow.
|3 or 11
||Medium rain or snow.
|2 or 12
||Heavy rain or snow.
Wind condition effects
command radius, shooting, and spotting checks.
|5 - 9
||No wind or gale.
|4 or 10
||Light wind or gale.
|3 or 11
||Medium wind or gale.
|2 or 12
||Heavy wind or gale.
light effects command radius, moving, shooting, and spotting checks.
|5 - 9
||Mid day - no effect on troops.
|4 or 10
||Morning or Evening – some effect on
|3 or 11
||Dawn or Dusk – noticeable effect on
|2 or 12
||Night – serious effect on troops.
The effects where noted are
cumulative as they pertain to a specific troop task. Thus shooting in the
morning (-1), during a light rain (-1), in light wind (-1) would result in an
initial -3 to all ranged attacks. It can be rather easy to have the weather
shut out a game due to limitations so perhaps using only one or two table is
best. Else you might end up fighting at night, in severe mud, during heavy
rain, and in a hurricane (-12)!
Each side then chooses or
rolls for the type of victory objective(s) they are going to achieve during the
game. For campaign games you can add or subtract a modifier to reflect a higher
chance of a particular posture due to prevailing circumstances.
For instance if you won the
last battle you may be given a +1 to your roll to reflect a higher likelihood
you will follow up your victory with an attack. Or, if you have an overly
cautious commander, you may find yourself waiting for
the enemy with a constant modifier of -2. The host should take input from the
players into consideration when deciding on a modifier as this allows them to
help develop the game.
|1 – 2
||Defender of a locality.
|3 – 4
||Patrol of a locality.
|5 – 6
||Attack into a locality.
One you have your posture
it is time to determine your objective(s). Roll 1D6 on the following table for
each of the columns.
||Show of Force
Both sides write this
information down and place these hidden orders in a common area to be opened
upon conclusion of the game as proof of objective(s).
Thus a sample primary
objective would look something like this: rolling 2, 3, 2, and 6 results in the
objective of “Defending” an “Economic Thing” that is “Friendly” by “Hiding”.
primary objective would be to defend a friendly economic thing (let’s say bags
of spice) by hiding it from the enemy. This means that if the enemy discovers
the location of the thing I lose points towards winning the game. How many
points is up to the host.
As you can see there is a
lot of room for determining what the objective generated result means, but I
think that with a little practice you will easily get the hang of it.
Regardless consider the result as a suggestion or rough idea and do what you
think is best. An effect of this is to redefine what it is to “win” as
something other than just eliminating the other side or taking all their ground.
You could get smashed yet still prevail.
Initial unit placement is
Defender, Patrol, and then Attacker. If both sides have similar posture then
each rolls their Commander Rating with the highest result deciding who places
positions and set up on the table as limited by the scenario. They may place
units into hiding and only have a marker on the board to represent possible
unit locations. Hidden units should be noted on an index card before game play
starts. Hidden markers can be exposed by direct observation, rolling a
successful adjacent search check, or moving into contact with the marker. Once
a marker is exposed it is removed and any associated hidden units are now
visible. Other dummy markers do not have to be removed until they are exposed.
Dummy markers are allowed to
move but are eliminated if they are exposed by the opposing player.
Patrol player rolls 1D6 and
randomly determines where they enter onto the board. Use the four corners and
half the length of the table, much like billiard table holes numbered clockwise.
The idea is to prevent the Patrol leader control over how they enter the table.
Defending against a patrol may cause the defender to place his units towards
the possible entry points or in the center of the table to ensure some amount
of defense in depth.
select their entry point onto the table. This reflects their general knowledge
of the land of their advance which they should have taken into consideration while
planning the attack. Scenario or host limitations may prevent use of some entry
Place a card into a single Draw
Deck for each Commander, Leader, and Crewed Gun for both forces. These cards
can be labeled index cards or playing cards representing each of the elements
on the board. Place the shuffled Draw Deck face down and flip over the first card
to start the Turn. Other techniques can also be used such as placing labeled
chits or poker chips in a bag so long as the selection process allows
A Turn ends once all cards
have been played and represents a flexible amount of time based on the declared actions
of the players. For games with a scenario based time limit the host will decide
how much time passed for the Turn that just completed. Players should declare
their desired actions prior to any rolls with ordered troops committed to that order.
A Commander may activate
any Leader or Unit size of (usually up to 10) individuals within his Command
Radius regardless of line of sight. Regular Leaders may also activate with the additional
restriction that there must be a line of sight to the individual activated.
Individuals do not have to be from the same Unit however an additional penalty
may be assigned if desired.
When a Leader or Commander
card is drawn and that figure has already become a casualty the owning player
may nominate any non-leader figure as an Informal Leader. Roll 1D6 for Command
Radius with the same limitations as a Leader.
If the card is for a Gun or
Equipment it may be utilized if crewed sufficiently. Other random critical actions
may also be included in the Draw Deck as needed. A good example of this is
determining when a dam breaking.
An action may be any
combination of Movement, Firing, or Activity. All figures do not have to be
issued the same order. Thus half the group can be ordered to fire on the enemy while
the other half move forward and place assault ladders against the walls.
D6 of movement combined with any other action imposes an -1 penalty. By example
a unit that advanced at 3D6 and then fires a volley would have a -3 base
penalty to their result. Sappers who move 2D6 to a gate to place an explosive
charge would find themselves operating at a -2 to succeed. Failure to execute a
specific action simply means the activity did not occur unless the host specifically
Players may hold an action
card in hand to play later on in the Turn. Held cards are placed on the Discard
Pile when action is desired and are resolved in sequence played. A player may
place multiple Unit cards at the same time so as to allow units to coordinate
their actions or move together. At the end of the Turn any held cards are mixed
together and drawn by the host as normal however this time the action must
be utilized as drawn or it is lost.
Movement Value (MV) is the
number of units of measure the figure must pay in order to advance through or
over terrain. Defensive Value (DV) is the amount of protection a terrain type
provides against hits.
It is possible to have
terrain with different MVs and DVs. An example would be muddy ground being
difficult to cross (MV5) but providing very little cover or protection (DV2).
It is also possible to have a mix of terrain. An example is an area of felt
representing light woods (MV2)
which has a high stone wall running through it (MV4). Soldiers moving through
the woods would pay 2 points for each unit of measure moved and 4 for crossing
the stone wall when it is reached. You cannot partially cross an obstacle with
insufficient movement points. A unit with only a few movement points left
cannot start to climb a wall they cannot cross completely in that same attempt.
There are restrictions on
which type of units can move where. Wheeled vehicles may not cross terrain
greater than MV 2 or DV1. Mounted miniatures may not cross terrain greater than
MV 3 or DV 3. The host can also declare that any traversing vehicle or mounted figure
is immobilized by rolling the MV or less of the adverse terrain. Thus mounted troops
can move through rough MV3 terrain but risk losing their mounts in doing so.
|Open flat ground, solid surface
|Light fence, vegetation, or rough going
|Fence or medium vegetation, or rough going
|Building, heavy vegetation, or rough going
|Stone building, dense vegetation, or rough
|Defensive position or field obstacle/wire
Individuals at range 1 or
less with enemy can opt to melee or hand-to-hand. Unique weapons such as pole
arms may increase this distance. Pair up the combatants and declare any other
figures that are supporting them. Supporting troops cannot ignore an enemy
opposing them to act as a support and must also be within range of the intended
target. To resolve the combat add Rating + Melee + Support(s) + Terrain + D6.
The highest roll is the victor with the losing figure being removed from play.
Any ties result in both figures being removed.
Procedure for capturing an
opponent is the same as melee except the defender wins any ties. If the attacker
wins his opponent has been subdued and is under his control placing the
captured figure behind the winning figure. A single unengaged soldier can guard
up to one unit of prisoners. If all guard(s) are attacked in melee the prisoner
control returns to their original commander although lack of original weapons
should be taken into consideration.
When calculating missile
results your weapon range bracket is important. This is because your roll will
have an additional -1 per range bracket beyond the first. So a Veteran (4)
soldier with a range bracket of 20 shooting at a target at range 45 would be in
the middle of the third
range bracket (2 beyond the first bracket) for a range penalty of -2. The
result is the figure needing a 4–2=2 or less per D6 in order to secure a
possible hit based on range alone.
Individuals may fire up to
their Rate of Fire per activation. Possible hits are scored against the enemy
by rolling equal to or less than the Rating of the attacker minus Range,
Movement, and Weather penalties. Any result of 0 is a possible lucky hit by re-rolling
all one’s (1s) and again have the dice come up one (1). This is a 1/36th
or 2.8% chance of success and illustrates a “miracle shot”.
Machineguns and other crew
served weapons may fire their Rate of Fire only when that specific weapon card
is drawn. This means crewed weapons cannot fire more than once per Deck Turn. If
there is a minimum crew requirement a Rating check minus each soldier short is
needed in order to fire. The lack of crew men should also effect movement D6 as
well. Thus a two man Veteran (4) crew of a machinegun requiring a crew of three
would only fire on a roll of 3 or less and would move at a -1D6.
Machineguns can either
attack along a plunging or traversing line. A plunging line is traced from the
gun to the horizon with the gunner dividing their Rate of Fire on different
groups of targets as desired. In traversing fire the gunner has to trace a
continuous line of measure. This means a 7D6 RoF Gardner Gun could
engage a group of targets spread up to 7 units of measure apart. To concentrate
3D6 of this fire on one part of the line would shorten the spread by 2
measures. Due to the area fire of machineguns re-roll any possible hits keeping
only those that are even.
Cannon & Artillery
Attacks of shell and
shrapnel are limited by a blast radius equivalent to the D6 of the weapon minus
the DV of and centered on the impact point. So a 12D6 shell exploding in dense trees
(DV4) would have a blast radius of 12-4=8 centered on the impact point.
Targets are then attacked
with the D6 minus the distance they are from the center of the impact. So using
the above example a soldier at range 4 from the impact point receives 8D6
possible hits. The result is light medium and heavy weapons having different
radii and thus different effects based on range and terrain.
To limber, unlimber, or reorient
a gun requires an action. Firing arc is determined from the tail of the piece through
the wheels of the gun. To change the firing arc of a gun imposes a -1 to hit
To determine the impact
point first estimate by sight the distance from the muzzle of the gun to the desired
target point. Then make a gunner rating check with any failed result plus range
bracket penalty being the D6 the shots drifts from the point of impact. Players
are allowed to use the measurements of previous shots in
subsequent attempts and thus represent ranging to target.
Direction of drift is
either determined by rolling any manner of random direction determination (to
include specially marked or labeled D6, the pointy end of a D8 or D10) or use
of the following table:
||Behind the target.
||Behind and right of target.
||In front and right of target.
||In front of target.
||In front and left of target.
||Behind and left of target.
Firer then measures their estimated
range plus the effects of any drift adjustment to discern the actual impact
point. Any intervening obstacle of sufficient height as determined by the host
can be struck instead.
Solid shot travels in a
straight line attacking one target per distance using same negation technique
as previously mentioned. If a negation is successful the shot is stopped and
further targets are not attacked. If not the shot hits the target and continues
to its next target for further resolution.
Canister fire is handled a
little differently. Divide the range of the canister fire by the number of D6
of the gun. Use these damage brackets to determine the number
of possible hits scored on each soldier within the pattern of fire. For every
bracket past the first reduce the effects of the D6 by 1. Double canister
halves the range of the gun but doubles the D6 of damage and counts as two
Determine your line of fire
as normal with the canister pattern being 1 centered distance unit wide per
damage range bracket. So the canister pattern at damage range bracket 3 is
three units of measure centered on the line of fire. A little tedious but worth
the effort when you witness the effects!
Making templates ahead of
time out of transparent sheet material will greatly speed up game play. It is also
suggested that each side keep track of each ammo type available for each gun if
it does not bog down play too much. Guns may quickly find themselves out of
shell or shrapnel and loaded only with canister. Artillery may be placed off
board by noting the location and distance from a corner on a piece of paper or piece
of tape stuck to the wall.
NEGATING POSSIBLE HITS
All possible hits are
negated by rolling equal to or less than the current DV of the terrain the
As an example there are 2
figures standing at a road block. An 8D6 shell lands at range 4 striking open
ground (DV1) resulting in a blast radius of 8-1=7. Figure A is standing in the
open (DV1) and figure B is inside a defensive position (DV5). Both figures
possible hits. Figure A needs to roll one’s (1s) and figure B needs to roll
five’s (5s) or less on three dice in order to not become a casualty.
If your target is wearing
armor that is capable of stopping the attack but it is not evenly distributed
across the body use the following table to determine the location of the hit.
For my genre this is not
really applicable unless it is melee combat. Depending on the year gamed this
armor can stop a variety of attacks but research carefully.
A vehicle with armor could
use the same formula for gun strength to determine a protection value. These
defensive dice would be rolled and any even results counted as successes. If
the number of successful attacks is greater than the number of successful defenses the vehicle is
destroyed and the remaining hits would go to any crew or passengers.
An example of this is a mountain
gun has an attack of 6D6. The armor of a gunboat is 50mm thick or a defense of
5D6. Rolling 6D6 we get 3 successes and 5D6 we get 2 successes. The boat would
be destroyed and the remaining success resulting in a casualty against the crew
When a figure is being
fired upon all figures and mounts within 3 inches may be included by the
defender in the random hit population. This is to help prevent sniping of key
Place the appropriate
number of markers into a bag or bowl representing each of the different types
of targets. Draw at random the victims. Guns and caissons should be included
when fired upon by artillery with all hit equipment being destroyed.
If you like greater detail
or for campaign games roll for the types of casualty suffered. The use of
designated medics or first aid personnel may reduce the casualty type by one.
Properly equipped doctors could reduce it by two levels.
The type of casualty can
greatly effect the nature of a campaign game where wounded must be cared for and
protected. This also allows a number of troops to
||Flesh wound – figure operates at a -1
||Ambulatory – figure at -1 and cannot walk.
||Serious – out of fight until next battle.
||Severe – out of fight and invalided.
||Mortal – out of fight and dies in D6 days.
||Glory shot – killed instantly.
be returned to duty and
could mean the difference between victory and defeat in future battles.
MORALE & RETREATING
Each troop must make a
Rating Check plus any protective DV minus the total number of adjacent
casualties within 3 inches and direct line of sight. Failures result in the figure
fleeing the number of dice that they failed the check by in the opposite
direction of the casualties and greatest number of visible attackers while
ignoring all terrain costs. Fleeing figures moving into melee range of enemy
units are eliminated or captured as decided by the attacker.
last critical element of miniature gaming is terrain. There are many different
types of terrain features that should be taken into consideration and they fall
into several categories.
Ground cover is the
tapestry that all other terrain will end up on. They can be of different types
and colors of cloth in order to symbolize different climates and conditions. The
key is to think of the environment that you want to play in and pick a color
and texture of material that fits accordingly.
White fluffy felt or an old
white sheet could represent snow. Brown corduroy could be freshly plowed
fields. Blue splotched cloth could represent water. Even brown packaging paper
crumpled up and smoothed flat can become very effective dry desert terrain.
Objects can be placed
underneath the cloth to give the appearance of rolling terrain and most ground
cover should work with a variety of terrain pieces that will be placed on top
When selecting terrain keep
in mind the following: Does this look good on top of my ground cover and is it
in harmony with the other terrain on the table? If not modifying the terrain in order to get it to blend.
Often dry brushing pieces can work wonders in
terms of getting everything to fit together nicely to the human eye.
SIZE OF TERRAIN PIECES
The idea is to have a
selection of terrain elements that work well together and do not take up too
much space all by themselves. Hills and buildings if done to actual dimensions
will quickly take up lots of table space. In order to combat this some
understanding of symbolism should be utilized.
For my games a house that
takes up four square inches is considered a good sized element even though
proportionally a real home might more accurately scaled at ten square inches.
As long as I can maneuver in and around the terrain I am content. Variety and
moderation is the key to prevent over cluttering.
Model railroad buildings can also be used to
represent more detailed structures. Keep in mind for 1/72 scale figures an HO
scale building is slightly too small but on the gaming table an HO scale
building makes an excellent symbol of where a building is and what it looks
like. Trial and error and even using pieces of existing structures in home made
models can help you make the type of building you desire.
Houses are easy to find in
various rail road or model hobby stores. I encourage you to only buy those
buildings that are either a real steal or ones that have so much wonderful
detail that you could not hope to reproduce them without spending countless hours
of tediously detailed work.
For all other simpler
buildings I encourage you to create them from scratch. Industrial buildings can
be easy to replicate due to their plain exteriors and detail. My favorite
buildings are made from cardboard and held together with masking tape. This
frame is then covered with a glue/sand/putty mix and allowed to dry. With some
dry brushing it is easy to make a series of mud brick buildings in one sitting
and the effect of the finished product is both enjoyable and very convincing.
Bridges are readily
available from hobby and train stores as well. Rough bridges of stone, bamboo,
or wood can easily be tossed together and with a base coat and dry brushing
made to look very realistic in no time at all.
Ruins for any of the above
are easy – just start with the real thing and wreck it! This is great for
buildings as you can often get two or three ruins out of a single new
structure. Debris created with scraps of building mixed in with small bits of
gravel, wood, and sand help finalize the presentation. Here the key is to allow
the base coat and dry brushing to communicate the
condition of the ruin. Adding some growth in the
form of flock or grass also helps to seal the deal.
Hills are another tricky
subject and face more of the same issues. Ideally you should be able to place
foam hills on the table in such a fashion in order to provide low and high
ground and ways of getting to and from each. But again you don’t want the hill
to take up too much of the table surface so choose wisely and sparingly when
creating and placing these.
Rocks and crags can be
created in a couple ways. One is to go to the garden store and get a bag of
those volcanic looking rocks. They look great straight out of the bag or with a
base coat and some dry brushing. Another great find is a bag of large wood
bark. These large pieces of bark can be placed as is or cut in half and laid on
edge to simulate layers of bed rock. Once you base coat and dry brush them
you’ll swear you were looking at the real bed rock.
Roads can be created from
spreading brown caulk onto a sheet of newspaper. Sprinkle the surface with sand
and allow it to dry. Once it dries peel away the excess newspaper, black base,
and dry brush as desired. Gravel roads can be made in the same fashion by
replacing the sand with slightly larger ballast. Once the road has dried some
you can use light pressure from a ruler or other tool to flatten the surface of
the stone to make it more realistic.
end result is a flexible but durable road or river basin that can lay with the
shape and contours of the terrain it is placed on. The caulk may take a long
time to dry but once it has it becomes a soft flexible plastic that lends
itself well to being placed over hills and other terrain.
Ponds can be created by
creating a bank from either glue and sand mixtures or some air hardening clay
in which the water would be contained. Once the bank is dry cover the surface
area with white glue. Once the glue dries completely you can dry brush the
surface of the water as you would want it to appear. Once this paint has dried
apply another thin layer of white glue. Once this final layer has dried it will
become transparent to some degree giving you water the illusion of depth.
Larger bodies of water may
be created by crushing and flattening pieces of colored film paper. The
wrinkles of the film will reflect light much in the way water does and
different layers of film create different depths and colors of water.
Dirty or algae filled
waters are usually uniform tan or light green in color. Simply paint the
surface of your glue this color and spray coat with a gloss finish. This will
make the water opaque but still appear to be wet.
Rivers can be created from
spreading brown caulk on newspaper. Sprinkle the surface with sand and allow it to
dry. Once it dries peel away the exposed newspaper, black base, and dry brush
the desired. The end result is a flexible but strong basin that can lay with
the shape and contours of the terrain it is placed on. White glue added to the
tops of the river pieces and coating with a gloss finish gives a wet look and additional
dry brushing can add sufficient detail to make the piece appear to flow like
Trees and vegetation
provide their own unique issues as units need to be able to move into and
through them. The best way to represent woods or forests that I have found is
to cut out some ground cloth of a dark green color. Place this on the table and
then stand individual trees on top. This allows you to have a definite forest
border and the scattering of physical trees are merely for show as they can be
moved around and removed as needed to allow access to units and to facilitate
Individual trees can be
purchased from train or cake decoration stores. Almost all of my palm trees
come from bakery suppliers and most of my jungle canopy is from fake roses. I
cut off the flower head and removed the ring of leaves from mid stem. Turning
the leaves upside down so they now resemble a banana or rubber tree I reattached
them a top and hit the whole tree with a light dusting of olive drab spray paint
to add light texture and remove the plastic shine.
Almost all of my exotic bushes are from fake aquarium
plants found in pet on craft stores. Depending on the type of vegetation you desire
it is easy to find materials which can be assembled and/or painted to meet your
Crop fields can be made
from different types of cloth, rugs, or door mats. Welcome mats made from hemp
make excellent wheat fields once they are cut down to the proper dimensions.
Corduroy and other textures appear to be plowed earth ready for planting
depending on the scale you have chosen for your games.
Bushes and hedges are
another easy problem to solve. Most model train stores sell a type of clumped
material that you can glue to bare tree frames in order to represent bunches of
leaves. The same material glued to a base just as easily represents shrubs or
Hedges can be made from
green scrubbing pads which have been cut down in order for the newly formed edge
to represent wild or trimmed down growth. Glue the flat edge of two pieces to a
base to give irregularity of form and depth and coat with some flock or
previously mentioned foam foliage.
ODDS & ENDS
Take a walk around your
local discount, toy, pet, or home improvement store. Look at all the different
items for sale and ask yourself if, with a little work, this item might look
great on your table.
stores often have inexpensive plastic castles that once slightly modified and
base coated end up looking outstanding on your table. Toy plastic boats meant
for youngsters that are cannibalized and modified make ready and easily boats
Pet stores have numerous
fish tank accessories that with very little work make striking contributions to
the presentation of your game. Oriental buildings, rocky caves, and even
plastic plant material easily give fire to the imagination.
Stone or sand bag walls can
be made from white glue mixed with small pebbles or dried beans and mounted on
newspaper. Once the glue has dried you can peel the newspaper away and you end
up with a sturdy wall ready for finishing.
Wooden fences can be made
from tooth picks or bags of wood sticks from craft stores. Palisades or log walls can be
created from bamboo skewers or sticks from outside. These can be washed in
either India ink or stain in order to get a more weathered look.
Poly filler used for
pillows can be used as white smoke or with a little help darkened to represent
the black smoke of burning buildings or vehicles. Rock salt chunks can be glues
with plastic crystals to represent alien terrain or vegetation. The list of
different types of terrain you can make from scratch or purchase is an endless
KEEP IN MIND
doubt or facing a new project for the first time make sure you research and ask
a lot of questions before you start. You may find that some one knows of a good
place to buy inexpensive model railroad trees by the dozen, or someone has an
easy technique for creating western style buildings. The less time you waste
creating your terrain is more time you spend playing with it.
Most importantly ensure
that the piece does not take up too much room and try to make generic pieces
that can be used in a lot of different situations. Building a temple to some
dark god may be exciting to envision and construct but when it can only be used
in specific scenarios it may end up feeling like a waste of time, effort, and
A good example of multi use
terrain is most natural pieces. When it comes to buildings I try to pick
European and Mediterranean designs that can work for
medieval, colonial, and WWII games. This way I get more use out of my terrain
and have to worry less about storing and transporting it all. Sure there may be
a time and place for a specific type of single use terrain but choose
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