Friday, January 17, 2020

Introducing Miniature Wargaming to the Younger Generation

                Asking me why I like miniature wargaming is like asking me why history is important, or why do I write military history? I am not sure I can answer those questions. I have always been surrounded with books, and toy soldiers since my earliest years. I grew up with them and I have lived with them my entire life. As a teacher, I used miniature wargaming in the classroom to teach history.
            The question has arisen as a result of my last blog about how do we get younger individuals into miniature wargaming and, in turn, into studying or reading history. I have some ideas of how to do it. They are merely ideas at this stage.
1.      Get your kids to play games at an early age.
2.      Introduce your children to games like chess and Risk, which have figures to move around the board.
3.      Encourage your children to create their own games from books which they have read. They do not need to be military oriented.
4.      Let them “cannibalize” games to design variations of the games they already have.
5.      Let them tweak the rules of their existing games to make them “better.”
6.      Get them into crafts where they can design buildings and fences for their games to make them 3-dimensional. Imagine redesigning Chutes and Ladders.
7.      Get them a sand filled with construction sand and turn them loose with wood blocks and table spoon or tea spoons.
8.      Have them design their own folding cardboard game boards and build their own layouts.
9.      Encourage them to paint their figures (military or otherwise) with water-based acrylics.
10.  TEACH THEM HOW to PLAY and CREATE away from the TV. I have taught a great many students who have never really played, read books, or had constructive fun away from their cell-phones and video games. 
            As a teacher, most manipulatives were and are geared to elementary school kids. In high school I found the majority of team building and group activities trite and, frankly, immature. I walked out of a couple of in-services because I could not tolerate the banality of the contrived demonstrations.
1.      If you want to recruit younger players, gamers have to take the games to the public. The problem is putting “legs” on the following suggestions.
2.      Go to the local school board and speak to the social studies director to ask if he/she could find a way to work a day into the calendar to provide a space for you to spend with one class, in one school to introduce an historical simulation in which the class could participate. If you could get the stage in the auditorium for you or your game club to set up at no charge to the school you could engage a class for the day.  Make it an indoor field trip.
3.      Contact the local library to see if you could get a meeting room for a day and run a game to one and all who wander by. The library might even provide a public service massage to announce it.
4.      A mall might have a social room in which to try that too. The management might advertise it also.
5.      Picture it much like the Club rooms set up at a game convention.
6.      Maybe a local group like the YMCA, the Girls or Boys Club, the American Legion, The Marine Corps League, The Veterans of foreign Wars, the Odd Fellows, or a local park could provide a game room or pavilion to which the public could come.
            I am always open to suggestions. If the public will not come to us, we gamers should go to the public.
            As always, thank you for your patience and your constructive suggestions and observations are always welcome. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Action/Reaction in Miniature Wargaming (Part 6)

This is the final installment of my rules set.

H.                Announcing a Charge

1.                  When announcing a charge the attacker places a charge marker in front of the unit.           

2.                  The defender does nothing at this time.

3.                  Infantry

a)                  In line, rolls 1 D6 for each stand and adds that to the regular movement less deductions. (This represents the possibility that each part of the regiment might not have heard the order or for whatever reason got off to a slower start.)

(1)               The order travels right and left from the center, therefore arrange the dice from center to the flanks in descending order.

b)                 In column, rolls 1 D10 for entire column and adds that to its regular movement less deductions.

4.                  Cavalry – Mounted

a)                  In line, rolls 2 D6s for each stand and adds them to the regular movement less deductions.

(1)              The order travels right and left from the center, therefore arrange the dice from center to the flanks in descending order.

b)                  In column, rolls 3 D6s and adds them to the regular movement less deductions.

(1)              The order travels right and left from the center, therefore arrange the dice from center to the flanks in descending order.

5.                  No other pieces may charge.

XIII.                Reaction to a Charge

A.                The Attacker

1.                  Measures the distance of the charge, including deductions to the opponent’s line and places a marker at the farthest point of advance, and places a marker where the charge will end should the attacker be successful.

2.                  The attacker rolls a D10.

a)                  Even means the attacker cheers.

b)                  Odd means the attacker does not cheer.

(1)               If the defender does not cheer, the attacker will not react.

B.                 The Defender

1.                  The defender rolls a D10.

a)                  Even means he/she heard the cheer.

b)                  Odd means he did not.

c)                  If the defender hears or sees the charge on a smokeless, fog free field, he/she must roll for a reaction immediately.

(1)               Reactions are based upon the roll of 1 D10 by the defender.
(a)                “1” means the unit will retreat 9 inches.
(b)               “10” indicates the unit does not react at all.
(c)                “3”, “5”, “7”,, “9” means the unit will make an orderly withdrawal (back up) 3 inches.
(d)               “2”, “4”, “6”, “8” means the defender will fire.

(i)                 The defender, will make deductions for smoke, fog, and other terrain deductions.
(ii)               The defender will roll 1D6 halved and deduct that.

2.                  The officer may choose to counter that decision by the die roll described in XII, A., 1-3.

3.                  If the defender did not hear the cheer, he/she will not react until struck.

XIV.             Hand-to-Hand Resolution

A.                In Line of Battle

1.                  The Attacker rolls 1D6 for each piece in the charge.

2.                  The Defender rolls 1D6 for each piece in the charge.

3.                  Both players line up their rolls from highest to lowest opposite each other.

a)                  Example:

(1)               The attacker rolled 6 dice.    6 5 4 3 2 1
(2)               The defender tolled 8 dice.   6 6 4 4 2 2 2
(3)               The paired 6s, 4s and 2s negate each other.
(4)               The defender’s 4 highlighted numbers are higher than the attacker’s highlighted numbers.
(5)               The attacker has 4 hits and lost the melee.
(6)               The attacker must back up 3 inches.
(7)               The attacker must place a red disruption marker on the unit.
(8)               The defender will suffer no loss and no disruption.

b)                  If both players suffer hits:

(1)               The one with the higher number backs up 3 inches.
(2)               If the defender backs up and has not reached the farthest point of advance marked by the attacker the attacker strikes the defender again and again:
(a)                Until the attacker loses
(b)               Or the attacker reaches the farthest point of advance.
(3)               At that point both players place red disrupted markers by their units.

B.                 In Column

a)                  The defender rolls 1D6 for the piece immediately in front of the attacking piece and 1 D6 for each piece on its immediate right and left.

b)                  The attacker will roll 1 more D6 than the defender.

c)                  Example

(1)               Attacker rolls   6, 4, 3, 1
(2)               Defender rolls  5, 5 , 2
(3)               The attacker’s “1” does not matter because the attacker’s “3” caused a hit.
                                                (4) If the extra number had been a 3 or higher, the defender would                                                           have taken an extra hit.

d)                 The defender will place a red disrupted marker on the unit and create a hole for the attacker to pass through.

2.                  The attacker pierced the opponent’s line and continues forward until reaching the point of advance or striking another unit.

a)                  If it strikes another unit, hand-to-hand will result.

b)                  If it reaches the point of advance, it will halt and place a red disruption marker on the unit.

3.                  If the attacker loses the hand to hand it will back up 3 inches and place a red disruption marker on the unit.

XV.             Ordered Firing

1.                  Skirmish Fire (Action)

a)                  Reaction

(1)               Units within the adjacent fields may change their facings in reaction to what could be a real threat.

2.                  Infantry Fire (Action)

a)                  Reaction

(1)               Does not apply to a unit already in reaction. 
(2)               Refer to XIII, B., 1, (1), (a)-(d), 2. 
(3)               Exception:
(a)                If the target is in column Roll 1D6.  
(a)               D6.1 – 2  withdraw 3 inches, no deductions. 
(b)          3  go prone.
(c)           4 – 5 retreat 9 inches, no deductions.
(d)           6 do nothing.

3.                  Artillery Fire   (Action)

a)                  Reaction 

            (1)               It applies to a unit already in reaction. 

(2)               Refer to XV, 2., (3), (a), (i), (a) – (d).

4.                  Counter Reaction –None. Firing and Movement Deductions (all are cumulative). 

5.                  End Turn 

XVI.                Terrain

A.                Woodlots -1 movement and firing deduction.

1.                  Farmers penned their cattle and pigs out of fields in the more settled regions. They kept the ground cover low and the fields open.

2.                  Farmers used the woodlots for timber and as a result would have probably trimmed off the branches at above head height to keep from braining themselves. 

3.                  The trees provided light coverage. 

4.                  Stumps and boulders -1 movement and firing deduction. 

5.                  They slowed down maneuvering and marching. 

6.                  They also provided minimal cover. 

                 B.            Up Hill: Movement – D6 Halved. 1- firing deduction. 

            C.                 Down Hill: Movement +D6 Halved. -1 Firing deduction.

D.                Over any rail fence: Movement, roll 1D6 and deduct it from movement to indicate that it slowed the formation.  -1 Firing deduction because it is minimal cover. 

E.                 Removing a worm fence. 

1.                  Roll 1 D6 and deduct that from the unit’s movement. 

a)                  If the number exceeds the amount of movement left, the regiment may not move for the rest of the turn. 

b)                  If the number is lower than the number of movement points the player moves the balance of the movement after deducting the die roll. 

F.                  Stone wall: Movement deduction, roll 1D10. Firing deduction, roll 1D6. 

1.                  If the number exceeds the amount of movement left, the regiment may not move for the rest of the turn. 

2.                  If the number is lower than the number of movement points the player moves the balance of the movement after deducting the die roll. 

VI.             Addenda:

A.                Units in Column Lose Double Casualties. 

B.                 Routes are rolled if a unit loses a piece. 

1.                  Officers are checked for wounds immediately. 

2.                  If all the officers are down, roll for the senior captain. 

3.                  If that fails the regiment stalls. (red marker). 

C.                 The unit rolls 1 D6 as cited in XV, 2., (3), (a), (i), (a) – (d). 

1.                  If there is an officer, he attempts a rally.

2.                  If it fails, the unit follows the die roll.

D.                If a unit collides with another unit it will roll 1 D10 for a “reaction.”

Again, thank you for your patience. As always, constructive comments and suggestions are always welcomed. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Action/Reaction in Miniature Wargaming (Part 5)

XI.              Artillery Firing

A.                Artillery Rounds

1.                  Solid Shot/Bolt/Dud (yellow: 16 per gun).

a)                  Roll 1 D10 and 1 D6.

(1)               The D6 indicates if the round went to the left or the right.

(a)               “1” goes left.

(b)               “6” goes right.

(c)               Roll 1 D6 halved to determine in inches how far left or right the projectile went.

(2)               The D10 indicates if the round bounced or imbedded in the ground.

(a)               “Even” bounces 2 in.

(b)               “Odd” does not bounce. 

b)                  Determining casualties.

(a)               Roll 1D10 if it did not bounce 

(2)               Roll 2 D10s if it did bounce. 

(a)               Even numbers are hits. 

(b)               Odd numbers are misses. 

2.                  Shell which burst (blue: 8 per gun)

a)                  Roll 5 D10s. Remove all “0s” and each die with the highest number. 

b)                  The remaining dice are Hits. 

(1)               Exploding rounds burst 2 inches forward toward the target.

3.                  Case Shot which burst (green: 4 per gun)

a)                  Roll 7 D10s and resolve as is done with shell bursts.

(1)               Exploding rounds burst 2 inches forward toward the target.

4.                  Canister (red: 4 per gun)

a)                  First Fire

(1)               Use the rifle firing stick to get the range.

(2)               Take deductions for smoke, fog, terrain, walls, and fences.

(a)               Roll 9 D10, for the resulting distance on the stick..

(b)               Any number equal to or less than the number on the stick is a hit.

b)                  Consecutive Fire

(a)               Account for accumulating smoke roll 1 D6 halved and add it to the deductions.    
B.                 First Fire for Exploding Rounds, and Shot

1.                  Roll 5 D10s and 1 D6 .

a)                  The D6 indicates if the round went to the left or the right.

(1)               “1” goes left.

(2)               “6” goes right.

(3)               Roll 1 D6 halved to determine in inches how far left or right the projectile went.

b)                  The D10s represent a poker hand.

(1)               If there are no matching numbers, and most of the dice are even numbered, the gun misfired.

(a)               Do not place smoke if it is a misfire.  

(2)               If the majority of numbers are odd, the round was a dud and must be treated as a solid shot. 

(3)               When rolling a “dud,” roll 1 D6:

(a)               1s are short. 

(b)               2s are long.

(c)         If both are rolled, roll 1 D6. Even is short.  Odd is long.

(4)               Pairs, three of a kind indicate bursts for shells, four and five of a kind, and straights indicate hits.

(5)               Pairs of “1s” means the round went long.

(6)               Pairs of “0s” fall short.

(7)         If both happen roll 1 D6. Even is short. Odd is long.                    
(8)               Roll 1 D6 halved to determine in inches how far the projectile went long or short.

C.                 Consecutive Fire for Exploding Rounds, and Shot

1.                  Call the range in inches toward the target.

a)                  Repeat a), (1), (2)

(1)               Pairs of  1s” and “2s” are long.

(2)               Pairs of “9s” and “0s” are short.

(3)         If both are rolled resolve with an even/odd roll.

2.                  Resolve the shot and shell bursts as described above.

XII.           Turn Sequence

A.    Rally Routed Units

                                                            1.      The player rolls 2 different colored D10s for each officer. One die represents the men. The other is for the officer. 

                                                            2.      The higher number wins.

                                                            3.      If the officer wins, the unit rallies. If the men win, the unit routs the distance it did on the previous turn, taking the officers with them.

B.     Stop Unit Reactions

                                                            1.      Repeat the steps for a rally

                                                            2.      If the officer wins, remove the reaction marker. If he fails, the unit is still in reaction.

C.     Attempt to Put Senior Officers in Command

                                                            1.      This only occurs when all of the regular line officers are gone.

                                                            2.      Roll 1 D10.

                                                            3.      Even restores the officer.  The Unit may move and fire that turn.

                                                            4.      Odd does not. The Unit may not move or fire until an officer is restored.

D.    Check Fog Status (Fog Optional)

                                                            1.      Determine Thickness of Fog

1.      Roll 1 D6. 

a.       The resulting number is the thickness of the fog with “6” being the thickest. 

b.      The thickness determines the firing deduction and the movement deduction.

c.       Place a playing card in each of the hollows to indicate the fog level.

d.      The hills and hillsides are above the fog.

                                                            2.      Reducing the Fog at the Beginning of the Turn

1.      Roll 1 D10.

2.      Even reduces the fog number by 1. 

3.      Odd means the fog does not change.

E.     Check Smoke Status

                                                            1.      Every time a unit fires place a smoke marker on the unit.

1.      If 2 units fire at each other, each gets a smoke marker which increases the level to 2. 

                                                            2.      To change the smoke level at the beginning of the turn

1.      Roll 1 D10.

2.      Even reduces the fog number by 1.

3.      Odd means the fog does not change.

F.      Execute Regular Movement or Announce a Charge (Announcing a Charge Causes a Reaction).

                                                            1.      Infantry      
1.      In line moves 9 inches less deductions.

2.      In column marches 12 inches less deductions.

3.      Going prone causes no movement points.

4.      Standing up takes 5 movement points.     
                                                            2.      Cavalry – Mounted, Mounted Officers

1.      In line marches 26 inches less deductions.

2.      In column advances 36 inches less deductions.

3.      Cavalry Dismounting/Mounting

a.       This absorbs 2 movement points.

4.      Individual officers move 36 inches less deductions.

                                                            3.      Skirmishers, Dismounted Cavalry, Dismounted Officers, Artillery Crew Serving a Gun

1.      Move 12 inches without deductions.

2.      No deductions for going Prone.

3.      No deductions for Standing Up.

                                                            4.      Artillery – Limbered

1.      In line of pieces it travels 26 inches less deductions.

2.      In column of piece it moves 36 inches less deductions. 

                                                            5.      Artillery  - Limbering, Unlimbering, or Fixing Prolonge

1.      Each requires 14 inches in movement.

                                                            6.      Artillery – Into Battery and From Battery

1.      This takes 12 inches of movement

2.      Unlimbering/limbering and going into battery/from battery uses up 26 inches.

                                                            7.      Artillery – Changing Front  Right or Left

1.      There are no deductions for doing this.

                                                            8.      Artillery – Unlimbered By Hand to the Front

1.      The piece will move 1 inch to the front.

                                                            9.      Artillery – By Prolonge to the Rear

1.      The piece will move back 7 inches.

2.      Coupled with Fixing Prolonge this consumes 21 inches in movement.

G.    All the players move their troops simultaneously unless a unit opts to charge.

On a personal note: Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Have a wonderful time with family and friends no matter what your faith. Remember the poor, the needy, and those in ill health. Thank you for reading my posts.