Well, the Young Master has not expressed much interest in a battle of toy soldiers with ol' Dad lately, so I am having a quick solo affair myself today (Sunday) while he and the Grand Duchess are off to the Detroit Zoo and IKEA. I've decided on a battle for a crossroads somewhere along the frontier between The Grand Duchy of Stollen and The Electorate of Zichenau. Whoever controls it by the end of ten turns will be deemed the winner.
The situation before the start of hostilities is this. The two generals commanding the respective scratch forces -- of roughly equal size, but with some slight differences on composition -- have each been sent by their superiors to seize the vital crossroads at the village of Wegkreuz, which sits in a shallow valley taken up by farmland and largely open country. The slopes surrounding the village are very slight and impede movement only on the higher (second) contours. Likewise, a small stream some distance south of the village, the Kreuzbach, represented by the treeline, presents only a minor obstacle to troops on foot or horseback although cannon must remain the roadway to navigate the stream easily.
As you'll observe in the two photographs above, the Zichenauer force, commanded by General Maximus von Sydow approaches Wegkreuz from the south, while the Stollenian force under General Siegfried von Toppels aus dem Sattel (he likes a nip or two of the good stuff) approaches the village from the north. The two generals have already spied one another's forces through their telescopes and deployed their respective men. Gentlemen, start your engines. . .
End of Move/Turn Four Update. . .
Update at End of Move Eight. . .
The combat of Wegkreuz took off in Move Five when things became fast and furious with both sides taking heavy casualties from their respective artillery, musketry, and skirmish fire during Moves Six, Seven, and Eight. These doctored Featherstone rules -- the foundation of my one-page 'Call It Macaroni!' rules -- are bloody when troops fire at close range. A few highlights follow below.
After eight full moves, von Sydow and von Toppels aus dem Sattel decided to call the game a draw. The sun was low on the horizon, and time was running out. Rather than squander their small forces in fruitless frontal attacks, the two officers and gentlemen -- it turns out they were both students within a few years of each other at the university in Dorpat before both left to try their respective fortunes on the Field of Mars -- decided to call it a day and put soldiers and scenery away for another day.
Both generals were very pleased with the inaugural outing for the Hotz mats, which are just the right shade of muted, light green to enable troops to show up nicely for the the camera. Now, if yours truly could simply find enough time for, not only the painting o new troops, but also a few vital refurbishments AND getting my darn bases painted. How many years has it been now??!! There is a lesson to be learned somewhere.
The Next Day. . .
I tried out a new bit of rules yesterday to simulate artillery shots penetrating more than just the target immediately before the gun(s). It works like this:
1) The formation immediately in front of a gun, or guns, takes the prescribed number of hits.
2) A second body of troops, up to 12" behind the first, takes half that number of hits (ignore fractions) to simulate the shot running out o steam but still bounding along in a lethal way.
3) A body of troops between 12"-24" behind the initial target before the guns takes one fourth the number of hits rolled for the initial target. Again, ignore inconvenient fractions that tax the mind and pay attention only to whole figures.
There we are. Not a strictly realistic simulation, of course, but it does help take into account something that actually happened on battlefields during the black powder era. Naturally, adding this to my rules makes them flip over onto a second page, so an even smaller font size is in order, darn it.