Dark Age Infantry Slog

The Dark Ages Infantry slog, by Andy Callan, originally appeared in Miniature Wargames #7, back in 1983. Now they're available here.

It's an interesting system. Callan writes:

As for the battle itself, I decided that the armies weren't going to be capable of much tactical manouvre, so this meant that I would have to find some other focus for the wargamers attention (since tactical manoeuvre is at the heart of most conventional games). I therefore decided that, in keeping with the spirit of the period, it would be LEADERSHIP rather than GENERALSHIP that would be the central factor. The player would have to LEAD his army to victory, rather than just issue orders. Accordingly he would need to be involved in forming up the army, and 'psyching up' the warriors for the fight, as well as getting stuck in and setting a good example for his men when it came to the crunch. All this was allowed for by giving each leader a number of 'Leadership Points' (LP's) which he can use, each turn, in various ways.

Each group of warriors carries three separate ratings:

1) AGGRESSION: a measure of their enthusiasm for the fight and blood lust! Ranging from 1 (craven) to 8 (psychopathic).

2) FORMATION: a measure of orderliness and density of the ranks. Ranging from 1 (chaotic mob) to 8 (shield wall).

These first two are capable of adjustment by use of Leadership Points, which is not true of:

3) STRENGTH: an amalgam of numerical strength, physical freshness (yes, I know Vikings didn't use underarm deodorants!) and military efficiency. The rating established at the start of the game can only decline as the battle progresses.

But the best way to describe these rules is actually to print them in full, together with some explanatory notes. The game mechanisms, which include elements of whist, poker and playground games, are unconventional, but the intention was not to be obscure for obscurity's sake. Its just that these simple mechanisms seemed to me the best way to create a game which (to quote Ian Greenwood, whose passion for Anglo-Saxon warfare is second to none) 'wouldn't offend the sensibilities of Viking or Anglo-Saxon devotees who like their games to look and feel like the real thing ... (and in which) ... the player himself, in the role of leader, could win or lose battles according to his ability to bluff, counter-bluff or pre-empt his opponent'.

How To Run A Convention Game

Steve Winter has some good advice on running a good convention game. It's teriffic advice that every miniature wargamer should pay attention to.

High Crusade Rules

Wessex Games has released a freeware version of their simple 15mm science fiction miniature wargames rules, High Crusade. Wessex writes:

Wessex Games originally released High Crusade back in 1994 in response to a young gamer querying what set of rules he should use to play with some 15mm SF figures he had bought at Weymouth's Fisticuffs show. At that time there wasn't really a cheap introductory level set of rules on the market, so we sat down and came up with High Crusade retailing at just �1.95!

It proved very popular with novice and experienced gamers alike and soon went into a second edition that included additional rules and appendices covering new backgrounds and expanding the original one.

When the second edition sold out Wessex Games took the decision not to reprint the game, instead deciding to concentrate on newer products supporting its own background worlds.

However rather than let the game die (and because Alex Stewart keeps on mentioning it!) we have decided to re-release the second edition as a freeware web-based edition with a few minor changes which we hope will improve game play and balance.

American Civil War Riverine Actions

Mike Callan offers this set of free wargames rules for American Civil War Ironclads. The set originally was published in Wargames Illustrated 14.

Undercoating Your Miniatures

When you're painting a house, it's said that the preparation is most of the work -- and that poor preparation will always result in a poor outcome. I think the same may apply -- to some extent -- to miniatures. A poor undercoat ruins your figure before you even start. Too much primer, too little, too slick, too grainy. There are a million ways to ruin a figure. Here's an article on the subject of undercoats.