Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Sunday 31 December 2023

Review of 2023

 A Very Happy New Year to all !

Many thanks for reading this, and for all those of have made time to read any or all my blog this year. And especial thanks to those who have taken the time to leave a comment - it really is greatly appreciated.

I had hoped that 2023 might see a world of less conflict and suffering than in 2022. It seems fair to say that hasn't come to pass. But hope springs eternal - I hope that you will join me in hoping for a more peaceful, prosperous and happy world over the next 12 months.

On a much more trivial scale, 2023 has been a difficult year. I have found my work difficult, my cat died & I haven't always been in the best health. I have many things to be very grateful for, which I try and keep to the forefront of my mind, and usually manage - but this year has been stressful, there is no denying it. And that has generally had a negative impact on my gaming, either from having literally no time to do it, or feeling so drained that I haven't really felt like making the commitment of mental energy and time to play even quite smalll games.

That said, there have been at least a few achievements and highlights. I finished the Too Fat Lardies' pint-sized campaign, the Gembloux Gap.  I finshed my playtesting of the set of WRG-inspired rules being written by John D Salt: which retro-fitted the old WRG 1950-1985 Modern set into WW2.  These rules are more or less finished I think and John has said he intends to get them published when he can. I finshed playing through a;; of the marvellous scenarios from Neil Thomas' book One Hour Wargames.  For the games this year I have used the Polemos set Ruse de Guerre. I only managed to get a single big game of Ruse de Guerre in though: Talavera

This shows off that I managed to finally get my garage set-up to play some quite big games: I could extend to 10'x4' if I needed. I am trying to get one more small table which would allow me to configure it as 6'x6' if required also.

Of other gaming, there was only a smattering. I managed to get in a game of 1st edition 40K with my 7-year old, and great fun that was. Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader book.  I managed to sort out a game of the Battle of White Mountain scenario using the Twilight of Divine Right rules which I really enjoyed, and also a go at Wimpfen.  There were a few other 6mm WW2 games and a 15mm WW2 game, but there really wasn't that much.  I was delighted though to get in the game of 'The Nutcracker' designed by Arthur Harman - it was such a perfect Christmas game!

I didn't even get many boardgames in, just a little bit of  Europe in Agony and Over the Reich.  I also managed to get Heroquest to the table a little bit, with the little one.
I did get to do some more role-playing games in though this year, mainly Shadowrun and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, but also Twilight 2000 and Original D&D. I discovered The Alexandrian blog and videos this year, which has been a great find for my role-playing games. My older bairns really enjoy Shadowrun, so we have been having great fun with that.

In terms of buying models and painting and so on, for the first time in ages I have built up a bit of a lead mountain and plastic pile, I just got far less done this year than in other years.  What I have managed is some reinforcements for my WW2 French, US, German, British and Soviet armies, primarily armour and artillery support.  I also put a credible Polish force together. I did paint some Zulu War Zulus and British, as well as some Agincourt-era Knights for my son. He has seemed to enjoy them! A fair few of the models are in the bits box for repair now however, they aren't really robust enough for child play. I managed to fill out my C17 forces with some more East European light horsemen, rebased everything to make them more flexible and equally at home with both Twilight of Divine Right and Polemos: ECW, and got a few bits of additional terrain I needed, primarily additional earthworks.

Review of 2023

So, how did I get on against my plans for this year?

The Plan (Playing):

1 - Finish the Gembloux Gap campaign:  ideally want to get hold of a few terrain items to make one of the scenarios look a bit better.

2 - Play the Caesar's Camp pint-sized campaign (think I have all the necessary forces for this).

3 - Play some more WW2 company-level games (have bought some Polish WW2 forces for this, with some French on the cards too. Other armies will get additions on an as-and-when-needed basis).

4 - Continue to play through the Neil Thomas' One-Hour Wargames scenarios. If I should complete this, then I will move onto Grant's Programmed Wargame Scenarios (I have all the necesary figures and terrain for this)

5 - Continue to play the same scenarios with the Napoleonic Historical Wargames Society of Toronto as far as I am able.

6 - Play the scenarios from the Twilight of Divine Right scenario books (I have all the required figures but need to paint up a few more Eastern European light horsemen.  I also need to make some new/additional earthworks for a couple of the scenarios).

7 - Play more dungeon crawls (THW Dungeon Crawl, Heroquest, Imperial Assault, Space Hulk)

8 - Play more WW2 air war scenarios (will use a mixture of models and boardgames)

9 - Get a 1/4800 Napoleonic naval game to the table (have the models, don't have the rules)

10 - Experiment with WW2 squad-level skirmish to determine best 'small-board' set-up.

11 - Continue to play RPGs with the bairns.

The Plan (Hobby):

1 - Paint up a few more bases of 6mm C17 East Euopean light horsemen.

2 - Paint up a reinforced company of early war WW2 Polish.

3 - Finish purchasing a reinforced company of early war WW2 French.

4 - Purchase and paint up some missing WW2 German elements (Panzerjager I, some aircraft, engineers, assault rifle-armed infantry, Volksturm).

5 - Purchase and paint up some WW2 US armour and artillery (Shermans, M10s, various artillery, some aircraft?)

6 - Purchase and paint up some WW2 Soviet artillery (and a 'maybe' for some Soviet Naval Infantry)

7 - Purchase and paint up some minor additions for WW2 British (primarily tank destroyers and artillery, perhaps some more transport and aircraft, maybe some landing craft); some Desert War stuff from 2d6 wargaming is a 'maybe' here.

8 - For the Age of Sail naval stuff, my new plan is to go back to first principles and buy a Featherstone book or similar and go from there.

9 - Purchase and paint up some 1940s-era agricultural, industrial and railway buildings.

10 - Build or purchase some more earthworks suitable for C17-early C19.

11 - Obtain and prepare a 3'x3' terrain board for some  'slightly bigger small board' games.

12 - Obtain and prepare a 6'x4' terrain board for some slightly bigger summer games.

13 - Purchase and paint a few more 28mm Napoleonics to build on existing forces (British, French and Austrian), in particular a few horseman and perhaps an artillery piece per side.  This is partly for Sharp Practice but also for some Neil Thomas' type gaming. 

14 - A couple of very minor additions for my 6mm C18 forces (including some more Lowland Scots, a few Cuirassiers, some small field guns and some siege guns)

15 - Finish off the lead-pile, including: some additional 6mm Napoleonics (mainly German state troops plus minor British Allied forces); early 1/300 WW2 aircraft; a few 6mm Cold War troops;15mm Cold War (East Germans and militia/terrorists); some 28mm fantasy/early medieval bits and pieces.

16 - Some touching up of my C17 and Wars of the Roses collections, which are looking a little scruffy. 

17 - Arrange my models and terrain more effectively to allow quicker set-up/take-down and thus more games.

18 - Arrange and modify some of my playing areas for greater ease and comfort in playing.

19 - Write an article for a wargames magazine.

20 - Complete my re-writes/amendments for WFRP, Shadowrun and Twilight 2000.
NO, BUT SOME PROGRESS MADE (Shadowrun is largely done, T2000 is nearly done, WFRP is well in hand).
21 - Consider the following potential projects:

6mm Chariot Wars
6mm Late Romans/Dark Ages
6mm ACW (Commission Figurines)
6mm Colonial (Sudan, NWFP/India being most likely) 
6mm Pony Wars
C20 Naval


Plans for 2024

I didn't do so badly against my specific plans for 2023, it was more that as well as generally 'feeling low', my lead pile did somehow seem to grow. So my plans for this year should focus on sorting that, as well as keeping a bit of my current gaming impetus. I am very much in the mood for more campaigning this year, so the main questions are whether I need to do any preparation for that, either in terms of more testing or practice with the rules or campaign engines I intend to use, or whether a few judicious purchases will really help with those campaigns. 


1 - Play the Caesar's Camp pint-sized campaign. 

2 - Play the scenarios in Grant's Programmed Wargame Scenarios.

3 - Catch-up on the scenarios from the Napoleonic Historical Wargames Society of Toronto.

4 - Play some more 6mm Napoleonic battles, using more of the scenarios from the collection of Michael Hopper scenario books.

5 - Play the scenarios from the Twilight of Divine Right scenario books.

6 - Start another Ancients or Horse-and-Musket campaign (exact details TBD).

7 - Start a Nuts! or similar campaign.

8 - Start a Five Leagues from the Borderlands or similar campaign.

9 - Play many more WW2 air wargames.

10 - Try the Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames simple scenario techniques on some more actions.

11 - Play some more Heroquest.


1 - This one is easy: finish off the lead pile by October 2024. By my birthday, I don't want a single thing left.

2 - Obtain and prepare a 3'x3' terrain board for some  'slightly bigger small board' games.

3 - Buy and paint some more fortifications for various periods.

4 - Finish my RPG modifications for Shadowrun, Twilight 2000 and WFRP.

5 - Complete my collection re-arrangements to allow easier and quicker setting up and taking down of games.

6 - These are very much to be considered 'stretch goals':

A few additions to my C18 forces.
Complete my 6mm Byzantine army.
A few additions to my Napoleonic armies, ready for some more serious Napoleonic campaigning in 2025.
6mm ACW armies.

Hopefully these goals manage to be both ambitious and achievable!

And lastly, I want to thank all those bloggers out there who are still producing really interesting content about wargames, history, game design and suchlike. I try and comment and congratulate when I can, although I type it less than I think it. For those, I want to share this article from the Guardian: although blogs are perhaps less popular now, and certainly Tweets and Youtube videos and clips have their place, I think for the kind of long-form writing that blogs contain, accompanied with pictures, it still remains an excellent medium of expression and communication. And wargames thinking has often been in that form - the magazine-type article has always been crucial to discussion of our hobby and I think of blogs as an extension of that. And there are plenty out there doing excellent writing on games: I both salute and thank you!

Kampfgruppe Heller: Battle 01, Poland

 As mentioned recently, I am doing a little playtesting of a new set of WW2 rules. I wanted to get my new(-ish) 6mm Polish Army onto the table, but didn't have a suitable scenario handy. But I remembered that Just Jack had originally started his Kampfgruppe Klink campaign in Poland, so in honour of that, I revived the scenario for this first full playtest.

It features a German Rifle Company attacking a partly-entrenched reduced Polish infantry company. Part of 4 Panzer Division, this is the lead element of the attack which is supposed to create a hole in the Polish defences and open the road to Mokra.

The Forces:

The Germans:
Company Command (Rifle/SMG Section) & light truck
1 x Infantry Section (Bolt-Action Rifles & Belt-fed LMG)
1 x MMG team
1 x 8cm mortar
1 x 7.5cm infantry gun

Platoon 1:
1 x Pl Command section (Rifle/SMG & Belt-fed LMG)
2 x Infantry Section (Bolt-Action Rifles & Belt-fed LMG)
1 x MMG team

Platoon 2:
1 x Pl Command section (Rifle/SMG & Belt-fed LMG)
3 x Infantry Section (Bolt-Action Rifles & Belt-fed LMG)

The Polish:
Company Command (Bolt-Action Rifles) & light truck
1 x Armata 75 mm wz.02/06 Infantry gun (in earthen bunker)
1 x M31 8cm mortar (in earthen bunker)
1 x ckm wz.30 HMG (in earthen bunker)

1 x Pl Command (Bolt-Action Rifles)
3 x Infantry Section (Bolt-Action Rifles & BAR)

The Germans are advancing at the start of the game and the Polish elements are considered to be in static fire-positions.

To help judge distances in the pictures, 1mm = 2m in the game, and effective spotting of infantry and infantry fire is thus in the 200m - 600m type range, i.e. 10-30cm.  The board is 60cm x 60cm, i.e. just over 1km square.

The Set-Up:

The Germans are attacking from the West (left) with the Coy Comd group in the centre, Platoon 1 on the Left (top-left) and Platoon 2 on the Right (bottom-left); the Polish rifle platoon is on the Polish Right (top), with the Coy Comd and weapons in the centre and rear, mainly in the earthen bunkers. The Polish left is undefended.

For awareness, the earth bases which are more or less covered by trees indicate a wooded area; isolated trees indicate trees which block LOS unless an element is right next to it and using it for cover; all of the terrain is unrestricted to infantry, excpet the stream which is cold, fast-flowing, quite wide and muddy - this can only be crossed at slow pace.

The German plan is quite 'horns of the buffalo': the heavy weapons are in the centre to provide support, whilst the rifle platoons go simultaneously left and right flanking, hoping that one or both will be able to find a gap, infiltrate it, and thus unhinge the defence.

The Battle:
Early in the game, Platoon 2's rear section (left) comes under effective fire from the Polish MG in the bunker in the woods beyond the bridge; the Platoon commander comes back to try and rally them (the 3-figure base by the trees (bottom-left).

Platoon 2 moves through the woods at the top, unseen by the Poles thus far.

In the centre the Polish HMG (bottom-right) fired at the German infantry, suppressing some of them; but they rallied and crawled out of sight; the German company commander and team have now crawled forward to spot the bunker

The commander calls in fire from his 80mm mortar; its first fire is close, silencing the bunker - its second round kills the occupants and knocks out the Polish MG!

A closer look

As they edge forward, the German company HQ element comes under ineffective fire from the Polish infantry gun, in the other bunker; they use the cover to move out of sight before any damage is done.

Reaching the edge of the woods, Platoon 1 breaks out into line formation prior to advancing; with the supporting MG34 in the SF role on the flank to support

The German platoon commander sends a single squad to advance to the next treeline...

This triggers a violent response from the Poles, whose fire takes effect and suppresses the advancing German infantry; note that the Polish section on the near side of the river hasn't spotted them yet (since they aren't in their observational arcs and haven't opened fire yet)

However, the Polish fire reveals the location of its infantry to the supporting Germans in the woods to the left...

3 MG34s and a bunch of K98s throw a mass of lead into the Polish infantry in the treeline, eliminating one Polish section...

...and then the other

The lead German section reaches the treeline...but comes under intensive fire from the other Polish section, who has now spotted them 

The German squad takes casualties and needs rallying; the German platoon commander starts crawling forward to enable that...

But too late! The next round of Polish fire eliminates the German squad as an effective unit...

Meanwhile, Platoon 2 is crossing the stream and entering the woods behind the knocked out Polish bunker...

In the centre, there is lots of ineffective fire to and against the Polish infantry squad at the edge of the ploughed fields (centre), but the German MG in the treeline (left) has successfully silenced the Polish infantry gun in the other bunker in the woods

Platoon 2 comes to close quarters with the Polish Company Command group; although the Polish officers get the first rounds off, the fire is ineffective and they quickly surrender to the advancing Landsers

The German MG has now killed the crew of the Polish IG in the central bunker; and more accurate mortar fire and rifle fire has eliminated the other Polish infantry section

The Polish mortar team decides to retreat to fight another day...

As does the Polish platoon command team

Game Notes:

For a first full playtest, it went pretty smoothly - the mechanisms were quite easy to pick up. From a tactical point of view, I think the Poles were pretty unlucky: their own shooting was generally mediocre, whereas some very accurate German MG and mortar fire pretty much unhinged their defences...although in fairness, the Polish position was too dependent on that single HMG position and once it was eliminated early on, it was difficult to retrieve the situation.  The main error was in having the Polish commander too static, he needed to be in a better vantage point or more active, in order to achieve something with his mortar support.
The observation rules allow two states - 'observed' and 'pinpointed' with the latter much harder to achieve, but much better in allowing accurate directed fire.  The rules neatly but indirectly put quite a premium on not firing too much and giving away positions. Only WRG I think has incorporated this element into its games as such a key aspect.
Anyway, an enjoyable game and a good start - looking forward to doing some more!
German stuff mainly by Baccus 6mm, with the vehicle probably by H&R; the Polish are mainly from Scotia.

Saturday 30 December 2023

Clarity versus Inspiration: an Heretical take

I was recently watching a very interesting episode on the Miniature Adventures YouTube channel about clarity versus inspiration in writing wargames rules. For better or worse, it was interesting enough to inspire some thoughts of my own...

I think I agree with most of what the host, Big Lee, is saying. But I think I disagree with one of the main stated assumptions, and I disagree quite vehemently with one of the main unstated assumptions.

The stated assumption that I disagree with is that there is a fundamental tension between clarity and inspiration within wargames rules. Clear writing and explanation of the rules might well be surrounded by or interrupted with sidebars and illustrations but I don't think this is a significant hurdle to understanding the rules. Conversely, concision in rules-writing might be helpful in clearly explaining rules, or it might not. Phil Barker is a very concise and precise rules writer, although it is clear that opinions are somewhat split within the wargames community about whether WRG and DBx rules are particularly clear.  'Charge!' and 'The Wargame' and 'Black Powder' are all full of 'inspiration', aren't particularly concise but are generally pretty clear IMHO. Whereas some other rules, like Firefight! and Firepower and even some of the Polemos rules I play quite often aren't necessarily so. The old SPI-type rules might have been written in a quasi-legalistic or technical manual style, but that didn't of itself make them particularly clear.

This leads me onto the hidden assumption that I disagree with. Discussion of this within the wargames community as far back as I can remember has been dominated by discourse about language. The assumption being therefore that the problem of clarity is mainly one that can be solved by writing in a clearer way. I see this has being a distinctly secondary problem. The primary issue is that some of the concepts in some wargames can be difficult, under-defined, contradictory, or all three. In essence, these are content issues, not failures of description.

The challenge to overcome in wargames is that, compared to most boardgames, the players are free to carry out a really vast number of actions - both voluntary and involuntary - with each of the playing pieces. These actions then interact with the terrain in an equally vast number of possible configuration states.  The number one thing that a games designer can do to make a game more clear is to impose some kind of grid, because that action alone reduces the potential actions and states into something much more manageable and capable of definition. Secondly, the designer can reduce the number of independent playing pieces. This does not mean less toys on the table necessarily, but it does mean that the number of independently-moved elements determines the complexity (since each can interact with terrain and adversary elements independently). Thirdly, the designer can reduce the number of voluntary actions and places in the game's sub-systems where the player can interact with the game. IMHO designers should try and do this anyway, since it makes for better, more exciting and more realistic wargames. Next, the designer can reduce the number of involuntary actions within the game. The main reason that Polemos: Ruse de Guerre is much smoother than its stable-mates is that the author really stripped out a lot of the involuntary actions within the game. This eliminated lots of potentially awkward interactions between elements, and between elements and terrain.  In similar vein, Mike Whitaker on Meeples & Miniatures once noted  the game-breaking way multiple independent special rules, all of which make individual sense, can interact. Lastly, the designer can carefully design and define how terrain should be set-up in a game and how elements should interact with them. This is especially true where there are exaggerated features compared to the ground scale.  
Incidentally I don't think that long lists of factors are unclear per se: it isn't that the factors themselves are complex  but indirectly they create exploding numbers of tactical optimization pathways, which in turn also create huge calibration issues, especially in historical wargames.

I don't want to imply by any of the above that clear language isn't important at all, it is. But I don't think it is the most important element at all. Clarity  and opacity are created by design choices as much as by language choices.

Now, I think that a separate issue  is the apparent ease of learning a given set of rules. For me, this is only very partially related to the fundamental clarity of a ruleset, because ease of learning is (negatively) related to the number of novel concepts that I have to learn, the complexity of the language and the way they are presented, whereas fundamental clarity is related to once a player has worked out what the sentence means, is it clear? So quite unclear rules can actually be easy to learn because the unclear bits aren't necessarily going to surface straight away, they emerge from play. Even worse, unclear rules can be thought of as clear because of the style, and the players agree, or use mind caulk, to keep playing despite the lack of clarity. 

Anyway, this is just what I think - what about you?

Friday 29 December 2023

Neil Thomas One Hour Wargames - Refighting the Scenarios

Over the last two years I have re-fought all the scenarios, 30 in total, contained in Neil Thomas' gem of a book, One Hour Wargames. Why a gem? Because Thomas has an absolute knack for simplifying but retaining the essence within wargaming, whether that be within rules or within scenarios. That isn't to say that he has necessarily divined the secret elixir of how warfare works, or the best way to represent it; rather, he divines what makes the most common wargames work and distills that.  I am going to try and learn from this scenario design and both for my original scenarios and my conversions of existing scenarios (mainly from magazines), I will try and use similar types of scenario outlines, mapping and terrain features, since they make it easy for both myself and anyone else using them to get a reasonably flavourful game, reminiscent of the source material, quickly to the table.

As well as the scenarios being great - I had played a smattering of them previously - they show, I think, an almost perfect minima of what a scenario needs to succeed. So a key part of the project was to use a very minimal collection of figures and terrain. I fitted everything into four quite small plastic boxes: one for each army, one for all the trees, and a final box for the other terrain. If I had been *really* optimizing, I might have got it down to three (both armies to fit in one box) or two (a further minimization of terrain) but I was putting in terrain for other games in the same box. 

Another part of the project was to keep costs down. I think the overall cost for all the figures you would need for this is c.£65 (at December 2023 Baccus 6mm prices). Obviously value is in the eye of the beholder but that seems to me like a pretty reasonable price.  Most of the terrain is home made or bought quite cheaply, so that wouldn't push the overall cost up too much either.  At the beginning of the project I made a list of all of the terrain I would need, and there was enough to give variety but little enough that it could all be prepared relatively easily: there are a relatively small number of hill, wood, marsh, urban and water shapes used. This also explains why I kept with the quite minimalist terrain given in the scenarios. I still wanted the games to look respectably nice, but didn't want to increase the time/effort/money costs too much by using real resources on the spectacle, past a certain minimum.  I think this would be true for all periods until the more tactical side of C20 warfare, in which case you will probably need to add a lot of scatter terrain into the mix, to break up lines-of-sight and killing zones and so on. So with very little being spent on rulesets or the scenario book either, there would definitely be no need to push past £90-100 all in.

I used two rulesets during the course of the project: Neil Thomas' Simplicity in Practice and Glenn Pearce's Polemos: Ruse de Guerre. Both gave really good games, although I enjoyed the RdG games a little more, on balance. They are a lovely streamlined set, and the mechanics of bidding for action points give lots of solo-friendly problems to solve. SiPby contrast needs, IMHO, a little work to make it work  so to speak, and doesn't have the same solo friendly qualities (as a minimum, use one of the modifications available to help sort out the melee rules). That said, for the beginner, they are probably a little more intuitive and they are great fun.

Those readers who have followed most or all of the battle reports will have picked up on certain themes that have re-occurred about the scenarios.
1.  I think that, on balance, the BLUE forces have slightly tougher assignments over the spread of the scenarios than RED forces.
2.  Scenarios which have implied 'time' factors are the ones most subject to a change of dynamics as a result of the use of different rulesets. If we think of a force consisting of x attacking a force consisting of y, a ruleset will have both a range of outcomes, a median outcome and a modal outcome, although no person alive, including the scenario and rules designers, may actually know what these are. If scenario events are expressed in terms of 'turns' then they must have a feeling for how long movement across the board takes and how long combats tend to take. The first is a relatively simple conversion - although indirectly we should probably think of command rules as additional 'movement constraint rules' and their effect is anything but simple to calculate; but the second is much harder to intuitively judge, without a lot of experience of the rules which are explicitly or implicitly in the scenario designers mind. Where this will be revealed is in how attrition-based the rules are, and how bloody the rules are. Attrition-based rules can, in theory, allow combat outcomes as quickly as shock-based rules (by setting the attrition levels high enough per turn); in practice though, attrition based rules tend to generate slower combat outcomes in game turns than those which are shock-based. As Neil Thomas' rules are heavily attrition-based, this is obviously an important factor. The rules in OHW are actually on the quicker side - as are Simplicity in Practice which I used for the first half of the game in this series - since the ability to deal attrition isn't diluted by losses; in some of Neil Thomas' rules this isn't the case, and attrition slows down as everyone takes losses. This can lead to surprisingly long games, given the simplicity of the mechanics and the small number of units compared to other games.
3.  One rough rule-of-thumb is to consider the 'actual strength points' in game terms. Rules which count individual soldiers as casualties effectively have '600' or so strength points per unit; figure-based units tend to have 10-50 strength points; Neil Thomas' rules often have units with effective strengths of between 8 and 16 strength points; Ruse de Guerre effectively has 2. Some of this strength can be rallied back of course, but even so - it points to a much quicker, more decisive game; whereas rules that have effectively 600 strength points per unit will still probably have mechanics which allow attrition at the rate of 1 of those per turn.  All of these differences have radically different implications for how many game turns combats will, or at least might, take.
4.  Allied to this is how easy it is for units to reduce the number of strength points of an enemy unit (in whatever form); rules which make it hard to remove strength points will be longer, rules which make it easy to reduce strength points will be easier. Simplicity in Practice makes it relatively easy to reduce enemy strength points, Ruse de Guerre makes it very easy.  This is basically asking how effective 'firepower' is in a given game. It is interesting to me to note that two sets which use individual losses, the Bruce Quarrie rules and the Carnage & Glory rules, are both noted as having particularly deadly artillery.
5. Also strongly related are indirect ways of reducing strength points, the most obvious way being through morale checks. The Polemos rules usually make reducing a significant percentage of an army's strength through failed morale checks relatively straightforward; and it allows for double and triple effects (i.e. to reduce strength at the unit level, formation level and army level). I believe that, although a bit quirky from time-to-time, the Polemos rules have the right here, bringing in both game uncertainty and more realism.
6. I don't think that the factors identified in 3 or 4 or 5 are easily calculable in terms of how much more or less time given changes will take, at least from human estimation alone. That they are fairly critical is obvious, however.

In theory, a scenario could express these things in terms of real times and distances. However, since so few rules really try and do a good job of trying activity to time in an historically accurate manner, this technique also has severe issues (rules would often suggest that 2 minutes of tactical activity represented 15 times as much in terms of campaign-level activity; this indicates to me there is still much work to do in solving this problem, i.e. making scenarios rules-agnostic, and vice-versa).

Anyway, those are my thoughts about it at this time.  I have really enjoyed playing through them and doing this project and as a simple but great way of doing wargaming, they seem to have succeeded very well. Many thanks to all of those who have read these posts, and even more so to those who have taken the time to comment: would love to read any more thoughts any readers may have, or any questions on any aspect of it.

Neil Thomas One Hour Wargames Scenario 30

And - it had to happen - the last scenario in Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames book: Scenario 30, aka 'Last Stand'. 

This specific scenario doesn't have a particular historical reference given, the sources of inspiration mentioned are two CS Grant scenarios (one with Stuart Asquith). In essence, the attacking force has to wipe out the defending force. The attackers can be replenished as many times as needed but they only have 15 turns to do it. Again, I am using the Polemos: Ruse de Guerre rules:


The Forces:

The British: 2 infantry bases, 1 artillery base (all Elite +1 to all firing and combat rolls)
The Franco-Spanish: 6 infantry bases, 1 artillery base, 2 dragoon bases
The British unit on the hill is in strong defensive redoubt.  This can only fit inside one unit.

The Set-Up:

The British are spread between hill, wood and town - concentration is vital, but leaving huge gaps is probably worse...

The Battle:

A French infantry brigade crosses the river - the defending British infantry are more confident in holding the woods than defending the river line

Meanwhile, the Spanish infantry brigade attacks the town, whilst the French Dragoons are in central reserve

Surprisingly, the British are coming off words as the French infantry advance towards the woods

The Spanish infantry similarly get the better of the British gunners in the town

The way is clear for the Spanish

Despite their losses, the British hold on in the woods: the French deploy, in order to bring their guns into play.  The Dragoons follow up.

The big Spanish brigade needs a couple of turns to reform in order to get into marching order

One of those strange situations: in the close-range musketry battle, both sides break each other simultaneously!

The British flee through the woods; meanwhile the rout of the lead French infantry battalion causes mass disorder in the French Left!

This leads to mass panic, as the French infantry, dragoons and gunners all flee back across the bridge!!!!!

The wider view: although the debacle on the French Left is hilarious/annoying, there is only a single British unit left in the fight...

Reserve French formations arrive and advance on the Left; the Spanish infantry makes steady progress on the Right

The Franco-Spanish prepare a three-pronges assault on the final redoubt

The assault goes in

After brief but futile resistance, the last British unit breaks

Victory to the Franco-Spanish

A wider shot.

Game Notes:

A nice game to round it all off. There was a quirk in this halfway through: the Franco-Spanish army morale actually collapsed after the collapse of the two French brigades on the Left. The scenario rules allowed all these to be replaced, but the question was whether to:
a. Count this as an actual British victory.
b. Ignore Franco-Spanish army morale.
c. Rule that the whole Franco-Spanish army needed to be replaced.
I chose 'b' as closest to the broad intent of the scenario author, but all three options are viable, I think.
Overall, I think because of the linear-scaling firepower within the rules identified in earlier battles, this one is going to be an even bigger struggle for the defenders than perhaps the author intended; it might therefore be worthwhile considering 'a' an option in the future, in order to enforce an appropriate level of difficulty and caution on the attacker. 
I hope those readers who have been following some or all of the series have enjoyed it. I hope to wrap it all up with some closing thoughts on scenarios, rules, terrain and so on tomorrow.

Figures by Baccus 6mm, buildings by Leven, bridges by Timecast (I think)