Saturday, 27 August 2016

Computer Assisted One Hour Wargaming

I am slowly painting my Hundred Years War 25mm Minifies, it is taking longer than I thought. I am approximately 20% of they way through. I was hoping to complete 2 units per week, but it's looking more like 3 units per 2 weeks.

7 HYW units painted to date - slow and steady
I may well pause the progress to rebase my old American Civil War 15mm Minifigs which I dragged out of their boxes for a quick One Hour Wargame (OHW). This is their first game in a long, long while, having been in their boxes for some 26 years.

What prompted their unpacking after all these years? It was a desire to tryout the OHW ACW rules using a spreadsheet to calculate hits and track a units status, without showing me the status other than when they had to retire. As a solo player not knowing a units status, other than it has been engaged in combat for a certain number of time, helps create a level of suspense with not knowing whether the next combat will cause it to retire. I should point out here units don't get eliminated when their 15 points are lost (why becomes clear later on).

So to the spreadsheet and the computer assisted bit of this post. I use Apple Numbers but this can also be done with Microsoft's Excel. Each unit is recorded on 4 columns over 10 rows (see picture below).

Spreadsheet showing all cells

So taking Red Unit 1:

  • Column  B rows 1-9 have the formula RANDBETWEEN(1,6) where a random number between 1 and 6 is generated each time the spreadsheet is updated.
  • Column C rows 1-9 is entered for each attack. For a D6 attack 1 is entered, 1.3 for a D6+2 attack and 0.7 for a D6-2 attack. Not totally precise but good enough for my game.
  • Column D rows 1-9 is normally set to 1 for each attack and changed to 0.5 if the unit is in cover.
  • Column E rows 1-9 is calculated by multiplying the column values in the row, BxCxD to get the total hit for an attack. Rows 1-9 are totalled using the SUM formula in row 10.
  • Column C row 10 uses the formula IF(E10>15,"Rout",).

The above spreadsheet cells are then repeated for each unit involved in the game and columns containing random numbers and hits are hidden and cannot be seen (see below).

A view at the end of the game
To test the spreadsheet I selected the scenario "pitched battle 2" from One Hour Wargames. The game was played on a 3 by 3 foot surface with 6 inch grid.  This allows most of the movement rules to be applied except for Zouave units which move as normal infantry.

The other rule difference was units were not eliminated, but instead are forced to retire on their movement phase if the spreadsheet showed them as routed. Because of the way random numbers are regenerated each time a new attack is entered into the spreadsheet, means that some units which were previously routed could revert back to normal as a lower set of random numbers have been generated. I treated these units as regrouping and able to move or shoot until routed again.

Union army composition:
  • 4 x Infantry
  • 1 x Artillery
  • 1 x Cavalry
Confederate army composition:
  • 2 x Cavalry
  • 1 x Zouave
  • 3 x Infantry
First moves - the dice behind each unit is for identification
Mid game
Game end - a draw
I am in two minds about using a computer with my wargaming. I found a lack of interaction with the game odd as there was no rolling of dice. Obviously something I enjoy. This could be me just getting used to gaming with a computer to assist. Overall game was no slower than normal and I was still moving the models. The uncertainty of not knowing the number of hits did add to the game's enjoyment. There is a question in my mind as to whether it would work as well for a game with more than 6 units per side. It could get a bit cumbersome.


  1. Good to see your chipping away at two Projects- the 100YW Minifigs are coming along nicely with the painting and like your ACW 15mm Armies- do you have Artillery for the Union and Confederates Peter? Regards. KEV.

    1. Hi KEV - I unpacked them all and found I can make up for each side 12 infantry (24 figures), 2 cavalry (8 figures) and 4 artillery (2 guns). The rebasing will not be easy as they were well and truly fixed to their bases, flocked and then varnished. Getting the bases removed may end up with some damages. Regards, Peter