Saturday, 18 September 2021

Western desert game, Horse and Musket rules, and samurai painting

I initially through I would be playing a ancient naval game this weekend to start for the 2nd Punic War campaign, but I still seem to be stuck in the Western desert messing around with One Hour Wargames rules. Or rather a variation of those rules to include gun calibre are armour thickness. I have started to type up the rules as they seem to be giving me an enjoyable game, and I am now only making a few clarification notes.

In the games played I have a unit is represented by two bases. This gives a 4 inch frontage and each base generally contains 2 or so vehicles or guns. A quick reread of the OHW rules and notes reminded me that a unit in this period represents approximately 3 tanks, guns, or 40 infantry. This lines up quite nicely with models on my bases.

The photographs below are from scenario 12 (an unfortunate oversight). Rather than having a river as described in the scenario I have replaced it with a minefield. The tabletop is 4 by 4 foot.

Italian troops are located around the buildings and old fort unaware the Allies know of another pathway through the minefield.

The Italian react quickly and engage the Allied forces. A tank engagement quickly started and was eventually won by the Allies. The one unit of Grants proved very useful against the lighter armour of the Italian M13's.

A weakened Allied force is able to hold the objective hilltop.

A quick note the D3 Horse and Musket rules I used in an AWI game a couple of posts ago. They are a variant of OHW rules but use D3 dice for hits and have an activation rule. These are now written up as a page (see above). Included on the page is also has a link to a PDF of the rules. I will be revisiting these rules at some point to add rules for regular infantry to charge.

Finally, painting of my samurai armies is progressing at a steady pace. Below are a selection of photographs of the units completed so far. Foot units are made up of two bases so I can mix and match arquebus and pike, bow and pike, or have a unit made up of just bow or arquebus. Mounted units are on a larger base and are treated as a full unit. I look to be about halfway through paining judging by all the available models.

A unit of arquebus and pike

A range of model from Minifigs, Minifigs S-Range, and Dixon.

Bow and pike unit.

All the figures are simply painted with a gloss finish.

Mounted samurai and their retainers following on foot.

Hight wise there is not much difference between the ranges, but some figures are definitely more chunky.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

The post arrived today

The post here in Melbourne has been a tad on the slow side with lots of delays, and I have been waiting for the arrival of a recent secondhand purchase of "Scenarios For All Ages" by CS Grant and SA Asquith. Well, it arrived today a month after it was ordered. After a quick flick through this evening I am most happy with my purchase.

A recent purchase arrives.

On the tabletop I have set up my Western Desert units for a few quick games using a variation of the One Hour Wargames rules. I am trying to factor in both gun caliber and tank armour in the rule variation, and I seem to be edging closer with each game to some rules which work for me. Here are some photographs from one of the game where each unit is made up on two bases.

Allied tanks advance.

An Italian infantry unit takes up a defensive position in some rough ground.

Units are eliminated after taking 3 hits. This Italian armoured car unit has taken one hit.

Once I have finished playing around with the rules. I am hoping to get back to my 2nd Punic War campaign.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

A quick AWI Game

This afternoon I was able to set up and play a quick American War of Independence game using scenario 8 (Melee) from the One Hour Wargames book. A small American force holds a hill and the British are making a surprise attack. The objective is to capture or hold the hill. Both forces have units arriving during the game.

For this game I am using two bases to represent a unit. The majority of units are made up of Peter Laing 15mm figures.

Opening moves as the British arrive.

For the rules I am using a variation of One Hour Wargames Horse and Musket rules by Neil Thomas. The rules use D3 dice to determine hits rather than D6 and minus 1 instead of halving the hits. Units are eliminated after 9 hits. I also use a simple activation system to create increasing friction as units take hits. Units have to check to activate when attempting a move or shooting. 2D6 are rolled, if the score is greater than the unit’s accumulated hits, the unit is activated to move or shoot.

Page 1

Page 2

The British plan is to move swiftly down the road to block any reserves arriving down the road and attack the hill around the woods to avoid the American artillery position on the hill.

British move down the road and are faced by American reinforcements arriving to support the hilltop position.

British light infantry have occupied the woods and are engaging the hilltop defenders. While more British troops arrive.

British artillery engage their counterparts on the hilltop.

The last arriving American units are quickly engaged in the battle. A skirmish unit makes it way to the hilltop where the units are under pressure from artillery and shooting from the woods. 

Both sides are suffering losses and the American forces are tenuously hanging on to the hilltop. 

The hilltop is cleared but the British forces are weakened and are not well positioned to take advantage.

By game's end both forces are able to get a unit to occupy the hilltop. A drawn game.

The activity check rule worked well, causing a few problems as the game progressed and units accumulated hits. I will be keeping the activation rules for another game.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Samurai arquebus units painted and some Sci-Fi games

This week a few samurai arquebus units left the painting table. They were a mix of MINIFIGS S-Range and a few Dixon figures. The Dixon figures I bought some 40 years ago and they have been sitting in a box since then. They are slightly taller, only a fraction taller, but they are a lot chunkier. I have kept them on a single base with a standard bearer, which is a MINIFIGS figure but from a later range.

Painted arquebus units. The far base is of the Dixon figures.

On the tabletop the size difference is not particularly noticeable until you get to look closer (see photograph below). I am not too fussed about the size difference and will be including the 30-40 or so Dixon miniatures I have discovered in the armies

A closer view of the size difference.

On the gaming front some of my Warhammer 40K figures made it to the tabletop for a couple of small games. The games were to test out some rules using chance cards to mix things up and also to test out an approach for combat, both shooting and melee, where you look at the advantages and disadvantages of the attacking unit verses the defending unit. Adding the advantages of the attacking unit and then adding advantages for the defending unit. For example:
  • Shooting at close range (attacker advantage)
  • Shooting at long range (defender advantage)
  • Target in cover (defender advantage)
  • Blast weapons (attacker advantage)
  • Armoured vehicles and heavy armour (defender two advantages)
  • Fully armoured infantry (defender advantages)
A unit with two blast weapons would get two advantages.

Once all the advantages have been determined for each unit. If the attacker has more advantages to those of the target unit, then they have an advantage in combat and dice (D6+2). If the target unit has more advantages, then the attacker is at a disadvantage in combat and dice (D6-2). If the advantages between attacker and target unit are the same, then the attack is made with neither advantage or disadvantage and dice (D6).

The size of the advantage, or disadvantage, does not really matter and is ignored. You either have an advantage, disadvantage or neither. As for rapid fire weapons, they are allowed to re-roll their D6 if they want to improve their effect, but must accept the second score.

A few more games will be required to see if the rule ideas work out or the notes get put aside for a later date.

Orks defending a hill against space marines

Ork reserves arrive

Chance cards getting made up for the games

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Some more samurai figures painted

Here are a few photographs of progress on my samurai project. I have started painting the second clan, for which I am using a combination of browns and reds for their uniform. The clans I am painting are imaginary ones and are being painted either with blues and greys or with red and browns. They have been named (using Google Translate):

  • Aoi nuno - Blue cloth clan
  • Akai nuno - Red cloth clan

All figures in the picture are from the Minifigs samurai ranges. The front rows of ashiguru pikemen and bowman are from the S range, which were purchased secondhand about 12 plus months ago.The samurai in the second are I believe a later range which are a lot more chunkier. I purchased the samurai back in the late 1970’s.

I'm just doing the block painting of these figures and keeping detail to a minimum as I am going for a glossy toy soldier look, and the simple style of figure seems to suit this approach.

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Ancient campaign - Vigiliae 215 BC Battle Report

One thing I forgot to cover in my previous post about the setup of this game was the order of battle. The make up of units is determined by a table and a dice roll (see here) and Cartage must choose one Gaul unit as an alternative to heavy infantry. The limit of seven units is because I am continuing to use 3 base units which give a unit frontage of 12 inches. I have continued using larger units for two reasons: 1) I like the look, and 2) they make the units quite unwieldy on the tabletop unless they are moving forward or retiring backwards.


  • Hannibal exceptional commander
  • 1 x Warband (Gauls)
  • 3 x Heavy Infantry
  • 1 x Light Cavalry
  • 1 x Heavy Cavalry
  • 1 x Light Infantry


  • 2 x Light Infantry
  • 4 x Heavy Infantry
  • 1 x Heavy Cavalry
The Roman commander has deployed his heavy infantry on the large centre hill and pushed forward his light infantry and cavalry to cover the flanks and centre. The Carthaginians and Hannibal have extended their lines in the hope of outflanking their opposition.

Deployed Armies with the Romans nearest. All units have 3 bases.

The Romans have the opportunity to move first because they began deploying their units first (see previous post). They take this opportunity to move their cavalry onto a small hill on their left flank. Carthage charges forward with their Gauls and heavy cavalry on the opposite flank near the town. An initiative chance card allows for a swift advance and Roman light infantry are caught up in a melee and are quickly eliminated. The Roman commander moves one heavy infantry unit from the hill to counter the threat from the Gauls.

The opening moves as both sides pushed forward on opposite flanks. An early melee occurs in the centre between Rome's light infantry and Carthage's heavy infantry.

Roman light infantry are quickly eliminated as Carthaginian units advance.

Fate, or the chance cards, were being very fickle to the Romans who were drawing confusion cards and no rally cards. Lots of rally cards would hopefully appear soon, but you cannot rally eliminated units. They have lost their light infantry and heavy cavalry, which had eventually succumbed to an attacking combination of light cavalry supported by light infantry. Not that luck had gone all Carthage's way. They had lost their Gauls and were making heavy work of it in the centre.

The Roman centre is holding firm, but the Carthaginians have been able to secure both flanks.

The Carthaginians using their flanking and numbers advantage pin Roman units with a frontal attack and have a second unit attack the flanks. Responding to this remaining Roman heavy infantry on their large hill reposition their forces for the next wave of Carthaginian attacks.

Roman forces pullback to defend the large hill and Carthaginian units reorganise.

Even with rally chance cards being quite plentiful for Rome in the latter part of the game to reduce their hits. The Carthaginian numbers and flanking units were able to concentrate and slowly pick off the remaining Roman units. 

A victory to Carthage.

Carthaginians attack on all sides and Roman forces are eventually defeated.

This loss in Southern Italy does not bode well for Rome's future. They will desperately need a win in this region during the next campaign turn, otherwise they will not have the ability to recruit as Carthage's control increases.

Campaign map at the end of turn 2.

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Ancient campaign turn 2 game 2 - Battle of Vigiliae 215 BC

The second campaign battle of turn 2 has Hannibal in Southern Italy with a couple of armies facing three Roman armies. This post is just covering the set up of the game, and the game report will follow once the imaginary Battle of Vigiliae 215 BC gets to be played. 

Roman armies prepare for battle.

The campaign map - the area of focus is Southern Italy where Hannibal has two armies vs. Rome's three armies.

The tabletop layout was determined by terrain cards. Four terrain features were randomly picked and added to four blank cards. These were then shuffled and six cards placed to represent a 6x4 foot tabletop. If there is no opposing feature on the flank sides, then the feature is moved to the middle. 

Terrain cards are revealed.

The flanks did not have opposing features and the features will be positioned equal distance from each table base edge. This approach of centring does not apply to the centre, even when there is no opposing feature.

The tabletop is setup. I have added some rocks to the hills so they stand out in the photos.

A coin flip gave Rome the option of choosing sides. They picked the side with the large centre hill. While Carthage won the deployment flip and opted for the Roman commander to begin deployment. The deployment rules can be found here.

The first lines are deployed.

Second line deployment.

Third line deployment. (Hannibal is with his heavy cavalry top right.)

The final step was to prepare the chance card decks for each army. I began with the standard deck for each army. There are slight differences between decks for "initiative", "rally", "confusion", and "no ammo" cards (see first photo). These then get adjusted for the campaign situation. For Rome they get two additional "Rally" cards replacing two "no event" cards for having two additional armies in the region. 

Carthage gets one additional "Rally" cards replacing a "no event" card for having one additional army in the region. They also have an exceptional leader in Hannibal and will replace a "confusion" card with an "initiative" card. 

Note - while the campaign only has exceptional leaders. In a game with good leaders one "initiative" card would replace a "no effect" card.

Basic chance card setup Carthage is blue and Rome is red.

The chance cards after adjusting for armies and exceptional leaders.

The game is now setup, and I now need to spend some time out in the garden to reduce the number of weeds. All being well I will find some time later to play the game.

All set for a game.

Thursday, 19 August 2021

A Medieval Game and Rules

This past weekend I decided to move some of my terrain from one of the draws under my tabletop to a plastic container to free up some space for my old medieval Minifigs collection, which were hidden away in some boxes. Somewhere in this process I decided quite naturally to set up a quick game. For inspiration a quick glance through "Wargaming Ancient and Medieval Period" by Donald Featherstone sound the Battle of Morlaix, 1342. 

Provided inspiration for the game.

The battle has a small English force of 3000 defending a position in front of a ditch against a 15,000 to 20,000 strong French relief force which had arrived to lift the siege of Morlaix. The English were in a strong defensive position in front of a ditch. After successfully repelling multiple French attacks, the English force commanded by the Earl of Northampton made a tactical withdraw through the woods. Using the advice within the book as a guide I setup the tabletop (4 x 4 foot) and army deployment.

The tabletop setup has a shallow valley between the deployed armies. The stream has no  effect on movement, it is there more to show where the valley.

The order of battle for the English army:
  • 1 unit of man at arms (dismounted)
  • 2 units of long bowmen
These are positioned in front of a wood along a rise. To represent the ditch the English archers are positioned behind stakes. The French order of battle has:
  • 2 units of levies
  • 2 units of mounted men at arms
  • 2 units of men at arms (dismounted)
This does not represent all the French army, but if the English can hold their position against double their number they can then make a tactical withdrawal through the woods. The French attack was constrained by the following rules:
  1. Attacks had to be made in the following order - levies, mounted men at arms, and foot men at arms.
  2. The following line could not attack until the previous line had been eliminated.
  3. Men at arms, mounted and foot, had to first engage in melee the English men at arms before they can engage the bowmen. (A matter of position and honour.)
A few photographs of the game as it progressed...

The French levies advance upon the English line who quickly let loose their arrows.

The levies were repulsed and the mounted men at arms charge ahead, although one unit become disordered from shooting. 

The last French line of dismounted men at arms advances

Bowmen leave their positions to joint the fight.

The English see off the last line of attack before withdrawing.

The rules used for this game...

D3 Medieval Wargame Rules

These home-brew rules started out as a variant of Neil Thomas’ One-Hour Wargames Medieval rules. They have been changed to use D3 for combat, and 2D6 dice for checking disorder, and a D6 for unit movement.

Units Types

The game has the following units types:

  • Levies
  • Knights (mounted Men at Arms)
  • Men at Arms
  • Longbows
  • Crossbows

The units are consistently based. I am using two 4x3 inch bases to represent a unit.

Sequence of play

Each player takes a turn to move, shoot and melee with their units in the following sequence:

  1. Movement
  2. Shooting
  3. Melee
  4. Disorder and elimination

The game ends after 15 turns.


During the movement phase a player can attempt to move their units. Dice must be rolled to determine if a unit can move. The D6 score required is dependent upon the order number of the unit being moved.

  • 1st Unit requires 2+
  • 2nd unit requires 3+
  • 3rd unit requires 4+
  • 4th unit requires 5+
  • 5th unit requires 6+

When failing to achieve the required score, all movement must stop. A maximum of 5 units can move during a player’s turn.

Units may move up to the distances listed below:

  • Levies, Longbows, Crossbows, and Men at Arms move 6”
  • Knights move 12”

Units may pivot at the start and end of their move.

Units may not pass through other friendly units.

Units that have moved or pivoted may not shoot or engage in melee.

Units may move into contact with enemy units with the following constraints:

When charging a unit may not pivot during their move. They must move straight ahead.

Only one attacking unit can contact each side of an enemy unit (front, left flank, right flank, and rear)

Combat is resolved in the melee phase

Units that are disordered cannot move.


Terrain has an impact on a unit’s movement and combat.

  1. Woods - Impassable to units
  2. Towns - Impassable to units unless on a road
  3. Marshland and lakes - Impassable to units
  4. Rivers - Can only be crossed at bridges and fords
  5. Roads - Units moving all their move on roads increase their move distance by 50 percent.


Only longbow and crossbow units can shoot. The procedure for shooting is as follows:

  • Units may only shoot at a target within their frontal facing.
  • Crossbow units have a range of 12” and Longbow units have a range of 18”.
  • Assess the number of hits for Crossbows rolling a D3+1 and Longbows roll D3.
  • -1 if the target unit is Men at Arms (dismounted).
  • -1 if the shooting unit is disordered.

Units in combat cannot be shot at.


Units only inflict hits during their own player turn. The procedure for determining the number of hits is as follows:

  • Longbow and Crossbow units - D3-1
  • Knights - D3+1
  • Levies and Men at Arms - D3

Modify the score for the following:

  • -1 from hits for attacks on Men at Arms.
  • +1 If attacking from a flank or rear.
  • -1 where units are defending river crossings or have deployed wooden stakes.
  • -1 if the attacking unit is disordered.

Units are allowed to face an attack upon their flank or rear, only if they are not already being engaged frontally.

Disorder and Elimination

Units are eliminated after taking more than 8 hits and are removed from play.

When a unit has taken hits during a turn check to see if they become disordered. Roll 2D6, if the score is not greater than the number of hits taken by a unit, then the unit is disordered for their next turn. Disordered units cannot move during their turn and -1 from any shooting or melee hit scores.

A unit is only disorderd for one turn, unless they become disordered again.