This weekend I decided it was time to have a medieval wargame with my old collection of MiniFigs. It seems like it has been a while since these miniatures have graced the tabletop.
|A flank attack scenario from One-Hours Wargames is set up.
|Minifig cavalry on the charge pay no heed to their hypothetical colour schemes.
Over the past year or so, I've tried various activation systems with my medieval games, where units roll dice to determine if they can activate. The required score varied depending on the number of hits they have taken. This system has worked well using a variation of One-Hour Wargames rules where the games have 6 to 8 units per side. However, this weekend, I wanted to organise the armies into 3-4 commanded groups or "battles” made up of different troop types, which would require a different activation approach.
In recent remote games with Jon of Palouse Wargaming Journal, he uses rules that will often use a dice pull activation system. Where each commander and their associated units are activated when their army's coloured die is drawn from a bag. The turn ends when all dice are drawn. At the start of each turn, the number of colored dice placed in the bag corresponds to the number of commanders in an army. The number of dice used are reduced as commanded groups are eliminated during the game. I enjoyed this activation approach because it creates a level of suspense and encourages decision-making as players try to determine which units to activate first to gain an advantage or hopefully momentum if they successfully drawn twice.
When applying the dice draw activation method in my medieval game, for example, an English army consisting of three "battles" and a commanded group of bowmen would have four red dice placed in the dice bag. While a French army with three "battles" only would only have three white dice placed in the dice bag.
Over the weekend, I tested this activation method in one game and for the following game introduced a variation by incorporating a single green die. When drawn, this green die immediately concluded the game turn. To accommodate the possibility of an early turn end, I modified the combat rules from one-sided melees to simultaneous melees, otherwise some units in melee would not have to opportunity to fight back.
|A second game is set up.
Out of the two activation methods, I am favouring the approach that allows all units to activate. One reason for my preference is the scenario where a group of knights initiate a charge towards the enemy army but are forced to abruptly halt due to the green die being drawn in the next turn, leaving them paused mid-charge. I find there are enough challenges with the dice draw allowing the opposing army to a cause interruptions to the best laid plans.
|Another close up of a the 1970’s painting style - one figure seems to be wearing a kaftan!
Over this week I will be hopefully playing a few more test games in the evenings before updating my home brew rules with my scribbled notes.