Wednesday, 16 November 2016

One Hour Wargames - A campaign of sorts?

Listening to my good buddy Neil on last night's paint and chat, he was describing how he is building up a couple of small armies to play the thirty scenarios in 'One Hour Wargames' by Neil Thomas.

The rules are very simple, possibly a little too simple, but as the author points out, these games are designed to be fought in an hour, so simplicity is the key. All that is required is a board measuring 3 x 3 feet and a maximum of six units per side, the composition of which will change from scenario to scenario.

The author suggests bases of about six inches wide for infantry and cavalry, Artillery on bases half that size. The amount of figures on each base is irrelevant and can be as many or as few, as the gamer has in his collection. So battles can easily be fought on a small table, even in 28 mm scale.

My small gaming table has the adequate length, but alas, is about six inches short in width. However, as I will be using 6 mm American Civil War figures, conveniently based at 6 cm for infantry and cavalry, plus three cm for artillery, I simply scaled the playing area to fit. I will be using centimetres as opposed to inches. I have even found a solid, square cushion, which is almost the correct size, the few extra centimetres are fine.

Scenario 1 in the book is a simple pitched battle on an equally simple playing area.

Symmetrical playing area, not my favourite, but it does get better as the scenarios progress.

Taking a couple of trusty face towels, the hills are placed on to the cushion.

Looks good enough to me.

Cover it with a suitably sized, green hand towel and the table is good to go.

Hills either side with a valley between.

Next up, select the forces that will be doing battle. The author provides these tables, for selecting armies with six, four or three units. I have chosen to go with six units.

A blue die (Union) and a red die (Confederate) are rolled to decide the make up of each force.

The Union brigade is made up of a single unit of Zouaves, four of infantry and one of cavalry.

The Confederates have three infantry, two artillery and also a unit of cavalry. The dismounted cavalry and horse holder bases are not part of the forces and are just there for when, and if, the cavalry dismount.

So we have two completely different force compositions to do battle, I plonked a couple of trees on the battlefield, though it still looks rather sparse.

Finally, the roll to see who deploys and moves first. The Union brigade will have that honour.

So I can now get on with the battle, have fun for an hour and then move onto the next scenario right?

Well... wrong actually.

Those of you who have been following my blogs or have heard me jabbering away on Tabletop Commanders chats, will know that I love a back story, creating the characters who inhabit it and of course writing an accompanying narrative. I intend to do that with these scenarios, attempting to link them into some type of abstract campaign game. It will in no way mirror the actual events of the American Civil War, the locations and characters, for the most part, will be totally fictional.

Don't be surprised if your name crops up during this campaign, you could end up being high ranking general or just a lowly private soldier. You may have a glorious, victorious future ahead, or you may take a mini ball in the head on your first outing. Who knows?

The table is set for Scenario One, it will go down in our history as the Battle of Two Brothers, a reference to the hills dominating the battlefield. The Union and Confederate brigades will be commanded by Brigadier Generals Brown and Moulden respectively, but more of that in the next post...

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