As I'm riding the 6mm bug, one of the things I've been thinking about is how to make use of my figs. In the absence of a club like I had in Toronto, and the relative disinterest of the Cub, one option is to take the trail bravely blazed by others, and play a solo game. While the social aspect of the hobby has always been a key attraction, beggars can't be choosers. With this in mind I dug about my rule sets to think through what might be an option.
|There's a long, and storied, tradition.|
My go-to rules for the 18th c., for several years now, have been Sam Mustafa's Maurice. This is, if you've not read it, a fantastic game, and one that has given me many pleasurable evenings, even when playing against my nemesis, Nicholas von Lemmingsdorf (some of his dastardly deeds are chronicled in the Sausage War posts). Maurice is, however, ill suited to solo play. Much of the charm of playing the game comes from the cards, and interaction with the opposing player - there's much scope for shenanigans and mischief, and the give-and-take of the game is key.
As such, I've been considering which of the other rules I have available for the period (such as Black Powder, and Sam's other SYW game Might and Reason), and ended up digging out the relatively recent Osprey offering of Honors of War). I picked this up soon after it's release, but other than a cursory inspection, hadn't really spent much time looking at it.
The game is, I think, a little out of my comfort zone. I've always been a little skeptical of games with rigid time / distance / figure ratios. The notion that historical units were standardized enough, moved consistently enough, that such ratios make sense always seemed a little suspect to me. I tend to favour games where such issues are abstracted; one of the reasons I like Sam Mustafa's games so much, and games with similar mechanics (like Impetus for ancients), is that rather than work on fixed scales, they deal with relationships (distances and moves in base width units, etc.). While the accuracy of such games may be hard to establish, they feel right to me, which at least for me, matters.
|British 11th (L) and 25th (R) foot.|
HoW, however, on closer examination seems to fall somewhere between fixed ratio rules and the completely abstract. They also lack a built-in "gotcha" dynamic, and, unlike M&R or Black Powder, are explicitly functional for small games (one of 4 scenarios in the book, clearly intended as a learning exercise, sports 4 units a side), which means I can use them with even the limited number of Brits and Hanoverians I've painted up.
|Again, with the turnbacks.|
The game is designed with 28mm figures in mind, and the various distances involved are scaled to units of a particular size using such figs. They are, however, workable for other scales of figure. You can see what I mean here in terms of how the rules fit in between purely abstract rules like Maurice, and "old school" fixed scale rules, in that the various ranges and move distances in the game are actually predicated off the footprint of the suggested 28mm unit. The rules handle shifts in scale by reducing firing ranges and moves based on the shrinking footprint of the "standard" unit.
This actually ends up giving me a couple of different options. My 6mm 7YW stuff is based on 60x30mm bases, two bases to a unit (a standard I adopted back in Toronto to allow for use in both M&R and Maurice). I can either use the bases independently as units for the suggested 6mm distances, or use the "double base" units and the distances suggested for 15mm figures. I'm leaning, at least for now, to the latter, although really big games might warrant the former.
I'm hoping to get in at least a small practice game this weekend, assuming I can find time after making a dent in the rather large pile of work I need to do. Even with having to look up rules on a first run through, the small intro scenario shouldn't take too long. Assuming all goes well, I'll have some sort of battle report available by early next week - the first such for historicals in some time.