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    Avatar photoShaun Travers

    This story is a big long but I just has to get it out. It has a happy ending so if you are uninterested in the long story of gamer’s journey to 5Core, just skip to the last paragraph.

    So i read about Five Men in Normandy when it came out and bought it. It came out while I had just been playing around with my skirmish rules that are loosely base don NUTS!. I read through them and liked the ideas (particularly handling cover and the 1/6 thing, but the thing that kept me form playing was a) there are so many rules out there I also wanted to try and b) i just could not get over the lack of large differentiation in morale (although I realise you can something similar with skills and get where Ivan is coming from, it was hard just coming from NUTS! and also my own other rules not to do the differentiation). I still did a QRS for them anyway, as I thought I may play them. While doing the QRS, I also realised the rules are not as simple as I thought, but still seemed like they would be great to play. The vehicle rules come out and again, I gt simplifying as it is all close range, but I like a bit more detail.

    So then 5Core skirmish comes out, and I actually setup a game to play them out using some old Ral Partha 15mm models (when I say old, they have never been used and I remember my friend getting them in about 1985-ish before giving them to me in about 1988. After nearly 12 months of the game being setup, I put it away. It was a combo of science fiction when i seemed to be just doing WW2 and the lack of morale that did me in again! I wrote a QRS though. Creating a QRS is a extremely good way to get familiar with the rules, at least the content.

    And 5Core Company Command comes out. Woo-hoo – just the scale I have been looking for to use with my 6mm bases. But the vehicles rules are not detailed enough for me. i think about using my guns 1-6 rating Vs armour 1-6 rating and use the difference to figure out the damage using the Threateing/overkill etc shot. But never get around to it. I end up reverting back to my own rules, continually being revised to play a couple of 6mm games over a year.

    Meanwhile, internet mate Just Jack is going crazy and played and posted hundreds (OK, seems like 100s but likely only 100) AARs using the 5Core engine. And meanwhile I have not even tested the rules out once.
    And then out comes Five Men at Kursk. I love the new/revised activation system. I am less enamored with the added detail but I can ignore those and just go back to the Five Men in Normandy stuff. And it has a more detailed armour system with guns 1-5 and armour 1-5 and use the difference to work out damage. Woo-hoo! But I am focused on other projects and and so no Five Men at Kursk. I forget these rules even exist and give my own skirmish rules a revision and a playtest to see how they would go before possibly playing them with my 7 year old son (who is keen on co-op games).

    After playing a 20mm game with my children using simple rules in July, I realise they do not like die modifiers (yes, die for a single cube, dice for more than one, call me antipodean). I remember about 5Core. I find there is a third edition of 5Core that is enough of an update to the 2nd edition i have that i buy it. And what a treat it is! I immediately create a QRS (no vehicles though) and add the activation system from Five Men in Kursk. I also add in another rule from 5MiK (4 figures within 6″ can move together), Add in the leader die rules from 5miN and a couple of the playstyle options I like (moving fire limited to within 12″, soft cover fired at with 1S). Take the 1d20 random events from 5MiN (but change the ones that happen to the enemy so all random events are for the activating side). This QRS must have taken at least 4 hours (over about 2 weeks) to create to ensure I had the rules. I then had a spare hour or two so I set up a 2″x2″ table with some random terrain, picked a reduced British section to attack and 5 Germans to defend and set about playing a game…

    ..and finished an hour later thinking i did not enjoy it very much at all. It was all so clunky and I was expecting something smoother from what I had read. I lay in bed that night mulling it over. I must have been doing something wrong. Firstly, I had set myself up for failure by using no markers. Hey, there is only a few guys on each side, I can remember what the status is of them. Hah! What was i thinking? Not only do you have the damage status of Scared, Paniced and Knocked Down but the really important “fired” (important to determine reactions) and hiding (or not). The latter really important to see if you can see the enemy, and also if you have to move to fire. i also realised I had been using the whole hiding/peeking thing way to much – figures were constantly hiding/peeking but in reality they hide when not wanted to be fired at, and can peek prior to firing (not quite that simple but I was way overthinking the mechanism – it is so simple and i was trying to use it the most complex way possible). I was also retreating figures when they were Scared and in cover, and not allowing Scared figures to fire. It was frustrating, and re-reading my QRS it states very clearly that they do not retreat while in coverf, and can fire when scared! Lastly I had expected, and was trying to play, reaction fire to be more like reaction fire in NUTS! etc. (due to my recent Two Hour Wargames rules playing), but it acts more like opportunity fire (as the figure reacting cannot have fired last turn). With so many rookie mistakes, I was determined to give it another go ASAP, which was the next day (Sunday). The board was still setup, and the figures still out. So I set them up in the same spot and played again …

    …what an elegant system. Each ruleset has a cadence to it and I did not discover it in the first game but got right into it in the second. It just felt right. The rules disappear and on your side you activate, move/fire/rally a few figures (the choices, oh the choices this brings!) and then to the other side. Great stuff. I still think morale should be better defined and 5MaK has a great detailed fire discipline etc, but I think I would just use a couple of features from all the tables to have green (e.g. cannot recover before a FireFight), regulars (normal) and vets (e.g. Panicked auto recover to Scared). And I would likely split the level 5 vehicles into level 5 and 6, and same with guns. All of this is really minor. i am also tempted to forget tracking who fired last and just allow Snap fire and can Guard fire if you roll a 1 or 6. I get the tactics with firing or not for reactions but that is me just being lazy and only wanting a couple of different markers to use. I now want to play 5Core Company Command with my 6mm stuff. I know 5Core Company Command is being revised – i have the latest and think I can see where a lot of it is going. as an end note I would like to thank Ivan for such an innovative and elegant set as 5Core and I can see me playing this more in the future. Company 6mm is more my speed than skirmish, and I will try not to write so much when I get around to playing it 🙂

    Avatar photokyoteblue

    WooHoo !!!!

    Avatar photoJust Jack


    Well, no kidding, it’s about time!!!  But you went and said all that, but didn’t post a damn batrep!!??  For shame…

    In any case, your experience mirrors mine.  The first time (couple, actually) I played I thought Ivan was a @#$% weirdo (still do, for the record).  I hated the rules, and was convinced the only way they would work is if I changed a million things.  So I did, played again, and like it even less.  By this time Ivan and I were chatting via e-mail and so I went back and tried the rules again, as written.  The rest, as they say, is history.

    You summed it up perfectly with “…the rules disappear…”  For me, you play without even thinking about the rules.  Once you’ve committed the extraordinarily simple activation process to memory, everything else is simply focused on the tactical decision making for the fight, and there are a million decisions to be made each game, which, to me, is the point, and fun, of gaming.  Every game you’re put in a bind; do you activate them to rally, or move over there and fire?  Maybe I should just have them sprint up there to try to get into close combat next turn, and I can use this MG to shoot them in.  It’s beautiful, and eminently modifiable to get just what you’re looking for out of each fight.

    Having played, now you’ll understand some of my mods to tailor it.  For example, in “The Last Fifty Yards,” where I figure things are a bit slower, I use the straight up activation from Five Men In Normandy.  For the skirmishing in Cronistria, which I figured to be a bit quicker in pace, I used Five Men at Kursk.  For the hyper-intense fights of Royal Marines in Afghanistan, I used 5MAK, but each man could activate each turn AND each man could react each turn.  Rod made some comments regarding the Royal Marines outclassing the Taliban in proficiency and that I should therefore put a lot more Taliban on the board.  The issue became, how do you do that without unbalancing the fight, where the Royal Marines simply get swamped?  How about using 5MAK activation (modified, where each Royal Marine can act and react each turn), and use 5MIN activation for the Taliban (and they can either act or react each turn)?  Sounds good to me; I haven’t tried it yet, but with my familiarity with the rules I can’t see it not working.

    Same goes for everything else.  I went Cold War with Team Whiskey, came up with off-board arty (as a feature, not a sideshow), fixed-wing and rotary air support, wire guided anti-tank missiles, etc…  It’s all do-able.  For vehicles I simply mess with Kill and Shock dice.  I always work from a medium; if you call a Sherman tank and a Panzer IV roughly equal in mobility, armor, and armor penetration, you go 1K 1S when they shoot at each other (adding 1K 1S if flank/rear), and just adjust from there.  Sherman vs Tiger, 0K 1S from front.  Tiger at Sherman, 3K 4S from front.  The way I differentiate a Sherman shooting at a Tiger and Panther: vs both from front is 0K 1S, but flank/rear on Tiger is 1K 1S, flank/rear on Panther is 2K 2S.

    I’ve done other stuff for armor engagements as well.  If a tank sits in one spot, the next time the same tank fires at it that tank is +1K 1S (firing on a stationary target for a second time).  If you shoot at a tank and completely miss (no effect from Kill or Shock dice), they get to return fire for free (use normal Kill/Shock dice, but it doesn’t count as an action/reaction).  I typically let ‘left over’ Kill/Shock results spill over; so you fire 2K 2S at an enemy tank with two other tanks next to him.  You get two kills and one hunker; I’ve played it that the target is killed, the tank next to it was killed by secondary explosions from the first, and the third tank was forced to fall back and hunker (this is assuming the target tanks were in the open).

    In any case, I’m glad to hear you played, and even gladder to hear you liked them.  Now hurry up and post some batreps!  I regrettably must state I didn’t get any games in this past weekend as we were swamped with birthday festivities for my now 7-year old gaming partner 😉


    Avatar photoRetroboom

    It’s a brilliant design, I’ll say it.

    Richmond, VA. Let's play!

    Avatar photoShaun Travers

    Thanks Jack,

    I agree that the mechanisms are very malleable without being able to break them.    I did forget to mention I played on 2’x’2’ with less than 10 figures a side. 3’x3’ with a few more figures (or even the same amount) would be very different with a lot more manouevering and possibly more reactions happening than what I had.  But then, I am preaching to someone that has done both scales and note that 2’x2’ seems to be your preference (More action straight away! Fast and furious!).  And I agree. 3’x3’ is more than twice the area of 2’x2’.  I have no idea what I would do with that much space to move around on!

    I vaguely do remember some of the mods you made and it made sense at the time.  The 1K1S base and the activation base  is the easy bit, my first games was riddled with grappling with the whole hide/peek, scared/not scared and “what is this reaction thing anyway?”

    I am not sure how well it plays for co-op play, which is what I would like to do with my son.  I did actually try using PEFs for the first game (i.e. 3 PEFs on the table at the start) but the activation mechanism is not suited out of the box to it and I replaced the PEFs with figures on the 2<sup>nd</sup> turn. It would need me to spend a little while thinking it out.  Would not be hard but I have other things to do with 10 minutes spare!   Of course, I am thinking instead how to add a NUTS type reaction system on top of the core mechanisms to make co-op play really easy.  This could be very easy as you just turn reactions into NUTS! Type reactions – Snap is like a charge test, Guard fire is a like fired on or in sight test. But no going back and forth, just a single exchange.

    I also miss some morale rules – when will they all run away? (individuals running away to me is the knocked down or retreating off the table) but that is not a hard thing to incorporate.

    Amour I am quite happy with the latest 5Core stuff – I think everyone starts with the Sherman/PanzerIV comparison!  I do when writing my own rules.  Like you, I would treat the Sherman, gun 3 Vs PanzerIV armour 3 as 1K 1S (or more likely 2K 1S as per 5MaK) and would out everything else from there.  5MaK works this way and so would just use that. And I think the extra rolls would be just like the infantry rules – they go out in an expanding circle to 4” (or 6”?) out to represent tanks being too close to one another.  Some rules (like mine) have this option where if you KO a tank, you can fire again for free at the closest one.  I see the extra dice being just like this.

    And I did not take pictures for two reasons a) I was just doing a test and b) I am trying to get out of the habit of having to take pictures and writing up every battle I play. However, I still intend to post as many AARs as I can!  While I know many enjoy reading them, it takes a bit of time.  And time for gaming activities seems to be something that is a just a little less this year than for the last few years.

    Avatar photoJust Jack


    Retro – Don’t say that man, it’s already hard enough dealing with Ivan… 😉

    Yeah man, 2′ x 2′ works like a champ for squad-sized fights, just make sure there’s plenty of terrain to break up all the reactions (sort of like Crossfire).  It’s funny, I almost never use the hiding/peeking; I put all my guys at risk all the time, but I want them able to react.  Regarding co-op, it’s just like playing solo, but your partner runs one of your teams/squads.  That is, I’d activate the good guys all at once, not good guy-bad guy-other good guy.  And each of the good guys rolls his own activation dice (whether 5MIN or 5MAK style, it works either way.

    I agree PEFs are hard to handle with these rules, you really need everyone on the table.  I’m a big fan of Joe Legan’s Platoon Forward, so I use it a bit modified.  I figure out the force ratios (what he refers to as Type A, B, and C blinds, equaling infantry, crew-served weapons, and vehicles), then throw in some dummy blinds.  Then I set the good guys on the table, place all the blinds on the table (real and dummy), then flip them over before the first shot is fired.  So you have PEFs in the sense that you’re not sure what forces the enemy will have, or where they will be, but you put all the troops on the table right away so they can take part in the normal activation process.  I find it’s not too big a deal with such small, short-range fights.

    Sometimes I test for reactions, to see if someone can act (the enemy dashed from cover to cover, were we able to see and shoot in time) or determine who will go first (previously unspotted enemy moves up into LOS of one of my previously unspotted troops/units).  I usually just do an opposed D6, maybe give a +1 if someone is better troop quality or in a better tactical position.  But I don’t test for Snap fire; if you were dumb enough (and I often am) to move into that close a range of someone that’s not suppressed, they are going to shoot at you.

    The lack of a Force Morale mechanism is my biggest complaint; I just end up playing until the end becomes clear with the narrative aspect.  But it is cheating as, of course, I control when it occurs, rather than the game dictating it to me.

    “I am trying to get out of the habit of having to take pictures and writing up every battle I play.”
    Heresy!  What the hell is wrong with you!?  😉

    Excellent, and I look forward to an actual batrep!


    Avatar photoRod Robertson

    Interesting stuff here. Shaun’s conversion on the road to 5-Core Damascus was a fascinating study in how difficult it is to stop rejecting the alien and instead stubbornly relying on the familiar when faced with new possibilities. It shows that wargaming is as much about the psychology and prejudices/mindset of the designer(s) and player(s) as it is about the troops, tech, C and C, tactics, strategy and terrain. It seems the rules or mechanics of the game have to be shaped according to certain values built into the game design which bias certain outcomes. It’s quite an interesting window into how the mindset of wargamers affects and effects the perceptions and acceptance of the game and rules. Are all wargames value-loaded games which are as dependent on the gamer buying into the design philosophy of the game or can there be value- neutral games which are purely mechanistic portrayals of combat and minimize the values/biases of both the designer and the gamer?

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    Avatar photoJust Jack


    Okay, yes, I am definitely a denizen of the shallow end, but there’s really no mystery in this to me.  Human nature, writ large, is to be resistant to change.  A rules designer is building the rules to his biases of what combat is at whatever level (echelon) and period he has chosen.  Player’s like rules that conform to their own biases of what they believe combat is like at whatever level and period they desire to play.

    Can wargames be ‘mechanistic,’ that is, having any and all bias out of them?  I don’t think so, and if someone managed to, it would be sterile and thereby inherently unrealistic.  Various militaries try this, particularly nowadays, owing to vast computing capability.  They know they are not a 100% solution, but they are as good as it gets, and so they continue to use them (at least that was my experience in Tactical Exercises Without Troops, as they were called).

    You can simulate rough march times, vehicular breakdown rates, the effect of supporting fires on enemy formations, etc…  What you cannot simulate is the commander that is too hesitant, or too bold, or the messenger/comm shot that didn’t reach his/its intended audience, or the sleepy driver that took the right fork instead of the left, or the frail Private that fought to the last bullet, holding the hill by himself.  It simply can’t be done.

    And so wargamers read a book or see a movie or hear a story from someone, and it’s very anecdotal, but that’s what we will base out knowledge and understanding of combat to be.  As you know, I am a combat veteran, shot at in five different countries, fought in mountain, jungle, desert, and urban environments.  But I can’t tell you what combat is like; I can only tell you about what I saw and what I felt, what I experienced.  So I like rules that make me feel like I’m doing what I did back then; but even if you were next to me in every single one of those firefights you would probably still have a differing view of what combat is.

    I have literally had conversations with fellow Marines immediately following a firefight and we disagreed on what exactly had happened, how many bad guys there were, where other friendly units were, and what they did during the fight.  But mostly I see this manifested in stuff like “my buddy/brother/father/grandfather/co-worker/cousin was in Europe/the Pacific/Korea/Vietnam/Desert Storm/OIF/OEF/Africa/Nicaragua and he said our/those guys were never/always like ‘x,’ so you guys are all wrong and I’m right about this set of wargame rules.”

    Now, what I’m not doing is doubting what the buddy/brother/father/grandfather/co-worker/cousin stated, even if it goes against my experiences.*   There are simply too many variables, too much happening that you simply can’t be aware of, sensory overload is always an issue with green troops, the trauma (causing guys to block stuff out), and each individual is different.

    *The only exception there is if I have reason to believe the guy isn’t who he says he is, didn’t do what he said he did, which is generally pretty easy to figure out.  I’ll even give you guys a big one for that: when he says “I was surrounded, out of ammo, and the only way I survived was…”, ask him who he was with.  I don’t care how long ago it was, you never forget which unit – group of guys – you were with when the @#$% hit the fan.

    So, the short answer is, no, I don’t believe you can take personal bias, AKA ‘this is what my understanding of combat is and how it goes,’ out of rules or players.  The best rules are the ones that match your biases 😉


    Avatar photoRod Robertson

    This is a fascinating discussion, so thank you to all above who have contributed to it. Jack, thanks for that crystal clear explanation of yours which definitely dispels any credible claim that you are a denizen of the shallow-end. That was a very enlightening post you offered and was another fascinating and unique peak into the mindset of gamers. It nicely complements Shaun’s insights along his journey to accepting and celebrating 5-Core game design.

    My question above was not meant as an endorsement or indictment of any particular approach to wargame design or to wargame consumption. It was an observation that as wargaming has grown, matured and adapted/mutated over the last  century+ there has been in my opinion a larger and larger role for explicitly built in values in the game design rather than values that creep in unconsciously from bias or possessing a particular mindset. Those values may be there because the designer thinks they’re a valid underpinning to the firm foundation of the game system but they could also be included because the designer wants to cater to a particular target audience with particular biases which will shape their behaviour both as gamers but also as consumers. Do designers incorporate mechanisms into their games because the think these constructs will be fun and attract buyers of the game? If this does happen, is there a danger that such commercially rooted constructs can change the game so much that it becomes less a wargame and more a game-about-the-movie-about-the-war-game? Can a game become such a derivative construct which has a surface topology that resembles a wargame but one in which the calculus of game design has so changed the essential components of war that it ceases to be even a vague reflection of war? Is the designing of marketable games which one hopes will be popular a kind of group-think-feed-back loop which reinforces certain mindsets and starves out other perspectives and mindsets which are less popular in the market-place of ideas in gaming? Does a commercial imperative create a wargaming genetic drift as adaptations to the tastes of wargamers cause an evolutionary flux or continuum which shapes wargames to survive and exploit a richer commercial space rather than a richer historical/military niche?

    I know that my questions mean that I probably have too much time on my hands, and no doubt Jack will suggest that I waste less of that time thinking about the ephemera of wargaming and use more of that time to paint, game and to learn how to digitally report about games played, but such questions interest me. Thus I will ruthlessly and wantonly pollute your minds with two-penny philosophy when all you really want to do is roll dice and blow things up in the coolest way possible. My apologies for being such a special snowflake!

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    Avatar photoRod Robertson

    Jack wrote:

    “Can wargames be ‘mechanistic,’ that is, having any and all bias out of them? I don’t think so, and if someone managed to, it would be sterile and thereby inherently unrealistic.”

    Jack, why would a game where bias has been minimized and mechanism has been emphasized be inherently unrealistic and sterile? I could see this being a possible outcome but question whether it would be a certainty. Cannot bias distort a game as much as it enhances it? What is it which gamers seek when they search for a good game? Is it an illusion of martial realism in a controlled context? Is it an engine for generating an interesting narrative? Is it a system which can be gamed to beat an opponent no matter how far that gaming divorces the game play from the real warfare it is supposed to simulate? What makes a wargame good and thus popular in the eyes of many. I don’t know, does anyone?

    When I was a wee lad (chronologically speaking, small girth was never a trait of mine) and trying in my muddle-headed eight-year old way to make a cool game with which to play with my Airfix tanks and infantry, my friend Mark Fraser and I came up with a system for handling tank vs. tank combat. We took a die and threw it or rolled it at the targeted model. If it hit the model we had scored a hit. But each armoured vehicle also had an armour rating of 1-5 and if the dice after bouncing off the tank model showed a number greater than the armour rating of the tank model then the tank was knocked out. If you fired from the move, you had to throw the die with your eyes closed. You could line up your toss with eyes open but you then had to close them before you threw. This “system” was great fun but it certainly was not realistic either. I wonder if the more sophisticated systems of today are any more valid than lobbing dice at models, or are they also just artificial constructs designed to produce a fun game and which are just trying to pass themselves off as historical simulations or military simulations?

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    Avatar photoShaun Travers

    Hello Rod,

    My short answer is I think that all games require you to buy into the design philosophy of the game, even if you do not know the design philosophy.  All rules will have principles that the designer had in mind.  some of these might centered on a cool mechanism e.g. a game with no rulers! (Crossfire), some might be on reusing tried and true mechanisms to produce popular rules (e.g. WH40K derivatives, and all those WRG-similar games in the late 70s and 80s).  Others are looking to simulate aspects of warfare and then use appropriate mechanisms that may be new of existing or derivative mechanisms (5Core fits into here). Some may be doing all three.  The thing is that may gamers have their own views on what they believe and what they enjoy.  And this may or may not get in the way of new rules.  I think preconceptions in wargaming does present a lot of baggage and it really takes a good designer to breakout of what are standard mechanisms.  The earliest example I have come across is Milgamex Ancient Warfare that came out while WRG Ancients was king, and it so very different but went nowhere.  DBA is another example, and a very good one as the designer broke away from his previous mechanisms that he had been tweaking for the last 15 years!   kit is an interesting discussion and I don’t really know enough to carry the discussion much further 🙁

    I do not think there is a simple answer – gamers will play what they want to play, or are constrained to play what they like based on friends preferences and marketing and designer decisions is part of what helps us choose.

    Hello Jack,

    Co-op is no problems – either use two squads and use two pools of dice, or share the dice around. It was more that the children found it fun to not know what they were up against. There is a system in one of the rules somewhere on how to use PEFs but I am already familiar with the THW way. I may just adapt that to a 1/6 system and can add activation dice for the enemy as the number of figures on the table increases.

    I remember reading your way of placing PEFs and just rolling for them on turn 1. I used that in the first game when I had PEFs on the table but was too hard, so I just rolled for what figures were with each PEF.

    Force morale would not be too hard. Could base it on the discipline ratings (maybe Morale?) but I am not using them. So possibly when 50% (or some such number) figures of a squad are knocked down or out of the fight roll 1 dice:

    1 – random unpanicked/not knocked down figure panics

    2-5 – no effect

    6 – all panicked figures panic again (ie. another 6” move towards the baseline; all scared become panicked; all knocked down figures removed (ran away, gone into hiding)

    The next time a figure is lost, roll 2d6, the next one 3d6. Apply all 1 and 6s.

    But this is just me thinking off the top of my head.


    I do want to play a few more games of the skirmish rules to get familiar with the activation and 1K1S mechanisms and what that means to tactics. I think I will then move onto 5Core Company Command which is where I want to get to. Skirmish is easier to setup! I will try to take pics next time.

    And lastly, I see that you don’t actually play the rules as written either 🙂


    Avatar photoJust Jack

    Rod – Holy @#$% man, how am I supposed to wrangle this into something manageable?

    1) I wasn’t trying to denigrate or attack anything either (and I don’t think I did, and certainly hope I didn’t), just doing my best to answer your question(s).

    2) I believe there are rules designers that build certain biases into their rules because it reflects their view of combat, I believe there are rules designers that build certain biases into rules because they believe it will sell better by catering to a certain crowd, and I believe there are rules designers that do both.

    3)  I do not believe this will lead to some sort of ‘groupthink’ where we someday end up with every wargamer playing the same period with the same toys using the same rules (to take it to a silly extreme, merely in the interest of illustrating my point).  I don’t think anything close to that will happen; look at the incredibly large amount of rules that are out there already (which will only continue to grow as time passes), and the incredibly diverse interests of current players.  I get the guy that says “I don’t really like ‘x’ rules, but I play them because that’s what my buddies play.”  My reply would be, if you really don’t like ‘x’ rules, try a little harder to change.  And if you can’t change them, find new buddies or play solo.  There are plenty of folks doing their own thing; the one thing we know for sure is they are not being forced to play any one rules system, they can play whatever they like, and if it’s not out there, they can come up with it on their own by 1) making their own rules, or 2) modifying current rules to do what they want them to.

    4) “…and no doubt Jack will suggest that I waste less of that time thinking about the ephemera of wargaming and use more of that time to paint, game and to learn how to digitally report about games played…”  Amen, brother!

    5) “Jack, why would a game where bias has been minimized and mechanism has been emphasized be inherently unrealistic and sterile?
    They are unrealistic because you cannot realistically predict which small unit commander will fail at the moment of crisis, or rise to fight like a lion against all odds.  Sterile for the same reason; in my mind, if you’re taking bias out you’re also taking chance out, going with straight percentages.  My guys are firing on your guys; here are their weapons, the range, the atmospheric conditions, the level of cover and concealment, the chart says you take 4.8% casualties so please remove, well, let’s just call it four and a half of your troops to make it easy 😉  Now you could definitely leave dice in to measure (or carry out the principles of) chance, but you’re still taken out all the personality.  Unless you’re going to add/leave personality in, but then you’re automatically putting in some bias, or at least some non-factual data.

    I’ve never seen any study that shows, for example, that “9.8% of troops will freeze up the first time they’re ever fired upon and be a non-factor in that firefight; 2% will turn total coward and run away, while 2% will turn out to act with all disregard for personal safety in order to accomplish the mission.  That number bumps to 8% if the mission involves the rescue of a wounded comrade (only 4% if the comrade is dead), 12% if he’s known the comrade for more than 2 months (and they had an amicable relationship; see table three for brotherly relationships and table four for adversarial relationships), 16% if known at least 8 months, blah blah blah.”  I’ve never seen (and wouldn’t believe the data if I did) anything like that, so anything  rules designer added in to make something cowardly or heroic occur would be strictly outside the realm of a simulation or fact-based set of rules.

    6) “Cannot bias distort a game as much as it enhances it?” Absolutely.  Anything that goes outside the realm of what is provable is a distortion; the players decide if it’s a good distortion or a bad distortion, and this based solely on what they believe combat is like.

    7) “What is it which gamers seek when they search for a good game?”  Dammit Rod, you know the answer to this already! 😉  Everyone is different; you and I have had many discussions about simulating combat, and it’s clear you and I want different things out of our wargaming experience.  Multiply that by however many wargamers exist and there’s the number of different views on what a good game is.

    Me?  I want to have fun (everyone says that, right?).  Fun for me is, essentially, I live a terribly dull life (at work, not at home with the wife and kids) now and these take me back to when I did something real, something important.  As the good Sir Winston said, <span class=”st”>”Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be <span style=”color: #6a6a6a;”>shot at without result</span>.”  So with my toys, I get to have comrades again and I get to make tactical decisions which affect their livelihood and the accomplishment of the mission, and I throw in a flair for the dramatic because I want it to feel like a movie or a comic book (most of the time, not all the time), I want twists and turns, to not know what’s going to happen next, to be put in (as we called it in the Marine Corps) a ‘shit sandwich,’ that situation where there are no good options, you simply choose the best one and push it as hard as you possibly can, hoping to overwhelm the enemy by your violence of action.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but no one gets hurt.  And  now I get to share it with the elder of my two sons, and it’s a way to share experiences and life lessons, ways of looking at the world and ways of exploring situations and coming up with solutions.  And then I like to put it on the internet to share with folks that are like minded (at least in the most general of senses) to discuss various aspects of war and war gaming.

    Probably not the same thing most gamers are looking for…</span>

    8)  Very innovative of you to have a ‘roll’ to hit and roll to penetrate combined!  But how could you say the system was not realistic?  What do you figure the real life odds (percentage) of hitting a real-life tank at that range?  Were your odds at rolling a six-sided dice from ‘x’ distance better or worse than the real-life odds?  In my humble opinion, you worry too much about tables, about the difference between 37% and 40%.  You can spend ten minutes consulting a list of positive and negative modifiers, measuring hither and thither to ascertain absolute correct range and angle of fire, then cross reference on table 2.6 to come up with 37%, or you can use your knowledge of warfare* in that given period to eyeball it and come up with 40% in 3.6 seconds.  Is it the 100% solution?  Nah.  Is it close enough?  For me it is.  But again, to each his own.
    *And I do admit/believe you should have a basic understanding, via research (usually reading a book or two, not writing your own dissertation.  That’s cool, just not necessary, in my humble opinion), of what you’re trying to do on the tabletop.

    9) “I wonder if the more sophisticated systems of today are any more valid than lobbing dice at models…”  Your 8-year old rules might could stand a little tightening up, but probably weren’t that far off .

    Shaun – I don’t like your Force Morale, it’s not dramatic enough!  When Ivan and I talk about it he says the same types of thing: ‘one guy panics, one guy routes,’ etc…  If you’re having big enough problems that you’re thinking of Force Morale, more troops should be running away as you fail.  Not on guy, one team, or one squad runs away.

    5Core Company Command is the best of the whole lot, in my opinion, though I’m really becoming attached to skirmish level using 5MAK augmented (act and react).  For whatever reason, the 5Core system just seems to be perfect for company-level action (and I mean using 5MIN activation, not 5MAK).

    And do take some pictures please, Sir. 😉



    Avatar photoShaun Travers

    LOL Jack, As soon as you said you didn’t like it, I thought the same!  It would not have even passed the first use test!  I would have scrapped it after one go if not before.  A better one (again off the top of my head) is to use the same sort of force morale tests that are used in company/battalion level games (and I use in mine) but modified for the 5Core system.  It could apply at Company level as well.

    When a figure/stand is out of action or knocked down, roll a shock die and apply the results to ALL units in the force (except knocked down).  Add a shock die after each extra figure/stand is out of action. Start rolling after 40% of figures knocked out/out of action for regular troops.  Rules generally seen to have choices for force morale as pinned, pullback, rout and so I have tried to convert these to 5Core. Maybe the panic result for force morale should be move 12″.  I don’t know, it is off the top of my head again 🙂

    Hmm,  I really like the 5MaK activation but I see the appealof the 5MiN for Company level. Will have to think on it.

    And I have setup a game and taken some pictures of the starting positions.  Hopefully is is not months before I play and post it!


    Avatar photoJust Jack


    “When a figure/stand is out of action or knocked down, roll a shock die and apply the results to ALL units in the force (except knocked down).”
    I like this, but I’m a little scared that rather than force a side to withdraw from the fight, you may simply pin them in place to be slaughtered.  Maybe change it to something like 1=all units fall back 8″ to regroup, 6=all units leave the map immediately (then figure out if that should draw react fire or not?).

    “Add a shock die after each extra figure/stand is out of action.”
    Brilliant.  Though I would probably start at about 30% casualties, rather than 40%, you bloodthirsty warmonger!

    “And I have setup a game and taken some pictures of the starting positions.  Hopefully is not months before I play and post it!”
    I know what you mean.  I’ve got the table set for some Vietnam stuff that was supposed to happen last weekend but didn’t, which is putting me further off my Panzer Aces and Hakuna-Matata Wars…


    Avatar photokyoteblue

    Just Jack all your fans want Vietnam !!!!!

    Avatar photoJust Jack

    I get that you’re the only one that reads my batreps, but to claim my ‘fans’ want something is a bit disingenuous 😉

    I’m working on it, but I also want to play some modern skirmish stuff with some cool guy ‘operators’ taking down some bad guys…


    Avatar photoShaun Travers

    I read your batreps as well, although I am not sure that makes me a fan!  If it does, Kyote and  could have a little cheer song:

    What do we want? BATREPS!

    When do we want it? NOW!


    And on force morale – as you say, the rules are infinitely malleable.  I still like my 1 – all scared.  But I see where you are going, a 1 is them retreating with a bit of order with a possibly them coming back, and a 6 isn’t.  For a small table, I would not worry about reaction fire for a 6.

    Avatar photoRod Robertson


    I second Kyoteblue’s sentiment. Thus a preponderance of the known fans here on TWW humbly submit that we would be most encouraged and supportive of some Bat. Reps. regarding Vietnam, (or indeed any period and place except ones falling between the years 1790 – 1815). Give us our bread and games! Please! Pretty, pretty please with ice cream and sugar on top!

    Your obsequious toady and psychophant. 

    Rod boot-licker Robertson.

    Avatar photoRod Robertson

    Shaun, Jack and Kyoteblue:

    Given that Shaun and Jack seem to play most of their games as either solo games or as cooperative games with their kids, what is it about the 5-Core family of rules which is so attractive to you? Would, in your minds, this family or rules perform to your expectations if you were playing them more competitively against other players or does their strength lie in solo play? What about this post-causal narrative style of game attracts you over the more traditional action-cause-effect games which I presume you have tried in your experience? As someone who has seldom played games solo and has almost never played miniature games solo I would like your input on this.

    For me, solo play becomes frustrating because I know one of two things will happen. Either I control the OPFOR and I cannot surprise or out-think myself in play or chance controls the OPFOR and then seemingly arbitrary or irrational results seem to creep into the game. I did to try to play the board game Squad Leader solo at times in the past, and while I did have a few good games, the majority left me flat. I should say at this point that my circle of gaming friends liked to play Blind Squad Leader, with a referee and two identical boards separated by a screen to make the game more challenging and that may have spoiled subsequent face-to-face competitive tandem and solo games.

    My second point is that miniatures games are ironically social events for me. I enjoy the company of other gamers as much as the game itself. To play a game solo, deprived of social interaction, diminishes the gaming experience substantially for me. I also fear that given that I prefer an introverted lifestyle in nearly all other aspects of my life, I would slide further into social isolation if I tried to fully embrace solo-miniature gaming. I work with people all day long and have a good circle of friends and frequent acquaintances with whom I interact, but my natural tendency is to prefer splendid isolation when I can get it, rather than socialization without a utilitarian purpose. I fear becoming a Georgia O’Keefe of gaming if I succumb to the siren-song of playing solo. Gaming is one of the activities which provides me with that purpose/excuse(?) to push back against my introverted nature and thus forces me to socialize when I would not otherwise be inclined to do so. All this is to say that I just don’t understand solo gaming and therefore further value your (Shaun’s and Jack’s) perspectives on the topic. I do not wish to diminish Kyoteblue by excluding him here but my remote-experience is that his gaming is  mostly with other gamers, so if I’m wrong Kyoteblue, please set me straight.

    So once again this is a fascinating discussion from which I can learn, so I thank you all again!

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    PS: thanks also to the late and great Warren Zevon for the privilege of making reference to “splendid isolation” and to Georgia O’Keefe. You are missed great bard!


    Avatar photokyoteblue

    I like reading about games that use rules I like or want to know more about. I do play face to face most Sundays at my FLGS But I also like to solo some games to see how an army list works or doesn’t….FOW has an I Go You Go but can be played solo…
    Any way, you have 3 fans Just Jack…

    Avatar photoJust Jack

    Holy cow, I’ll have to come back to this tomorrow.  I’m sorry, my joke about Kyote being my only fan was actually not a cry for attention!  I have no batreps to post right now, but I’m shooting for about six after this weekend.


    I’ll be back tomorrow to work on solo gaming.




    Avatar photoJust Jack

    Okay, back on track.  For this weekend, I’ve drawn up an operation to destroy a terrorist training camp, about six reduced-size platoons each, but I can’t figure out which troops to use.  It’s for Cuba Libre; the concept is, in the wake of Liberation there have been several terrorist attacks around Cuba.  Cuban Intel tracks it back to a small island nation nearby, and resolves to go eliminate the threat, so a company of infantry and an SF det are dispatched.

    I could use Vietnam-era troops, but it kinda doesn’t feel like Vietnam (it does have a little ‘into Cambodia’ feel), particularly as one of the fights is a Spec-Ops helo insertion for a Direct Action mission (though I suppose I could play it like an SF team and Mike Force locals).  I can use CH-47s for that (there’s another helo insertion as well), but that would mean I need to use US Army figures rather than USMC figures (no USMC helos).  But the last scenarios have a ground convoy coming up the road, and it would make sense to use the M-48 and amtracs for Marines, but not really US Army (I don’t have any 15mm M-113s).

    If I go modern I’ve got plenty of gear (troops, helos, ground vehicles), but the troops I really want to use aren’t ready, and they’re not even close to being ready (only primed)…  And I need to do a bunch of dogfights for Cuba Libre to catch up their Air Force from the War of Liberation, as it has an impact on future campaigns I want to get into.

    Regarding 5Core, I’ve played many (many!) solo games, but the games with the boy are all opposed, not co-op.  The co-op games were using ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ from Two-Hour Wargames.  So, I suppose I have played 5Core ‘competitively,’ and it works just fine.  So, as always, you just have to find someone who shares your wargaming biases and values.  Or find someone that doesn’t have any 😉

    Regarding solo play, first let’s address solo play itself.  Here’s why I solo play:

    1) I’m a hermit, don’t really like being around people other than my family.  I’ve played a few games at the FLGS, and I’ve had guys from work over a couple times to play, but I find I’d rather play solo.  Even now that I’m playing with my boy, we have games that we play, and I still have my solo stuff; I miss it if I don’t get any solo gaming in.

    2) I like playing with toys.  I don’t really like making terrain, but I like having nice terrain (which I’m slowly amassing, though it’s very expensive).  And while I didn’t initially, I’ve found I now actually enjoy painting little toy soldiers.  It’s very relaxing, and I think I’ve gotten better.  But I’m not just a collector, I want to do stuff with them.

    3) The stuff I like to do with them is create stories.  You may have noticed I don’t really ‘do’ one-off fights; to me there’s really no point.  I come up with cool ideas for a single fight all the time, but they get thrown out because I can’t make it fit into a larger campaign scheme, and to me it just doesn’t make sense to have a battle with guys I’ll  never see again.  Which is another issue; in my games, they are guys with names, that belong to a certain unit.  Now, let’s not get creepy, I’m not crying when they get zapped, and I’m not making up backstories regarding wives and children, etc…, I just mean that I enjoy seeing a unit start with 30 men and I like following them through a series of fights to see what happens.  Do they accomplish their missions?  Are they good at it?  Who gets hit, who becomes a hero, who runs away?

    4)  Wargames are the medium to create the stories, and they are a medium to allow me to exercise tactical-decision making.  Combining the two (me getting to make decisions as a small unit leader, and following a group of guys making up that small unit, through the good times and bad) is pure wargaming gold for me.  Playing solo lets me do this unencumbered; I never have to worry about it being boring for the other guy, or unfair, never have to deal with him not feeling like paying with those troops with that equipment in that terrain, etc…  I can be totally immersed in the game.

    So I can’t tell you what YOU need from rules to play solo, but I can tell you what I need:

    1) I need friction, mechanisms that mix things up.  I like mechanisms that make it where I don’t know who can act next.  I also like mechanisms that mean I can’t activate everyone to do what I want them to.  But there is a fine line between ‘friction that enhances my solo experience’ and ‘friction that reduces me to a spectator.’  Please recall that a big reason I’m in it is for the tactical decision making, so any system that takes decisions away from me is out.  I really love the Lardies’ various rules, but IABSM is out for me.  When a unit can only move when its card is drawn (or when a leader with them has his card drawn), that is a decision the game has taken away from me.  I’m not saying it’s not realistic, I’m just saying it’s not doing what I want it to do.

    2)  The mechanisms for movement, firing, activation, and morale have to be simple.  They need to be simple because I’m playing both sides, I want games to be quick, and (most importantly) I want to be focused on tactical decision making and not the rules.  So it’s possible to be a great set of rules, but simply have too much going on, that may turn me off.  Again, the Lardies’ Chain of Command is a fantastic set of rules, but it doesn’t work for me solo.  There are too many administrative decisions to be made with command dice, the CoC dice, I can’t really surprise myself with ambushes, the patrol phase, trying to sneak up on JOPs, the combat has too much going on (for me; yes, I’m a simpleton) with tracking firing dice for all the individual folks within a team, then the concept of shock and the multiple die rolls, etc…

    3) It also helps to have a system with random events, and hidden enemies.  I’ve kind of bolted on the blinds mechanism from IABSM and grafted in some Platoon Forward stuff as well.  Random events are already in the rules.

    So, I’m sure there’s more, but I think I’ve given plenty for you to chew on for now.


    Avatar photoShaun Travers

    Interesting question Rod, and I have different reasons to Jack. Thus proving that solo gaming is different thing to different people, just as FTF play is different for different people. It is also very timely as I am grappling with what I want from solo gaming. The problem is I don’t think I can explain it all without some background, which I will keep to a minimum – well, my definition of minimum!

    The Early Years

    I have been miniature gaming since I was 14 (1979), in miniatures doing mostly WW2 but some Ancients up until about 2000. In that time i do not think I ever played a single solo game, but 1000s of FTF mini or multi-player boardgames (I did not really do 2 player boardgames except for some Squad Leader). For me it was all about fun and social. In fact, i did play a few RPGs but tended to talk to much (socialise) rather than focus on the game. Kicked out of one game for it (quite rightly) and realised they were not really for me.

    (as an aside, my peak time was 1979-1986. 1986 was when i moved in with my partner, now wife. So I slowed down a lot from 1986 and it really was about 10 games a year fading to a few a year in 1999.

    2000-2006 were the IVF years. There is nothing fun about going through IVF for years – the summary is soul destroying where your entire life becomes focused solely on the IVF cycles process. They are really just a blur. I got in one game of ancients per year with a friend and one game a year of WW2 with another. I did a couple of solo games but that was more about getting out the miniatures on the table to not forget about them.

    Note: I am not that social, but do like socialising – i hate going to events i do not know anyone, but do enjoy social events with friends or acquaintances. i find it harder as I get older to want to go to social events, but enjoy them all when I do!


    But, now having two children (born 2006 and 2008) I did want to get back into gaming but, by my choice, time poor in that did not really want to spend hours playing a game, or a day at the club (meets on Sundays). So, how to get back into gaming. There was a lack of rules reports that detailed the actual mechanisms so I thought: i know, I will test out various ancients rules (my favourite period) and post the battle report with a detailed blow by blow account to show the mechanisms in action. And use the same battle to enable a comparison of mechanisms. I also knew I would not be able to set up a table for months, so set up a 2’x2′ board in the map drawers we have in the lounge room. Never having used 2’x2′ before (the smallest i had ever played on would have been 6’x4′) That way, i could play the game over weeks and the children would not disturb it. From 2010 to about 2014 I used 27 different rulesets across two battles (Callinicum and Heraclea). Shameless plug: here is the link to the blog post with the list of all the Ancient battle reports with the different rules:


    And I would just like to say that joining the gaming blogosphere has been one of the best choices i have ever made – the community spirit is fantastic and rewarding.

    I believe I enjoyed these games (solo) as I was getting almost into the designers head and figuring out why they had made the choices they did and how that applied mechanism to ancient warfare. Learning new rulesets was fun (except for a two that were either poorly written or very badly laid out). Some people do play solo to learn new rules, and i was learning new rules all the time! and also getting understanding into designer choices and exposure to different mechanisms.

    Ancients solo

    Early on, I played Warrior Kings that is now revised into Rally Round the King. Warrior Kings was the first THW rules Ed published and they are for mass ancient battles. And have a reaction-type system that is the core of many THW games (note that WK and RRtK use different reactions to Chain Reaction etc as the focus is on mass battles). THW are very solo friendly and this led to a side project, that eventually because a main project to create fast solo friendly rules for use on a 2’x2′ game. It was loads of fun designing and playtesting these rules. I have have probably played 150 games with these rules. The reaction system is what makes them fun as even though i am playing both sides, the position changes so much from move to move that you are constantly having to make and revise decisions based on the current position (this is a key thing). The rules are effectively finished as of early this year, apart of filling in some gaps in the army lists. another shameless plug to the blog page with the rules:


    WW2 solo

    In 2011, Dave Howitt passed away. He was the author of Take Cover!!, and owner of Britannia Miniatures. Take Cover!! is important as from 2001 to 2004 I played Take Cover socially – again only a few games a year. it was very different to Tractics, it focus is a battalion on the table and I found the focus on suppression and spotting very refreshing and fit my view of WW2. It is sort of a Rapid fire version 1 clone, but I prefer Take Cover’s mechanisms. I played a few games solo and realised i do really like 20mm WW2 gaming, especially as it has terrain (unlike ancient games) that makes is a joy to look at, as well as play. I also realised I still liked the rules but wanted to streamline them and so began another project of testing out various rules changes to create my own WW2 battalion (and then company) level rules. Enjoyed playing solo because again, playtesting out new rules (even if they were my own) to see how things worked. But I have recently (last year or so) really found just playing both sides a little harder, and started to see how i can add reactions into the game (as per WW2 skirmish , see below) to make it a little more chaotic and so you constantly have to revise tactical plans (not the overall game plan though) every time you move or fire with a unit. Every time is important – my ancient rules you play unit by unit but every time you do something the enemy is likely to react, and you react to that. So the game position changes a lot after a single unit has activated. I am likely to get NUTS! big battles as I think I can streamline it to maybe give the type of game I am looking for, but then 5Core is likely to as well. More on that at the end too.

    Note: I also find that campaigns games are not really my style. I like scenarios, and i like recreating specific battles to get some sort of understanding of the challenges faced at the time. So I have not really played many games that are just random setups.

    WW2 Skirmish solo

    In 2014 I decided to play some skirmish games. It was Just Jack that convinced me but I like to think I made the decision on my own 🙂 I have always steered away from skirmish games fro two main reasons

    1. Individuals are very unpredictable characters and reading on WW2 their are so very varied in what they will and wont do. i was not really convinced there were rules that could capture this unpredictability

    2. using individual figures that represents an actual soldier was hard for me to differentiate from the actual battle. While playing with 1 figure = 10 soldiers or a stand of figures that is a section/squad was an abstraction, there is no abstraction with 1:1.

    i am over 2. somewhat as it is a game and not reality i am representing. And 1.? NUTS! I had read about NUTS! for a long time and wanted to play it as I thought it would solve point 1. The friend who had a bunch of 54mm figures was keen (he collected them rather than gamed with them but was interested in a game) but 5 years ago he moved to England and I got the figures (which reminds me i need to get them out and play a game with them in the backyard – the children hopefully will join in). I got NUTS! played a games at it was everything is was promised to be. I streamlined it a little as I found rolling 2d6 so many times for so much stuff a little much for the fast game I was looking for. NUTS! definitely delivers a game that is unpredictable for solo play. And also god for co-op play with you and children against the system (i.e. the other side).


    And after coming late to the party realising that it is easier to add or subtract dice rather than die roll modifiers. e.g. 5, 6 is always a hit, roll a 3 dice, subtract 1 die if moving, subtract 1 die if target in cover, add 1 die if Veteran firer. This is a reason I really want to try out Starport Scum, another Ivan production, as I think I can apply some of this for 20mm company level games. I already have tried similar mechanisms I have tried in the past for close combat and armour penetration, and had never though to use it for firing.

    Anyway, 5Core is great in that during your turn, you actually do very little as you only have limited activations. As the games turns then are so short you are constantly having to figure out what to do on your turn – you can’t do much but when you do, it tends to have an effect on the game, and then the enemy has a go, then you and the game position has changed and you have so much to do but only a few activations etc. It is this bit of the game i like. for WW2, I have never been a fan of all units on one side get to activate in one turn (having used the IABSM tea break end of turn type card activation). 5core is similar in outcome but uses dice and specific activation types. And 5Core has reactions so the enemy gets to upset you during your turn, and then have their turn to upset you even more!

    Summing up (if you made it this far)

    So where am I now in regards to solo play? I do still want to get back to testing out more Ancients rulesets. I do miss it, but find it has become a side project rather than the only project i started when I got back into gaming in 2010. i like discovering new mechanisms and how designers have approached recreating ancient warfare. I find i am not so interested in doing this for WW2 for some reason, probably as I has a great interest in ancient history, but not as great an interest in WW2 history (still an interest, just not as much!)

    I want to play more WW2 with more unpredictability. And a company level so I can play scenarios/replay battles. i am becoming a solo player that cannot just play the same rules just playing my best for both sides. I thought it was, but have realised that has been more about testing out rules rather than just playing the rules. For solo play, i need the constant change, the chaos, the large changes that occur in the game position so that you have to make big decisions all the time. There are no small decisions in NUTS! There are no small decisions in 5Core. And the game changes all the time so that when you are called to make a decision, the game has changed so much since last time. And the time between each decision is not a lot either (minutes in playing time). Playing against someone else is even more interesting (I have done it a couple of times with my ancient rules) as the unpredictability is even greater. Solo will have to do.

    I still do play some FTF games, but it is not often. I think it will get greater when my children hit their teens (maybe not!) but I believe I will continue solo playing to test out ancient rules and also with rules with lots of unpredictability (that is is unlikely I can get anyone else to play), it is fun!

    Avatar photoRod Robertson


    An outstanding post which gave me real insight into what you are doing and why you are doing it. I knew I was in for an Opus Magnus when I read the subtitle – “The Early Years”! A fascinating journey that you’ve been on and I must admit I am a little intimidated at the moment. There is a great deal to think about and digest before I can give you a worthwhile response so I will hold my typing and think through a thorough response.

    So you’re an ancients gamer, eh? Good on ya! That’s my passion in miniatures gaming too. That and 20th/21st Century warfare. I would love to hear what armies you have. I have painted up large DBM/DBMM armies of 300-500 points for the Hittite Empire, New Kingdom Egyptians, Mitanni, Elamites, Middle Assyrian Empire, Late Assyrian Empire, Babylonian Empire, Skythians, Thracians, Celtic/Galatians, Spanish and Imperial Roman armies. I have unfinished Polybian/Marian Romans, unfinished Dacians and DBA sized armies of Hoplite Greeks, Lydians, Medes, Midianite Arabs, Sumerians and Zagros Highlanders. I have unassembled and unpainted Mongol and Burmese armies yet to do and these are large armies.

    I’ve played WRG 6 and 7, DBX games of all types, DBMM, Classical Hack and related rules for other periods, Armati, and many more. I am hopelessly behind the times on new rules in ancients (as seems appropriate to me given that they are ancients) so not much new stuff or indeed not much knowledge of new stuff.

    Well I’ll let you be for now and ruminate upon your post above before I reply. Please feel free to dish about your ancients if you don’t mind hijacking your own thread. My apologies for doing that myself, but I could not resist.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    Avatar photoShaun Travers

    Hello Rod,

    I played WRG 5th edition about the same time I played my first game with the 54mm figures.  I then played 6th a few times but  my poor brain could not take it at 15, compared to the ease of Tractics (which is quite simple but loads of charts!). After a few years I really did want to play ancients and 7th was king, but just could not do it – it did not seem like Ancients to me.  DBM came out a few years later and played that for awhile (I still like DBM 2.2).  I then discovered Armati but no-one would play but a friend who is not a mini-gamer (except for the odd game wee play of Armati). I love Armati and played nothing until 2010 when I have played a lot more rules. I think L’art de la Guerre will be perfect for me but have not got around to them.

    Armies? I have a quite few armies from the 90’s that I painted  but about 1/2 I have bought in the last 5 years painted.  For full armies I have Assyrian, Achemenid Persian (a favourite), Classic Indian (a favourite), Greek, Alexandian Macedonian, Early Successor, Gallic, German, Carthaginian (Early and Late but not both at the same time!), Imperial Roman, Late Imperial Roman (a favourite), Sassanian Persian (my favourite of all), Early Byzantine, Carolingian Frank, Romanian Frank and probably could drum up a full army of Late German of the 1400s.  For DBA size I could rustle up Egyptian, a few ancient near east, Republican Romans (Early and Late), Chinese (not based), Pontic, Parthian (not based), Late Byzantine, a few dark age Europe (Viking, Ango-Saxon, Norman etc) and some Early Renaissance.  I have enough to last me quite awhile and stopped buying about 12 months ago.  I need to get back to playing, but even then can’t see myself getting any more armies for years. And years meaning more than 5.


    Avatar photoShaun Travers

    I will start another topic for it soon, but for those still here, here is a link to an battle report of a recent 5Core WW2 skirmish game:




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