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    Avatar photoDeleted User

    The first & only Colonial rule set I use is TSATF.

    Not that I have anything against them apart from the fact we tend to like big games & these are a bit clunky for that.

    We used TSATF for this game:


    However, I’d like to explore alternatives. The rules would need to be able to accommodate lots of figures & be cool with individual based figures: other than that, I’m open minded.

    Suggestions, please.





    BTW why isn’t there a Colonial board?

    Avatar photokyoteblue

    I would check with Lori Brom and Sargents Three.

    Avatar photoirishserb

    Wow, very nice looking game.

    Sorry I don’t have any rules suggestions for you, though am curious to read what others will offer.  I’ve always thought of TSATF as a set of big game rules, and it has dominated my experience with the period.  Most other big game rules that I have played have been either home brew or modified versions of other period rules.

    Avatar photoMike

    Wow, very nice looking game.

    Agreed, the Kraal really caught my attention.

    Avatar photoDeleted User

    Thanks: everything scratch built.

    That was one of our annual Show games & played to a conclusion over two days (with lots of talking to the passing crowd) so clearly you can use TSATF for a big game but it is clunky.



    Avatar photoDarryl Smith

    Perhaps Soldier’s Companion will work. Part of GDW’s Space 1889 range, but the SC rules cover colonials. They add a fieldcraft rating, something that Greg Novak used for his Herero War rules, which gave the natives some advantages.

    Buckeye Six Actual

    Avatar photoNoel

    There are plenty of sets but I think you’d first have to figure out what you are looking for.

    What kind of mechanics do you like or dislike?  Are you okay with element based units or do you want casualty removal?  Are you looking for period/theater specific or broad rules?


    I agree that TSATF bog down, it’s a game meant for the larger end of skirmish, not the lower end of battles.

    Avatar photoPatG

    Perhaps Soldier’s Companion will work. Part of GDW’s Space 1889 range, but the SC rules cover colonials. They add a fieldcraft rating, something that Greg Novak used for his Herero War rules, which gave the natives some advantages.

    I’ve been going backwards I started with Soldier’s Companion for VSF and recently picked up TSATF for colonials. The two are very similar and it is obvious the TSATF had a huge influence on SC. Unit sizes (20 foot to the company) are about the same with SC cavalry being a bit larger at 20 figures per unit. These are suggested numbers not cast in stone and smaller platoons of 10 and detachments of up to six are provided for.

    Initiative is the biggest difference – and part of the reason I picked up TSATF. SC uses opposed die rolls modified by a handful of modifiers to determine initiative with the highest modified roll being the active player. The active player can move and fires first while the passive player can only conduct defensive fire. Regular forces will tend to get the initiative more often. However, initiative can be claimed by declaring a charge from ambush (usually by natives) or by winning more hand to hand combats – again usually natives. This results in the Colonial power player moving across the table until the dastardly natives leap from ambush. While the opposed die roll is fine for a club game, the one time I tried it in a convention setting, it resulted in one set of players sitting around waiting while several turns went by. Oddly due to the quirks of the dice it was the Imperial and not the native players who where twiddling their thumbs. This was not fun for those concerned. Because of this, I bought TSATF to look at that initiative system as a possible replacement. As an aside, I was running some games to test some VSF rules I wanted to add in. Since a defending player gets to fire no matter who has initiative, I found that the best way for a formed body of troops to handle a Gatling gun was to charge the damn thing and get into rifle range as quickly as possible before it picked them apart.

    Combat is the usual roll to hit, roll to save but is focused on the gradual degradation of morale rather than out right kills. Morale check modifiers are based on hits taken rather than kills so a unit under fire can take a lot of hits, save them all and still break drown. It works for me.

    As Daryl mentioned, SC has a field craft rating which acts as a defensive bonus when being shot at and reflects your ability to spot hidden ambushes. Basically natives in open order in concealing terrain are quite hard to hit, while those in mass formation don’t get the same benefits. On the European side Your Horse Guard heavy cavalry won’t see a fuzzy until he jumps out of the thorn bush right next to them while the Rifle Brigade can see the blackguards a mile away. Add into this that you can’t shoot through friendly or enemy units to hit a target beyond but you can move through friendly units as long as one is in open order, and you get some interesting tactics. Natives will want to use light troops to screen their mass formations of hand to hand specialists from fire until they are close enough to charge. European forces will want to scout with their lights to expose ambushes and see off the enemy screening forces so breech loader fire can be brought to bear. To round out this section I would close by saying natives are vulnerable to Martini fire and Lee Metfords will really chew them up so to get a decent game you need to have many more natives than Europeans (3x at a minimum) or recycle units.

    Other things in the Soldier’s Companion – Artillery – lots of it and of every conceivable type from black powder muzzle loaders to Hotchkiss rotary cannon and ranging from Gardener guns to 18″ naval guns. A large number of national listings covering all the major and many of the minor powers of the time. Siege rules – if that tickles your fancy. And of course all the VSF stuff. Mars, Venus and the Moon with their attendant arms and armies can be used, or not, but also vehicle rules for tripods and land ships which can be used for historical machines like Crimean steam tractors and ACW trains.

    EDIT – one final thought, I will likely wind up using the Soldier’s Companion rules with a TSATF or Lardy like initiative system.

    EDIT EDIT As for mass battle, I would say SC is about the same as TSATF. Casualties and morale are at the unit level but you will need to track Leader and NCO losses either through removing the appropriate figure or marking on a unit card. I play on a 4×7 foot table with 25mm figures single based roughly to ground scale and I wouldn’t want to use more than two 20 figure companies plus supporting arms on the European side and six to eight on the native.

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