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Commanders, a wargame digest


The Pocket Armies project


This is a new ‘from scratch’ project that is based around getting several pairings of armies across a number of periods together, but keeping battles to around 6 - 9 units per side, taken as a selection from a core collection of around 12 units or so for each force and getting the games to fit the kitchen / dining table kind of area.

The aim is to get something that feels a bit bigger than a skirmish and perhaps nearer to the Old School style of bath-tubbing forces down, so that a better sense of ‘Big Battle’ still comes through.

In his book, Napoleonic Wargaming, Neil Thomas has a system that works with armies of just 8 units. His After Action Report, dealing with his imaginary Battle of Leibnitz, has a French force consisting of 4 Line Infantry units (one of course being The Guard!), 1 Light infantry, 1 Cuirassier heavy cavalry, 1 light cavalry and an artillery unit.

This style of representative play and that type of unit mix with The Guard ‘always’ being in there as well, just makes me smile as it just delivers a strong whiff of my 1970’s gaming memories of my Featherstone, Grant and Quarrie world. I like that!

The basic battlefield

Being a ‘from scratch’ project in 28mm, has required a rebuilding of the battlefield for a bigger scale.

I am trying to keep this down to just a couple of crates of terrain. For basic structure, I have gone for some bigger trees and the flocked wide river system from S&A scenics, while the excellent ready made roads, with 1/72 armour in mind, comes from Fat Frank (Adrian) on E-bay.

The next tier has been to get some buildings, with the rail model shop having some good new and second hand models in the popular HO/OO scale, ideal for 1/72 WWII, but also giving a good small footprint for 28mm games.

Ancillary items like hedges, vineyards, plough fields and woodland bases have all come from the very friendly services of S&A Scenics.

My remaining sticking point is high ground. My current stock is ideal for the small scales, so I will need to make something perhaps from 2” styrene.

Initial army pairings

Being a ‘from scratch’ project in which I am having to build both sides and sort terrain, it makes best sense to pick one period and put every effort into that, to at least get something up and running.

For me, that should really be the American Civil War, as I already started with the Perry’s 28mm ACW Battle in a Box starter set and while that is largely painted up, I have been dipping my toe into other periods and even painted some pieces.

So, it seems that there are now four starter armies on the go, with some painting done to each of them. I am going to have to return to some discipline on this if concerted progress is to be made.

The four groups are ACW (Confederate and Union), Wars of the Roses (Yorkist and Lancastrian), WWII tactical (East front 1943 in 1/72) and Napoleonics ( French and Austrian).

This does. Not include all of my interests, but even I know when to stop .... for now! :-)