The header picture is the inside cover of the soon to be released FK&P rules (with kind permission of the authors).
Like any good scientist I continue my endless experiments with FK&P by varying as many parameters as possible at one time. I know that the scientific method, as taught, requires that only a single variable be changed at a time but where’s the fun in that. The greatest leaps in scientific progress have always occurred thanks to a combination of intuition and general messing about. There is, admittedly, a great deal of hard work that comes afterward to carefully and systematically confirm a finding but the tinkering before hand is much more fun.
So I’m tinkering with FK&P in the Barley Valley to test the limits of what is possible.
If you look at the Barley Valley again (and note – all the pictures can be enlarged by clicking) –
– You’ll notice that there are way too many terrain features for a board that is based on 9 x 18, 4” (10cm) boxes, an insane number of features, really. I’d mentioned in the last post that a box is 100 yards for tactical purposes (FK&P rules) but I am superimposing a grand tactical scale of four hundred yards per box to see if I can essentially play two games at once. This is NOT something I would force on another human opponent (or even suggest they try). My thinking is such a system might bring about a number of tactical situations and surprises that I could not dream up as a solo player. we will see. That’s why I say pushing the limits.
I also mentioned that I will use cards to drive most of the early movements of the Government (James II) side:
There are actually several decks for this game, three for the Government (milita foot, militia horse, the main body), a deck for another autonomous set of actors (the civilians of Wessexshire), and one small deck for Monmouth.
Many wargamers build their units out of sub units (I call them pieces or stands) and this allows them not only to be constructed in different ways but even disassembled on the board during the game (if you had the mind to do so).
Andrew Brentnall, for example, uses three stands (as do I) to build a base unit:
But he can also double them to make very dense (and, I would admit, more realistic looking units):
Simon Miller also uses beautifully detailed 28mm figures which, at first, don’t even appear to be modular:
The above unit,however, just like mine and Andrew’s, is composed of three pieces, two musketeer and one pike. Simon has them on custom bases with scalloped edges that mate together near seamlessly.
Of course, like Andrew, Simon has a penchant for large, dense units!
Regardless of the size or basing, however, all of these units are easily accommodated within the FK&P rules, only the box dimensions are changed (or one can simply use “doubled” boxes, where four represent one).
I think it is possible to play a grand tactical game by having a single piece of each unit represent the whole and until contact is made (a scenario specific condition) activation is not required (hence no possibility of a unit moving multiple times in a turn). When contact occurs, the full unit is put on the board and the regular FK&P tactical rules come into play (on that portion of the field). Yes, one must maintain a certain fiction about the scale of the topography, but this is what the limit pushing is all about.
From a weapons and tactics stand point 1685 is little different from 1650 (OK, I can come up with a list of subtle changes but I think they can be ignored). One thing that does have to be accounted for is the addition of grenadier companies to most of the government units. Their first role was to use grenades (although they soon became the elite company of each battalion). Historically grenades were NOT issued to Faversham’s army at Sedgemoor but for fun I want to also try a simple grenade rule – using a marker, much like Attached Shot, which gives a unit a one-time bonus melee to-hit card (I may later try using them to negate certain types of defensive bonuses).
I also have in mind that a unit might be broken into its component parts to give an even finer level of granularity in the game but that is for a different day.
I had said that I would present the Orders of Battle for Barley Valley in my last post and will do so in picture form this time:
With the stage now ready I will commence to see if this actually works.
Elsewhere, work on the Flodden 1513 Armies continues