New rules – putting some play into the Great War in 15mm (and 28mm, and so on)

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October 13, 2018 by wargamerchris

It all started for me at a Winter War Convention in the old Foreign Languages Building in Champaign when I was in high school. I signed up for a game set in the Balkans I think between Austro-Hungarian and Entente forces. Picture the Geo-Hex terrain tiles and lichen forests of the day and those 15mm resin houses with lift-off roofs which were used by everyone for European villages… Minifigs were the order of the day, and Ken had nicely painted them as well (they rest today downstairs- having joined our collection. some 15 years ago.)

Greg Novak was my friend, and mentor in the hobby and perhaps in life, and while I was still young, was working on the Over the Top rules which Frank Chadwick published for the Command Decision rules series. I even got to play in the playtest of “Steaming down to Tanga’ starting a lifelong intrigue with WW1 East African history. I was a 15 year old von Lettow Vorbeck and can remember rushing in trains to Tanga to plug holes in the very porous defense line in front of the town. What fun!

I’d like to highlight that this post is a little less about eye candy and games we played and a little more about a challenge which I have had a number of times in my hobby lifecycle. I collect armies which I know I WANT but don’t have the rules that feel right….

I’ve examined and by examined mean purchased all of these. Also Triumph of the Will, If the Lord Spares us from Too Fat Lardies as well. You can see I’ve even purchased board games as I sometimes do for the maps and historical content. In this case three of them including Red Star/ White Eagle in both the original GDW version as well as the new release by Compass.

So relatively new to me is the idea of tinkering with rules mechanics from many sets to arrive at something I think will have long term playability and generate sustained interest in using zone of these thousands of figures that have been newly painted or languishing for decades 😐

Here’s what I think I like:

  • 8 Fig/4 std companies as smallest unit size
  • Having individually mounted command figures fornBattalion level leaders and up
  • Variable movement – perhaps using TFL cards style, or Black Powder commander initiative
  • Five or more troop qualities – In CDTOB parlance Green/Trained/Experienced/Veteran/Elite and potentially multiple hits for stands
  • ‘Shock’ concept from TFL. It feels especially right for the mobile and maybe for the trenches as well. The idea that senior leaders can influence shock levels seems interesting as well.
  • Variable movement distances , potential for multiple move.

To be clear, I’m not talking about innovation, I’m exploring how to imitate the best features of the many rules I’ve purchased to play with a collection which I’ve been developing since perhaps 2003.

Well – that’s it for now. First playtest today will be covered in a separate blog….

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Small Soldiers

I’m a father, soldier, wargamer and traveler. This site is for my kids and to share my work over half a lifetime musing on the history of warriors and the portrayal of their efforts in miniature.  I’ve never really known why I do this

Wargame Rules

Rules I’m gaming with now:

Lions Rampant/ Dragons Rampant
Black Powder
Age of Eagles/ Age of Valor/ Fire and Fury
Force on Force/ Ambush Alley/ Ambush Z!
Hail Caesar
Command Decision: Test of Battle
Battles for Empire 2
Pride of Lions
The Sword and the Flame

Rules I’m Considering:

Sword and Spear/ Sword and Spear Fantasy
Regimental Fire and Fury
Open Combat
Chain of Command
Sharpe Practice 2
Wilderness Wars
Test of Honour
Field of Battle
Pike and Shotte (Warlord)
General de Armee (TFL)
Flames of War – Vietnamese/ WW2

Rules I still need to find to make my life better:

15mm Napoleonic mass battles rules (holy grail)
15mm War of the Spanish Succession mass battle rules
15mm Zombie mass battle rules


Command Decision Test of Battle Forum:

Din of Battle:

Henry Hyde’s Site:

Dan Mersey – author of a couple of rules sets we like:


Miniature Addiction:

Wasatch Front HMGS (Journals):


Big Force on Force (Great modern gaming)

Last Stand Dan:


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