Saturday, January 11, 2014

Serried Ranks and Fortune's Bones

I've been doing some thinking about my Francesian armies (using Risk figures). I compared the two battles I fought using those figures:

Battle of Maraconi - infantry based on 3-figure stands (2 stands per unit)
Battle of Maraconi
Battle of Dardona - infantry based individually
Battle of Dardona
I decided I preferred the infantry on bases. They look more like well-drilled units rather than a mob of men. This morning, I re-based a bunch of my infantry as seen below. I even re-based the blue and gray troops used in the Battle of Maraconi. I hated the bright green paint I used on their original stands so I moved them onto bases with a nicer shade of green (which blends well with my battle board, as you can see in the pictures of Dardona).

My newly-based, serried ranks of Risk figures
 The only issue using the stands is that in my Command and Colors inspired rules infantry units can take 4 hits but I cannot really fit 4 stands into a square. My plan is to use hit markers for single hits and then remove a stand on the 2nd hit. I painted some wood circles red to serve as hit markers for now. Eventually, I want to upgrade to proper casualty markers. Cavalry and artillery will be individually based so they won't need hit markers; I'll just remove a figure with each hit.

I also received a purchase this week. Now that I am using the Command and Colors combat rules it makes sense to get C&C dice. The set below is from a company called Valley Games, which makes custom wood dice for the C&C: Napoleonics game (thanks to Bob Cordery's Wargames Miscellany for the tip). Valley Games was out of stock when I checked, but I found some on eBay.
Bones of Fortune - Command & Colors: Napoleonic dice
I am also planning to use them for unit activation. Rolling infantry, cavalry, or artillery will allow you to move one unit of that type. Crossed sabers is a wildcard (activate any). I may use the flag as a wildcard as well or it could just mean no unit activated. Each turn, a side will roll 3-5 dice depending on the quality of its commander.

I am looking forward to using these toys for the next battle of the Grayrock Revolution. I have the scenario in mind, I just need to set it up and fight.


  1. Have you actually written you rules up anywhere? I'd be interested in seeing them.

    Are only activated units allowed to fire? Or do all units fire regardless of activation? I ask because it seems to make artillery difficult to use, as it gets fewer activation opportunities than other types.

  2. The combat rules are basically just from the Command and Colors system (Battle Cry, C&C Napoleonics, Memoir '44) with infantry firing 3 spaces and artillery firing 4. Only activated units fire. You are correct that infantry will activate more frequently than artillery or cavalry, but crossed sabers are wild. This means there are 3/5 chances to activate infantry per die and 2/6 to activate cavalry or artillery. It still seems to work out OK.

  3. Typo - that should be 3/6 chances to activate infantry.

  4. Thanks. I might have to give that system a try.

    Do you find that the ranges are too high given that you're only using an 9 x 6 board? In addition, how do you work diagonals? Do you measure everything orthogonally, or can units move and attack along a diagonal?

  5. For combat and movement I measure orthogonally only. This tends to depress the firepower of units (diagonally adjacent = range of 2) especially when combined with terrain mods, so the current ranges seem to work OK. I do allow units to retreat diagonally (otherwise retreats would be cut off too frequently). I would like to expand my battlefield but the 9x6 fits perfectly on my little fold up table.

  6. "I do allow units to retreat diagonally (otherwise retreats would be cut off too frequently)."

    I hit on this idea today as well - it seems our minds think alike :)