One of my favourite simple ideas chapters in Solo Wargaming by Don Featherstone is called “Wargaming In Bed”.
Transposed to the garden wargame, maybe this should be called “Wargaming in the Flower Bed”?
Here in this chapter, there are simple, mostly skirmish ideas, mostly for a few 54mm figures. There is an interesting short section on the “Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust” duelling game invented by Gerard Du Gre of the MGC (Model General’s Club) in America.
(Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust does sound like an odd bunch of solicitors or estate agents.)
What I like about this card system is that it can be played solo or two handed.
It is almost a card version of “scissors paper stone”, a gaming system used for thousands of years and harnessed for a great caveman / tribal game many years ago in Miniature Wargames. Must look this one out for my Homecast Prince August cavemen!
A set of cards is prepared with one of the following actions on each.
- Cut to Head
- Parry and Lunge
- Stop Thrust
I prepare a set of three cards for my hand, then a set of about thirty cards for my ‘opponent’ solo games.
Once you gave decided if you are attacker or defender (toss a coin for this), you can turn up the top card for your non-existent opponent’s choice of action at random. Return card to bottom of pile.
Alternatively, you can split the pack in half and play each figure as ‘random’, taking the top card blind from each pack for each figure.
Lunge, Cut and Stop Thrust – Combat Points
For each successful hit, remove 1 point / counter from the number given.
Featherstone / Du Gre gives 2 Combat Power points to light foot.
I usually give 5 points to each of these unarmoured swordsman to prolong the game.
Featherstone / Du Gre gives 2 Combat Power points to light foot. You can choose your own points table.
- Light Foot – 2 points
- Heavy Foot – 3 points
- Mounted Knights 3 points plus 1 point for horse
- Light Mounted (unarmoured) 2 points plus 1 point for horse.
In the case of Mounted men, the first hit is against their horse. When their horse is killed, the rider continues to fight on foot.
When all points have gone, this opponent is dead.
The winner can be given an additional point / counter.
If you both choose or draw the same card, consult the separate hit deck. The cards either say Both Hit or Both Missed.
To further randomise the opponents cards, I added in a couple of ducks and slips (either being hit or missed) as chance cards.
This is the closest I think I will get to card activation.
Points are kept by scoring pointers – pebbles on the beach, sweets, coins or in the sandpit example, some spare Tiger store flamingo cocktail sticks in homage to the other Don Featherstone.
Duelling in Angria and the Bronte books?
There are lots of examples of the pistols or swords and six paces sort of thing in the Bronte juvenilia Imagi-Nations I have been following up on my Man of TIN blog. Most officer figures with many toy soldier sets had suitable swords.
This duelling card system an also be used to sort out Melee in an interesting way in Solo games and otherwise. Once troops are engaged, time stops whilst an individual skirmish is played out. Morale, Retreat or disengage cards could be added for variety.
Fantasy Gladiator type skirmishes are possible.
The addition of life or hit points means that you can give a combat / defence / life points value to anything from a dinosaur to a mounted knight. Or even in the Heroscape box, a Mounted knight on a dinosaur …
Quick Samurai version?
I am slightly jealous of the attractive cherry blossom in the new Samurai Game Test of Honour featured in Tony’s Tin Soldiering On blog,
although i think its mainly the cherry blossom and not the rules system. I remembered I had some ‘free’ Samurai swordsmen in the couple of Heroscape starter sets which I bought for the hex tiles.
This works equally well in the garden with appropriate Japanese plants like this lovely Acer (Japanese Maple).
And the equivalent of Featherstone’s swoppet knights that as a convalescing invalid he hopes to “Bribe a nurse or browbeat your wife into bringing to your bedside a couple of those plastic 54mm Swoppet armoured knights and position them at either end of the Bed table.”
Maybe suitable figures can be found in their modern equivalent Lego mini figures or Wilko bootleggo mini figures, or pound store bags of knights or pirates.
Interchangeable weapons, heads , legs – Lego type minifigures are the modern version of Britain’s / Herald or Timpo type Swoppets.
I even found Lego minifigure fencing figures and do by chance or blind bag luck own two fencers, but could only find one for the photograph.
Somewhere I have Lego Star Wars and also metal figures of duelling Jedi figures with their lightsaber laser swords – these rules would also work well for this!
Featherstone mentions that “Minor actions can be fought: half a dozen Airfix men can try to capture a Bellona pillbox manned by a German machine gun team”. Well, having seen handmade trench raid weapons in museums and visited trenches like Dixmuide the Trench of Death on the Yser in Belgium, I can see that a World War trench raid is about as close to medieval foot combat as you can get, especially in the dark.
Not sure, having researched my village war memorial, if a trench raid is a bit too close historically to have the gloss or romance of history and fiction that makes pirate sword fighting or duelling an enjoyable card activated game though …
Airfix OO/HO sets like Robin Hodd / Sheriff also feature lots of swordsmen or men with quarterstaffs suitable for the Lunge Cut and Stop Thrust card game.
Pound store or seaside store pirates have useful duelling 54mm pirate swords men. These proved good fun to try out these rules in a recent family visit to the beach, though the cards get as soggy at the edges as you can see in the sandpit. Sandcastles have to be built and defended!
More elaborate and attractive laminated /sticky back plastic game cards could be made that would last longer in the garden or on the beach.
Jousting rules are also included in this chapter “Wargaming In Bed” in Solo Wargaming by Donald Featherstone but that’s one for another blogpost.
And finally … who was Gerard De Gre of the Model Generals Club who invented these Lunge Cut and Stop Thrust rules?
Bob Cordery in Wargaming Miscellany tracked down more information about him:
It appears that he was born in 1915 and he died in 1987.
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, April 2017.