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"Converting TMWWBK for the Mexican Revolution" Topic


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979 hits since 1 Nov 2016
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Henry Martini01 Nov 2016 7:54 p.m. PST

Dan Mersey's new 'light' colonial rule set takes a similar approach to its subject as Contemptible Little Armies does to its, but it has some mechanical advantages over CLA that make the idea of adapting it for the MR attractive, such as a tidier morale system and simpler melee resolution.

Even as published TMWWBK already has a broader spread than the traditional imperials versus natives game: the lists include the Sikh Wars and a regulars v regulars hypothetical US Great Britain conflict and the MR was in many ways a 19th century-style conflict, so it's not really that much of a stretch.

I've already come up with rules for maxim-type machine guns for the 1890s NW Frontier (four firing dice per crew figure, no jamming, 30 inch range, and 9 points per gun). In addition, all MR troops would rate as Irregular in TMWWBK terms. Northern rebels would be mainly Irregular Cavalry, Federales would be Irregular Infantry and Irregular Cavalry, and Zapatistas would be Irregular Infantry. I'd give former bandits and Yaquis fieldcraft. Some sort of low ammo rule is essential (the Federales had plenty but were very wasteful, while the revolutionaries were always suffering shortages), but not the cumbersome one in the rules; maybe something similar to the jamming rule for early MGS.

Any opinions/ideas?

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP02 Nov 2016 3:41 a.m. PST

What is "TMWWBK"

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP02 Nov 2016 3:52 a.m. PST

The Men Who Would Be Kings

Blutarski02 Nov 2016 6:07 a.m. PST

I would suggest providing a bit more flexibility in the ranking of MR troops. The post-Maximilian "Mexican Revolution(s) spanned some twenty years and saw some pretty tough soldiers on both sides.

The Battle of Zacatecas -

link

- suggests that both sides did field some bodies of better quality troops.

Strictly my opinion, of course.

B

Henry Martini02 Nov 2016 4:21 p.m. PST

Thanks for your thoughts, but I'm not entirely sure what you mean in the context of TMWWBK, Blutarski. I was merely describing the basic categories into which the troops would have to be slotted. Naturally individual stats would vary as required to as best as possible reflect historical armament and performance. If you're suggesting that, for instance, Federales should be rated as Regular Infantry/Cavalry, you have to consider TMWWBK's historical focus. Under the rules such troops are able to form close order and fire volleys, and while even CLA permits certain troop types within its historical remit to operate in close order (such as 1914 German infantry), by doctrine all combatants in the Mexican Revolution fought in formal/informal skirmish order. The only use of anything resembling close order would have been when on the march.

BTW, that first photo depicts one of the rare rurales infantry units. Note the blanket roll and infantry equipment and rifle. These troops can be reasonably accurately depicted (with a bit of conversion work) with the Old Glory rurales, which just happen to be sculpted with full-length Mausers.

Blutarski02 Nov 2016 9:47 p.m. PST

HM Your initial post implied that there would be no "Regular" quality troops involved. Huerta was a professional military officer and I would expect that at least the core of his army was trained in a conventional military manner. Felipe Angeles, on the side of the Revolutionists, was likewise a professionally trained military man and would presumably have trained at least some of his men in a similar way. I understand and agree that open order was the rule of the tactical day after the turn of the century, but I was thinking more of training and discipline standards rather than exercised doctrine.

I'm admittedly not familiar with TMWWBK rules, so it is entirely possible I'm missing out on some rule nuances related to "Irregulars" as a troop classification.

Either way, good luck with your project. The Mexican Revolution is a period of interest to me (and IMO is not yet over Carranza turned out to be a bad as Huerta and Mexico still suffers under his legacy).

B

Henry Martini03 Nov 2016 4:46 a.m. PST

Yes, the Irregular category is a bit of a misnomer, so you find for instance, US cavalry of the Indian Wars filed under that rubric.

With TMWWBK it's really a matter of finding the best fit category in terms of military characteristics and behaviour of a particular troop type and slotting your units in accordingly, whatever the category name might imply, or even creating your own categories if doing so more accurately reflects those attributes.

Henry Martini02 Dec 2016 11:27 p.m. PST

The main stumbling block with this idea, it seems to me, is the fact that training and morale quality are combined in the discipline rating, which is used for testing to see whether a unit responds to an ordered action, for pinning tests, and for rallying attempts.

The first is mostly about training, the second probably a roughly equal combination of training and morale, and the third purely morale.

For some Mex Rev troop types the two factors need to be represented separately, such as revolutionaries with high morale but minimal training. It's really the same dilemma, although less pronounced, that affects SCW gamers looking for suitable rules.

Blutarski04 Dec 2016 7:40 a.m. PST

I agree that morale and training are best kept as separate factors. Dervishes at Omdurman for example – not well schooled in the fine art of battlefield drill and formations, but clearly willing to close with the enemy.

B

Henry Martini04 Dec 2016 4:07 p.m. PST

I have no problem with using TMWWBK for colonial campaigns such as the Sudan. It's just that, for the reason stated, at this point I'm not confident of its adaptability to the Mex Rev.

Henry Martini19 Dec 2016 4:04 a.m. PST

While playing a Zulu War TMWWBK game last night I got thinking about this idea again. It doesn't seem to want to go away, I think because there's something inherently attractive about the idea of replacing all the cumbersome, time-consuming figure-based CLA mechanisms with unit-based ones.

The more I think about it the less of a real issue the apparent obstacle to using TMWWBK for the Mex Rev I identified above seems. What I failed to fully recognise previously is that Training as represented in CLA isn't perfectly analogous to Discipline in TMWWBK. In CLA the training stat has only two uses: setting the dispersal distance for a unit's component figures (which doesn't have a counterpart in TMWWBK), and determining how likely a reserve unit is to activate; and unlike the case with the SCW, and Blutarski's Sudan example, there probably isn't a significant enough number of poorly trained or untrained units with high morale, and vice-versa, to render it unhistorical; and for those special cases a special rule can always be concocted, just as in CLA. Where there's a will…

My initial thoughts have centred around command and control. In TMWWBK this is represented in three ways: through the unit leader ability rating, ranging from the worst, 8+, to the best 5+; randomly rolled leader traits that modify various rules; the Discipline rating modifier of individual units, the default stats for which run from -1 to +1, but can be modified to anywhere between -1 and +2. I see no reason why more/less points couldn't be spent to further expand the range. +2 is probably as high as you'd want to go, but you might want to reduce especially poor troops to -2.

These Mex Rev games are battles, not skirmishes, so we can ignore individual unit leader ratings and traits, however, we still need the command ratings, applied across all units in a force, to abstractly represent the efficiency of various armies' command structures and leaders. Personally I have no interest in the US interventions, but I know a lot of people do; in fact, for many they're the only point of interest in the Mex Rev. I therefore suggest that normally only US forces be rated at 5+. Most Mexican armies will be 7+ from 1910 1914. Federales, all forces in 1915, and Villa's and Obregon's armies in 1914 would be 6+, and the likes of Pablo Gonzalez' Army of the North-east would be 8+. Tomas Urbino's men had a well-deserved reputation for indiscipline, but seem to have performed adequately in combat. Their drunken post-battle looting sprees are best represented with some sort of campaign rule. Villa's Division/Army of the North could be be assigned a special modifier of +1 whenever the man takes the field with his Dorados, but of course there would be the attendant risk of termination of his command functions, in which case all of his army's units command ratings would instantly drop to 8+ in line with the rules as written.

As regards Discipline ratings, I think US regulars should be +2. When combined with the army's command rating this would mean they would only fail an activation attempt on a roll of double one which seems reasonable. National Guard would be +1. I've yet to give any thought to rating Mexican troops.

The Irregular unit type profiles would be the starting points for setting Mex Rev profiles, but by the time the adaptation process is complete they'll have little relevance to the Mex Rev variant, which will require the formulation of a set of entirely new, dedicated profiles.

Fieldcraft would be redefined as allowing a unit to treat the terrain it's in as providing the same degree of protection from shooting as the next level higher, so for instance, units in the open would be treated as if in soft cover.

More to come as it emerges from my humming cerebrum.

Henry Martini19 Dec 2016 1:45 p.m. PST

The Zapatistas deserve a mention. They're covered by 'Most Mexican armies…', so should be rated at 7+ for army command for the entire revolution, along with other minor factions that never professionalised, such as the Pelaecistas around Tampico.

The rules I set out for MGs above would result in a unit that generates a devastating 16 dice worth of firepower while its crew is at full strength… if it's rated as well drilled, however, Mexican MGs, including federal ones, should be poorly drilled, hitting on 5+, and costing seven points. Only US MGs should be well drilled.

Some federal MG units were armed only with light MGs: mostly Madsens or Hotchkisses. These have two crew, a range of 24 inches, fire at four dice per crew figure, don't jam, and cost the same as a Gatling-type MG.

Henry Martini19 Dec 2016 7:58 p.m. PST

There is one other class of MG that deserves well drilled status: foreign mercenary machine gunners, such as Sam Dreben and Maximilian Kloss. This type would be allowed only to northern revolutionary factions, and only one unit would be permitted.

Henry Martini20 Dec 2016 3:15 p.m. PST

In regard to the Pelaecistas, if you want:

1. To know who they were

2. A competent assessment of their military organisation and capability

have a look at the e-book, 'Oil and Revolution in Mexico'.

Because faction command rating is a consistent, known quantity under the system outlined above it becomes possible to factor it into the points cost of units. A rating of 8+ would add nothing to a unit's cost, but every level above it would increase unit cost by one point, so for instance, US units on 5+ would add three points.

Henry Martini24 Dec 2016 11:41 p.m. PST

Because of the specialist character of this variant of TMWWBK, it's possible when drawing up OBs for games to list final modifiers for units, rather than the factors that influence them as is the case with the lists in the rule book.

I can already see that no Mexican unit is going to be firing at better than 5+. Using the Irregular Infantry profile as a starting point for all infantry types (there was no close order or volley fire), federal regulars should be assigned the same basic value as Regular Infantry for firing. Their poor fire discipline would be represented by treating them as poor shots at -1, but their +1 for magazine rifles would cancel this out, bringing them back to 5+. They should also fight like regulars, being equipped with and – probably – trained in the use of the bayonet, unlike say Zapatistas, who are guerillas poorly equipped and untrained for close combat, and predisposed to fire rather than fight hand-to-hand – thus fully justifying the Irregular Infantry fighting stat of 6. Their motley array of firearms should also probably reduce their shooting stat to 6+. They're already at a firepower disadvantage relative to the Federales due to being out-ranged, but there needs to be a firepower slot between Zapatistas and Federales for northern revolutionaries, who suffered the same range limitation, but had greater firepower, due to being armed in large part with Winchesters and Mauser carbines. They would have modern carbines/obsolete rifles, but fire at 5+. For Zapatistas the only other change that possibly needs to be made is to change Discipline to -1, although they're already at a -1 disadvantage relative to Federales due to the command rating difference. I have to give this more thought.

Having done some intensive dice rolling experiments I've settled on the following out-of-ammo rule pending play testing: if when firing a unit scores more hits than misses it's out-of-ammo and may not fire again during that game. Once a unit has gone out-of-ammo that side is considered low on ammo, and any unit that when firing scores the same number of, or one less, hits as misses is also out-of-ammo.

The idea is that one unit running out of ammunition is indicative of a wider ammo supply problem in that force. It's probably been resupplied from central stocks during the action, but those stocks are now severely depleted or entirely used up, leaving other units with only what they have to hand, which will of course be very quickly used up too; hence the greater likelihood of additional units running out of ammunition.

This may seem unusually harsh, but ammo supply really was that big a problem in the Mex Rev. Many battles, at least before 1915, ended prematurely because one side or the other ran out of bullets.

My experiments demonstrated that, while the chance of rolling more hits than misses is relatively low, the chance of rolling both in equal numbers or one less hit than misses is much higher. This method also covers units whether they have an even or odd number of figures left.

This rule should make players conservative with their firepower, firing only when hits are likely to justify the risk, and rendering games much less bloody than they are with the rules as written.

Henry Martini25 Dec 2016 12:50 p.m. PST

I should add that this relativistic system is much easier to remember to use than an absolutist one in which you count the number of ones and/or sixes or some such: because you'll already be counting hits anyway you're merely extending an existing dice function, rather than adding an additional one that you have to try and remember in the heat of battle.

A further refinement is that if a unit rolls out-of-ammo when firing the player controlling it rolls two D6, and the OOA effect only applies if the total is lower than the current turn number. This ensures that, sensibly, no unit goes out-of-ammo in the first two turns, and that the chance increases the longer the battle lasts.

Henry Martini26 Dec 2016 2:30 p.m. PST

I've been having some fun creating unit profiles for the various troop types of the 1913-14 phase of the Mex Rev. It's surprised me just how colourful and distinctive they've turned out to be; there's plenty of variety. It'll certainly make selecting the unit mix for armies interesting. They are, of course, all subject to change in light of any problems revealed via play testing, but I'm reasonably confident that, on the whole, they're already solid enough to stand as is.

Relevant to unit profile construction, one major change to the way the rules are structured I felt was essential was substituting a more traditional representation of mounted units and their dismounted counterparts for the odd, abstract method employed in the rules. Here's an example:

Mounted Rurales/Exploradores

Speed: 12"
Firing: 6
Fighting: 5+
Discipline: 0
Weapon: Modern Carbine
Special Rules: As per standard irregular Cavalry; Scouts*
Free Action(s):Move
Points: 5

Dismounted Rurales/Exploradores

Speed: 6"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 6
Discipline: 0
Weapon: Modern Carbine
Special Rules: Scouts*
Free Action(s):Fire
Points: N/A

The points cost listed is whichever of the two is higher.

The rules never explain how the radically different posture and tactics of the same unit when mounted and dismounted respectively can be reconciled with the one-dimensional representation used in TMWWBK. For instance, can such units claim cover?

Maybe the method in the rules will work for colonial games, but for the Mex Rev I think my system is far more appropriate and workable. Here's another characterful example:

Federal Irregular Auxiliary Infantry (Indians)

Speed: 8"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 5+
Disciplined: 0
Weapon: Modern Rifle
Special Rules: Not Slowed by difficult terrain; fieldcraft
Free Action(s):Move; Attack
Points: 7

This profile used the tribal infantry template as its starting point, but has diverged markedly from it. For the sake of consistency and common sense this unit type also contains only 12 figures. I felt that those two free actions were needed to allow such units to behave historically.

* The details of this rule are yet to be precisely worked out, but it will give Rurales a function beyond their combat role. Historically, after most such units were absorbed into the army and renamed exploradores (scouts) they were assigned to federal columns in that light cavalry role because of the familiarity with and knowledge of their district their police work had endowed them with. The idea is that for every unit of rurales in a player's force he gets to make a die roll. If at least one roll is successful that side gets a deployment advantage yet to be determined.

Henry Martini26 Dec 2016 7:56 p.m. PST

I've settled on a three-tiered standardised Discipline rating system: regular units at +1, lesser trained units (e.g. auxiliaries), semi-regular units (e.g. rurales/exploradores; 1914 northern revolutionaries) and irregular units raised and embodied by governments (e.g. federal irregular auxiliaries, that is, Indians) at 0, and guerillas (e.g. Zapatistas; 1913 northern revolutionaries) and other true irregulars not suited to formal battle (e.g. bandits) at -1.

It's not so much its combat training or lack thereof that qualifies a unit for a particular rating as its degree of commitment to formal battle, either because of moral determination (e.g. revolutionaries) or obedience to orders (Federales). Federal regulars were often sketchily trained at best (covered by combat ratings), but despite being composed of the lowest elements of society or impressed peasants, once committed to battle they served loyally for the most part. This is usually explained with reference to the submissive character of the Mexican peon, but we should also recognise that they were led by professional officers.

Desertion rates of individuals were very high*, but this probably only served to strengthen units by weeding out the disgruntled and unwilling. At the start of the 1913 campaign there were some defections of whole units to the revolutionaries but these were mostly auxiliaries who, as mainly former revolutionaries themselves, would have been expected to strongly reconsider their position in light of the changed political situation. Even if individually relatively courageous, the collective martial temperament of guerillas and bandits rendered them unsuited to conventional field battles without hugely favourable odds.

One colourful unit type mentioned above is bandits. Many bandit leaders brought their followers to revolutionary musters, whilst others merely continued with their criminal activities under the guise of revolution. Here are their profiles:

Bandits (mounted)

Speed: 12"
Firing: 6
Fighting: 6
Discipline:-1
Weapon: Obsolete Carbine
Special Rules: None
Free Action(s):Skirmish; Stand To
Points: 4

Bandits (dismounted)

Speed: 6"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 6
Discipline: -1
Weapon: Obsolete Carbine
Special Rules:Fieldcraft
Free Action(s): Skirmish; Stand To
Points: N/A

The weapon rating takes in assorted outdated long arms, and revolvers. Even if slightly historically questionable, this is a chance to use those Old West Mexican bandits everyone has and add a dash of colour, visual and ludic, to the drab or white-clad hordes. I just happen to have the West Wind bandidos, which are sold in two packs of four figures; perfect for a TMWWBK unit!

The mounting/dismounting rule is borrowed from CLA: a unit may mount/dismount at no cost at the start of any turn in which it performs a move or stand to action, and then counts, and is treated, as such for the duration of that turn and any following turns until it again changes posture. The appropriate figures are substituted for those on the table. No riderless horses or horse-holders are required. This keeps things simple in the spirit of both CLA and TMWWBK.

There will be enough of CLA in this variant to qualify it for the title 'The Contemptible Little Men Who Would Be Kings'… or if you prefer, TCLMWWBK.

You might have noted that mounted units always fire at a rating of 6. This is to represent the difficulty of firing accurately from horseback. The only exception is the Dorados, who were renowned for their ability to issue effective mounted fire, and so fire at 5+ whether mounted or dismounted.

I mentioned that guerillas were disinclined to engage in formal battle unless the numerical odds were heavily in their favour. The following profiles will ensure that this is the case in Mex Rev games of TMWWBK;

Zapatista Infantry

Speed: 6"
Firing: 6
Fighting: 6
Discipline: -1
Weapon: Obsolete Rifle
Special Rules:None
Free Action(s):Move, Fire, Stand To.
Points:3

Zapatista Cavalry (mounted)

Speed: 12"
Firing: 6
Fighting: 5+
Discipline: -1
Weapon: Modern Carbine
Special Rules:As per Irregular Cavalry in rule book.
Free Action(s): Move, Stand To
Points:3

Zapatista Cavalry (dismounted)

Speed: 6"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 6
Discipline: -1
Weapon: Modern Carbine
Special Rules:None
Free Action(s):Fire
Points: N/A

If I've noted N/A for points it's because, as stated above, the points for the other posture are higher or the same.

Stand To is always a free action. I inadvertently omitted it from the profiles in preceding posts.

There should only be at most one cavalry unit in a standard 24 point Zapatista field force. Such men would have represented the wealthier members of the community, and would have been able to provide themselves with better armament than was available to the peones.

*Desertion should be a feature of campaigns, but not tabletop battles.

Henry Martini27 Dec 2016 3:50 p.m. PST

First, a correction: Bandits Special Rules should say 'As per Irregular Cavalry in rule book'.

Just to add to the Zapatista lists, this army may never field more than one artillery unit or MG unit (of any type), but could have one of each.

Getting back to the question of factoring the difference in command ratings into points costs, quite obviously it can't be incorporated in unit profiles; the command rating of a unit's enemy might differ from one game to the next, so for instance, any federal unit could be fighting opponents with CRs ranging from 8+ to 6+. The only way to resolve the matter is to calculate the difference after armies have been selected, and then attribute bonus points with which the force with the lower command rating may acquire additional units, by multipyling the difference between the two values by the number of units in the force with the higher rating. As an example, say you had a Zapatista field force of seven ordinary infantry units and a cavalry unit against a force of four regular federal infantry units. The Zapatistas have a CR of seven, and the Federales a CR of six, so there's a one point CR difference. With four federal units the total is four points. With four points the Zapatistas could add a light crewed weapon, such as a mountain gun, LMG, or Gatling gun.

And now, a few more unit profiles I've cooked up:

Zapatista Soldaderas

Speed: 6"
Firing: 6
Fighting: 6
Discipline: 0
Weapon: Obsolete Rifle
Special Rules: No more than one unit in any size force
Free Action(s):Move;Fire; Stand To
Points: 5

Federal Regular Infantry

Speed: 6"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 5+
Discipline: +1
Weapons: Modern Rifle
Special Rules: None
Free Action(s):Fire; Stand To
Points: 6

Federal Regular Cavalry (mounted)

Speed: 10"
Firing: 6
Fighting: 5+
Discipline: +1
Weapon: Modern Carbine
Special Rules: As per Regular Cavalry in Rule Book
Free Action(s):Attack; Stand To
Points: 4

Federal Regular Cavalry (dismounted)

Speed: 6"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 6
Discipline: +1
Weapon: Modern carbine
Special rules: None
Free Action(s):Fire; Stand To
Points: N/A

Federal Irregular Cavalry (mounted)

Speed: 12"
Firing: 6
Fighting: 5+
Discipline: +2
Weapon: Modern Carbine
Special Rules: As per Irregular Cavalry in rule book
Free Action(s):Move; Stand To
Points: 5

Federal Irregular Cavalry (dismounted)

Speed: 6
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 6
Discipline: +2
Weapon: Modern carbine
Special Rules: None
Free Action(s):Fire; Stand To
Points: N/A

Federal Auxiliary Cavalry (mounted)

Speed: 10"
Firing: 6
Fighting: 5+
Discipline: 0
Weapon: Modern Carbine
Special Rules: As per Regular Cavalry in Rule Book
Free Action(s):Attack; Stand To
Points: 3

Federal Auxiliary Cavalry (dismounted)

Speed: 6"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 6
Discipline: 0
Weapon: Modern carbine
Special Rules: None
Free Action(s):Fire; Stand To
Points: N/A

Federal Auxiliary Infantry

Speed: 6"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 5+
Discipline: 0
Weapon: Modern Rifle
Special Rules: None
Free Action(s):Fire; Stand To
Points: 5

Federal Volunteer Infantry

Speed: 6"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 5+
Discipline: +2
Weapon: Modern Rifle
Special Rules: No more than one unit in any size force
Free Action(s):Fire; Stand To
Points: 7

Federal Volunteer Cavalry (mounted)

Speed: 10"
Firing: 6
Fighting: 5+
Discipline: +2
Weapon: Modern Carbine
Special Rules: As per Regular Cavalry in rule book; no more than one unit in any size force
Free Action(s):Attack; Stand To
Points: 7

Federal Volunteer Cavalry (dismounted)

Speed: 6"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 6
Discipline: +2
Weapon: Modern Carbine
Special Rules: No more than one unit in any size force
Free Action(s):Fire; Stand To
Points: N/A

Federal Guard/Cadet Infantry

Speed: 6"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 5+
Discipline: +2
Weapon: Modern Rifle
Special Rules: No more than one unit in any size force, and only available when defending a major city (in a campaign, a state capital or the national capital)
Free Action(s):Fire: Stand To
Points: 7

Federal Zapadores

Speed: 6"
Firing: 4+
Fighting: 5+
Discipline: +2
Weapon: Modern Rifle
Special Rules: No more than one unit in any size force
Free Action(s):Fire; Stand To
Points: 8

Revolutionary Dinamiteros (four figures counting as a well-drilled crewed weapon)

Speed: 6"
Firing: 4+
Fighting: 6
Discipline: +1
Weapon: Dynamite bombs
Special Rules: Two dice per figure; 6" range; no more than one unit in any size force; ignores all cover except buildings when firing
Free Action(s):Move; Fire; Stand To
Points: 9

These are the boys who can deal with those annoying federal crewed weapons – up close and personal.

Henry Martini28 Dec 2016 5:54 a.m. PST

Another correction: the West Wind bandidos are sold as four sets of two matching mounted and dismounted figures (it's been a while since I bought them).

Henry Martini28 Dec 2016 2:50 p.m. PST

I seem to have somehow missed the fact that the points cost of units upgrading from obsolete (as opposed to modern) to magazine-loaded weapons should probably be increased by two points rather than one (although the suggested upgrade on page 36 actually makes no allowance for the starting weapon I think this approach is logical). This will be all units above that are based on the irregular profiles from the rule book and which aren't retaining obsolete weapons, so Rurales, Zapatista Cavalry, Federal Irregular Cavalry, and Federal Irregular Auxiliary Infantry.

I haven't cited the upgrade in the profiles because it applies generally in this adaptation, but to avoid confusion it might be best to do so, so if you use them please modify them accordingly.

I hope someone out there is finding these ideas useful (the road of the self-motivated rules adaptor is a lonely one to travel :-)).

Henry Martini29 Dec 2016 1:39 p.m. PST

A few northern revolutionary profiles for your delectation:

Norteno Irregular Cavalry/Guerillas 1913 (mounted)

Speed: 12"
Firing: 6
Fighting: 5+
Discipline: -1
Weapon: Modern ML Carbine
Special Rules: As per Irregular Cavalry in rule book
Free Action(s): Move; Stand To
Points: 4

Norteno Irregular Cavalry/Guerillas 1913 (dismounted)

Speed:6"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 6
Discipline: -1
Weapon: Modern ML Carbine
Special Rules: None
Free Action(s): Fire; Stand To
Points: N/A

Dorados 1913-14 (mounted)

Speed: 12"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 5+
Discipline: +2
Weapon: Modern ML Carbine
Special Rules: As per Irregular Cavalry in rule book; no more than one unit in any size game
Free Action(s): Move; Fire; Stand To
Points: 9

Dorados 1913-14 (dismounted)

Speed: 6"
Firing: 5+
Fighting: 6
Discipline: +2
Weapon: Modern ML Carbine
Special Rules: None
Free Actions: Fire; Stand To
Points: N/A

For clarity I've added ML (magazine-loaded) to the weapon description, and anywhere this weapon type appears in previous profiles the same should apply, however it's already factored into the points cost.

Henry Martini30 Dec 2016 9:17 p.m. PST

I'll add to and/or amend portions of this thread once I've finished panning the Janssens books for factual gold.

Henry Martini05 Jan 2017 4:51 a.m. PST

A few preliminary nuggets, mostly from Volume 1:

The Federales tended to leave the hard work to everyone except the regulars; understandable perhaps given their poor training and initiative. This means that aggressive action tended to fall disproportionately on the irregulars, auxiliaries, and rurales. On campaign the regulars stuck to the railway lines; sweeping cross-country movements were conducted by irregular and auxiliary cavalry units, and chasing guerillas such as the Zapatistas was deemed unsuitable work for regular cavalry, whose poor quality horses weren't up to the job anyway.

There's a very useful chapter that helps to make sense of the various federal unit designations. There were two ways in which units differed: their recruitment method, and their degree of training. This section is concerned with the former. The National Guard was a last resort mobilisation of all eligible males, with units raised by state governments theoretically nationwide, but in practice it only existed in Sonora; auxiliaries were raised by state authorities and organised like rurales, but maintained only for the duration of a crisis and were to be disbanded thereafter; guerillas were small 'posses' of irregulars under the control of the Ministry of the Interior (as were the Rurales prior to July 1913) raised in reaction to local bandit or rebel guerilla attacks.

Even though I've always been focussed mainly on 1913 -15, I'm glad I bought volume 1 along with the 1913 and 1914 books. The same federal army fought the various revolutionary factions from 1910 onwards, and much that applied in 1910 continued to hold sway in the succeeding years and there's a lot of valuable information on its organisation and conduct in this book and the revolutionary armies of 1913-15 owed much to their predecessors, too.

Henry Martini20 Jan 2017 2:54 p.m. PST

More mods and a couple of changes to those above:

All federal regulars, guards/cadets, zapadores, auxiliaries, and volunteers now use the TMWWBK Regular profiles as starting points and are considered as such when using the tactical factors in the scenarios. This of course means that they can form close order and volley fire, but the practical upshot for a period in which every unit has at least reasonable shooting ability, and there are no hordes of fast moving melee units, is that the intended advantage of forming close order in the rules as written isn't going to be of much use.

In this variant close order is used, in a simplified and abstract manner and without getting too finicky about precisely representing field tactical deployments, to reflect Mexican tactical practice so a Regular infantry unit can form close order as per the rules, and any federal infantry unit of the types listed (i.e. those capable of forming close order) within six inches and within the supporting unit's 180 degree firing arc, and not in close order, is considered 'supported', granting it a +1 Discipline bonus.

I haven't mandated that the supporting unit be behind the supported units, as it would have been historically, first because there is no 'behind' in these rules for units not in close order, and second, because units in close order will be vulnerable to shooting, and because a player will want to support as many units as possible with a supporting unit he will naturally tend to deploy it behind his non-close order units anyway, preferably in cover, accurately reflecting their historical use.

All this means that supporting units will rarely be firing themselves, and volley fire will therefore see little use.

The out-of-ammo rule above unfairly favours poor shooters, so, for now at least, it's replaced with the following rule. If more than a third of a unit's firing dice roll sixes it's potentially out-of-ammo, and once one unit is OOA any other unit on that side that when firing rolls sixes on a third (rounded up) or more of its dice is also OOA. The secondary 2D6 roll is unchanged.

Having two free actions is a major advantage, so Zapatista infantry cost four points.

I believe the free move action for Zapatista infantry is a good, abstract way to represent the local terrain knowledge and consequent relative freedom of movement of such guerillas. Also, because it only guarantees a six inch move, and because double moves and attacks aren't free and the combination of a 7+ Command rating and -1 Disciplne rating mean that they'll be difficult to execute, and because Zapatistas are out-classed in a firefight, this movement flexibility will mostly be used by them to exploit the terrain to their advantage, improve the local firefight odds, and retire units out of trouble; entirely realistic guerilla tactics.

Robert Burke20 May 2017 3:27 p.m. PST

HM, what 28mm figures are available for Mexican Revolution of 1910? I was thinking that the rules would work well for the Cristero War of 1926-1929. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of information about that war available. Many Mexicans are totally unaware of it.

But I was thinking that 28mm figures from the Mexican Revolution would work for the regular Mexican army and irregulars for the Cristeros.

Henry Martini21 May 2017 8:50 a.m. PST

Oddly enough, I got home from a TMWWBK Mex Rev game about an hour ago.

Most of my figures are Old Glory, which has the most comprehensive selection, but Brigade Games, Outpost Wargame Services, and Gringo 40s also make dedicated Mex Rev figures. You can also incorporate assorted Boers, SAW, and selected Old West figures.

Mexican regulars appear to have been issued with a new pattern of personal equipment after the revolution, but otherwise continued in much the same uniform, although probably adhering more closely to regulations.

It's extremely unlikely that any manufacturer will ever make a Cristero War range, so you have little choice but to use Mex Rev figures – which are as accurate as anything you'll get.

Robert Burke21 May 2017 11:11 a.m. PST

Thanks, that gives me a good idea of where to look. I wish I could find something on the Cristero War from a military point of view. Any suggestions?

Henry Martini21 May 2017 4:20 p.m. PST

I know there's a detailed history of the Cristero War in one of our university libraries, having read some of it on site some years ago, but I didn't make note of the title or author. I'll try and remember to drop in and see if I can find it next time I'm passing the uni. I presume that you've searched online.

Robert Burke22 May 2017 10:30 a.m. PST

Yes, I've found two books on Amazon that look promising:

"La Cristiada: The Mexican People's War for Religious Liberty" by Jean Meyer

"The Holy War in Los Altos: A Regional Analysis of Mexico's Cristero Rebellion" by Jim Tuck

But please let me know if the book in the university library is not one of the ones I've listed above.

Thanks.

Henry Martini23 May 2017 5:37 a.m. PST

I'll do that, Bob.

Getting back to TMWWBK, in the light of playing experience I'll be modifying some of the above profiles once I've had a chance to analyse them.

Robert Burke23 May 2017 11:16 a.m. PST

HM – I hope you'll send me modified profiles once you get a chance to do them. You can contact me directly at Burker1 (at) aol (dot) com.

Thanks.

Henry Martini23 May 2017 11:36 p.m. PST

I'll post any updates here.

Henry Martini24 May 2017 5:19 p.m. PST

I forgot to include Pulp Figures in the above list of figure manufacturers.

Henry Martini01 Jun 2017 5:55 p.m. PST

If you want to play games set in the north from 1910 to 1912 use the 1913 revolutionary profiles for all rebels; e.g. Maderistas and Orozquistas. Zapatistas use the same profiles from 1910 – 1920.

Henry Martini08 Jun 2017 3:25 a.m. PST

I should add that OOA units are removed from the table, but don't count as routed or lost for victory conditions or victory points calculations. Most Mex Rev forces, with the exception of Indians up to 1914, were firepower-dependent, and would retire from an action once their capacity to influence it through firepower was terminated (Indian arrow stocks weren't sourced via the army's logistics channels, were less profligately used, and could be self-regenerated).

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