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""From Shako to Coalscuttle" is just about here" Topic

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1,668 hits since 15 Jan 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2017 7:03 p.m. PST

Somewhat overdue, you may recall a public beta test last year for "From Shako to Coal-scuttle".

Well, I am pleased to say that the rules are almost here (Tomorrow if all goes to plan, Tuesday worse case).

So what are they?
They are somewhat abstracted rules aimed a a simpler gaming experience, taking a bit of inspiration from some of Neil Thomas' wonderful creations.

Enough chatter, whats the scoop?
The rules cover warfare nominally from 1805 to 1914, being roughly the period where men fought mostly in formed ranks and armed with firearms.

What is the scale of things?
We've borrowed the "Neil Thomas" approach of having an army for a scenario always be around a certain size of figures, in this case 8-15 units of 4 stands each.

This means that depending on preferences, each unit may be a battalion, a company or a brigade as the need arises.

The rules assume that infantry with smooth bore muskets will engage at 6" with improving firearms engaging at ever increasing distances.

(I should clarify that the good Thomas had nothing to do with these rules, I am simply giving his name to give proper credit, though the idea goes back to DBA of course)

Okay, that's the Neil Thomas part, what about the Nordic Weasel part?

Charging and firing uses a "one roll system" similar to Fivecore, where all results from an attack are immediately apparent with no follow up rolls.

Essentially, roll a handful of dice (typically 3-5) and count out 1's, 5's and 6's.
Every 1 forces the enemy unit back, every 5 inflicts Disarray and every 6 destroys a troop stand.

If you've played Command and Colours it's not super unlike how that game works.

This means there is no "roll to hit, roll to do damage, roll for morale, roll for moderate discomfort and brownness of pants" chain.
One roll and you know what happened to the guys at the receiving end. We call this "effects driven game design".

How is the turn sequence?
It's an IGOUGO which I felt fitted the period best allowing the move and counter-move that books always talk about.

Let me give an example:
I am commanding the Prussians with a Command rating of 2 and my army is rated as being Disciplined.

I can move and fire with all my troops and I can attempt to rally one unit for free and carry out one Shock action (such as charging, double-timing cavalry or pushing through dense ground).

Since my army is Disciplined, I get to do a second Shock action each turn and I may roll two Command dice, with a 1 on either die giving an extra rally and a 6 giving an extra Shock action.

We've used the assumption that basic actions are always possible, due to the local unit commanders, while complex actions are difficult to carry out and require concerted efforts.
An assault on the enemy line in a battle report of the day was always a big deal, so it should be a big deal in our games.

If all else fails, there are rules for sending forward your captains and colonels to push the enemy harder but they may of course not survive that.

Are there troop stats?
Individual units do not have stat lines, but the army is rated in aggregate for its Quality and Discipline as well whether its Brave and/or Disciplined.

Troops are classified on what type of basic formation they operate in (close, loose, open, assault) and their armaments throughout the period (smooth bore, early rifle, muzzle loaded (minie style) rifle, single shot rifle, magazine rifle)

Artillery likewise falls into 5 classes based on technology and towards the end of the period, the Gatling and Maxim guns of course show up to make a mess of things.

How large should my army be to play?
A typical army might be around 10 units of infantry (40 stands), 3 units of cavalry (12 stands) and 2 artillery units (2 or 4 stands depending on preference).
Rules also provide for light troops and heavy weapon stands.

What other features are included?
Campaign rules as always, some scenario options for surprised armies, elite units and so forth, a simple random army generator and a basic points system.
You also get a "meeting engagement" setup that you can use to get your feet wet with the rules.

What has changed from the beta?
Almost everything in the game has been tweaked up and a lot of rules have been cleaned up to make the game simpler.
Rather than tracking which stands are stunned, you now simply track Disarray by unit, requiring just a couple of markers to be placed.

More optional rules have been included, cavalry has been toned down slightly and of course, you get the benefit of the new additions to the game.

Page count and fluff?
The game will be just about 50 pages, give and take a single page, and that's with everything included.
It's a very tight little package.

It's all text too, for printer-friendly purposes, with maybe one exception.
I figure you all have enough nicely looking miniatures to look at already.

Who might like this game?
If you want to play what feels like a big battle, but without painting thousands of figures and taking 8 hours to finish the battle (No hate on those big battle games, they're just not the goal of this set).

If you want to be able to play a number of related periods with one set of rules.

If the feel of battle is more important to you than exact simulation.

Who shouldn't buy these rules?
Players who are very demanding of exact simulation or who exclusively play a single period within the time frame of the rules may be disappointed.
By it's nature, a game intending to cover a lot of ground must omit particular details in any given period.

Hence, rules written specifically for the Napoleonic wars (for example) can afford far more detail for that topic.

The price should be 10 dollars and it'll be available through the wargame vault very shortly.
Let me know if you have any questions.

Personal logo Coyotepunc and Hatshepsuut Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2017 7:54 p.m. PST

I looked through the beta of this and it seems to be a fine game. I recommend it.

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2017 12:50 a.m. PST

Looks excellent. I'll be buying it.

Durban Gamer16 Jan 2017 3:26 a.m. PST

Sounds good ! Would it work for disparate warfare – eg British against Zulus, Sudanese and Boers?
How hard or easy would it be to adapt the rules to a grid table – eg squares or hexes?

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2017 5:01 a.m. PST

Durban – There's rules included for units with partial armaments and "mob" or "wave" type formations, though melee only units aren't tested an awful lot.

Movement rates are mostly intervals of 3", so I don't think it should be too difficult with a bit of creativity.

KTravlos Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2017 6:10 a.m. PST

I shared it in the 19th Century Warfare and Wargames FB page.

Personal logo Dale Hurtt Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2017 7:55 a.m. PST

I look forward to them. Unfortunately, by the time I found out about the beta, it was already over.

nsolomon9916 Jan 2017 6:53 p.m. PST

Curious about the time period covered – what was it about 1805 that made it the start date for the rules coverage? 1805 was the year of the Ulm & Austerlitz Campaigns down the Danube valley.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2017 7:40 p.m. PST

Nsolomon99 – I'll admit I just picked it because two of my favourite board games start in 1805 (Age of Napoleon and the venerable Empires in Arms).

At least one beta tester ran american revolution with the rules.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2017 9:04 p.m. PST

And she's available. Go git 'er!


slinky17 Jan 2017 4:28 a.m. PST

I take it they'd be ok for 7yw?

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2017 7:54 a.m. PST

I don't think it'd cause any trouble there, but I'm not read in that period much at all.

vtsaogames17 Jan 2017 9:25 a.m. PST

It depends. By the end of the SYW combat is starting to look a lot like French Revolutionary/early Napoleonic warfare, with flanking detachments and such. For most of the war, armies marched and fought in a single formation. Frederick's big change-up was having his army in an oblique echelon formation instead of the standard straight two lines.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2017 9:34 a.m. PST

Ah okay.
THe rules are fairly abstracted, but it may not be a perfect fit then.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2017 11:14 a.m. PST

Reminds me of "Fields of Honor" which we use for the 2nd Boer War.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2017 11:40 a.m. PST

Inadvertently, I also realize that it has some similarities to Command & Colors, which I just obtained in the mail last night :)

As an aside, if you downloaded last night but didn't print yet, go ahead and download the file again, a couple of typos were fixed thanks to the keen eyes of a player.

dave00177618 Jan 2017 6:58 a.m. PST

Going to order in the next day or so, a question, I will be using them for the AWI, in this period there were quite a difference in grade/quality of troops, IE shaky militia and British Guards, if unit quality is actually an issue in the game do you think it would be ok ?



Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2017 7:03 a.m. PST

So the default assumption is that the army quality is an aggregate of the whole army.
Your quality and leadership are each rated from 0 to 4, for the army.

THere's an optional rule for elite units and for hesitant troops. I'll add a "militia" option as well, once I get a chance.

dave00177618 Jan 2017 7:53 a.m. PST

Thanks weasel, forgot to say I will be using 28mm figures, is it a simple case of doubling ranges/distances ?

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2017 11:36 a.m. PST

Doubling should be fine. That gives you moves from 6 to 10 inches and 12 inch musketry range.

dave00177618 Jan 2017 11:53 a.m. PST

I do like the sound of these and the idea of rating the army as a whole, I would say it would be great for periods where there wasn't a major difference in quality of units within each army, ACW, Napoleonics,Zulu war etc, the AWI might need some tweaking. I am building forces for the Sikh war and this is another example of differing quality within the same army. irregulars and Khalsa for example.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2017 1:19 p.m. PST

Yeah for some periods more variation across forces would be expected, i'll add a few more options for that stuff.
Napoleon, ACW, Franco Prussian and 1914 were the driving goals so a little Polish will be needed elsewhere:)

vtsaogames18 Jan 2017 8:50 p.m. PST

Troop variation ideas: +1 die in melee for fierce troops, -1 for unsteady, -1 firing die for poor marksmen or shoddy weapons, bad powder, etc

SYW idea: infantry vs. cavalry get +1 fire die for each secure flank (to foster long intact lines)

dave00177619 Jan 2017 12:30 a.m. PST

ordered and downloaded, like the look of them.

dave00177620 Jan 2017 3:55 a.m. PST

had a quick read thru, I do like the mechanics !! I intend to use them as is for Colonial and ACW, for the AWI I think I will lower the amount od dissaray militia can take before having to fall back, seem a very easy solution to the differing quality of units in the same army.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP20 Jan 2017 5:27 p.m. PST

Yeah, making them hoof it at 3 or even 2 for very shaky units should be fine.

dave00177623 Jan 2017 5:49 a.m. PST

Weasel, On the Charge Dice sheet it says Inf in battle or mob-1 dice per unit, inf in advance or wave no adjustment. Should this be the other way round or have I missed the point ? !

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2017 3:24 p.m. PST

They are correct.

Troops in battle formations tend to be spread out more linear, so they have less shock as they close in.

For some periods, it may be appropriate to not apply the penalty.

That help?

dave00177625 Jan 2017 5:43 a.m. PST

cheers, first game soon !

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2017 8:23 a.m. PST

Keep us posted :-)

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2017 1:10 p.m. PST

Updated the PDF with a unit differentiation option, based on differing levels of Disarray tolerance.

dave00177626 Jan 2017 5:19 a.m. PST

possibly a silly question from a techno nerd but can I access this having downloaded the original version ?

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2017 5:45 a.m. PST

The beta or the original release from a week ago?

If you bought the full version, it'll be in your "library" on the Wargame Vault site.
It should have a little marker for any files that have been updated since you last downloaded them.

dave00177626 Jan 2017 6:21 a.m. PST

Thanks Weasel, yep the full version, will have a look !

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