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"Pony Wars - Do You Really Need That Many Figures?" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2021 1:49 p.m. PST

I have owned a copy of the original Pony Wars for over ten years and each time I have opened it with a view to playing I've been stopped by the huge number of figures required. For example: 600 Mounted Braves! I have a good sized collection of painted 15mm figures, perhaps half the number required in the book. Can an experienced player tell me whether it's possible to pay with one figure representing two or another way of economizing on the number of figures.

Wargamer Blue08 Sep 2021 3:46 p.m. PST

I'm going to use a whole ton of D10s behind my 50 mounted Indians.

Legionarius08 Sep 2021 3:57 p.m. PST

All depends on the size of the engagement. Most "battles" in the American West were nothing but meeting engagements between 20-50 combatants per side. In fact, native warriors were reluctant to fight on equal terms. They preferred to ambush smaller groups of soldiers and would not suffer too many casualties before withdrawing. The action on the Washita was an attack on a peaceful Cheyenne encampment. The Little Big Horn or "Greasy Grass" was an attempt to do the same to the Northern Cheyenne and Lakota but Custer miscalculated. Another rather large encounter was at Adobe Walls. But these are exceptions. Most encounters were small. A few killed or wounded and withdrawal was the usual result. Except for the noted exceptions and a few others, most fights can be done at 1:1 or a similar small ratio.

Prince Alberts Revenge08 Sep 2021 4:20 p.m. PST

Something I've wondered as well regarding the rules. Legionarius brings up interesting historical information (greatly appreciated) but it's not particularly relevant as to the rules mechanics and figure requirements that capture more of a cinematic feel than historical representation based off of what I've read.

I'm tempted to try this in 6mm as it would allow me come close to the numbers quoted and game it on a table size that I possess.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2021 4:42 p.m. PST

Pony Wars was designed as a multiplayer game and a showpiece for conventions. All the players command a troop of 20 US Cavalrymen. The Indians are generated by the cards drawn and their movement controlled by a chart. It specifically states that it's Hollywood, not History. If you want to play historic encounters, these are not the rules for you.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2021 4:43 p.m. PST

Lehionarous, the rules call for you to have 600 mounted Indians. This is not a skirmish set for a dozen braves to attack a lone wagon.

Rdfraf Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2021 5:27 p.m. PST

I spent my time during the pandemic to paint up every single figure suggested for the big game! Every single figure, wagon, buffalo, longhorns, cavalry, cowboys, cabins, teepees and the fort!

Played several games and it was great fun! You don't usually need all 600 Indians as it only happened once where all 600 plus were in the board and the truth is if that many end on the board at one time, the game is over for the cavalry.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2021 7:15 a.m. PST

I would probably use some type of marker system before I painted 600 Mounted Indians.

mildbill09 Sep 2021 8:04 a.m. PST

Come on, 600 indians is only 6 weeks worth of painting, maybe less, if you can stand them to be spray troops. :)

IUsedToBeSomeone09 Sep 2021 8:05 a.m. PST

I am planning on basing mine in 5s and 10s and using hit markers anyway, so it isn't difficult to say each stand represents double the number…


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2021 8:38 a.m. PST

I would probably do the same.

BillyNM09 Sep 2021 9:30 a.m. PST

The rules, or at least the original rules, do NOT say you need 600 mounted Indians. That is what they consider the absolute maximum, i.e. never allow more than that on the table. Also bear in mind they were putting on demo games at shows so wanted it to look spectacular.
They also had 60 Cavalry so if if you have fewer you can scale down the Indians accordingly.
Also you can mount Indians on multiple bases that theoretically count as 5 or 10 Indians but actaully have one or two fewer figures. It will look just as good and be easy enough to do. i.e. big bases = 10, medium bases = 5 and anything else is a singleton = 1. This system was used by Peter Gilder for his Sudan rules based on Pony Wars and now published as 'The Sands of Sudan' by Carlo Pagnano.

Tiger7309 Sep 2021 10:18 a.m. PST

I've ordered the rules, which have yet to arrive. The original Pony Wars rules booklet called for 100 dismounted braves in addition to the aforementioned 600 mounted ones. My memory is that all Indian reinforcements arrive on the table mounted & fight that way. So my question is what are the dismounted ones used for? Ambushes in the passes when a card calls for it?
Also, the firing & melee rules seem a bit clunky & outdated. Has anyone given any thought to a substitute for these & any other game mechanics? It seems to me that the most appealing aspect of these rules are the cards & the Indian random chart & the basic miniature game rules (movement, combat, etc.) could be streamlined & grafted on. I'm not necessarily proposing this, but just seeking opinions.

BillyNM09 Sep 2021 1:06 p.m. PST

Tiger73 – you are right the dismounted braves are mainly for ambushes but also for some of the game variants such as the 'Soldier Blue' [a pretty gritty film] attack on the Indian village. The biggest ambush card only calls for 40 Hostiles (most are 10, 20 or 30 hostiles) so having fewer than 100 isn't really an issue – 50 or 60 would probably be more than enough.

Blasted Brains09 Sep 2021 9:33 p.m. PST

Tiger73, I ordered the new rules and cards (have the old rules) and look forward to them but agree that some of the elements of the rules are a might 'clunky' by contemporary standards if wishing to use for other than convention games.

I am working on adapting for my own use Bite The Bullet, a set of rules by Tom Dye, he of GFI Minifigs fame. I am primarily adapting more for the "Old West" style games than the Pony Wars of cavalry versus Indian but am going to seeing if I can't bend them that direction.

I have such a large collection that no existing set of rules can handle my stuff – except Pony Wars. But even I haven't got 600 warriors, 384 at a minimum with some more for Apaches and the Crow and Shoshone at Rosebud.

To address the sheer numbers, I am basing in threes, foot or mounted, with a very few exceptions (cattle herders for one).

Tiger7310 Sep 2021 9:56 a.m. PST

Thanks Billy & BB!
I have 300 18mm plains Indians & 60 Apaches, all mounted, & an identical number dismounted. They are all individually based on metal stands, which are grouped in 12's on magnetic movement trays. BB, your idea of basing them in threes sounds like a good solution, except I chose individual mounting to accommodate my Yellow Ribbon rules & thus I am hesitant to change.
At this point I am casting about for a system for Pony Wars that will allow play without having to purchase/paint many more mounted braves.
Has anyone given any thought on a system for tracking ammo other than maintaining a roster? Such as using dice counters?
BB, good luck with your Bite the Bullet amendment. I am going to look at the combat systems for a few published rules, being careful to not deviate too far from the average results of the existing PW system, so as not to upset any play balance involved in using the prescribed PW "order of battle", the cards & the Indian random chart.

BillyNM10 Sep 2021 2:22 p.m. PST

If you have 300 mounted braves already, I'd say play a few games and see how it goes first before doing a load more. As I said if you field fewer cavalry they'll get overwhelmed by 300, and don't forget the Indians will get recycled, i.e. dead ones can be brought on again when the next card calls for some.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2021 8:57 p.m. PST

This is a good game about Pony Wars…



IUsedToBeSomeone12 Sep 2021 2:32 a.m. PST

You can use the same trick as Peter Guilder did for his Sudan games. Have bases of 10 figures but only mount 7-9 on them but still count them as 10.

This is what I intend to do…

So for 60 bases of braves I just need 420 figures if only using 7 a base.

Tiger7312 Sep 2021 9:16 a.m. PST

Thanks Billy & Black Hat for the advice. I think that between recycling & using 7-8 mounted braves per stand I may be able to get by.

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