Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Battle of McDowell Playtest

     This past week I have been planning future wargames using Battle Cry and Command & Colors scenarios with Heroscape terrain and 15mm miniatures. I repainted a Heroscape board that is 9 x 14 hexes, which makes it 1 hex across larger than C&C boards.  I also painted 1 and 2 hex pieces for hills. Unfortunately, I painted the sides the same color, so when I photograph them you can't see the raised pieces. After the following battle report, I painted the sides a darker green, which I hope will take care of that problem.

    I tend to be quite unimaginative when it comes to gaming. I set up a Battle Cry field to take some photos of how the field would look, which is when I found out that the hills didn't show up well. I also figured having the board set up, maybe I would use it for a game. At first I was trying to decide which Civil War figures to use. Then, thinking of my plans of using just the scenarios as a guideline for my games, I decided to use a different period to fight the battle. The scenario I used was the Battle of McDowell, which is all infantry except one battery of artillery. At first I wanted to use my Peter Laing APW figures, but didn't have enough for the armies. I settled on using my 1st generation Napoleonics. Even then, I just had enough single based French for the game. If I intend to use these figures with C&C Napoleonics, I will have to single base more figures.

   The Ruler of Bluvia sees himself as another Napoleon, so much so that he has taken the name as his own. As such, it is only right that he invades his neighbor with his "Grand Armee".  Redina is not impressed with "Napoleon".  Indeed, they call him "Phony Bony", which only encourages Napoleon to attack. Napoleon crosses into Bluvia near McDowell.  The Bluvian army quickly moves up to strike first.
Bluvian Army (Confederates in the McDowell scenario) at the top of the board, The Redinan Army on the bottom.

Redinan Artillery.

Bluvian Infantry.

"Napoleon" aka Phony Bony with his army.

The armies close in on each other.

Two Bluvian light infantry units attack the Redinan center...

.....and clears the woods to its' front.

The Redinan center counterattacks.

The Redinan infantry that was forced from the woods is pushed farther back.

The Redina right, made up of two units, is to try to stop the four units of Bluvian infantry from advancing.

The Redina artillery eliminates one Bluvia infantry units.

Phony Bony leads his guards forward. The Redina loses their Brunswickers, and the Highlanders retreat.

In the center, the Bluvians clear another woods, but can't clear the hill.

The Bluvian left flank has eliminated two more Redina units and cut off the Highlanders from the rest of the army.

The Bluvian army finally takes the hill in the center after being held up by one  infantryman  for a couple of moves.

At this point I stopped the battle. I wanted to award the lone Redina soldier who held  the hill against  superior numbers for several turns. He was award a battlefield promotion to corporal.

The Bluvian left surrounds the Highlanders.....

....and wipes the unit out.

The Redina artillery and infantry in the center both are forced to retreat. The Redinan Army has lost 5 units, and the battle.

The battle at the end. On the left center in the woods, a Redina infantry unit is cut off. 

Phony Bony, surrounded by his guards, at the moment of his first victory. 

The field before the game. As can be seen, it is hard to see the raised tiles.


  1. A very nice battle report.

    I also have a large amount of Heroscape terrain, and have tried painting some of mine ... with variable results. I might try again using a lighter coloured green and leaving the sides brown so that the hill contours show up better.

    As I also own a number of 15mm figures on single bases, I really ought to use them as you have done rather than let them languish in their storage boxes. It would also allow me to experiment with my PORTABLE WARGAME rules without having to fill my table with my Hexon II terrain. This would be especially useful when I am using one end of my table to work and/or paint.

    All the best,


  2. I wish I had left the sides brown. The hill held by the solo soldier is the one that I painted the sides with a darker green. After the game I painted the rest of the hills with the dark green. I was actually looking at the photos on your blog where you flocked them. I really like the looks of those and might experiment with that.

    I am planning to work on Ancients armies to use with C&C Ancients. I am thinking of basing these armies in plastic squares as it is done on the Man of Tin blog instead of washers. I like how he can mark units on the bottom. Also, sometimes the figures with washers slide on the Heroscape hexes. I will probably get some more spray clear rubber to coat the hexes; that flattens the glare and reduces the sliding. I do plan to experiment with several rules sets, including your Portable Wargames Ancients. I was going to do a posting with some of my ideas in the next couple of days. Sometimes people will make suggestions that make projects like this easier.

  3. The main drawback that I found to painting the side's of the hexes was that they tended to become difficult to separate. The tolerances manufactured into the hexes when they were made were so small that even two thin coats of paint could cause problems,

    I must admit that the flocked hexes do look nice, but you have to be very careful when you do it. When I acquired my last large batch of Hexon II I passed my flocked Heroscape on to another wargamer, so if I do want to go down that route again, I will be doing it from scratch.

    My individual 15mm figures are mounted on 5p pieces, which are actually made of steel. They work out to be cheaper that washers of the same size ... which is daft!

    I look forward to reading more about your games in the near future,

    All the best,


    1. I noticed they were harder to put together after painting. I actually put the large board together before painting it, so if I pull it apart that shouldn't be a problem. As for the individual pieces, I will be using the as hills. If the pair starts rubbing off I will just say they are boulders being exposed. I know you mentioned that flocking there is a chance of it getting rubbed off from usage. So for now I will stick with the painted tiles.

      When I was using 1/72 plastics, at first I was mounting them on washers until I realized, as you pointed out, pennies were a cheaper way to go.

  4. A great looking game. What size are the heroscape hexes ? The two commander figures both look delightful, very characterful indeed. Thanks.

  5. The Heroscape terrain is 1.75 inches across. It makes it hard to put landscape features on. I am finally happy with the trees to mark forests, now to work on building. I have a couple of ideas which I want to work on. The commander figures are 1st generation Minifigs. When I got my first copy of H.G.Wells Little Wars I loved the looks of the galloping Britains cavalry. So I gut some of the cavalry I had off their bases and with a pair of needle nose pliers could make a reasonable facsimile of that pose.