I have spent a certain amount of time over recent weeks (in between phone calls and visits to agencies, interviews etc) thinking about the rules I shall be using in order to get the best out of the block armies. Initially my plan was to use Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame rules and indeed, this is still the case up to a point. However, I am looking at systems beyond the use of this set and so have been, in effect, brainstorming ideas which I hope to be able to turn into something a little more tangible whilst I am on holiday. As ever, progress (or lack of!) will be recorded via the blog as and when anything of importance transpires.
I have settled on a few core ideas though and so everything else will be bolted on in due course. I intend having a set of core mechanics with some period specific tweaks and the end result can best be described as a fusion of lots of different approaches - some from miniatures rules and some from board games. One of the core principles I will be employing is that roster sheets will be used. This is for two reasons - they 'personalise' an army (this is important when using generic looking blocks) with unit and commanders names etc and they also serve to record game specific details e.g. unit strength and quality to name but two.
My thinking at the present time revolves around the use of concepts from Volley and Bayonet, DBA and any of the Command and Colours series of games although I will most certainly not be using command cards. The armies are not tied to any specific scale in terms of ground or figures although the type of action being fought will determine this. I am of the opinion that using blocks in this way is a positive advantage over figures as a block still looks like a block regardless of the size of formation it is representing - none of that '4 figures representing a division' malarkey! The rules then will be designed to 'telescope' to a degree and will hopefully function as well at a company level game up to a corps level three day slugfest and across a variety of periods. Aside from 'normal' wars I also fully intend tackling colonial actions and some of the sideshows from both World Wars so having a degree of flexibility within the rules will be essential.
Impossible? Perhaps, but you have to first try something in order to find out if it works or not.
I have also considered using the block approach for naval games. An idea I am pondering is to stand a block on its narrow edge and then draw a ship side elevation in Paint and print the resultant label (obviously copied for both sides!), duly coloured, to stick to the block. The ship name and national flag could go along the top edge so you would have in effect a naval 'flat', albeit a fat one. As I recall I am sure Dave Manley did something along these lines for the Russo - Japanese war some time ago (am I dreaming this Dave?) and it looked very effective. It is easier to draw the side elevation of a warship in my opinion - simply because the lines are straighter! If this works out then the implications for my naval games are legion - especially on the model front.
Another one to ponder methinks….;-)