My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Review of WoFun Miniatures

WoFun Games makes a series of miniatures where the picture of the soldier, cavalryman, artillery, etc. is printed onto a clear acrylic sheet and the figure outline is cut out using a laser cutter. They offer both 18mm and 28mm sizes and use (for the most part) Peter Dennis' art for the figures. These are essentially 'flat' miniatures with separate front and back images.

I bought the 18mm Renaissance Full Pack as I wanted a fair experience, rather than nickel and dime a unit at a time. Why that pack? Well, really, Renaissance is the one area that I don't have a good collection of. I figured that if I chose my favorite period (American War of Independence) and I really liked the figures I would be sorely tempted to sell off my metal miniature collection! 😄

Here is what a sheet out of the box looks like.

Here are some of the figures, some of which are put into the optional, slotted bases.

You can see that the tabs on the feet are rather small, so the idea that you might pull these figure out, store the figures flat, and add to the back to the bases before the next game makes me skeptical how either the tabs or the slots might hold up. I don't think I will be taking them in and out myself, but I was curious, so that is why I bought the bases. (By the way, the bases are all 30mm x 20mm, which I consider to be non-standard.)

As you can see, the figure from the base of the foot to the eye line is 18mm. These are definitely slimmer figures than normal. The next two pictures show that.

The British infantry in the round hat to the left is a smaller "15mm" figure (I believe Old Glory). Compare the arms and hands. (The figures to the right are MicroWorld 6mm Renaissance.)

The above gives a better look at the proportional difference.

So, in the final assessment, I have played with 'flats' before, but they were left/right side view. That is not how we normally play, we tend to view troops from behind and the fronts of enemy troops, so this view is more natural. That said, you need to get used to cavalry with no depth. I think I can only reserve judgment until I game with them and see how it 'feels'.

I definitely would not purchase the bases again because of the oddball size. Of course, I have a laser cutter, so making slotted bases is not an issue for me. But I like Peter Dennis' artwork – I have his War of Spanish Succession book – but do not like to reproduce the pages in color and I definitely do not like cutting the figures out. Because of this I have considered getting the Brothers ScanNCut in order to do the work for me.

I like the thickness of the acrylic, but I thought I might not like the fact that the edges were clear. Now that I see them I am pretty good with it staying clear. Again, gaming with the figures and time will tell.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Clear Acrylic Bases

I had a truly horrendous mishap with a set of plastic Warhammer 40K figures that I have had for at least 20 years. I put them in a Sterlite plastic tub that – although not airtight, had a pretty good seal – and some sort of material started decomposing to a gas. When I was excavating through my pile, looking at old troops and found these in a long lost vein of plastic and pewter, I opened the tub and out came a very strong chemical smell, much like plastic solvent.

When I started going through the troops I realized that nearly all were damaged. The bases were curled or melted, and guns were warped out of shape.

There are a number of things to fix with some of them – like the above Dark Eldar army I bought – but my beloved Tau were the things I wanted to fix first, which largely only had base damage.

I have seen clear acrylic bases for sale, mostly touted for basing in skirmish games (individual figures or a weapon team), with the advantage being that your bases would 'match' the surface you are gaming on because you would see the board, table, cloth, or mat below. No more troops with a desert landscape scheme on top of your NW Europe landscape board. Because I had to rebase these troops, I decided to give Litko's bases a try. (This was before I purchased my own laser cutter.)

Here are the troops on a simple 'desert' felt gaming mat.

Same troops on a 'grass' felt gaming mat.

Same troops on a textured 'desert' canvas game board.

And finally on a cyberpunk-themed, silk-screen on neoprene, game mat.

Clearly, the bases are not going to be 'invisible'. The light will always catch the edges. But one thing I have noticed is that the smaller the scale of the figure, the more that it is the base of the figure(s) that catch the eye and not the figures themselves. So not having a large contrast between the base and the board does seem to make the figures pop.

What do you think?

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Live Free or Die Rules for the AWI

Recently I purchased Little Wars TV's rules for the American War of Independence/American Revolution "Live Free or Die" (LFD). The description from their website is as follows:

Live Free or Die is a fast-playing, 4-page set of wargaming rules designed to allow players to fight the most famous battles of the American War of Independence. In this game, the regiment is the basic tactical maneuver element and the role played by heroic leaders is emphasized. Whether you're a new player or veteran gamer, Live Free or Die is easily played from a single-sided quick reference sheet!

These rules are based upon the old Andy Callan rules "Loose Files and American Scramble" (LFAS). LFAS was largely centered around the concept of morale loss rather than personnel loss, i.e. markers are added to reflect morale degradation rather than removing figures. LFD builds upon this basic concept and adds a few of its own, such as: Leader values reflecting their grand tactical and tactical value; scenarios; and more structure on how the game should be played.

Command and Control

The leaders in LFD are called Leaders and Lieutenants, but should more properly be called Commanders and Sub-Commanders given the ranks of the people defined in the scenarios. I will grudgingly use their terms though.

Leaders will have two values: Command Points and Stars. Command Points (CP) are used to order units into action. Stars are used in two ways: to possibly obtain more Command Points each turn; and modify the effectiveness of some unit actions.

Command Points

Leaders generally have a rating of 4 to 7 Command Points. These are used to spend each turn to order units into action. For example, you can move all Regiments (units) in a Brigade within 3" of each other for 1 CP. On the other hand, in order to move a single Regiment outside of Brigade cohesion (3") it also costs 1 CP. This is a really good example of how they simply push players to play "realistically". Want to run each Regiment in any direction? Fine, but you cut down on the number of units that you can do that with. This is very similar to the effect in De Bellis Antiquitatus (DBA) when the block of troops start breaking up and require an increasing number of PIPs (command points in DBA) to restore cohesion.

Both Leaders and Lieutenants have 1 to 3 stars, which allows the player to roll 1D6 per star, granting an additional CP for every die rolling a '5' or '6'.

Turn Sequence

LFD is different from many rules in two ways: players both perform actions simultaneously except for Movement and Charge phases; and the firing step occurs before the movement step. These two mechanics definitely make the game feel differently than most IGO-UGO games, as there is no "Alpha Strike".

An Alpha Strike occurs in rules when the two sides are separated and out of combat and then one player moves, gets to attack, and the defender removes casualties all before they have a chance to take any meaningful action. Games with an Alpha Strike can easily see the player on the receiving end effectively lose in a single turn reducing many games down to min-maxing the army list building and hoping to win the critical initiative roll.

LFD, by forcing firing to occur before movement, removes the strike as the units must be within range the turn prior to firing and firing and casualty removal occurs simultaneously, giving neither player the advantage. It also cuts down on the players jockeying units around, hesitating moving units into range for when the rules dictate that units can only move orfire.

I think that they decided to not make the Movement simultaneous so they did not have to deal with the issues of prorating movement, unit collisions, and units potentially catching enemy units while changing formation. Instead, the side that moves second may not get to move at all when the enemy is forcing contact.


All combat produces demoralization markers, one for each hit. Basically each base rolls one die, requiring a '5' or '6' (only a '6' if firing at Skirmishers, Artillery, or units in heavy cover) if they are delivering hasty fire (they will move this turn), or two dice per base if they are volley firing (no movement that turn). Units in Column, Skirmishers, and 4th Class regiments cannot volley fire.

Artillery range is 20" for Light Guns, 10" for Field Guns firing canister, and 30" for Field Guns firing ball. Musket range is 6", while Rifles fire 10".


Infantry move 6" in Line, 9" in Column.

Skirmishers, Cavalry and Leaders move 12".

Field Guns move 6" and Light Guns move 9". There is no limbering and unlimbering. In this period the horse team handlers were civilian and once the battle started, the guns were unlimbered and manhandled by the artillerists and infantry assigned to help.

Terrain either slows the unit's movement, provides heavy cover, adds demoralization when moving through it, or some combination of the three.


As units move, take fire, and participate in melee they accumulate demoralization markers. When 5 have been accumulated the clears all markers and removes one base. The loss of a base (which can also occur in melee) forces a morale check, which requires rolling 1 or more dice, looking for any to have a '5' or '6'. If met then the morale check is passed, otherwise the unit retreats, potentially causing the closest unit within 3" to receive demoralization markers (which may in turn cause a stand loss, morale check, and retreat).

The key to the game is using your Leaders and Lieutenants to attach to units and clear demoralization markers (this takes 1 CP).


The rules are pretty basic and straightforward. You generally want to roll a '5' or '6' to get a success (sometimes it requires a '6') and you have to manage demoralization as a resource during the game. Because rallying costs command points, there will be times where you have to stop the line, dress it (i.e. rally off the demoralization markers), and then continue on. If the demoralization starts piling on and you cannot manage it, you will start to lose stands. That effectively lowers you ability to inflict damage on your opponent. LFD is a game of attrition.

My local gaming buddy Shawn and I tried it out using a cut down version of the Guilford Courthouse scenario. It ran much like our games of that scenario using Black Powder. The first militia line at the fence disrupted the British advance, who stopped in the middle of the field to return fire. Eventually the militia morale cracked and the units ran. The British cleared the fence and immediately had to halt to reform.

The interesting part is the mechanic that LFD uses to simulate this need to halt and reform – using a Leader or Lieutenant to rally off the markers – produced the same effect as disorder and failing a command roll does in Black Powder. However, the mechanic in LFD comes as a series of choices (you decide which leader to use, which unit to rally next, and spend the command points) whereas Black Powder presents it to you as a series of frustrating, unlucky rolls ('6' on firing, and a high 2D6 roll when issuing orders).

Alas, LFD plays somewhat slowly, and Guilford Courthouse is a grind; a true case study of defense in depth, so we only made it through the first line before calling it a day after having played several hours.

I think both Shawn and I did not realize how important it was in the early turns to rally off the demoralization markers so I think we both lost more bases than we should have by this point. Not a bad exchange for the militia, of course.

Would I play the rules again? Sure. I prefer it over Black Powder definitely. It requires a lot more bases than I have – we used half-size units in our test game – but I don't like all of the markers, so I would need to come up with a better system that looks cleaner.

My one complaint is that the ability to force a morale check is wholly dependent upon the lack of enemy leaders. British Line firing at Patriot Militia does not force it to check morale any faster than if Loyalist Militia had been firing upon it. In the matchup between British Line and Patriot Militia the British only win because they are more likely to survive the morale checks while the Patriots are not. But the retreat (morale failure) is not what causes the loss of the stand; it is the source of the check. Basically all troops inflict casualties at the same rate, irrespective of quality. They win the firefight by passing morale and not retreating. Many gamers will probably look upon these rules as pro-Patriot (despite having been written by an Englishman). I see this more as a balance against the rules where the 1st Maryland will never be rated as high as the British elites, such as the 2nd Guards (whom they charged with the bayonet in this battle).

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About Me

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 58 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ working for a software company for the last three years. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").