In a recent Meeples and Miniatures episode, that I mentioned in the last blog update (here), the hosts interviewed Sam Mustafa about his upcoming Rommel rules (link to the podcast here). Sam has done many interesting wargames rules and in particular I have enjoyed Maurice and Might and Reason (I discussed these with regards to GNW battles in the past in an earlier blog post, here). Invariably his rules are well presented, original and solid – and as we find out from the podcast they are thoroughly tested as well! Following this I also listened to some of the podcasts Sam has produced on his Honour website (link to the Honour Webpage, here) – I got very tempted to give these a go and started to plan what I need in terms of miniatures (and bought a few, see below) and I am also thinking about basing etc.
A few hours ago I found out that the rules are out and I got myself the bundle (a physical book and a PDF), it seems like a few others did too as the website crashed. I suggest you have a read around on the Honour webpage and listen to the podcasts, to see whether this ruleset is something for you – I am giving it a go!
Rommel is a tabletop game of great battles in the European and Mediterranean theatres of the Second World War. The player takes the role of a general commanding an entire division, or elements of several divisions, or an entire corps or even an army. Units represent companies and battalions. Tens of thousands of men and machines clash for control of miles of territory. Make decisions about the application of air power, engineering, the use of reconnaissance, the commitment of mobile reserves, and many other things.
From the Honour webpage.
I have decided to do enough bases to play the two example scenarios (both in North Africa) from the book and available as downloads on Sam’s homepage (Introductory Scenario: “Operation Brevity” and A Sample Rommel Scenario, see here) using 3mm miniatures from Oddzial Osmy (O8), these are sold by Magister Militium in the UK (link here).
I could have done it in 6mm, or used some of my early war 15mm WW2 stuff, but I fancied a little bit of change for this project and the North African campaign is virgin territory with regards to miniatures . Yes, I could have tried the rules out using flat cards but what is the fun in that ;).
In my browsing on the net of relevant stuff I have come across Doctorphalanx’s interesting postings on basing (see here) and will base my units in a similar way. Basically 3 tanks per base, two or three guns, and as may infantry I can reasonably fit with a vehicle or two indicating a motorized unit. However the final basing approach is still open as I need to study the rules and see if there is some way I could incorporate some unit features/stats into the base itself (i.e. using tufts, or number of vehicles/figures, etc.).
Having got used to minimalistic table sizes, with my recent 6mm skirmishes (e.g. the Pikeman’s Lament stuff, see here for an example) I want to make sure that the bases can fit in a 11 cm square. The reason for this is that the Rommel typical game is played on an area divided into squares and the standard table size is 8 by 12 squares. By using 11 cm it will fit the width of a normal dinner table (creating an 3 by 4 foot play area).
Below is the map for the Deir el Tarfa scenario, showing a typical set-up.
The following pictures show a few options for basing (3 is the maximum number of bases in a square – I believe!) vs an 11 cm (110mm) square. My favourite is the 40mm by 30mm or 30mm square as this allows key terrain features to be indicated efficiently and I hope it will look good too. However, I want to get the miniatures and get a feel before I make up my mind.
I need the following units/bases for these two available scenarios:
- 6 No. Grant tank bases
- 3 No. Cruiser tank bases (A13)
- 2 No. Vickers tank bases (MK VIC)
- 2 No. Matilda tank bases (II)
- 2 No. 25pdr artillery bases towed by artillery tractors
- 13 No. Motorised Rifle bases
- 5 No. Pz III bases
- 2 No. Pz II bases
- 2 No. Pz IV bases
- 3 No. Semonvante 75 bases
- 3 No. Towed artillery 10.5cm bases
- 6 No. Bergsaglieri Infantry bases with trucks
- 6 No. Panzergrenandier bases with Sdkfz 251s
- 3 No. Regular Italian infantry bases (walking, I will use bergaglieri model as there are no normal Italian infantry in the O8 range)
The shopping list, as always, got longer than I initially thought. But it resulted in the following order. There will be a lot of left overs, but that is good for further growth!
Having done this I realised that I forgot a few packs but a quick call to Magister Militium the following day sorted it all out (adding another pack of Valentines -WBR619, some Bedford Trucks, 2 packs of WBR631 and a pack of Universal carriers – WBR613). I am a little nervous about the scale and how to get them to look good on the table – well time will tell!.
Further considerations will be the actual gaming table/mat (not sure how I want the squares – marked with line or a more discreet option?). I will probably do a mat from scratch in line with previous projects (see more here and here). I will elaborate more on this in further posts – but check out Brigade Games Middle-Eastern village in 1/1000 scale (Obviously this is a different scale than the 3mm miniature that are in 1/600 scale, but I think it will work, see link to it here).
…and a desert fort (here)
The monies have been spent and the ambition is there – we will see when I take that next giant leap for one modelling mad man but a small step for mankind!, and get them painted and based. I do not think it will be a massive task to get this done! I will start reading the rules this weekend. I will do an update at some point in the future to let you know how I am getting on!
/ Sturm, Swung, Wucht!