Figure Scale: Traditional toy soldiers, from 25mm to 54mm (40mm and 54mm are typical); glossy finish is, of course, preferred! (For some ideas about where to obtain appropriate soldiers, see our brief discussion of the topic.)
Equipment Needed:12 or more soldiers per player, plus a figure for the Prince Imperial; 12 enemy figures. Figures can be infantry or cavalry, and may also include artillery and crew (typically 4 gunners per gun). Basic type is infantry for both sides, and may include specific figures for light infantry and elite cavalry or infantry. Figures should be individually based. A terrain piece to indicate the Objective (a tent, hill, building, etc.) is required, and some small scatter terrain for rough ground is useful. Playing space requirements are moderate - a table of at least 4 feet in length is good. Lots of 6-sided dice are needed, along with measuring devices in inches.
Type of Game:All players are fighting against the ￡pp, and take turns playing the enemy forces. A game master is needed. Supports 1 or more players. Games usually last from 45 minutes to an hour.
Link to App:With the Colours in the Late War
[Note that the complete rules are at the bottom of this page.]
While it may seem a bit of an oxymoron to use computers or devices in a toy soldier game, it is important to remember that H.G. Wells himself did not approve of the use of dice in wargames, as they detracted from the skill involved in play. And yet, we associate toy soldier wargames with handfuls of six-sided dice. In the present offering, six-sided dice are still rolled by the handful - the computer is merely a tool for setting up the course of the engagements to be fought as you lead your regiment of shiny, brave toy soldiers toward some notional Objective.
With the Colours in the Late War emerged as a result of wanting to have a game where no more than a dozen toy soldiers were required for each side, yet one that would still provide a reasonable game experience set within a larger battle. All that is required for play are the requisite two dozen soldiers, some 6-sided dice and a ruler, a device or computer to run the program, an objective marker of some kind (a hill, a building, etc.), and some small terrain pieces to represent obstructions (clumps of lichen, small rocks, trees, hedges, walls, etc.) in case these are encountered during play. The playing surface is envisaged to be a dining-room table, providing a distance of three or four feet between the starting point and the Objective.
Because of the computer, many things can happen during the Regiment's adventures which do not typically happen in toy soldier games: players are able to be mentioned in despatches, to win the Victoria Cross, to gain promotion, and otherwise be recognized for their heroic deeds. At the same time, they can be cashiered, subject to the faulty orders of higher command, penalized for insubordination, and even scapegoated. Set in a non-specific "recent Continental unpleasantness," the game is an Anglo-centric depiction of Edwardian warfare. However, if we substitute the word "Colonial" for "Continental" in the subtitle, it could be used for other conflicts. If we substitute the phrase "Iron Cross" for "Victoria Cross" it could be Prussian, and so on. It is very generic in how it can be used.
Provision is made for players and their enemies to field infantry, cavalry, artillery, and even gatling guns. The more varied the player's toy soldier collection, the more fun the game will be, but nothing more is required than a dozen soldiers of any type (one an officer, and one - if possible - a standard bearer) for each side. At the same time, Fortune is likely to favor those who field 18 or more soldiers, or perhaps bring a field gun and crew along in support. (The chances of dying gloriously in the Queen's service are quite high - this is no cake-walk. When you get that VC, you've earned it!)
The game is divided into 'engagements'. A player sets up their Regiment at one end of the table, with the objective at the far end. They click the "Forward March" button, and the event which will inform the engagement is presented. It may be enemy troops, long-range shell fire, francs-tireurs, or simple maneuver. It may involve the encountering of an obstacle. Another player (or a referee if there is one) will play the enemy soldiers. Once complete - usually at most a matter of three or four 'turns' - the player will click the "All Clear" button and see if there are any consequences for his actions. The next player then goes. When a player comes within 18 inches of his Objective (players may each have their own, or may have to race for the prize) it is scouted. The following engagement will be a make-or-break fight to take the Objective or die trying.
In this fashion, players can make the most of a small toy soldier collection, and do so in a way which goes well beyond what many other toy soldier games provide. Because they alternate running their own Regiment and the enemy soldiers, no single player has to deal with a lot of down-time, and everybody gets a chance to game with whatever variety of forces is available.
So overcome whatever prejudices you might harbour about using a tablet for a toy soldier game, and see if you can lead your brave and shiny lads to fame and glory, or end up receiving the white feather for cowardly acts which you did not (of course) commit.
The game app is very simple: