Welcome to Platoon Forward!

Welcome to the site where the story of the battle is as important as the battle itself. Here we will focus on men thrust into extraordinary situations of life and death. They must lead other men with duty and honor to meet their countries objectives. Some will be blessed with great skill, some will carry great shortcomings. No matter what nation, no matter what war, no matter what theater, they are all called to move their Platoon or Squadron forward!

These are their individual stories as played out using my various campaign rules . Hopefully these stories will entertain and inspire you to use your own troops, airmen and sailors to accomplish your own great heroics.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Donnybrook- Forward style Tinytown MA, 1776

 Donnybrook?!    He hasn't played that in years.   What happened?  I will tell you friends 2 seemingly unrelated events have happened.  First, I have finally gotten around to reading Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton.  It is a great book so far.  Hamilton was very active in the battle of New York as an Artillery Captain. Second, Scale Creep is having a sale on rule books so I bought Dead Man's Hand for almost 50% off.   That got me thinking of all the rule sets I have bought over the years.  A few not very good [Black Seas], several okay [Piquet], several good that got replaced with better, [KMH, BTH, COC, TWAT and Patrol] and a few that are good I just don't play the period very often [ Post Captain, SAGA and Donnybrook.]  So I pulled out Donnybrook while I am waiting to see if Dead Man's Hand will be any good and presto!  We are here.   

If you go to Feb 2014 you will see 2 reviews of Donnybrook.  I have thought it was a very good set of rules except for 2 things, morale and combat in the open seemed too deadly.   I think you know I am a huge fan of the mechanics of Force on Force. [ Jack I know you aren't;  There is still time to evolve!] There are a lot of similarities between the 2 games.  Both have static target numbers and the type of die changes with the quality of the troops, both are quick play and both are fun.  The morale rules from FOF should work well with Donnybrook and solve one problem. Each time a unit takes a casualty roll a morale check for the unit as follows.  Roll I quality die for each figure in the group need a 4+ to pass.  Count up the passes.  You need more passes than fails to pass the check.  Musicians add 2 d12s. I thought of using the initiative rules from FOF but you lose the elegance of the reload cards.  How to solve the deadly shooting?    Instead of a save how about a wound check similar to characters?  At the end of the turn [or units turn] roll a d6.  On a result of 5,6 it is a light wound.  2 Lt wounds and a figure is out.  The figure is still down for the morale check however.   Right, lets try this out.


Lt Hinton is tasked with taking a small detachment of troops  and breaking up a drill of militia practicing at Tinytown.  He was to  avoid bloodshed is possible.  He felt this would be a good chance to hear his new piper!  


Lt Hinton  D10 officer Gr II leader

1 unit of drilled highlanders (8) plus 1 bagpiper

 Rebels or freedom fighters depending on your view

Lt Anderson D8 officer Gr I leader

1 Unit of rabble militia (8) plus 1 mini unit of rabble minutemen (4).  Morale 6.  Minutemen shoot with skill 8 and there is 1 poacher with them.  

 The common of Tinytown.  Lt Anderson's force completing their drill left.  Minitemen behind wall and Lt Hinton marching up the road to restore peace. 

Lt Hinton and his men.  I painted this piper several years ago.  He finally made it onto a board!  

Lt Anderson closes ranks.  [ These figures were painted 8 years ago; sorry]

Lt Hinton starts to parlay while his force forms a line to add weight to his words.  The minitemen's card did not come up at this time.  They were able to hold fire till after the parley. In spite of what my friends across the pond think we are not savages!

 Line formed parley over!  "All these Brits do is talk."

Lt Hinton is appalled.  He was just getting to the punch line too.  With 3 down the piper starts to play.  The Scott's morale holds.  Hinton decides best to break the rabble in the square first then deal with the cowards behind the wall.  Fire!  

As he sees the Scottish line fire Anderson orders his own line to fire.  He sees 2 of his own men fall.  He really doesn't want to go toe to toe with the Scotts for long...

The rebel fire sends 3 more men down. [ told you fire in the open is too deadly!] Miraculously morale holds.  Hinton is glad we are trying out this light wounds rule.  "Two of these lads should be still fit to fight at the end of this turn." 

Two of the lads did indeed roll a 5 or 6.

Beginning of turn 2.  The Scotts fire straight away causing only 1 casualty but the Rebels morale is starting to waiver.  


The Militia fire back!

I know Mr Hilton and the people from Donnybrook say I can't roll that many 6s but here you go; three hits!  [ No the "1" did not cause damage.  I checked though I don't use that rule in 1776.] 

On No, not the bagpiper!  We really have to quit standing in the open.  Amazingly the Scotts hang tough.   Lt Hinton picks up a musket.   "Just a little more pressure lads and they will be running for the hills."

Lt Anderson's card comes up.   Decision time!  Does he reload his troops or rally them?   Beside the stories this is what I like about skirmish gaming.   He decides to rally.  If he can rally he can charge the Scotts and drive them from Tinytown.  


"I love it when a plan comes together" he thinks.   [ remember you need a 4+] 

Just then a shot rings out from the poucher [sharpshooter].  Lt Hinton goes down in a heap.  The two remaining Scotts finally break and drag their officer around the corner of the stone building.  As they ponder their situation they hear a voice, " Lads you are getting my kilt dirty."

Lt Hinton was just grazed!@  [ Passed his wound check per normal rules.]  With just 2 effectives and cheers coming from the common the Lt faces the truth and heads back down the path away from Tinytown.  

Great game that played in 30 minutes.  Helped me knock the dust off the rules.  I really like the morale rules I inserted.  That really was the intent for the Scotts and the only way they could have won. I also like my wound solution to combat.   Will need several more playtests to see it that works.  Glad I played Donnybrook and hope to get some more games on the table.





  1. Joe,

    Outside of you posting a few batreps using it, I’m not at all familiar with the ‘Donnybrook’ rules, but I will say that was a very enjoyable little fight to read.

    And I like Force on Force, I just enjoy them a lot more against a live opponent vice playing solo, and while their older brother, Ambush Alkey, is actually designed to be played solo, it’s really only for those ‘small elite force vs untrained hordes’-type games, and while they’re fun they take forever because the hotspots are continually churning out more bad guys (yes, I know there are rules that allow you neutralize hotspots, but I don’t tend to use them as that seems a bit too gamey for me).

    Cool stuff man, thanks for sharing.


  2. Thanks Jack, good to hear from you. I am shocked you used "vice" in a sentence correctly. : ) I did t realize you liked FOF. Agree Hotspot are gamey. Indirect fire is weak and leaders need work as well. Hope you and the family are doing well.

    1. Shocked??? Stand by for next week’s episode, in which I demonstrate the proper usage of revelatory ;)

      Regarding FoF, yeah man, prior to his passing in 2012, my old man and I used to play the hell out of it using 10mm troops from Minifigs (back when you could buy them in the States!), in modern, Cold War, and WWII settings. That was before I had a blog, so I don’t have any batreps, though I do have some Ambush Alley fights I played a couple years ago:

      I can appreciate FoF’s stance that ‘every unit has a leader, and they’re pros, so even if he gets whacked the next dude steps up,’ but it makes it very bland from a gaming standpoint. And I always thought the vehicle armor/penetration rules were a bit too drawn out, in addition to the rules for supporting fires.

      We’re doing great, just super busy between work, school, and all three kids playing ball (and me coaching two of them).

      So keep playing and posting!