Thursday 21 April 2022


This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

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I was reminded that this coming Friday and Monday are Bank Holidays here in the UK, so I should take a few days off work.

Well I care deeply about the wellbeing of every member of the Bastionland Press corporate empire, so in addition to taking next week off work, I decided to give myself a free day to work on a project that probably wasn't going to go anywhere, and you know what that means...

The dreaded return of Project 10!

I've written about it before, but I'm very aware that it lies outside of the interests of many people that read this patreon/blog, so I've tried to keep it in the background. Well, today is the exception, so let's get on with what I've been doing with this little wargame.

The whole point of this game is that I wanted something I could use with big bases of small-scale miniatures. This week I painted a block of foot knights and a commander.


Bringing my 10mm collection to a still-tiny 4 (and a bit) units. 

Not quite the dozen units I'd need to actually test this game on the tabletop yet, not to mention my delayed aspirations to create a modular 1x1m battlefield. TTS is fine, but I want to get a proper feel for this. 

Who needs miniatures when you have blank cards?


Very much drawing on the aesthetic of 90s White Dwarf Battle Reports, which were a huge catalyst for this project. Note the very first example of artisan, homemade, oversized Combat Dice™

It's no substitute for seeing a miniature army laid out, but it works as a stopgap and might even spur me on to paint more quickly. 

Taking my luxurious variety of units for the Empire of Steel, Guild under the Mountain, Guardians of the Wood, Raiders of the Shadowrealm, Red Sun Horde, and the Army of the Dead, I had a morning of playtesting, an afternoon of making changes, then repeated it all again the next day. 

So what's changed and why?


Look... if you're actually following the progress of Project 10 then my biggest piece of advice is not to get attached to any of the traits. Treat them like a pet hamster. Enjoy the time you have with them, but know that they are unlikely to join you in your retirement. 

As these are the core of what makes units (and by extension, armies) interesting in this game, I'm always changing them and trying new versions, sometimes reverting to the original. I'm aware that any specific changes I talk about here are just as likely to change again before you read this, or snap back to a previous ruling, but I'll live dangerously and highlight a few. 

Missile: Previously this was split into Short and Long, with each having slightly different restrictions for when they can fire. Putting them together makes it easy, as units with this trait now just follow the standard rules for shooting. You can't shoot after your second pivot. Done. Artillery still has its "no moving and firing" restriction but it feels more intuitive there. Again I'm dipping into Neil Thomas' wisdom here, as he often gives an extended range to slings, javelins, and other short ranged weapons favoured by skirmishers, representing a more abstract sense of that unit's area of control, rather than a strict range based on their static position on the board. 

Tough: This trait has changed names a few times, but represents units that are better able to withstand damage throughout the battle, be it through armour, discipline, or physical resilience. Formerly reactive (essentially having Damage Reduction of 1 point), it always felt slightly at odds with the other traits, which largely occur on the unit's own turn. It also increased the instances of "I roll... nothing happens" which wasn't desirable. So instead it's now tied to Rallying, allowing a unit to more readily recover after taking damage. The idea that damage represents both casualties and failing morale is key to this, and I'll talk about it a little more further down. 

Loose: Look, I hate this Trait. I need it, as I want to allow for units that are primarily made of skirmishers or other loose form infantry, but it's probably changed more than any other rule. Dip into your wargame of choice and find the section on skirmishers. It's rarely a succinct little ruling, and commonly involves at least three special effects that apply to this unit. Maybe they can move and shoot, or move through rough terrain, or move through other units, or move after shooting, or move and shoot in any direction, oh and they should be weaker in melee, but harder to hit with missile fire, and less able to reform, and and... You get the idea. So currently I've got a ruling I don't really like, but I wanted to at least point it out and shame it in public. One day there will be a great rule here, but today is not that day. 


Rolls of 1-3 are now called Hits, and 4-6 Misses. This might seem small but it's one of those many tiny things that makes other rules easier to understand, and gradually improves the quality of life factor of a game as you bash away at it. 


I previously had a very clever set of terrain rules that involved a grid with two axis. One was "affects movement" and the other "affects shooting" and it resulted in 9 sub-categories of terrain that had examples and made me feel like I was doing great work.

Well, something I've learned is that if you look at a piece of your writing and think "oh yes, very clever" then maybe you should stop patting yourself on the back and look again with a more pragmatic set of eyes.

This very clever system was actually just a clunkier way of describing 5 common types of terrain (open, rough, blocks movement, blocks vision, blocks everything) and then 4 weird edge cases that didn't really need a common rule.

And for similar reasons to my changes to the Tough trait, I've taken a more hardline approach to cover. No more damage reduction for being around some bushes. Either get in the woods (blocks vision) or deal with getting shot at.

Flanking and Supporting

The rule that "flank and rear attacks roll double" felt like a core part of the game. Almost too core. Out of curiosity, I tried a version of the game with no bonus for hitting the flank or rear. 

I actually, mostly, preferred it. 

The previous bonus was so impactful that most games would come down to "who can flank most effectively" and while I knew this was going to be a "rank and flank" game, I didn't want it to be the only way. 

I'd previously tried a version of the game where flank and rear attacks got +1CD, instead of doubling the damage, but I landed somewhere slightly different (see the next section).

Supporting had always slightly annoyed me, as having these big block units in two ranks always looked a bit wrong, not to mention the strange situations that occur when you have a supported unit pivoting, or getting flanked and everything descending into a huge central scrum. So that's gone for now as well, and I've been enjoying battles that more readily use the width of the board. 

But you can't just remove the two most significant ways of causing big damage in the game! Surely everything just grinds to a halt and turns into the sort of attritional warfare I wanted to avoid, right?

So let's inject another one of those deliciously divisive chaotic elements. 


Gasp! A new rule! 

I didn't include separate morale rules in this game as (like in One Hour Wargames) I saw that all as being abstracted within the damaging and eventual breaking of the unit. Likewise, any attacking reluctance by a unit is modelled in the existence of the three "miss" results on the Combat Dice. But I wanted to try something out, so I first tested the idea that units would take 1CD of damage whenever they were charged on the flank/rear, when they became Shaken, or when an ally within 1 measure was Broken.

Well, the impact was huge! I rolled some unlikely results, but I saw a chain reaction rip through an army, with 4 units Breaking as a result of a single attack. The devil in me liked it, but really it just made me want to keep my units further apart from each other, which didn't feel right. 

So Shock now exists in a tempered form with just the first two triggers: Flank/Rear charge and becoming Shaken. It can cause small chain reactions, and lets me explore a new  design space with the Fearsome and Dauntless traits, but the jury isn't quite out on it yet.


In reaction to a number of the changes above, Rallying is now slightly easier to do than before. You can basically do it in place of attacking, so a melee-based unit that's marching through fire is probably going to rally every turn. It's another Chaos element, so perhaps we're reaching critical mass, but I'd always rather test something that's about to explode rather than something that bores me to tears. 

So I'm granting myself a little more P10 testing this week before my break, then we'll return to the world of the primeval.


  1. Nice update, I'm eager to test the Shock concept in play!

  2. I am always interested to hear your design on this stuff

  3. Interesting update!

    For the Loose trait, you already have commanders that ignore the normal rules for facing and can move through allies freely. Could Loose units use the same wording? That would mean they could disregard pivoting entirely, including the rule about not charging or shooting after making two pivots. This makes sense for mobile skirmishers or packs of beasts.

    I do also wonder whether with a tweak or two Shock could also always apply to charging Loose units. Something like Shock happens unless you are charging a unit's Front. And Loose units, without normal facing, don't have a Front. I think it's thematically appropriate for skirmishers to possibly break when charged by troops in formation, but it might just be too much rule clutter.

    Anyways, I'm excited that you're still working on Project 10.