"I am a leaf on the wind"
My decision to cut down my wargames table (planned but not yet executed) had nothing to do with the games that will take place on it. It was all about ease and comfort and the need to transform ny games room into a multi-function space. None the less, the games will be affected and I was expecting this to be entirely negative thing. I was wrong.
The basic fact is, no matter how clever I get regarding scenario and terrain design, I can not fit as many 40mm troops into 30 square feet as I was able to fit into 48 square feet. This only effects the largest games that I might run but that's just the point. I was feeling, lets say an intellectual pressure to design my projects to fit the largest game that could be squeezed onto the existing surface. Since the amount of space available for storing figures is limited, this meant limiting the number of periods, an uneasy process which has not been going well. The smaller table means the size of largest game will shrink. Since storage space is not shrinking, the pressure to reduce periods is lessened. More than that, the revised layout may actually have more storage space for figures. It occurred to me while playing Chrysler's Farm that this means that I can switch from the so far unsuccessful paradigm of 1 large project with a few small diversions, back towards a previous model that I had been working towards of several (ok many) small projects, each with the troops and terrain needed in the way of figures and terrain to play specific scenarios. They don't all need to be self contained, so aren't exactly "games in a box", but they trend towards that concept. Some projects may share figures if the basing and figure style is compatible, others will be self contained. By having smaller projects and not "HAVING" to have them all compatible and related, I can dabble not only in different periods, but in different figure, basing and painting styles as well.
However, the last game also reminded me that when playing smaller games on a smaller table, the more densely figures are based, the more figures can be used in a game of the same size. This was heightened because it was an historical game which meant instead of standard units, I was fielded units based on the historical order of battle and adjusted the ground and figure scale to make the game fit on the table while maximizing the number of figures. The result was a fun game that worked well but looked a little thin on the ground. If my troops had been on tighter basing, I could have fielded almost 100 more figures without changing the unit footprints. Of course do I want to paint 100 more of the same if it's not going to change the actual game? After all whether a unit is 16 men or 24, its still symbolic. None the less, last night I wasted an hour re-evaluating my new basing standard vs an older rejected one with 6 figures on a 2" frontage. (Not to mention the 6 figures on a 60mm frontage seen up above).
EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)
"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."
-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Serendipity and Collateral Damage
Born and raised in the suburbs of Montreal, 5 years in the Black Watch of Canada Cadets, 5 years at the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean followed by 4 in the navy. 25 years with CPC in IT simultaneous with 23 years running a boarding kennel. Inherited my love of toy soldiers from my mother's father. Married with a Whippet, 10 Italian Greyhounds, 4 cats and a bird. Prematurely retired and looking forward to leisure to game, garden and sculpt in our 150 yr old farmhouse.