Finally, a few hours to catch my breath. I put some 25mm Medievals into a pan of water to soak prior to rebasing to 60mm standard bases and turned my attention to why the 6" squares were causing me grief over both rules and organization.
Part of it was fairly obvious, it changed the illusion. I just wasn't sure how, why or what to do about it. The thought came to me that the inner debate felt similar to an earlier one from the turn of the century about Volley & Bayonet (or Morschauser) 1 base is a unit vs a unit being a group of single figures vs a unit being a group of smaller stands or elements each with a few figures so I dug out some old photos to remind me of past gaming systems and what I liked about each and that helped. I also pulled out my 3" grid portable tabletop and tried a few things.
The answer I came up with is not definitive or well defined but it goes something like this:
a) When using 1 large base as a unit or a small grid with a few figures, the result is so abstract that the mind accepts it as a marker that represents the unit, much like a 2d game counter.
b) When using a larger number of figures the wargame unit begins to resemble the real thing even though much reduced. This leads the gamer to want to play with the figures to form lines or columns etc and to want more tactical details. The visible difference in distance of adjacent units which can anywhere from almost touching to being 10 or 11 inches apart with no difference in how the rules treat them begins to bother a person like myself who has decades of expectations tucked into his head.
c) When using a grid with more squares or non-gridded rules with short unit frontages, the game invokes a larger scene and encourages one to think in sweeping panoramas as while a game with a few larger squares or larger units, is like zooming in and leads to an expectation of being able to see more detail of what is happening and why.
After some hard thinking and a bit of experimentation, I have decided that the easiest way to get what I want out of the late 19thC battle wargames is to either carry on with the original plan of subdividing my 6" squares into 4 quadrants which may either be used simply as a 3" grid or as a way of subdividing squares to allow things like close or long range combat between adjacent areas, or to ignore the grid and stick the 40mm figures onto large square bases with each being a unit. The subdivision has long been intended, is very little work and can be ignored later with no work at all. Rebasing is lots of work and if it fails is even more work to undo. Subdivided or smaller squares it is.
Next came the question of 1 set of rules or many. A very little experimentation and a review of December's Gettysburg exploration easily led to the conclusion that small squares with 2 stand 1/72nd or 4 figure 40mm units would easily allow the ACW game to proceed at around 200 yards per square with regiments as units for fighting division and corps sized battles while the same grid could be used at 100 yards per inch and 4 single figure companies as units for a lower level action with the large figures. How to fit boats on the grid or the train on the grid is a question for another day but if worst comes to worst and my imagination fails, the grid can be ignored or covered and a set of skirmish rules used with the same 40mm single figures.
So a summary of the main projects:
Prince Valiant: Modified Medieval Mayhem 40mm single figure Dark Age Comic Book skirmish
Gathering of Hosts: Modified Morschauser 25mm medieval figures with each 60mm base being a unit, grid optional.
Rough Wooing: Modified Morschauser 40mm 16thC figures each 60mm base is a unit.
NQSYW: Charge! rules, 18thC no grid, 40 - 60 individual figure units.
AWI. MacDuff 40mm 8-12 single figure units
1812: Hearts of Tin. 40mm figures on bases 3-5 elements as a battalion.
ACW: A modified Square Brigadier with 2 stands of 1/72 figures as a regiment on a grid (Now available as the Square Major General.)
Atlantica& WWI: The Square Brigadier with 4x40 mm figures as a unit on a grid.
It'll be interesting to check back in 3 years and see if this holds up!
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
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Vive La Difference!
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 and 3 cats. Prematurely retired and enjoying leisure to game, maintaining our 160 yr old farmhouse and just living.