I'm about halfway through reorganizing my room but had to pause to try to assess whether or not the proposed 3x4ish permanent mini wargame table will prove acceptable in the long run. (Actually 10x14 9cm squares to match the 5x7 layout used in many of the Asquith and Grant scenarios at 1 sq=6" on a full size table or 1cm on the map.
|Scenario 1 from CS Grant's Scenarios for Wargames|
aka Not Fontenoy.
Perhaps I've been affected by all the enthusiastic endorsements for Thomas's One Hour Wargames or am just getting lazy but I think there are 3 threads coming together, threads that I have previously noted individually but not fully tied together.
One obvious one is the benefit of having a game that is quick and easy to set up and play, especially if long chunks of personal free time are scarce. Recently I have found myself setting up a game one weekend to be played the next and sometimes playing several games on the same terrain to avoid the full takedown and set up. There is some advantage in set up time with any small board where you don't have to circle the board with handfuls of trees and so on as well as having a grid so you can translate a map easily, but its easy to imagine having terrain tiles, woods, towns etc, based to fit the grid and accomodate troops. I suspect that it is no coincidence that the frequency of games decreased after I put away my portable game.
The second one is a more recent thing first noticed two or three years ago. It is the growing desire to have a solo game which is a game, me vs the system and able to win or lose rather than left hand vs right. Its possible to do this on a larger nongridded game (like the last one) but its somehow easier on a small gridded board, perhaps because options are more clearly defined or that it is more obviously a game.
Lastly there is some sort of emotional connection with the cardtable games that I still haven't completely identified. Perhaps its the resemblance of a game like this to those childhood Marx Miniature Masterpiece play sets with their play mat, terrain and painted figures?
In any event, this week, I have been getting as much or more pleasure contemplating a future where I have a score of "playsets" with shiny toy soldiers and matching terrain which can be selected according to my mood and quickly deployed onto the table when the mood strikes or for a mini campaign on a holiday weekend, as I ever did over the last 45 years imagining a day when I would have a big table with ample 1st class terrain and huge forces of well detailed, historically correct miniatures.
Of course what I have at the moment is an unholy mess and a lot of work to do but tomorrow is forecast to be rainy and I suspect I'll get a chance to play a quick game. After all, a gamesroom set up is never tested until a game has been played!