Its now official, the new, "permanent", table will be 5ft x4ft. That's not exactly a cardtable or portable board but neither is it a big or even a standard table, closer to a 1/2 size one.
The last few months have largely been about investigating alternate paradigms for my hobby over the next few years. I want something smaller and more focused. I knew before I started that I could play interesting quick games on a small table but one of the questions was whether or not that was going to be enough it that was my only option. I'm satisfied now it isn't but I'm also quite happy with the smaller table and the idea of smaller armies than those I envisaged 10 years ago. However, I want an option for longer, more complex games as well as well as the quick and easy ones.
There are various ways of making a wargame longer and more complex. One is to make the rules more complex thus taking more time and requiring more thought. I'm not keen on detailed, complex rules these days but my current games could stand to regain a little depth. More on that later.
Another way to add complexity is just to make a game bigger. Having more units adds depth and complexity even to very simple rules. The traditional way to make a wargame table feel bigger without changing the rules is to use smaller figures and cut all measurements. Last year I experimented with using my 1/72 ACW regiments as brigades, it worked but all terrain became merely symbolic. I would prefer to keep my ACW boys pretty much as they are with 3x6 figure bases representing a regiment of roughly 400 to 500 men using a ground scale of roughly 6 cm=100 m.
My 16 figure 40mm units use pretty much the same scale giving the same sort of game but more visually abstracted so it seems to make sense to just take the abstraction a step farther and go a bit more V&B/Morschauser. If I use 8 figures on a 60mm base to represent a battalion of 600 to 800 men giving a ground scale of roughly 6 cm=200 to 250 m then my battlefield would be roughly 5km x 6km in very round numbers. Lots of room for a score of regiments to manouvre and big enough to fit a selection of 19th Century battles from various campaigns in India or Mexico for example.
Now to build the table, adjust the rules, finish rebasmmphhcoughahmming a couple of units and then try it all out.
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
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Making My Smaller Table Bigger on the Inside
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.