Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Small ... or far away

My recent blog entry about the possibility of using 1:100th-scale vehicles with 20mm-scale figures on the tabletop has produced what is probably the biggest response I have ever had to a blog entry.

The comments all seems to support the contention that if it looked right, it must be right, and as Coopdevil so succinctly put it ‘There's something abstract about it which "just works"’.

Whilst reading the comments I received, I was put in mind of the episode from FATHER TED when Father Ted and Father Dougal go on holiday ...

I suppose that when it comes down to it, it is all a matter of personal perception.

10 comments:

Francis Lee said...

A fun series and example.

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Francis Lee,

It was a much under-rated series, and I wish that it had attracted a wider audience.

All the best,

Bob

Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

Why am I now picturing a game at COW or some such where players manning a gun guess the range based on the size of model which would change as it crossed range bands?

Lets say from 1:300 up to 1/32nd with various stops along the way.

Stryker said...

My wife and I still like to watch Father Ted but, just like Dougal, she still doesn't get the small/far away thing - makes it even funnier for me!

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Ross Mac,

Many years ago the late Paddy Griffith did run a game about a trench raid where the defending side's sentry got a glimpse of an approaching attack by flashes of torchlight ... and had to guess how far away the figures were and how many of them there were. He used different-sized figures for the attackers ... and it worked!

All the best,

Bob

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Stryker,

I suspect that the ability to perceive distance is not an inbuilt ability with quite a large part of the population. I only have to watch my neighbour trying to park her car in a gap outside her house to realise that fact. (Her record is 45 minutes trying to park in a gap twice the length of her small hatchback car.)

All the best,

Bob

Kaptain Kobold said...

"It was a much under-rated series, and I wish that it had attracted a wider audience."

We watch it all the way through about once a year (and I think my son sneaks extra viewings in as well).

As for Small ... Far Away, there's even a Flickr group for it :)

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Kaptain Kobold,

I am pleased to hear that it has such a dedicated following!

All the best,

Bob

CoastConFan said...

Let’s keep in mind that scale is already skewed in most games: for example the size of the figure is never really in scale to the actual movement itself or consider the artificially of time scales or simultaneousness of movement (or not). Mixing physical scales of playing pieces is no great crime – are those terrain elevations really in scale? Of course not. Below is an example of scaling “errors”.

Years ago we played an aerial simulation called Mustangs and Messerschmitts by Rocky Russo, which used a scale model set upon a meter long wood dowel which itself was placed onto a wooden planchets which had wheels and a tiller system. The model was attached to a clothes pin, which could be moved up and down the stick. Altitude was shown by the height of the model set upon the stick (tic marks indicating hundreds of feet). The model could pivot on the clothes pin to indicate climb/dive and it further could be set to show a bank port or starboard so that in a glance one could look at the model and determine the complete aspect of the aircraft and it’s relative difference in space from the next model. Movement over land was made by moving the wheeled base a designated course. Turns were made by moving a tiller, which had a gauge showing degrees to make a fairly accurate arc. All in all it was a brilliant system to calculate movement. But none of the aspects were in scale: not the model, not the movement, not even the scales between linear and vertical movement were in scale relative to each other, so don’t worry much about scale as it is never going to be perfect and be playable at the same time.

As a side note, the game was published in 1983, although I got to play in the 1970s with a prototype set. I got to play it again in Germany in the late 1990s and again in about 3 years ago. A link to the game and photos of air combat using that system:
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/7784/mustangs-and-messerschmitts

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

CoastConFan,

All game designs are compromises, and the scales that we use is one of the areas where the compromises are most obvious ... and where there seems to be the greatest area of disagreement between wargamers.

The game you describe is a good example of the design and scale compromises that are made ... and I have no doubt that it was an excellent game that all the participants enjoyed tremendously. It sounds like was!

All the best,

Bob