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Monday, 8 October 2018

Dice holders

My PORTABLE WARGAME rules require players to keep track of the Strength Point values of each of their units. In the past I've used a hand-written paper roster, plastic Roman blind rings, and numbered magnetic tiles to record changes to a unit's SPs.

None of the above was 100% effective, and I have been looking for potential replacements. Recently, Archduke Piccolo used some small D6s and MDF dice holders for this purpose, and I decided to give them a go. I sent an order to Warbases, who sell both the dice and the MDF dice holders, and I intend to spend several hours gluing the dice holders to suitably-sized MDF bases.


The finished dice holders will need to be sealed with a couple of coats of PVA before they are painted ... and then I can find out if they are better than the other methods for recording SPs that I have previously tried.

The image used above is © Warbases.

30 comments:

  1. The dice holders I have been using have been rather crying out for something to be added to the 'spare' surface. I'm thinking if gluing down parallel match sticks or similar, to use as card holder for flags, unit ID and such like stuff.

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    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      I'd be interested to see what your modified dice holders look like. For the time being, I'm just going to keep mine as holders for SP dice.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Bob,
    I can understand why you want a visual representation oF a unit's current SP on the tabletop, where it's immediately visible, rather than on a roster one might forget to update (but then, one might forget to alter the dice!).

    Personally, I don't like 'clutter' that follows a unit around, but for the unit itself to display its state. Removing toy soldiers in Little Wars style games was both simple, and effective, but is not possible for units that are based.

    But, could a similar effect be obtained by having a number of additional soldiers, individually based, equal in number to its SP, around/before/behind a unit, portraying officers, musicians, colour bearers or whatever, and removing one when an SP was lost?

    One would have to paint the extra soldiers, but they could be used for other purposes, such as skirmish games, when not serving as SP markers in a Portable Wargame. Just a thought...

    Best wishes,
    Arthur

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    Replies
    1. Arthur1815 (Arthur),

      It's an experiment ... and like all experiments, it might not be as successful as I hope it will be.

      Over the years I tried different methods of recording unit casualties, including figure removal ... which is by far and away the simplest and most effective method. The problem with PW is that it started out as a set of 'sudden death' rules, to which the SP concert was added.

      If the experiment isn't as successful as I hope that it will be, I'll look at the possibility of using some of my numerous spare figures to act as SP markers ... although it might mean that I have a lot more figures on the tabletop than I currently do and may lead to overcrowding at times.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. The clutter problem is why I usually opt for a quick kill option. I have extended the life of units on the table by using a recoil, retire, retreat, rout, range of combat outcomes.

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    1. Barry Carter,

      That sounds like a very interesting alternative which is very much in keeping with the original concepts of the PW rules.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. THAT is what i like about the DBx family of rules. Little to no clutter.

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    3. I also tailor the units response according to their morale rating. It seems to work quite well.

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    4. StuRat,

      In my eyes the worst sorts of game clutter are things that have nothing to do with the game but that players think are all right to leave on the playing surface such as cups, glasses, and cans of drink and - in one memorable case - a plate of sandwiches!

      All the best,

      Bob

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    5. Barry Carter,

      I'm experimenting with something along those lines for my PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME rules.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    6. I'll be interested to see the outcome of your thoughts. When do you think you will be ready to publish?

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    7. Barry Carter,

      The planned publication date is the end of November/beginning of December.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    8. Good news. Here's hoping nothing impedes progress.

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    9. Barry Carter,

      The only likely reasons why publication of the book might be delayed will be due to my desire to get everything in the book right.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. One of my regular opponents uses the dice holders and they work well. Curts a little over the top and does very little dioramas for each unit to show ownership.

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    Replies
    1. Peter Douglas,

      I don't think that I will be going so far as to turn each dice holder into a mini-diorama ... yet!

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Peter - Curt's mini-dioramas are a joy to behold though :)

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    3. TamsinP,

      Is there a link to photographs of dice holder diorama?

      All the best,

      Bob

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    4. Sorry for the delay Bob - here's a link to one set:

      http://analogue-hobbies.blogspot.com/2018/03/entry-16-to-ahpc-viii-zweihander.html

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    5. TamsinP,

      Thanks for the link. The results look very interesting, and have given me some ideas that I might use on my own dice holders.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. I bought 7mm dice and holders, but these were too small for my banana fingers, once the die was in the MDF frame, I could not easily lift it out. I switched to 10mm dice and frames, they are a bit more visually intrusive but significantly better for my dexterity.

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    1. Norm,

      I bought 7mm dice and holders, but if they prove to be too small I may well switch over to 10mm ones.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. I have a loy of sympathy for Arthur1815's figure removal approach, which is still my 'go to' method for my own rule sets, even my BB4ST (I', thinking of changing the working title to Big Engagements 4 Small Tables (BE4ST. What do you reckon?). Let the unit carry the information.

    There has been discussion over the years about this information being freely available to one's opponent. My attitude is that, it was probably not all that hard to discover by its behaviour/ demeanour how that enemy unit over there was feeling.

    Having said that, I have a distinct dislike for written rosters; nor do I much like draping plastic hoops over figures Faute de mieux, I will accept a certain amount of clutter in the shape of order chits and SP markers. Chris Kemp's coloured pins (comme ca John Sandars) I like the sound of, but have never made up my mind to to get any...

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    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      Over the years I've experimented with all sorts of ways of dealing with casualties, and none of them are perfect. That said, I think that figure removal is the simplest and easiest to use.

      I like the BE4ST acronym for your rules. It is simple and memorable, and I would urge you to use it.

      The only systems I have come across that conceal information from the enemy and work are the original kriegsspiel and MEGABLITZ. As most of my wargaming is solo, it isn't a situation that I need to deal with as I known how strong each side is.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. BE4ST - brilliant!
    Can't stand little hoops over figures. Strikes me as utterly incongruous. Oddly, more so than little dice - certainly if the figures are 10mm plus.

    I frequently end up with the reverse of figure removal - adding shellholes, explosions and casualty markers to use as status markers. Might not be utterly inconvenient to do the same with the PW - casualty figure = minus one SP, shellhole = minus two, explosions = minus three. Shouldn't require more than two markers per unit at worst but does require an extra mental step to calculate remaining SP.

    However 7mm dice in disguised holders, attached to the bases of 15mm plus figures, especially if the dice are black, strikes me as quite unobtrusive.

    Who'd've thought dice holders would generate so much comment.
    Cheers
    Andrew

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    Replies
    1. Rumblestrip (Andrew),

      I have used clear plastic rings for some years, and don't find them at all intrusive ... unlike the white ones that are commonly used.

      It is interesting to compare the 'deal breakers' that individual wargamers have. I've always resisted using markers (other than rings) to show each unit's status, but have no problem using order markers. I know of other wargamers who hate order markers but love having all sorts of gizmos to indicate a unit's strength. Whatever our difference, as long as we enjoy what we are doing, the more the merrier!

      I'm now off to glue some more dice holders together.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Clear hoops, don't think I've seen that...only ever the white ones. Clear is much better. I could probably work with that.
      Cheers
      Andrew

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    3. Rumblestrip (Andrew),

      I bought mine from Amazon. They don't seem to be anywhere near as noticeable on the tabletop in comparison with the white versions.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. I use dials numbered 1-10, as you can see in some photographs of a recent game here: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/2018/10/acw-game-fickle-flanking-force.html

    I always feel dice are too distracting.

    And I don't like removing figures. I like the visual spectacle of (full) units on the able, especially if you spent time painting them. Why paint all those figures when most of the time they will not be present on the table?

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    1. Phil Dutre,

      I've seen dials in use, and Warbases make them; I've just never considered using them myself. It's certainly an option for me to think about, especially if the dice holders don't work as well as I hope they will.

      To remove or not to remove; that is the question ... and it seems to come down to a matter of personal preference as to whether one does or not. Your point about spending time painting them and wanting to see them on the tabletop is well made, and again it is something that I had not thought about before.

      All the best,

      Bob

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