Pages

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Reflecting on my recent wargame

My recent wargame about the assault on Fortine Olivaro has given me cause to have a re-think about one or two things.

Firstly, using the small dice and dice holders to record each unit's current Strength Point Value (SP) was easier that trying to keep a manual written tally, and is something that I will probably now adopt as standard for my future wargames. I may even resurrect an idea I had some years ago about using a couple of knitter's stitch counters to keep a tally of each side's losses.

A pair of knitter's stitch counters. These can be bought in most specialist haberdashery, sewing, knitting, or craft shops.

Secondly, the size of the grid (which was a 6 x 8 hexed grid) did not restrict me as much as I had expected. I deployed the game equivalent to three infantry divisions plus a tank unit in a space that was smaller than the 8 x 8 square grid I used for the final battle of my recent Operation Barbarossa play-test campaign ... and yet the latter felt much more crowded. Perhaps I ought to think small rather than trying to 'go large' for my much-planned, long-term Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project.

Thirdly, I preferred using the multi-figure bases of small 15mm-scale Peter Laing figures in preference to the single 20mm-scale figure bases I used in my recent Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War play-test mini-campaign*, and I am wondering if I ought to re-examine my original decision to go down that route. This was reinforced by my re-reading of the battle reports from my A WINTER-ISH WAR mini-campaign, the Morschauserland vs. Eastland battles I fought back in the late Summer of 2015# using Martin Rapier's and my own versions of Neil Thomas' ONE HOUR WARGAMES rules, and the earlier Barbarossa Mini-campaign I fought in early 2015~. The multi-figure bases worked well in all those games, and looked no worse (and in some ways looked better) than the single figure bases I have used more recently.

So, where do I go now? That is something that I have to think a bit more about before making any changes that will be difficult to undo in the future. I may experiment a bit with basing some of my 20mm-scale figures onto multi-figure bases to see what the end result looks like ... but whatever I do, I am not going to rush into it in a burst of misplaced enthusiasm that I will live to regret.


* Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War play-test mini-campaign battles included:

# The Morschauserland vs. Eastland battles included:

~ The Barbarossa Mini-campaign battles included:

12 comments:

  1. Hello there Bob,

    Movement trays are the answer. This was my thinking with the late Spencer Smith and Del Prado collections. All the figures were individually based but by the selective use of trays I had the best of both worlds and could easily move from one rule system to another. It would also save a hell of a lot of time rebasing!

    All the best,

    DC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David Crook,

      Movement trays do seem to be the best possible solution to my ‘problem’. I think that I might order a small number to see whether they do solve it, especially as it will save me from doing yet more rebasing!

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  2. Have you considered using movement trays so that you can have the best of both worlds and it'll save you the faff of rebasing. They come in many different types. eg
    https://warbases.co.uk/product-category/movement-trays/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donjondo,

      A second vote for movement trays ... and as you comment, it will enable me to avoid having to do a load of rebasing.

      I’ve used Warbases before, and their service is second to none, so I’ll probably be sending them a small order later today.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  3. Bob,
    I think groups of figures always look better than using just one figure to represent a unit: the former makes the wargame look more like a skirmish than a battle. [Though I did once consider just using personality figures of the commanders to represent the units/formations under their command as a cheap - but colourful - way of depicting battles, the style of those military histories that say things like 'Soult stormed the Pratzen Heights'. Waterloo, for example, might have Napoleon and Ney, with Jerome attacking Hougoumont, D'Erlon in the centre and Lobau defending Plancenoit against a Prussian general. There's an idea for an article there, by G-d! as the Duke would say...]

    Movement trays sound a great way of avoiding rebasing. Personally, I prefer the effort of keeping a roster to having the battlefield strewn with tiny dice, counters or whatever.

    For my 10mm ImagiNations armies, I'm thinking of using the square Pendraken casualty bases as an SP marker, rotating them so the position of the casualty's head indicates the current value.

    Best wishes,
    Arthur

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arthur1815 (Arthur),

      I think that you are right about groups of figures on a common base looking more like a unit than groups of single figures. I’m going to order some suitable movement trays from Warbases later today to see if that solves the perception problems I am having.

      I’ve tried all sorts of systems for recording casualties during a game, and no doubt I’ll use the dice for a time before switching to something else. I don’t think that I’ll ever find a perfect solution ... but I won’t stop trying to find something that works for me.

      I look forward to seeing how your Pendraken casualty bases work.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  4. I have have and still do use both systems but after much experimenting have found a subconcsience effect that, for me, is worth considering.

    When I use single figures, my mind says "here is a man". Even while I am using a unit of 6 or 12 figures which my brain perceives as a "battalion", "company", etc it sees the figures as individuals.

    With a group of figures based as an "element", I only see it as a "unit" and perhaps subconsciously as a "game piece". In theory, in a given game it should not make a difference, esp on a grid, but somehow my perception shifts slightly and I have to be doubly careful to be aware of that when writing rules.

    Tanks are an interesting example. If represnting an armoured battalion equivalent or higher, that tank model will often represent a mix of tank types with different capabilities and possibly integral infantry and antitank, etc assets as well, but the mind sees "Sherman Firefly" (etc, etc).

    Hopefully sabots will give you a reasonable compromise on all fronts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ross Mac,

      Thanks for your very insightful comment. I think that you and I think along similar lines, which is probably why my thoughts are trending towards creating unit bases ... probably using sabot/movement bases.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  5. I'd just echo the comments that a group of figures on bases looks more like a unit than some single figures. I've been using my old DRAM bases for One Hour Wargames and I cram as many figures, vehicles and guns on as I can fit. At least it means the toys get an outing:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Martin Rapier,

      Thanks very much for your comments. I’ve now ordered some suitable bases from Warbases, and hope to use them for multi-figure bases when the need arises.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  6. Hi Bob -
    I go with Martin and your own hunch that multi-based units have a more 'unitish' look. I have departed from that in my Blacklands Wars - actually my 19th Century Wars in general, and they seem to work. But the systems I've used for my 'Long Live the Revolution' (I REALLY must get back to that!) and WW2 projects I find generally preferable.

    Actually, the Medifluvian and Blacklands campaigns were consciously largish scale, The armies I've used for them could as well be reduced to 1 stand per company rather than one per battalion, regiment or brigade. However, they were originally designed for the manner in which I've used them.

    Cheers,
    Ion

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

      I am definitely going to give multi-figure bases a trial, and have ordered a range of sabot ones from Warbases.

      Doing this rethink is also giving me the opportunity to redesign/redefine the rules I want to use for my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project. They will still be based on the PW structure and mechanisms, but adjusted to make them more suitable for larger-scale battles.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete

Thank you for leaving a comment. Please note that any comments that are spam or contain phishing messages or that come from Google Accounts that are 'Unknown' will be deleted.