Sunday, 25 November 2018

The 2" (50mm) Grid.

As mentioned in my previous Blog I have opted for the 2 inch ( 50mm ) square.
My 40mm square bases or "Stands"are cut to fit within that space. There are a few reasons for this. In the first instance,it was about formations.

A Stand is a unit in its own right. It can represent an individual Company, Battalion or
Brigade. By not having bigger formations of Stands, there is no reason for loads of rules on formation changes.

Not having a specific ratio scale i.e., one Stand equals 100 men allows you to fit the Army to the board rather than building an Army and  finding that the figure collection you have worked hard in building cannot operate in the the space that you have to battle in.

I have a system whereby each base has a number. This is an indicator of training,  armament and function. It is also very helpful in assessing the size of an army.
For  example, say I  wanted to represent a Roman Republican army of 20,000 men.

This army had specific troop types which should be represented. If we use 1 point for every 1000 men, we would need 20 points. Two thirds of the heavy  infantry had swords, javelins, large shields and helmets so these would be 3points for each Stand. The remaining heavy  infantry would be the Veterans. These men could afford the best armour and their main weapon was the spear. They were held in reserve and had an elite status , therefore these would be 4 points for one Stand.
 The army would also have light infantry maybe with just javelins and a shield. There would two Stands of these at 1 point each. Next ,the cavalry. Now, the Roman cavalry were well equipped but not exceptional and only present in small numbers so we have two Stands at 2 points each. Finally the man himself. The General. Again, not being anything special his Stand is 1 point.

Altogether we have nine Stands  representing 20,000 men. If you decide that hey, I can get more Stands on one side of the board , then use a scale of 1 point equals 500 men. This would give you a 40pt Army.

The number of figures on each Stand is immaterial. The figures are there as a visual reminder of what each Stand represents. It is the number assigned to the Stand that is important as this number is added to the Firing and Combat die rolls.

The same criteria applies to ground scales. By trying to scale the ground movement to that of real army manouvres, two opposing sides would clash almost immediately  with no chance of flanking moves etc.

The word here is; compromise.
I started out by deciding that hand thrown weapons would be as far as the adjacent square. Next, smoothbore muskets would be two squares. Smoothbore artillery would at least be able to fire twice as far so the range for these weapons would be four squares. That would be easy to remember.

The movement rules were a a bit of a fudge.  I spent considerable  time working  out movement rates and then scaled them down. This was again a compromise between marching across a parade ground in good weather on the one hand as opposed to slogging across a muddy field in damp clothes trying to maintain formation while being deafened by gunfire,blinded by smoke, trying to hear orders and I suspect in a number of cases poohing and peeing at the same time. 

Frederick the 2nd knew when his men were getting ready for a battle. When he halted a Marching column he turned around to see 50,000 men relieving themselves at the sides of the road!!.

Again, I came up with 2 squares movement for all Infantry and 4 squares for cavalry. The cavalry had its own set of problems. Again, theoretical movement on the Parade ground is fine. Once on campaign things can go wrong pretty quickly. Horses can go lame. If not fed enough they loose condition. Saddle sores, loss of strength to carry weight. Exhaustion, battle wounds, badly shod ,mud and pot holes. These are just some of the problems besetting a Cavalry General.

In the 18th century the Spanish General Count Gages reckoned each Battalion of Infantry at 350 effectives out of a paper strength of 750 men. The same attritional numbers applied to the cavalry. Very often, on campaign ( and virtually any era ) at least half a cavalry regiment found themselves as dismounted  infantry because of the lack of remounts.
So, when doing your research or when focusing on your favourite army always round down on numbers. Also, see if the main army used any Allies. Inclusion of these makes an Army more interesting.

For my own armies I have found that 40 points worth of Stands ( 1point = 500 actual combatants) will give you about an hour,s  worth of gaming, on a 3 foot by 2 foot table. Also creating such a force won't stretch your patience and your pocket in creating your forces. More about that next time.

At the top of this page is an 18th century army of 40 points. ( MINIATURE FIGURINES)
Below, a 40 point Late Roman Imperial Army ( HAT INDUSTRIES WITH SOME NEWLINE DESIGNS ARCHERS)

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

What's my Grid

 What size of grid to use?. At the heart of this question are two other considerations. The size of the figures and the formations you wish to create or have already created.

Let's take a 24 figure formation in 28mm. They would be on 4 bases each of 6 figures. Each base would be 60mm wide by 40mm deep. To accomodate this fomation in Line means your grid square would have to be 240mm (9 and a half inches) wide. Six of these formations will just about fit onto a table 144cm long (57 inches).

If you put each group of four bases into a 2x2 formation you can get 4 formations into one gridsquare. This also allows room within each gridsquare for formation changes,Generals, artillery and small pieces of scenery.

The board would also need depth to allow for longer Cavalry moves. Using a square of 240mm the board would need to be 5 squares deep. 120 cm (4 feet). In total you can comfortably fit 24 formations on one long side of a 144cm(57inches) board.

Using the same formations in 15mm,you can comfortably fit 6 infantry two lines of three figures on a 40mm Frontage by 30mm deep base. Using six formations in line, each square would need to be 16cm (6 and a half inches).The board would need to be 96cm (approximately 38 inches long). 5 squares deep would be 80cm (approximately 32 inches deep.

Bases for 6mm, 10mm and 12mm, would also be 40mm width by 30mm depth, ( possibly shallower), so the same size board would be used as for the 15mm figures. If you use bases with a 30mm width, four of these in line would need a square 12cm (approximately 5 and a half inches). The board would be 72cm (approximately 29 inches long) by 60cm deep ( 24inches)

The point of all this waffle is;  How much space do you have available for a war game?.
My own board is 3feet x 2feet ( approximately 92cm x 61cm) which sits on a fold-up T.v table in one corner of a room and can be packed away when not in use. The board is marked out in two inch (50mm) squares.

My 15mm metal and plastic figures are on "stands" of thick cardboard 40mm x 40mm square. Each base is a unit in its own right.


15mm figures;  my 18th century Line Infantry are 8 figures in two lines of 4. My light  Infantry are four to a Stand. The Cavalry are 4 to a Stand ( I have to zig-zag em' a bit!). The light cavalry are three to a Stand. The guns are singly mounted with two or three gunners.

I still wanted to keep the 40mm Stands for the 20mm plastic I  started collecting. So, it was three Infantry or two Cavalry. I've  made them up into Units of four Stands but I still use them as individual Stands on the table. My Generals are on individual Stands.

I have recently changed my command Stands to 40mm mdf round Stands to make them stand out more. I'll  talk more about the actual mechanics I  use next time.