Showing posts with label Points system. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Points system. Show all posts

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

The points system

Just thought I'd put out some words on the points system that I use as a basis for organising the battles that I am putting on the blog.

In the book Table Top Battles there is a points chart. This evaluates troop types of every era. For example;

Heavy Cavalry 4 points per stand, light cavalry 2 points per stand.

Assessing the size of an army to recreate we would at first look at the actual total say, 40,000. You can use this total in two ways.

1) 40,000 is converted to 40 points. This total is then divided by the individual points value of the stands making up the army

2) 40,000 can be converted to 40 points. This total can be doubled up to 80 points. This helps if you want to include more diverse troop types.
Each stand in this size of army would be representing roughly Brigade size units.

3) At another level, should you wish to recreate a small force of maybe 1000 men,
then start with 10 points and keep multiplying by 10 until you reach a level that recreates the force you want. This would consist of a number of platoons or companies.

Now, this works fine for an evening game playing a one off battle. The system also works for a pre-planned solo game but I had to change things around a bit when doing these historical battles. For example;

I want to recreate the battle of Waterloo in the near future ( we are painting the figures ). The cavalry of the French Army was 14,000. That's 14 points. I think there were 6000 Cuirassiers. Now, under the normal points system, a stand of heavy cavalry are 4 points so that would be one stand.

There has to be more than one stand of cuirassiers so how to get round the problem?
In the actual battle the cuirassiers, much as they were terrifying were not very effective so I downgraded them to 2 points each which gives me three stands.

Therefore I have the numbers, I still have the cavalry but ,as in real life they will not achieve a lot.

Another section of an army to take into account is the Artillery. This is always a bit difficult to assess. Very often the numbers of guns, their position and use in battle is blurred or completely ignored. This makes it hard to give a points value and to allocate models.

From my own perspective, if the total of guns is known I divide the actual number of guns by either 10, 20 or 50 depending on the size of the battle. The designation of Heavy or Light I assign depending on their function i.e. whether they were static or constantly moving.

The points total for the artillery are taken from the Infantry total. This is because;

Artillery personnel are lumped together with the infantry.
Infantry were sometimes assigned to the artillery to provide extra muscle to haul the guns about.

I have a generic sci-fi section which can be adapted for any era of mechanized warfare. Tanks have an attack and defense value which is added together to give a points value to the model.

Using the points system you can field a "Heavy " army against a "light" one. Within the Table Top Battle system neither side has an overwhelming advantage. Although die driven ( 12 sided) tactics and terrain do have some influence.

Above all, I am fitting this onto a 3 foot by 2 foot ( 90cm x 60cm ) board. The size of the playing area also has an influence on the size of the armies.

The battle of Manassas is a similar situation. Sigel,s Corp were all normal line infantry which would be three points.and would only be two or three stands.

However his Corps were deployed in a long line and despite hard fighting struggled at the railway embankment. So, I downgraded the stands to 2points each to give me enough stands to cover the position.

As you can see, the system is pretty flexible and adaptable to any situation. Having written that, I hope those battles I have presented and those I hope to do will give you ideas for your own interpretations of these events.

This photo is of Roman Heavy Cavalry. I made this group of four stands from Ceaser Miniatures Sarmatian horses and Hat horses. The figures are Hat with different heads. The lances are North Star Javelins ( 50mm ). As you can see the bases are four points each which means they are Heavy Cavalry. Each stand is used individually in a big battle, but could equally be a Regiment of cavalry in a smaller action.

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)