Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Not with a Bang . . ."   --    

". . . but a wimper." . . . well I'm afraid that I'm ending the year with plenty of wimpers.  Yes, it is the kidney gravel moving through my system again.  So here I sit at the keyboard, zonked on my pain meds constantly correcting my fumbling fingers.

Now I don't like feeling zonked; but it is better than the pain.  Anyway before this hit I'd started a blog about my Colonial gaming.  And my most recent post there quoted from something from the "Major General's" terrain philosophy.

Now I do wish to make it perfectly clear that the concepts which follow were written by David Helber of the Major General Tremorden Rederring's Colonial-era Wargames Page and not me . . . although I heartily agree with Mr. Helber's comments and feel that they deserve to be repeated.

I will note that the photo is from an early game of mine and that I built the buildings ala the Major General's philosophy and the techniques from his Building Construction page.  (As usual, click on photo for larger image).

-- Jeff

Small is Beautiful

Contrary to what your significant other might tell you, size matters -- especially in tabletop gaming. 

Specifically: small is beautiful. Because table space is always so limited, everything used in a game must be as small as it can be and still do its job.

The Ouargistan group uses a 5/8"/15mm (David's preference) or 3/4"/19mm (everybody else's) base size for 25mm military figures where possible, with the occasional base cut larger to accomodate the odd figure that needs it. 

Even a 1" base means that a unit of men will take up over 30% more linear space on the table and 90% more area than those on a 3/4" base. A 2-rank unit of 20 men will be 10" wide, rather than than 7.5". Ten inches is a lot on a table which is only 48" across. 

When the gaming includes buildings, boats, or vehicles, base size is even more important. Even though we allow bases to overlap when figures are in a boat or structure, a base which is even slightly larger will substantially reduce the number of men which can fit in the same space. 

A rooftop which is 2.25" square will take nine men with 3/4" bases, but only four men with 1" bases.

Buildings and vehicles themselves should be as small as they can be without looking completely ridiculous. 

In Ouargistan, a small, flat-roofed native building will be as small as 2.25" square with a roof 1.5" off the ground. The difference between a 2.5" and a 3.5" building doesn't sound like much, but it will allow you to put a 5-building town in about the same space as a 3 building town with the larger size.

When building structures and vehicles it is very easy to let size get out of hand. You must exercise ruthless care to keep things to a minimum, or else you wind up with forts or villages that take up half the table, and boats which require so much river to maneuver that there is no room for land. 

Generally our native buildings run from about 2.25" square to about 3"x 5", forts are about 12" square, and the largest boats/ships are no more than 9" long.

-- Copyright©1998 David Helber


Prince Lupus said...

Hope it passes soon, no pun intended.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year.

I had been trying to forget my colonials for a while but now I can hear the siren call of the Sudan.

Fitz-Badger said...

Yeah, get well soon! Then have a Happy New Year!

I remember reading that philosophy from the Major General's site years ago and took it to heart. I'm trying to keep my buildings small (got some under construction right now).

I'm also tempted to get back into Colonial gaming and have plenty of ideas. I did play a bit of TSATF back in the day. And I've been re-watching several old movies the past few months that take place mostly in the Northwest Frontier.

A J said...

Jeff, may your health and happiness be both much improved in this New Year.

I take my hat off to the cast of the Major-General's site, and rate it one of the best hobby websites in existence. It's a shame they don't appear to have updated it much. I also follow their thoughts on buildings and so on, although I do tend to make my ships a tad larger than their recommendations. My on-again off-again Daftest Africa campaign world certainly benefits from the inspiration.

Soldadets said...

Happened to read your thoughtful comments on size. As you already know, I've got embarked in a really *big* project, where sizes and proportions of every & any thing will be critical! that have for sure that your article will be read not just one, but several times by me!!

That's why the Internet seems so great to me, that lets you learn new things from the most unexpected sources!!

Best wishes for this new year,

Soldadets said...

Oh I didn't see it was a quote :D

However, it was you who published it, so I can gladly keep my *remercients* to you for having done so!

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear oabout your health problems Jeff. Hope things improve soon.
Love reading your blogs, and although I may not leave a comment very often (due to lack of time) I follow your wargaming exploits with interest.