Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy

Friday, April 29, 2016

Multi-scale battles?

After a very interesting and thought provoking exchange of ideas between Kurtus and myself, last night on Tabletop Commanders Paint and Chat (28th April, go watch it). We discussed ways of improving our experience of the battles we recreate on the table top.

Even playing solo, you have a god's eye view of the battlefield and can instantly see what is happening all over the table. A battle I fought recently was First Bull Run/Manassas, it was in 6mm on a 6 x 4 feet table. I used a modified version of the Napoleonic rules Blucher, which worked perfectly well, but I could have used a grand tactical rule set specifically designed for the American Civil War, such as Altar of Freedom or similar.

The God's eye view of most of the table for First Bull Run/Manassas. 

But what if you only had a view of a small part of the table and instead of commanding whole armies you switched to the tactical level of commanding a brigade or a division, and could only see the part of the battlefield in which your troops were actually fighting. You would have little knowledge of what was happening on your flanks, other than hastily written notes from fellow officers or the general commanding.

As the divisional or brigade commander this is your view of the battlefield!

Or if you are lucky to have an elevated position you may get this view.

So in the course of our conversation, we both agreed that it is equally enjoyable to fight battles at a lower level of command, such as in General de Brigade or its ACW equivalent, Guns at Gettysburg. The only problem is, you are fighting just a small part of the battle with little knowledge of how the whole battle is going all around you.

This led to the idea of multi-scale, multi-table, multi-rules! Not easy to say.

So in the above example, the whole battle could be fought, turn by turn, on a map with counters or on a table with 6mm, 10mm or even 15mm figures, using a grand tactical set of rules. Though not quite the whole battle! as one part of the battle is being fought on a separate table in 28mm using a tactical set of rules. The results of this part of the battle being transposed onto the main table.

Why bother doing that? Well lots of reasons, the most important being you get to fight a smaller scale battle with beautiful 28mm figures, but it is only part of the battle as we have already said. As the commander of your division, the battle may be going wonderfully well, with the enemy being pushed back.
But what is happening elsewhere? 

That of course is being decided on the map/table of the whole battle. The division on your left may have been routed and is in full retreat, leaving your flank wide open, at this very minute enemy troops are taking up attack positions on that very flank, you thought was occupied by a friendly unit.

It would be a way of enjoying being part of a bigger battle and still get to use larger scale figures, for the smaller part of the overall battle being fought by yourself. You can have thousands of 6mm troops but 28mm? not unless you are incredibly well off and have a barn to set up a table in! This way you get the best of both worlds, with the added suspense of not being exactly sure what is happening outside your view of the battlefield.

Food for thought I think.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: ACW Gamer #11

It's been a while since we made a post as of late so I thought I would put up a short review on issue #11 of ACW Gamer - the E-zine.

For starters this is a pretty slick production - lots and lots of eye candy! But not only that, for the price of $12 USD one gets a lot of useful information! In this case, issue #11 comes in at a hefty 37 full color pages. When I say "hefty" I mean content!
For one we have an excellent short article by ACW author Scott Mingus, discussing a few rules ideas for representing supply wagons and such in our tabletop battles. He includes a number of inspiring examples for the popular set of rules,  Fireball in the Night. I know it is not only fun to have rules for these little wagons, but it gives us a great reason to include these models on our tabletop too.
This is followed up by a useful review by Arthur van der Ster on Warlord Games new release, Glory Hallelujah.  no surprise here as this Black Powder supplement has been on the minds of many an ACW wargamer. The review itself is quite inclusive and covers everything from background, layout, special rules for the ACW, artwork and even its price. All in all a pretty good review I must say. If you are on the fence about this supplement, or just want to have a good idea of what to expect, this article is spot on!
Next we have an article by Bill Moreno, owner of Good Ground Miniatures, where he details his ideas on collecting and putting together 1:600 scale iron clads! I know I have been very tempted to go for this scale myself. In my mind, 1:600 is the equivalent of 28mm models for land battles - 1:1200 more like the common 15mm scale. You just can't beat the detail on these awesome ships. Bill goes on in the article to discuss just that. Chalk full of useful ideas and useful painting and converting techniques.
Some of you might recognize the author of the next piece - especially if you are a fan of the Cigar Box Battle Mats. Cory Ring concludes the E-zine with a guide to touring the Franklin battlefield - all with an eye towards the wargamer. Located in Tennessee, the Franklin battlefield offers the wargamer many inspiring locations. Ever wonder what to keep your eye on when touring the battlefield? How about some little known spot that would make a good scenario? That is what this article is all about. Full of descriptions of important areas of the battlefield, as well as a good suggested reading list. Of course, lots of inspiring pictures of the battlefield locations accompany the article.
Of course, the E-zine is also full of useful other bits for the ACW gamer - including adverts from leading miniatures distributers, as well as a listing of ACW clubs around the globe. In addition, there is a section at the beginning that covers the news and goings in the ACW wargaming community. In this case detailing the recent HMGS Cold Wars convention held this last March, including plenty of pictures of ACW games in action. In addition, there is a short write up about the upcoming NashCon and Johnny Con conventions to be held in May.
Considering the content of this E-zine, and at a price of only $12 for a four issue per year subscription, it is a great value to the ACW wargamer. As a pdf, it is well organized and laid out, easy to navigate. Well worth it if you ask me.
Final verdict: A+; the amount of quality content here considering the price is well worth it. If you are interested in ACW miniatures wargaming, I can't recommend this E-zine enough. Well worth it!
Check out the E-zine home page here at ACW Gamer.

SO there you go folks. I hope you found that little review worth it. I hope to do more of these in the future her on the TtC blog. Was fun.

Till next time...