EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Committee has made its Decison!

For the past few years I have been conducting a series of tests to find the optimum size of grid squares for my table and gaming style along with the related question of the best choice of basing and organization for my needs. One might think that a thorough analysis of the facts could have provided the correct answer but I have found that  intellectual analysis of emotional/aesthetic questions based on untested assumptions rarely reach satisfying conclusions. So the testing and experimenting began.

A quick revised Tin Army takes the field with 1 Company per 3" square.
The real trigger was that I needed to reduce the size of my table from its original 6'x8' to something smaller, without reducing the size of my figures or the quality of the games. So far I have tried 6", 5", 4" and 6" squares subdivided into 3" quadrants. They all have an advantage and a fault.  (Note: I have also tried 4" hexes but there are non-gaming issues which means that they are not a feasible option in the foreseeable future.)

Small grid squares mean not just smaller units but also smaller terrain items or possibly multi-square terrain features and that proved to be the decisive issue as I found that the rules and my preferences were trending in a direction where the number of figures in a unit became irrelevant with a slight bias towards small is better.

Large grid squares mean fewer squares per table essentially making the small table even smaller and requiring me to be ever more clever to design a satisfying game but terrain features become easier to design.

Inbetween sizes provide a typical compromise. They provide the easiest acceptable solution but one which is never quite satisfying

I have had some really good quick games on the big squares but have not been clever enough to successfully design a longer, more complex game and scenario on the small number of large squares. However,  a review of past experiemental games played using smaller grid squares convinced me that that was the way to go IF I could resolve the issue of fitting in buildings, woods and vehicles.  The answer to that would require a mix of getting creative and letting go of some old favorite terrain items and accessories.

A shot from a favourite 2015 Tin Army game on sub-divided 6" squares.

I'm not big on letting go of things but I've been training myself and have reached the point where I am willing to let go of some things that won't fit even as multi square pieces and retire some others for use in the occasional non-gridded game which they are appropriate for.  Multi square boats and train cars are another issue but I can work the rules around that. The getting creative bit has been a mix of some experimentation with lots of looking at pictures of other peoples' wonderful creativity.  Having tackled making a handful of non-scale buildings that fit a 4" grid last fall,  I'm now satisfied that I can not only meet this challenge but enjoy doing it.

So, I took a few minutes on Friday  and once again subdivided each of my 6" squares into 4x3" ones and now the Tin Army is partying like it was 2015 again. What the results of my terrain labours are will be shown here when there are results!

14 comments:

  1. Your hand painted table is great looking

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    1. Thanks Jeff, now I need to start watching those oil painting videos and make a backdrop!

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  2. “I just love it when a plan comes together !” Col. John 'Hannibal' Smith.

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  3. Good post and an important crossroads for your gaming. Terrain (well buildings mainly) needs a small footprint, but its height can still be allowed to add the presence that makes for a 'right look'.

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    1. Agreed. I have also found that a cluster of small footprint buildings of sufficint but not scale height looks more town-like than 1 large building.

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  4. Your games always look the part Ross.

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    1. THanks (I think) Sometimes part of the dog's breakfast but sometimes I'm pretty happy.

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  5. Ross Mac,

    Whatever you come up with in the end (and it looks as if you are almost there) will look great, and if it gives you pleasure, the struggle will be worth it!

    All the best,

    Bob

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    1. I'm looking forward to getting it all settled again so I can get back to working on some campaigns.

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  6. After reading your blog for so many years, you do realize you will change your mind ;--)

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    1. Ah ye of little faith. It does takes me a long time to choose and I need to actually try all the options if possible, sometimes several times but once I settle it can last decades if no serious life changes interfere. Hopefully you'll stick around for the Aha!

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  7. That first picture looks especially good to me. Good luck!

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