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.

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