Sunday, 16 January 2011

Campaign and Wargame Maps

I have been asked to explain how the campaign and wargame maps are designed. I wanted to have a reasonably accurate map of Europe to plan wargame campaigns. But I also wanted to be able to transfer the map details to the wargames table without having to create a new map each time.

I needed a good road map which covered all of Europe. This one was cheap and had the added advantage that it has two scales, 32 miles to 1 inch and 64 miles to 1 inch. First I photocopied all of the 1inch to 32 mile pages which covered central Europe.

Grand Strategic Map of all Europe

Using ProFantasy I created this map of central Europe. Each square is one page from the AA road map, approximately 250 miles square. This map is not to scale; it is what I call the Grand Strategy map. It shows major cities and their approximate distance from each other. I then drew a road between each, and these became my main supply routes.

Next I photocopied all of the 1 inch to 32 mile pages to create a large map of central Europe. I drew a grid on this map and each square was 20 miles. Each square would be one days march and one wargames table.

Strategic Map - All Germany

I then created a grid map of Germany, on which each square was 20 miles. I added the rivers, major mountain ranges and main borders. I plotted the cities and added the red roads. I then added major towns, and connected them with a yellow road; this would be minor supply routes.

Strategic Map North Germany - all towns

Finally I added a minor town to each empty square, and connected them with brown roads. These would represent tracks, and would not count for supply. To make it easier to read all of this detail I then created three maps of Germany - north, central and south.

Campaign tactical map

For my campaign I need a map which covered a smaller area, which I could send to the players. This was copied from the main map of Germany. I call this map my tactical map. This one is used for our current PBEM campaign which has Hanover as the objective.

Campaign wargames map

So far so good, but how to transfer from the campaign map to the wargames table. My 6’x6’ wargames table is made up of nine 2’x2’ scenery squares. So I created a map on which each square was scenery square. 3x3 squares on this map would be the same as one square on the tactical map. Each town on the tactical map would also be on the wargames map, but the rest of the scenery would be selected to match the type of terrain shown on the tactical map.

I call this map the wargames map. Each square has two reference numbers. One is the map square within the wargames map. This is shown on the top left of the square. The second is the number of the scenery square I will use to make up the wargames table. This is shown top right.

I have 20 2’x2’ scenery squares which I use to make up my wargames table. This page shows one side of each square. Each is numbered 1 to 20

This shows the reverse of those squares which do not have hills on them. Again numbered 1 to 20.

Second Colbitz wargame map

When two armies meet in the campaign, I draw a grid on the wargames map to indicate which squares will be used to make up the wargames table. This is the grid for the second battle of Colbitz, and shows the location of each corps at the start of the battle.

Second Colbitz wargames table

This is the wargames table set up for the second battle of Colbitz. I could only get part of the top three squares in the photograph. Colbitz itself is top right.

I have sued this system in my solo campaign for about two years, and it works well. I am play testing it for a PBEM campaign at present, and it seems to work well so far.


gerryjd said...

Hi Paul,

Very interesting to read how you put the maps together. Will certainly give my map making software another look. Found it took up too much of my time and shoved it to the side.



thistlebarrow said...

Hi Gerry

I thought for a long time before I bought ProFantasy. Not because of the cost, but because I thought it would be too difficult to learn.

I am certainly no expert, but I found it realatively easy to master. I guess it took about a week of working on their tutorials before I started on my own maps.

I found that it helped a lot to have a map to copy, and a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve.

Do find your software and give it another go.



Reddragyn said...

Thanks Paul,

A very good explanation of how you set it all up. Special thanks for the explanation on the numbered terrain squares; the squares with different terrain in the same 'number' were driving me nuts. :)