Sunday, 8 May 2011

Size is not everything

one corps per side battle

Most of our wargames this year have been fighting battles from the PBEM campaign. Almost all of them have been single corps battles, which only involve 32 infantry, 4 cavalry and one gun per side. That is small by any standard.

Our “house rules” were written for much larger battles, usually four corps per side. This would give a game of 128 infantry, 16 cavalry and 4 guns per side. Not large by many standards, but the correct number of 28mm figures for our 6x6 foot wargames table.

We always enjoyed the multi corps games, because the table looked full. Three corps side by side cover the available space, and each army had one more corps in reserve to use as they thought best. It resulted in a good tactical battle. But it did take some time to play the game, often a couple of weeks.

When we started the PBEM the idea was to have 2-3 single corps sized battles, then a couple of larger ones and finally a large battle with four corps per side. But it did not work out like that.

When the game was solo I could manipulate the map movement to produce any sized battle I wanted. But with real players commanding the corps this is not possible. The command and control of the campaign has become much more devolved, and coordinating larger battles is proving quite difficult.

But this has not proved a problem, because we find we quite like the smaller games. There is less wide spread movement, which plays such a large part in the multi corps games. Then the game tends to be less predictable. With four corps you get four chances to make it work, with one corps only one chance. One bad dice throw can turn the whole game around.

Best of all we get to finish the game before it becomes boring.

So contrary to general opinion size is not everything – even in wargaming


MurdocK said...

you end up with more chess like engagements.

have you ever considered using cards (just the numbered ones) instead of dice to 'remove' the total random element?

thistlebarrow said...

Hi MurdocK

Its not quite like chess, because the rules are the same as for larger games. You still have the same elements of the game, but you get a result much quicker.

It would work exactly the same if you had 36 figure elements. But it does LOOK a lot difference, and I suspect that would put a lot of wargamers off.

We have used cards for hidden movement, but not instead of dice. How does it work. I can see that you would have numbers 2-10, but what is the difference between cards and a 10 sided dice? How would it remove the random element?