Sunday 17 February 2019

A Question of Scale

Map of Europe

I know that a lot of wargamers feel that scale is very important.   Whether it is to determine movement, ground covered by a battalion, movement distance or firing range.   I have long since given up on scale, as you always have to compromise in order to have a playable game on a reasonable sized table.

When I designed my current campaign I was only interested in one scale.   The relationship between the campaign map and the tabletop.   Because I was restricted to a table 6x6 foot the size of each battlefield was decided.

This meant that I would have to make a fictional map to ensure that each grid square on the map would cover the same area as my wargames table.   This square, and my table, would represent one days march for a corps.  

The fictional map of Europe is the result.   It is roughly based on the actual map of Europe.   Each squares is 21 miles and is one days march.   For campaign purposes each has a major town or city.   This will also be the area of a wargames table.   
Bayreuth Strategic Map

When I decided that I would use 2x2 foot scenic squares to create my wargames table, it became necessary to show these smaller and more detailed squares on the campaign map.   There was not sufficient room on the map of Europe, so I would have to create a smaller strategic map.

The one above is the strategic map for the Bayreuth phase of the campaign.   You will see that it covers 3x3 squares of the map of Europe, with the city of Bayreuth in the centre.   However there are now 9 smaller squares to represent the 9 scenic squares on the wargames table.   The city or town shown on the larger map is in the centre of each of the 9x9 squares.  

Each of the smaller squares is 7x7 miles.   So the distance between each town (three squares) is 21 miles.  This is the same as the map of Europe.  

However each of these smaller squares allows me to show the exact terrain features which will be shown on the wargames table.  

The 9 squares outlined in white is the area of the battle of Kulmbach

The eight corps which will take part in the battle are shown at the start of the battle.

Wargame Map

The strategic map is designed to look similar to the Europe map, but with more detail.   However the wargame map is designed to transfer from the map to the table.  It covers the same area as the strategic map, but each square is numbered and shows the exact terrain which will appear on the wargames table.   The 9 squares outlined in white is the area which will be shown on the wargames table   The number in the top right of each square is the same as the scenic square to be used.

Wargames Table

The 9 squares shown on the strategic and wargames maps now make up the wargames table.   The four Russian corps are deployed on the three centre squares, with the reserve corps behind the centre.   The three squares nearest to the camera is the “no mans land” between the two armies.

There are 12 moves in a wargame, and each move is one hour.    On the strategic map each corps can move three squares per day, which is 7 miles per square.   On the wargames table it takes a corps four moves to pass through one square.

2nd, 5th and 14th French corps will arrive on the table at the start of move one.   6th corps will arrive at the start of move 5.


  1. Thistlebarrow,

    I totally agree with you about scale. It is one area where I am more than willing to compromise.

    I really appreciate your explanation about how your campaign maps are translated into tabletop terrain. It certainly gave me a couple of ideas as to how best to use my own campaign maps.

    All the best,


  2. Hi Bob

    Glad that you found it useful.

    The advantage of working up from the wargames table is that you can maintain the scale to decide the area required for each campaign phase (mini campaign). It is then easy to work back to a map of the whole country or even all europe.

    I look forward to seeing how you use your campaign maps

    best regards


  3. Very interesting thanks for the post! Looks like a nice system. so do you have all the squares as detailed in advance as the Bayreuth map, or do you make these up as you go? And how do you decide what terrain will go in them, are you basing them on historical maps?

  4. Hi Chasseur

    Thanks for your comment. Glad that you found it interesting.

    The map of Europe and national maps are based on the AA Road Atlas. Each square shows a campaign area. The map of Europe only shows major cities, the national map shows major terrain such as rivers and mountain ranges.

    There are five grand strategic maps, one for each army. They are north, central and southern Germany and north and south Spain. These maps show major road systems.

    For each mini campaign there is a strategic map. This shows all terrain, but in a map like presentation. The tactical map shows the same area, but exactly as it will appear on the wargames table.

    Cities and rivers are correct, mountain ranges and forests approximate, the rest of the detail is fictional.



  5. Ok thanks for the extra detail!


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