Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Figuring out the Blocks

I appear to have opened a Pandora’s box of opinion in respect of my previous post and my use of the block armies for my wargames. The comments I have received have confirmed much of what I have been thinking but I would be less than honest if I said that seeing such comments in black and white was not a sobering experience. The simple fact is that many of my games have been better to fight than to read about. I suspect that my reduced amount of narrative has not helped because using the blocks in an unsupported fashion lacks the obvious visual appeal associated with figures – a fact of which I am acutely aware. I like to think that they are like the map volume of a book that has the accompanying text missing.

The blocks are now an integral part of my gaming but I readily admit that no amount of ‘prettying’ them up will change them from what they are – functional unit markers. I will certainly continue to use them and in fact, I have a number of strategic level board game type campaign ideas in mind for the future. For a more aesthetic look however, I will need to use figures - either that or I will need to ensure that the supporting narrative for any block based game is of sufficient detail and interest to capture the all-important ‘feel’.

I realise that my block based adventures may not be all things to all men but I can honestly say that I have had enormous fun with the whole process and I know that many of my battles have been both appreciated and enjoyed. I suspect that the initial enthusiasm on my part fell away – this is quite common for me -  and so alas, did the overall quality.

I have a number of figure based ideas to experiment with and I am not going to make any rash or expensive decisions in the meantime - there is no need to rush because behind closed doors I can always rely on my imagination and the block armies for my gaming fix.

Now, where did I put those catalogues.....?


Archduke Piccolo said...

One thing I should probably have said before: when I first saw them on your blog, I was rather drawn to them, and the battles were interesting enough.

On their own, they are a bit disengaging after a while. But used in conjunction with other resources - such as figures - I reckon you can get a whole lot more out of them than you have already.

In their present function, I infer that you use some sort of strength point system. Suppose you were to substitute figures per strength point? Would that help the visual appeal and engagement with the game?

David Crook said...

Hi Archduke,

As a general rule I use one block per strength point and the classic 4 point/blocks for an infantry unit and 3 points/blocks for a cavalry/armoured unit. Artillery/infantry support is usually 2 points/blocks. For points you could easily substitute individual or even bases of figures.

One idea I flirted with a little while ago was to you a small base of figures for the army command group. My thinking was that this would serve to 'connect' the army being represented with its historical counterpart. I never pursued this though.

My thanks for the kind comments.

All the best,