Wednesday, 31 March 2010

'Based' on Experience.............

Assuming that I tread the path of the Volley and Bayonet take on army level war games, I now find myself on a collision course with the first of many dilemmas requiring resolution. The first of which is the perennial problem of what base size to use. The standard brigade base of a 3” square can hold a lot of 15mm figures so my existing Balkan Wars collection will scarcely furnish a division of three or four such bases as you would need to have around 12 to 16 figures per base. That is hardly commanding an army and no mistake! The rules have provision for using bases at 2/3rds the normal size (so a brigade base would be a 2” square) which would be better and would use less figures. The best compromise though would be to use half sized bases so a standard brigade base then becomes a 1 ½” square or 40mm as near as makes no difference. The base can then take half a dozen or so figures easily as well as having the inestimable advantage of having the all powerful 40mm frontage so beloved of many other rule sets. This will probably be the option I choose and so the current Balkan Wars set up will give me around 9 to 12 brigades of infantry per side which equates to roughly a good sized corps – not quite army level but certainly heading in that direction. For reasons of table space I will need to trim the move distances and ranges etc and I am sure there is a playsheet contained within the files section of the Volley and Bayonet Yahoo group that has these scaled to allow for the reduction.

Using the 40mm frontage has another advantage in that I already have a supply of Essex Miniatures 40mm square and 40 x 20mm plastic bases that can be readily called into use. Essex Miniatures are happy to cut bases to size and to order using this material which is also very handy. Going down this route I will additionally need 20mm square bases as well as 30mm square. The size of bases used will suit the Peter Laing collection extremely well as they are smaller figures and are much closer in size to true 15mm scale.

The second big issue I will need to address is the number of figures to use on a base. I am planning around using 6 infantry and 2 or 3 cavalry for the main brigade bases. This fits nicely with my previous idea of using 12 figures on 4 bases for a battalion – I will now have two brigades from a single unit. The only potential banana skin is in connection with artillery and MG bases. Under the rules these are sized at a 1 ½” frontage with a 3” depth. Keeping to the reduced scale described a base should now be 20mm by 40mm which is too narrow for the models in question. I will therefore probably adopt the 40mm square base for these units as well. A standard artillery base covers a frontage of around 6 guns so having what is in effect a double fronted based allows for a larger artillery contingent which is more in keeping with early 20th century armies.

The use of these large bases and a roster system brings the whole rules issue full circle in a sense as our old friend Joseph Morschauser also employed a similar device for his grid based rules. This in turn means that by the adoption of these two approaches I am able to enjoy gaming with the best of the old and that of the new!

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