Sunday 31 July 2011
Something a Little Out of the Ordinary
You see above a stylised map of the battle of Dresden from 1813. I have picked this for no other reason than to illustrate the contents of this post and have no intention of replicating the armies of 1813 - at least not in a figures based format or indeed, anytime soon.
For some time now - probably measured at around 15 to 20 years (I kid you not!) - I have been pondering over the concept of what is in effect can best be described a 3d board war game. In my interpretation of a 3d board war game the playing surface is Hexon, the terrain is 3d but the units are good old fashioned wooden blocks. Now I realise this approach is the opposite to games like Battle Cry or Memoir 44 - they have 3d units and 2d terrain tiles - but for somebody like me this has enormous potential. The reasons are many and varied but I suppose the biggest single reason is that using blocks will enable me to indulge in many different flights of historical fancy as the mood takes me but without the attendant drama of acquiring and painting figures - something I have little talent for and even less inclination to undertake.
Two things have served to nudge this idea up the batting order - the visual success of Command and Colours Napoleonic blocks used with 3d terrain and the relative ease of setting up unit labels on an ordinary home PC for use with such a system. I should point out at this stage I am not thinking about replicating units in the fashion used by C and C Napoleonics - using images of actual troops - rather I an opting to use standard military map symbols to produce labels on my PC that can be easily printed as often and in the quantity and size needed. At this stage I am very much at the experimenting stage but if this comes off the potential is enormous.
I am planning on using blocks with a 3" frontage and varying depths; together with some 1 1/2" squares for things like command or small units, artillery batteries etc. By using wood with a depth of around 1cm I will have enough space on the edge of the block to put unit identifiers, commander's names etc. By setting up a template and using Microsoft Paint or similar to provide the colour I will be able to produce units labels in a huge variety of shades for differing armies with the bonus that certain colours would be usable for numerous era - e.g. blue for ACW, Napoleonic, AWI etc.
I will post on this further in due course but at this stage the first draft I have cobbled together certainly looks the part.
I realise that this will probably seem like heresy to most figure gamers but I take the view that if using blocks was good enough for the pioneering Kriegspiel wargamers then who am I to argue against it!