Monday, 5 September 2011

Building the Blocks of War....Part 3

One of the things that I wanted to try and bed down at a very early stage in the construction of this rule set for the block project was exactly what the various units represented. This is by no means a hard and fast definition as the blocks themselves are very elastic in what they actually represent in terms of the size of the body of troops depicted. I have more or less determined how this is going to be translated within the context of the rules and so I have deemed it worthy of a blog entry, if only to invite some comment on my thought process.

In the non motorised era it is pretty straightforward. The large unit labels are standard formations of massed or ordered infantry and cavalry and these can be from a single battalion/regiment upwards depending on the size of the action being tackled. The labels with 2 smaller symbols are for use as detached skirmishers, deployed light infantry or dismounted cavalry or even artillery and machine gun units. I opted for this approach as these units typically contained far fewer men than the usual 'line' units. The choice of two symbols is purely an aesthetic consideration and is not indicative of the actual size of the formation although it may coincide with it as the occasion demands. The command stand is actually quite small in terms of the number of 'men' it represents - again it is purely for aesthetic reasons that a single symbol was chosen and should be seen as not only the commander himself but also the various members of the HQ, staff officers, ADCs, escorts, concubines and sundry other hangers on.

Before the mechanised era this approach is perfectly satisfactory but it does become a little more complex when vehicles are introduced. I have prepared labels for tanks, tank destroyers, SP artillery, half tracks and armoured cars. These are all on the 'two symbol per label basis' but can be used for formations from a platoon upwards - this also applies to MGs, mortars and AT guns. The two symbol artillery label, together with the infantry and cavalry equivalents will be used in the same way as in the horse and musket era i.e. smaller detachments from the larger formations, usually to fulfil a specific tactical function.

For either 'era' the roster sheet will be key and whilst easy to use it does mean that it will be essential that they are clearly prepared. For most actions a single side of A4 will suffice for this purpose and given the fact that these are very easy to knock up on a PC I intend setting these up for various typical forces for use as and when needed. Obviously for an historic action the actual order of battle for the day should be used.

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