Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How many figures to a unit?

The other night, I was fiddling around with a gridded surface for wargaming, using 3" grids per Morschauser's own table (as read in Joseph Morschauser's How to Play War Games in Miniature A forgotten wargaming pioneer Early Wargames Vol 3). My goal was to see how 3 or 4 figure units as described in various sets of Bob Cordery's rules looked so that I could possibly field a small VSF action to try out some solo mechanisms.

Ordinarily, I use 10 figure units per various rules, and considered following the Space: 1889 Soldier's Companion suggestion of 8 figure companies (I'm not really concerned in my games with what the number represents - ordinarily I play 1-fig-1-man and treat the 10 as a platoon or squad), but in either case I only have enough to field less than 2.5 units for either the FFL or the Prussians. My goal is to increase the number of units on the table.

Four figures would give me a solid 5 or 6 units a side and 3 could give me up to 8 if I don't care about having a commander as a separate base.
But the aesthetic appeal was lacking - 4 figs in base to base contact in a line fill the entire width of the 3" space - I use U.S. pennies for my bases. It reminded me of someone wearing pants that are way too tight. They were 1/8" away from a muffin-top.
Two-by-two looked better but there just seemed to be too much space. Five looked completely wrong for ordered troops but not bad for hordes of lizard-folk.
Then, by coincidence, there was this post on Wargaming Miscellany Mr. Cordery has gone from 3 or 4 figures to using 6 figure units. If you haven't, go check the battle report out. Then oooh and ahh at the 6 figure units. They look great on the Hexon tiles.

They look good in 3" squares too, as it turns out.

Except, at best I can only field 4 units for each European army that way. Now, I could buy more miniatures I suppose (and, ultimately, I probably will), but I already have around 200+ to paint this year for my various projects.
A workable solution in the meantime would be preferred.

And then it occurred to me: place the figures on a sabot or movement tray that takes up nearly the same space as the 6 figures do:

The picture would be better if I included the entire grid-space

To my eye the 3-on-a-tray works as well as the 6 individually based figures to convey "more men then there are pictured" and even does a better job filling in the grid space.

Here's a sample scene arranged to demonstrate the tray in action:

A Lizard-folk horde clashes with Legion left.

I think this is the way I'm going to go for the non one-fig-equals-one-man battles.

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