Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thoughts About Scale and a Test

The recent holiday afforded me much time to think about gaming - especially the flight home yesterday as the Young Lord Shadowmoss slept soundly in my lap.

Particularly, I was contemplating the use of 1/32 for gaming. There is an allure to these larger sized figures that I find irresistible. 

At the beginning of the year I had planned to build the GNW project to Morschauser's Horse and Musket specifications using 1/32 figures, but the combined lack of suitable, and inexpensive, figures and the beauty of Zvezda's 1/72 offerings changed that. Still, the idea refused to die entirely.

Given limited gaming space I have,  it would seem that such an undertaking (using 1/32) would be doomed to failure for all but skirmish. Except that Bob Cordery's various gridded games demonstrate that this isn't necessarily so - the # of figures per space matter not, and the ranges are greatly compressed to make it possible in relatively little space. Memories of my own early gaming (low those 6 or 7 years ago) which utilized 25mm movement and firing ranges with 54mm figures (it was Old West skirmish) reminded me that compression of ranges can be done without a grid and the games were great fun to boot.

I have already played some 1/32 WWII Eastern front grid-based games, and save the size of space required for a tank, found it quite enjoyable. Grid-less has also proven enjoyable with 1/32 figures even on a 3x3 space - either 1:1 squad skirmish, or with 3-5 figures to represent a section or platoon. With my planned 4 x 4 table I suspect I can play 1:1 up to a platoon, and use 1:5 or 1:10 for larger scale games.

Buildings at this scale prove difficult. And this was the idea that struck me on the flight home yesterday. 

Taking my cue from Morschauser, who noted that we reduce both the scale of the buildings and the number of buildings on our table top to represent a village, town, or city, as well as several web sites that suggest slimmer/shorter doors and windows, I bashed together the "buildings" below:

This picture is propaganda. The actual battle was of Russian assaulting the town from the woods in the foreground. The Germans occupied the buildings, including an HMG in the church tower.
Given the little time it took to create this village - perhaps 30 minutes start to finish, I hope you're inclined to forgive the flaws and instead see the potential. Sturdier pieces, particularly for the larger buildings, can be made of foam core, although card stock seems to work well for the ruined corner sections. 

The compressed size didn't effect my fun in the least and it was nice to have more than one building on the table and at the correct scale at that. It is decidedly more toy-like but when I am gaming with WWII figures in this scale, I'm typically invoking memories of my childhood and playing with green plastic army men.

I am heartened by the success of this experiment to pursue it further with better, longer lasting, materials.


  1. While I have never gamed with anything over 28mm, I DO understand the attraction.

    I might point out that figures at your larger scale are also good for "garden gaming" (in proper weather, of course) as a bonus.

    -- Jeff

    1. I hadn't thought about garden gaming. Given the rather rocky and scraggly disposition of our backyard, I think it might be the perfect location for some gaming come spring!

  2. 28mm is the scale for me, as I have so much invested in it and smaller scales are getting harder and harder for me to see! Still, I do see the attraction of smaller scales to represent substantial units in small spaces, and I see the attraction of larger scales for seeing the individual detail.
    I like your buildings and forest. I've done profile hills and mountains, including one with a waterfall, and one of the ideas I keep thinking I will do someday is building "flats" for some of the more urban scenarios or even just as backdrops. Same for forests/woods.
    Compressing distance (or even variable compression, as I have done with my hills) can help especially when table space is limited.

    1. I don't have much invested in any one scale yet, but I do feel as if I ought to decide on one or two of them to focus on. I am a fan of your hills and mountains and they were in large part inspiration for my attempt at a flat forest (the other is a story book my son enjoys). The buildings, as they are corner pieces or flats, have the advantage of being easily stored. 1/32 sized scenery made in a more permanent way will be far more difficult to find a place for. In fact, storing the figures themselves could become troublesome - never mind if I should acquire vehicles. Something I'll need to think a little further on if I decide to make more than a casual commitment to this scale.