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"Tabletop wargaming on the computer with minis" Topic

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3,083 hits since 11 Mar 2010
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Lord Ashram11 Mar 2010 6:26 a.m. PST


After lying in bed and having a bit of an idea, my former college roommate and I discussed the possibility of doing a video game (possibly PC, possibly XBOX, possibly iPhone) wargame… using miniatures and tables and the like, rather than true "graphics." We already have the basic code in place, and realized we could finish a project like this in a month or so with a little tweaking to represent tabletop wargames rules… all we needed to do was see if the actual miniatures and terrain could be used…

So I gave a quick try at making a graphic of what it would look like, and ten minutes later, viola… the ability to wargame on the computer with unlimited troops. The ability to use 28mm terrain with 10mm troops, or even fight with 15mm Napoleonics against a 28mm Napoleonics. The potential to be able to download new armies from specific people… really like Lord Ashram's 28mm Napoleonic Russians? Well, download them and use them. Imagine a terrain company wants to advertise their new terrain set… well, just take a photo and bang, we can drop it ingame for folks to "see."

Check out my blog… the graphic there is maybe 10 minutes of work (which included 5 minutes of test time) and TOTALLY rough… but could be put into our existing code in about 3 minutes and work flawlessly. Imagine that carefully done… put on top of that a little animated smoke, some animated messages from couriers with orders and of men panicking and running, drop dead around and behind units who take casualties… well… I think there is a LOT of potential here:)

Come on by and give it a look!


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2010 6:35 a.m. PST

I agree – there is a lot of potential there

Interestingly enough, X Box has a new game called "Toy Soldiers" which is a WWI game – British infantry in tin hats versus Germans in Pickelhaube – it's a amusing little thing, with the caveat that the British player, if they do well enough, can get the Tsar Tank,which is way cool – but your idea is a step further

Well, if you need any pics of figs, let us know – good luck and good gaming!

Lord Ashram11 Mar 2010 6:43 a.m. PST

Yeah, this would definitely be a step further; I am thinking basically a faithful port of a good wargaming set… and we would able to put in armies of people if they were willing to take photos and send them to me… so yeah, we think we might just make it that you not only pick the ERA (Napoleonic, ACW) but you would even get to pick the ARMY you used (Lord Ashram's Napoleonic French, Echoes of Glory 25mm ACW Federals, etc etc) which could be an AWFUL fun way of playing with other folks toys:)

And it is VERY simple. We have the base code already written from our XBOX project and another one we've been chewing on… it would be a real piece of cake to make, to be frank. It wouldn't be flashy and all 3D model like the Total War series, but to true wargamers, I don't think anyone would mind… and in fact, I think I would almost RATHER see real toy soldiers than 3D models sometimes:)

Personal logo Who asked this joker Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2010 6:59 a.m. PST

I assume the original idea is to make a game that enforces all the rules right? How about a tool kit…or maybe tool kit mode? Then anyone could play anything on a computer similar to VASSAL. In this mode, the game would not enforce rules but would allow you to still move units about and measure distances etc…along with being able to roll a cyber die for combat resolution. This would be a 2 player game.


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2010 7:13 a.m. PST

I can see this appealing to some people. Personally, I'd rather just push the lead around. It is an interesting concept.

Lord Ashram11 Mar 2010 7:26 a.m. PST

Obviously pushing the lead around has a BUNCH of advantages… namely, playing with toy soldiers!:D

But what if you are away on vacation and can just pull out the iphone for a quick game? What if you want to sit on your couch for a bit and not have to set everything up? What if you only have a smaller collection painted and want to game "big," or if you have a Nappy collection but want to play ACW? What if you just really love someone elses collection and want to play a wargame using them? What if you are a solo gamer and don't have someone to regularly wargame with?

While NOTHING will replace tabletop wargaming, I think there is definitely a use for something like this. I certainly don't see it replacing toy soldiers (EVER) but it could be a cool compliment:)

I think right now it would be a full game with rules, although the idea of a tool kit is cool… how neat would it be if, say, Sam Mustafa overlaid Lasalle on top of something like this and popped it online, or the Perry twins put Black Powder on top of it? It could be an awful cool thing:)

RudyNelson11 Mar 2010 7:36 a.m. PST

I remember back in the 1990s when Historicon was in Harrisburg. A company had such a system for use with napoleonics. I do not remember the game's name.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2010 8:17 a.m. PST

I love this ide, but if you only make it for Iphone I will spank you.

I demand a Pc version.

Lord Ashram11 Mar 2010 8:23 a.m. PST

Converting to PC is easy… if it gets done for either the 360 or the iPhone it will also be available for PC:)

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2010 8:33 a.m. PST

I'll second the "What if's" from Lord Ashram, as well as state the desirability of a PC version.

I think it could fill a niche quite nicely without trying to compete with the graphic loaded "chromed up" games we have today.

I am a solo gamer, and I'd prefer something that is useful to something that is pretty.

In addition to the what if's above, I'd add such other considerations as re-running a battle with differences in terrain. Differences in timing of arrivals, and troop placements. Differences that could occur if morale break points were different. Troops with rock solid staying power until they break, and then they totally disintegrate (brittle) as opposed to units that may waver and fall back but quickly regain morale.

It allows for development and balancing of scenarios.
In addition to playing with more toys than you have or ones you don't have it allows you to test drive other periods – do you like the feel of Hoplite warfare as much as you do ACW?

It seems to have a lot of potential…


Was that "Carnage and Glory"?


50 Dylan CDs and an Icepick Inactive Member11 Mar 2010 8:35 a.m. PST

[After lying in bed and having a bit of an idea, my former college roommate and I ….]

An admittedly novel method of brainstorming.

malcolmmccallum11 Mar 2010 10:10 a.m. PST

It might be designed from the beginning to allow for modular mechanics. The turn sequence, for example, could be definable by the players.

I assume, given your graphics, that it would be a no figure removal system but you could add in 'mouse over' information detailing a unit's characteristics.

Lord Ashram11 Mar 2010 10:21 a.m. PST

Hey all!

Actually, while we are thinking it is a "no removal" system we haven't really considered this point yet… we could fairly easily do versions of every unit in, say, three or four states… a few guys dead, more dead, etc etc… or we could do some sort of visual/graphical representation of a unit's current status, or whatever… fairly limitless possibilities, really!

And I was lying in bed with my wife, who was not my roommate.

companycmd11 Mar 2010 10:41 a.m. PST

OMG a wargamer who's married… and STILL married. We happy few.

The Monstrous Jake11 Mar 2010 11:35 a.m. PST

This sounds like a slight update over the PBEM (Play By E-Mail) software packages used by board wargamers since the early 1990's. VASSAL is one program, used primarily by ASL players I think, and there were a few others (Aide de Camp, CyberBoard, and V Map are the ones that come to mind).

The main difference between what you're describing and those older systems is that you're using photos of "real" wargaming terrain instead of graphic scans of hex mapboards, and photos of wargaming minis instead of scans of cardboard counters.

There was something like this a few years ago for DBA, but I never got around to looking at it.

It also sounds a bit like like the old DOS computer-assist wargame rules (Carnage and Glory somebody mentioned above, and my old Shipbase III naval rules) with graphics/photos tacked on top. It's an idea I and others had tinkered with for years but never got very far with.

If somebody got it working, it is something I'd be interested in playing, since the majority of my gaming these days is solo.

Last Hussar11 Mar 2010 2:50 p.m. PST

The original scene, as clarified, sounds like it is leading to the old joke.
"Do you talk to your wife during sex?"
"Only if there is a phone nearby"

Basically we are talking similar to a 3d chess programme, right, not a RTS or similar? Moving troops to a known set of rules (F&F, Shako, WM etc)? I'd buy it.

Ken Portner11 Mar 2010 3:46 p.m. PST

Too bad someone can't take beautiful graphics like Napoleon Total War and apply a real turn based set of wargames rules to them.

Field of Glory Digital has the right idea, except the graphics aren't terribly good and it feels more like a hex based boardgame port then a translation of a miniature wargame.

Cleburne1863 Supporting Member of TMP11 Mar 2010 4:30 p.m. PST

I'd settle for something like Sid Meier's Gettysburg and Antietam with today's graphics.

Lord Ashram11 Mar 2010 4:45 p.m. PST

Howdy all,

A few things…

First, this is not meant to be a graphics-based game. We could easily do a tabletop game with really beautiful 3D models… I do have certain access to those, after all, and it wouldn't be too hard to do.

But honestly, that isn't quite what I want to do… I want it to be toy soldiers, you know? There is a certain appeal to them that no 3D model can duplicate, no matter how nice it might look:)

As for being "like" any other thing, I am not sure it really will be, really. I've never seen anything like this myself, where the entire tabletop is digitized and you game there… sure, it will be a wargame on the computer so, in some ways, similar to others, but… should be awful cool:)

We'll get a bit of work done over the next week and see where it goes… it should work out pretty nicely:)

And yes, very happily married. I mean, the wife lets me have an entire room for the wargames… she can't be that bad!:)

donlowry11 Mar 2010 5:18 p.m. PST

Most miniatures come in 3D, unless they're flats.

malcolmmccallum11 Mar 2010 5:46 p.m. PST

I'd want it to have a tool for easily uploading images of my own models (of course with guidelines on best/required angles and perspectives) into the game.

Minondas Inactive Member13 Mar 2010 1:47 p.m. PST

The idea sounds similar to Tin Soldiers series from Matrix Games, although their two titles dealt with Alexander and Ceasar.



reggie8814 Mar 2010 9:47 a.m. PST

Did any of you play Austerlitz: Napoleon's Greatest Victory or Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle? It used Sid Meier's Gettysburg engine and they are great PC games. I liked it better than Cossack I and II and the Talonsoft games which are ancient.

Rosen9221 Inactive Member18 Mar 2010 10:05 a.m. PST

Lurker and sologamer as I am, this is what Ive been waiting for. Please Lord Ashram, do it for the PC. It will be sensational.


docdennis1968 Inactive Member18 Mar 2010 10:48 a.m. PST

Sounds like the right idea at the right time. Please make it simple enough for semi-techo-clueless geezers like me to also enjoy!

donlowry18 Mar 2010 3:35 p.m. PST

I second the geezer plea!

Lord Ashram26 Mar 2010 9:07 a.m. PST

Don, to be clear; a 3D model, in this conversation, means on a computer… 3D models vs, say, a 2D sprite.

For now, this project is on hold, although it is not a terribly difficult project… the graphics for the British infantry are basically done, and we have some of the supporting code already written. However, for now it is going to the shelf for a bit until we finish up our small scale (squad) modern combat game:) Sorry all!

ZeroZeroJ Inactive Member04 Aug 2010 8:24 p.m. PST

The War Engine (from Matrix Games) was something of a miniatures-style game for the PC, and it's since been released as freeware.


It's fully customizable, though the graphics are completely 2D and somewhat dated. Still, I've often wondered what a squad-level Napoleonics game would look like with this system, but I lack the artistic skills necessary to create the unit graphics.

Perhaps someone else would be interested in taking up the challenge?

pancerni206 Aug 2010 8:08 a.m. PST

Hey Lord, noticed on your blog you're headed down to NC for family vacation…where in NC? If you're anywhere near Guilford Court house check out diorama at Tannenbaum Park site.


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