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"How big a game is too big?" Topic

16 Posts

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1,123 hits since 3 Aug 2011
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Comments or corrections?

The G Dog Fezian Inactive Member03 Aug 2011 12:33 p.m. PST

Not scale of the models, but number of ships and forts. I've done a game with roughly 22 ships and it about did us in. How much does choice of rules play (we used Smoke on the Water for our maga-game).

What was your biggest game and how did it work out?

Tom Reed Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2011 12:51 p.m. PST

We usually don't give each player more than 3 ships to run. Our most fun games usually have each player running 1-2 ships.

Mako1103 Aug 2011 1:44 p.m. PST

Too big???!!!

Does not compute.

Perhaps you should be like Scotty, with Captain Kirk, and just plead for more time.

Afterall, those that say there is more to life than wargaming are just wrong.


On a more serious note, did you have newbies, or were all the players well versed in the rules and tactics of the day?

I imagine that would have a huge impact on how well the game runs, with larger numbers.

Grizzlymc Inactive Member03 Aug 2011 2:47 p.m. PST

If it takes more than a week, you probably should have scaled back a little, but even then, what else were you going to do with the second week?

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Aug 2011 2:57 p.m. PST

We've had about 15-20 vessels a side in an evening game but that was pre-dreadnoughts.

Personal logo Ditto Tango 2 3 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member03 Aug 2011 3:31 p.m. PST


ElGrego03 Aug 2011 3:34 p.m. PST

I think the largest Smoke on the Water game I ran had 20 ships, 20 players. What a madhouse! Ramming, collisions, groundings, even some gunfire…

The G Dog Fezian Inactive Member03 Aug 2011 3:48 p.m. PST


It was the dramatic conclusion of our James River campaign using Anaconda: Capital Navies.

The Union orbat was something like;

New Ironsides
Richmond (captured in prior game)
3 x Passaic class monitors
4 x double ender gunboats

CSN was something like

Richmond II
Captured monitor
Patrick henry
4 x TB
4 x tug boats

Plus shore batteries, torpedoes and obstacles.

We definitely broke the upper limit of the game. I was literally numb by the end of the day.

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2011 6:31 p.m. PST

We usually use half a dozen ships per side.

RedNorm Inactive Member03 Aug 2011 6:57 p.m. PST

The biggest game I've seen was the Plaquemines Bend (a.k.a. Battle of New Orleans) scenario at Historicon 2011. I helped run that one with Pat Hreachmack and Dave Brandon. We used Dave's ruleset, Sail & Steam Navies.

Some statistics:
29 ships
Fort Jackson (71 guns including water battery)
Fort St. Phillip (55 guns including outer works)
9 chain hulks
6 x 12 feet of swampy terrain
3 referees in striped shirts
About a dozen players
Several bewildered guests from the wedding party next door
About 5 hours long

I've posted some photos to Facebook:



Buckeye AKA Darryl04 Aug 2011 4:55 a.m. PST

G Dog – Wouldn't mind a game of Smoke on the Water in the near future, but I have no interest in twenty-two ships on the table! Talk about dice elbow!

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2011 7:37 a.m. PST

To me, too big means that there is too much time between my turns to do something. For example, At a convention game a number of years ago you would activate your command (move, shoot, whatever) and then wait 45 min to an hour before it was your turn again. I stuck it out while my brother just walked away.

The G Dog Fezian Inactive Member04 Aug 2011 11:35 a.m. PST


So…Minnesota vs. Virginia? Ya up for some 22 gun broadsides?

Thinking of Force on Force next week. Maybe squeeze in some SOTW.

Buckeye AKA Darryl08 Aug 2011 10:27 a.m. PST

Convert the broadsides into a single roll! That would take care of the dice elbow one might get using Smoke on the Water!

Force on Force works for me.

epturner Inactive Member09 Aug 2011 12:44 p.m. PST

I use Beer and Pretzels Ironclads as my rules of choice. Anything with a card draw activation goes slowly unless the GM keeps things moving.

Normally, I figure one ship or equivalent per player, until things sink, burn or blow up. Torpedo launches and tugboat gunboats come in pairs to count as one ship.

I've had as many as 20-24 equivalent units at a time on the table, but it can get a bit much when it's more than eight players for me. I think for BAPI, eight players and 16 vessels (two per player) is my saturation point. I also try to make the games last no more than two to three hours.

EJNashIII18 Aug 2011 7:48 p.m. PST

I agree with the posts above, I try to keep games down to 15 ships max, usually far less. It just becomes too much time between a given person's turn. People loose interest, you get way too many farby collisions with most rules, things lose focus, etc. Also, more importantly it really starts to lose the flavor of the real war.

If I want to do Jutland, then I do Jutland. If I do CW I at least try to make it seem like a ACW battle. 20 ironclads going at it isn't ACW.

This is one of the reasons I prefer 10mm over 1/600 or smaller. A few iron monsters, alone, dominate the players view field. That single rebel ironclad that must be stopped at all costs can take on mythic proportions as in the real war, rather than feeling the need to fill the empty table space with something more.

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