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"For ACW rules writers out there. " Topic

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1,228 hits since 20 Aug 2012
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moonhippie3 Inactive Member20 Aug 2012 6:32 a.m. PST

I know most rules are written where the number of figures on a base is not important, but consider this; If you put 6 infantry on a 1"x3/4" base, where each figure represents 15 actual men, then you have 90 men per base at 1 inch equaling 30 yards. One 2 gun section of artillery would also equal 30 yards, making a 6 gun battery totalling 90 yards. 3 figures per gun would also equal out to the 150 initially beginning, and losing 20% from disease, accidents, etc.

But then you would need 4 cavalry figures on a 1" square base staggered into 2 rows. The reason being that there was more like 2/3s of a cavalry unit occupying the same space as an infantry unit rather than half, that is commonly portrayed.

What's really cool, is that each and every branch of your army, every figure on the board represents 15 actual men. And at 30 yards per inch, a cornfield will look a little more like an actual field, rather than sombodies backyard garden.

MajorB20 Aug 2012 6:54 a.m. PST

At a ground scale of 1" to 30yds the average 6ft by 4ft table would only represent an area of 2160yds by 1440yds (about 1.2 miles by 0.8 miles) – much smaller than most ACW battles.

In my own ACW rules the ground scale is 1" to 125 yds.

6sided Inactive Member20 Aug 2012 7:01 a.m. PST

Trying to make actual man to figure to ground scale ratios work in relation to significant battles is like trying to pour a bowl of custard into a sock.


Jaz – Bloghost For Wargamers – Start A Blog Now

Personal logo Morning Scout Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2012 7:53 a.m. PST

Your initial state about the number of figures on a base not being important is quite incorrect as a blanket statement. The figure scale is important to a number of rules as is the ground scale used. The writers approach may not follow your premise, but most writers certainly take figure ratio, base size and ground scale into account. Writing a set of rules to meet your outline can easily be done if one wants to do so. I would venture to guess that if one were to do a little research you might find a some rule set written in the last 40 years that would follow your ideas.

Ken Portner Inactive Member20 Aug 2012 9:07 a.m. PST

Trying to make actual man to figure to ground scale ratios work in relation to significant battles is like trying to pour a bowl of custard into a sock.

I could easily pour a bowl of custard into a sock.

Baggy Sausage Inactive Member20 Aug 2012 9:34 a.m. PST

Somebody said there is custard?

Texas Jack20 Aug 2012 12:57 p.m. PST

Yeah, but be careful they want to give you a sock with it.

Personal logo The Tin Dictator Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2012 1:42 p.m. PST

Custard pie?
Of course if its from the Civil War I think I'll pass.

Texas Jack20 Aug 2012 1:56 p.m. PST

Getting back on topic (egad!), I think it isnt so much about being precise, but rather of presenting a good looking game that feels right. I game 1/3000 naval, and if my ground scale (or sea scale in this case) were really that, I would have to play on the floor of a large room. But as Im way too old for that sort of thing, I play on a table and even off scale, it looks right and I have a great time, which is what its all about. But this is, of course, just my opinion.

Zephyr120 Aug 2012 2:36 p.m. PST

"Custard pie?
Of course if its from the Civil War I think I'll pass."

No, just the sock…. ;-)

6sided Inactive Member20 Aug 2012 2:47 p.m. PST

Bede go on then. Get it filmed and make sure you post it uphere. Can't have boasts like that go unseen!

Jaz -

moonhippie3 Inactive Member20 Aug 2012 9:27 p.m. PST

Granted, you can't fight Gettysburg at this scale. And it would'nt be a skirmish game either. But it is just right for a brigade or two.

Dexter Ward21 Aug 2012 2:55 a.m. PST

The key to getting ground scales right is not caring how many men a figure represents.
Just get unit frontages right and everything else will follow.
As soon as you move away from the rigid '1 figure is X men' stuff life becomes much simpler. Either say how many men each stand represents (as Fire & Fury does), or simply say that 4 (or 5, or whatever) stands represent a typical regiment. Maybe have rules for large or small units.
But there is really no need to have s strict man to figure ratio.

Elenderil21 Aug 2012 5:47 a.m. PST

As always the answer has "it depends" in it some where! if you only want a game that stands in isolation then the no fixed ratio of men to figure idea works extremely well. For those who want to recreate actual unit strengths at a particular fight, or run a campaign where replacement rates might matter then some kind of a nod to a men per element/figure ratio helps a lot. The ACW is a conflict where a lot of the data on unit strengths can be found and that tempts people into wanting to recreate units that match the true size of the original units.

One way around the issue is to go to smaller figure scales where it is easier to get a relationship between men:figures:ground scale in sync.

Now as to the custard – sock debate the answer is "it depends" do you want the custard to stay in the sock and what viscosity of custard are we using and does the sock have any holes (apart from the one required to put your foot in!)these are important variables and must be considered. :-)

moonhippie3 Inactive Member21 Aug 2012 7:14 a.m. PST

I'm sorry if a new idea is hit with a lot of custard. But the ratios are correct. It can be scaled up or down depending on your preference, but the absolute negativeity on the part of this audiance leads me to believe that any kind of new thinking is not welcome.

I simply tried to put forth an interesting idea. We have a ton of games for fighting large battles, there are also division sized games, and even small skirmish encounters. But there is almost nothing where you would command a single brigade, perhaps a battallion or even a couple of squadrens of cavalry, and a battery or two of 4 or 6 gun batteries of artillery.

It looks to me, like you could still have 10 individual units for a very enjoyable game with lot's of room to manouver.
But don't let me take away from you die hard fans of playing the same 6 battles over and over again. Or from you people who have wall to wall massive armies. And hey, 60 yards wide for a road, and a 120+ for a house, don't worry about it.

Elenderil21 Aug 2012 11:11 a.m. PST

Sorry if you feel that people have been sniping at you. I actually agree that figure ratio to ground scale is important. Keep coming up with ideas .

Dexter Ward22 Aug 2012 2:40 a.m. PST

You put forward an idea and not everyone agreed with it.
Some people made other suggestions. That's life.
If you think it's a good idea, pursue it.
Don't get petulant about it.
Why worry so much about what other people think?

moonhippie3 Inactive Member22 Aug 2012 8:42 a.m. PST

Thanks Dexter. I do get upset because I feel like I didn't properly get my idea across. I think a tear is actually forming in my eye. Might be from that borrito that I ate earlier though.
But there were somthing like 6000 battles fought, and we mainly only focus on about 30 of them. But as for gaming, my point was, that we have lots of rules for entire armies, divisions, and even small platoon (?) games. But a game with an individual brigade, along with say, couple of squadrens of cavalry, and a couple of 4 gun batteries giving you 10 units in all seems like an interesting game to me. And what dosen't show up on those Uber maps of major battles, is a lot of smaller houses that were present, as well as small creeks that had a tree line. Now those may have not affected that individual major battle, but if you scaled it down to 30 yards per inch, those features do present themselves.

So for example, what if you fought over the same ground as Antietem, with only a single division. Or even a brigade? The FnF version clearly shows that most of the ground never had any troops occupying it.
I've never understood the theory of wall to wall figures making a good wargame.

Bandolier22 Aug 2012 9:23 p.m. PST

I've never understood the theory of wall to wall figures making a good wargame.

Amen brother.
That is the fault of rules that reward firepower too much instead of holding tactical positions and concentrated strength. Many games end up being meandering battalions along a thinly held front. The first thing I do is reduce all small arms ranges to make them less 'shooty'.

Dexter Ward23 Aug 2012 3:24 a.m. PST

I think wall to wall figures comes from gamers wanting to use as much of their collection as possible.
I used to attend a wargame club where every week they would set up a table packed with beautiful 28mm Napoleonics.
They would get a couple of moves in before the end of the evening, and then pack up. None of the battles was ever fought to a conclusion; in fact contact was seldom made.
They seemed to be quite happy to play like this.
Personally I like a battle to reach a decisive outcome in 2 to 3 hours. If the rules can't do that, I use different rules. But sometimes it's not the fault of the rules, it is the fault of trying to fight too big a battle in the available time.

firstvarty197924 Aug 2012 10:31 a.m. PST


I'm with you actually. My friend and I've been running games using the Brother Against Brother rules (modified) for a number of years now, and rather than 1:1 we are playing them as if they were 1:10, with one inch roughly equal to 10 yards. Now, terrain features like roads, bridges, and houses are always going to be out of scale unless you are playing 1:1 skirmish games, so we have to ignore that sometimes. They do have a decided impact on the game though.

A battalion covers a 15-20 inch front depending on unit size and consists of around 35 45 models. The three major historical fights that we've run lately are portions of famous battles rather than the entire battle.

We're gaming in 25/28mm, and I like this scale because it is visually more impressive, and works well with for these rules the way we play them.

We've modified the rules so much that parts of them are unrecognizable, and we're considering writing our own based on all of the changes and additions we've made.

A picture of each of our current scenarios as played recently:

Antietam Burnside's Bridge


Gettysburg Pickett's Charge/The Angle


Antietam Miller's Cornfield


moonhippie3 Inactive Member25 Aug 2012 8:20 a.m. PST

firstvarty1979, That is extremely impressive. I'd like to Give you an idea though that you just might find interesting. Just suppose that you jumped it up to 15 yds. per inch. There would be a lot more to consider range wise, while still keeping the integrety of the game. In my experience here in Ohio, there are two kinds of treelines that boarder creeks. The first one is an extremely narrow line of trees that generally border farmland, but somtimes there is a good 15 yards of woods on either side of a creek with a few areas uncrossable, but mostly you are able to get across.

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