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"Rules with a definite figure and terrain scale?" Topic

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Pertti15 Mar 2016 5:45 a.m. PST

[sorry if this question has been asked too many times]
[Disclaimer: not an Ancients/Medieval player]

Just curious, are there popular Ancients and/or Medieval rules with a definite figure scale (like 1:20, or one base = 250 men) and terrain scale (as in 1 mm = 1 m, or 1" = 20 yards)?

DBx, FOG, Impetus don't specify precise scales, do they?, though they may suggest some, or people may try to deduce them from missile fire range.

I know it's easier to have precise figure/terrain scales for, say, Napoleonic rules aimed at a defined level (divisional vs Corps, etc.) than for such universal rules, which apply to battles of all sizes and in different epochs. Still curious though.

MajorB15 Mar 2016 6:12 a.m. PST

Earlier versions of the WRG rules had figure scales and ground scales.

"Lost Battles" has both figure scales and ground scales.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Mar 2016 6:33 a.m. PST

I think one of the problems for ancient/medievals is that in many case we only have (very) rough estimates of how many troops were present and no breakdown really by specific unit/type. So figure ratios are hard to make sense of…

Yesthatphil15 Mar 2016 6:33 a.m. PST

DBA has scales but they are more nebulous as the gearing is more to how effective the troops are than how many they are (so a base represents an effective body rather than a definite number – Lost Battles is in fact similar in that respect) …

Of course you can add to the debate that numbers in the ancmed world are very, very unreliable and for many battles we don't know that much about the area taken up.

I think this is a big part of the move towards unit-v-unit mechanisms and nebulous troops/ground scales (building mechanisms around what we do know rather what we don't know wink) …


TNE230015 Mar 2016 7:09 a.m. PST

you could debate about popular but

TSR Swords and Spells
1 figure is 10 men
1 inch is 10 yards

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Mar 2016 7:11 a.m. PST

I think the trend is away from fixed scales.

That said in "To the Strongest!" there is a notional scale of 1:20 for 28mm gaming (at least that is what I generally use for my minis). For the largest battles, such as Raphia, I use a 1:100 scale without any issues.

Best, Simon

Garth in the Park15 Mar 2016 7:35 a.m. PST

What Extra Crispy said. Especially for barbarian armies.

What difference does it make if we don't even have the foggiest idea how many men were present at 90% of the battles we game? Much less, how many men were in one "unit" – if the barbarians even thought in those terms.

GurKhan15 Mar 2016 7:44 a.m. PST

DBM and DBMM have defined scales. In MM, a base width (40mm for 15mm figures, 60mm for 25s) is 80 paces. One element (base) represents about 250 men – from memory it's 125-200 horse or somewhat more foot – I usually work with 200 horse and 250 foot per element.

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2016 8:02 a.m. PST


Dexter Ward15 Mar 2016 9:10 a.m. PST

DBM, DBMM and FoG all have a scale of one element = 250 men for close order troops, less for open order.
And they all have ground scales, too.

Actually all rules have a ground scale whether they state it or not. Bow shot is about 200 paces.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2016 4:14 p.m. PST

Not only did early WRG Ancients have a 1:20 figure scale but you calculated losses by man, and removed casualties every 20 men killed.
Ground scale was in paces. Is it still?
Ah, those were the days!

Marcus Brutus15 Mar 2016 5:16 p.m. PST

I wouldn't agree that Lost Battles has a figure scale. There is great variation in what each unit type represents.

Personal logo Great War Ace Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2016 5:49 p.m. PST

There is no logic behind asserting that figures/bases per man scales are not knowable in ancmed. Medieval grew out of ancient armies, not out of whole cloth. Therefore, what worked in "ancient times" can work for medieval as far as ground scale goes. "Close order" humans pack into the same amount of space regardless of when.

Now, if you want specific "unit" size for bases that is different. Medieval companies varied all over the place, from conrois of a score to battles of hundreds or even thousands. There doesn't seem to have been any small scale tactical control, with very few exceptions. Byzantine "units" usually numbered a few hundred, but were kept deliberately variable so that the enemy could not simply count banners and know how large an army was. Medieval armies in Europe proper varied according to location but were more alike than different.


Okay, so our rules are not "popular". But they are designed around a rigid ground scale of 1:360. And bases are a fixed number of men/horses. Figure scale preference is immaterial; in fact, you don't need figures at all, just an army of enough bases cut to the size that the armies lists allow for. Without figures, the bases would be marked like a very large board game….

Pertti16 Mar 2016 6:54 a.m. PST

[OP here]

Thank you for the informative answers.

I'll keep the mentioned rules in mind when – I know it's just a matter of time – I'll feel the need to start doing ancients or medieval.

MajorB17 Mar 2016 12:02 p.m. PST

I wouldn't agree that Lost Battles has a figure scale. There is great variation in what each unit type represents.

Yes, it's a variable figure scale depending on troop type. Still scales of representation though.

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