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"Question on bases and table size" Topic

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576 hits since 29 Oct 2017
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ToneTW29 Oct 2017 10:50 a.m. PST

I have been thinking about starting an AWI project. I have always enjoyed this era of history, especially after covering aspects of it at uni (but not the war) a few years ago, but have no figures for it.

Usually I collect 1/72 or 20mm minis without taking into consideration playing area or storage space which has lead to lots of them sent to the loft. So I am hoping for a different approach and drawing on experience of what others have done and keeping things practical (hopefully).

At present I have a 5x3ft table to game on and was thinking of going for 6mm. If I were trying to recreate larger actions of that war what base size would you recommend for units with a 5x3ft table?

Thank you.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2017 11:24 a.m. PST

Hmm. First question is what constitutes a "larger action?" Guilford might be 1"=20 yds, and then you'd reset for the 3rd line, or 1"=30 yds fought deep. But that won't get you the whole of Brandywine with the British flanking movement.

And is each base supposed to be a unit? What size unit?

You've basically got two approaches: get scaled maps of your favorite battles, compare them to table size, and that gives you your ground scale. And once you've got a ground scale, you can work out that unit frontages and base sizes ought to be.

Or you can cheat. Normally, a table 60" wide calls for units maybe 6" to 10" frontage deployed, and how many men this represents depends on the battle you're fighting out.

I'd also look at the available castings. Bacchus, for instance, gears toward a 20mm frontage. There's just no point in buying them and not using some multiple of 20mm for your basing.

Anyway, 6mm and a 5x3 table ought to work nicely for the AWI. I'd say buy enough troops for a 7 1/2' line for each side, but fool around a bit with rules and card blanks before you start doing permanent basing.

And good luck!

Glenn Pearce29 Oct 2017 11:53 a.m. PST

Hello Tony!

Yes indeed go to Baccus6mm they have a rule system that I wrote "Ruse de Guerre" that will solve all of your problems. It uses what is called by many as standard basing in 6mm 60mm x 30mm. The rules use a sliding scale which allows you to start with small armies and increase in size as you acquire more figures or larger table space. You can buy complete armies or build your own. They sell everything including flags basing material, etc.

However, your space is still pretty small as you can only fit about 25 bases across and all of your battles will start with both sides pretty close together. As Robert indicates you will certainly face some challenges downsizing some of the battles, but it can be done. On the positive side they will be over pretty quick and you'll probably have time to play them again!

The rules also cover the French & Indian War and the War of 1812. So if you ever want to expand you don't even have to get new rules.

So have a close look at Baccus and if you have any questions just ask me here or on their site.

Best regards,


MajorB29 Oct 2017 12:04 p.m. PST

If I were trying to recreate larger actions of that war what base size would you recommend for units with a 5x3ft table?

Surely that would depend on the rules you intend to use?

ToneTW29 Oct 2017 3:45 p.m. PST

I am still in the inspiration phase at the moment so apologies for the open ended and vague character of the question.

I have no particular set of rules in mind at the minute, I am currently looking at some free sets and reviews of commercial sets. "Ruse de Guerre" looks interesting and would like to hear more info and reviews of them. Though it sounds like I may need to have different approach to basing to make the most of my space.

Robert, thanks for the tips! I've got some reading material. I'm trying to get a "feel" for battles during AWI how they flowed and such, and I will try to make some sense from some maps ,currently looking through Osprey's Philadelphia 1777 campaign book.

Thanks everyone for the advice so far.

Early morning writer29 Oct 2017 7:30 p.m. PST

Part of the appeal of the AWI is that very few – if any – battles were like other battles, all pretty unique, at least the 'major' ones. Massive engagements like Long Island down to a modest encounter like Cowpens had significant influence on the ultimate outcome.

You have good reason to consider 6 mm. However, consider the visual element. Unless you and your opponents have exceptional eye sight, it is hard to tell what a unit is across the table. If you scale up to 10 mm this is much less of a problem. Personally, I went with 15 mm and am happy with my choice.

I'd disagree that a 3' x 5' table is small. Certainly it isn't large but it is large enough, especially in the smaller scales. Just don't try and do a full on Brandywine on it – unless you opt for 2mm figures then your space is HUGE!

Glenn Pearce30 Oct 2017 7:52 a.m. PST

Hello Tone TW!

There is no trouble telling Baccus units apart from across the table. In fact they jump out at you. The detail is amazing, pants, coats, hats, plumes, cross belts, etc. are very clear, even with my old eyes. When your finally able to fill your table with figures the overall visual element is mind blowing.

"Ruse de Guerre" has no ground scale. Everything is designed around the base size. The rules also contain four AWI scenarios complete with maps etc. that you should be able to fit on your table. If you want to create your own games simply compress the map to fit your table and the size of your armies.

If you want to read a short review of the rules and also read an excellent AAR composed by the Durham Wargames Group click on the Polemos rules section in the forum on the Baccus web site.

The basic basing considers one single base 60x30 as a battalion but you can actually use them as anything you want from a part battalion to a brigade.

The entire design is intended to help people just like you who are just starting out, and you won't have to change anything as your collection or table size grows.

Best regards,


Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2017 8:32 a.m. PST

I have no idea why table size should influence base size.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2017 11:44 a.m. PST

That's right, table size shouldn't have any influence on base size or anything else for that matter. Unless you are going to bathtub the battles. Most of them are small actions that don't require it.

I will make my usual argument that this is the perfect period for 28/25 mm. Most of the battles are small affairs and the figures available in that scale are some of the best ones made.

The size of the battle and therefore table size is largely dependent on the rules you are using. If you are writing your own scenarios then you have more control over your table size.

I would rather play some of the excellent board games from GMT and others before I do 6mm. It is such a waste for a period with so much visual appeal to it.

ToneTW30 Oct 2017 1:17 p.m. PST

Thank you for the further thoughts and comments.

I had been eyeing up larger scales initially, there are some beautiful miniatures, and I would go for them had I the storage space for the finished models.

I have seen the Durham Wargames Group AAR, it does present an impressive visual and it sounds to be a flexible system.

Thank you all again.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP31 Oct 2017 8:43 a.m. PST

Part of the appeal of the AWI is that very few if any battles were like other battles, all pretty unique, at least the 'major' ones. Massive engagements like Long Island down to a modest encounter like Cowpens had significant influence on the ultimate outcome.

Almost all of the "big" AWI battles can be split down into different parts separated by either time or space -
often much more easily than their European counterparts from the WAS/SYW/FRW/Nap eras. Long Island could easily be fought on three separate tables in different rooms to emphasise the separation between the main Crown forces. Ditto, Fort Washington on three tables; or Brandywine on two, ditto Germantown; whilst Monmouth can be split into morning and afternoon.

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