Help support TMP

"Enhanced historic maps" Topic

10 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

646 hits since 20 Aug 2019
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

forwardmarchstudios21 Aug 2019 1:25 p.m. PST


Click link and click the image to get a larger version of the image.

I'm working on some rules for a simple, fun, accessible, and fast play Napoleonic war game that oblige me to create maps for the players. I love using maps as a gaming surface, which I think add quite a lot to the experience. Historic maps in particular are great, but can be confusing. The solution is to "enhance" them by adding overlays to the map to clarify what features are important during the game.

In this example of the Waterloo battlefield I've added roads, trails, streams, and a few dashed elevation lines. I've also added some light green tactical zones, which are a central feature of my rules. The tactical zones are only on the left hand portion of the map, allowing you to compare it to the right-hand side, which doesn't have them. I'll figure out what I'll do regarding those as I got along.

Although I haven't done so here, you could very easily add mods for terrain onto the map as well. That could extend to the types of troops that can ford rivers/streams at a particular point on the map. Lots of options maps are very flexible.

The map also contains a season and weather counter (because people forget…) as well as a time/turn tracker (because people forget that too!).

The blue and white border is used to move reserves around. Although this doesn't apply much to the Waterloo map shown, in my rules it plays a much larger role, as my rules include a movement-to-contact element, and the players mostly begin with their forces located off the board.

Anyway, this general technique can work with any set of rules, really, as long as you have small enough bases or a large enough map file. In my set, the maps are going to be on A4 paper to keep them nice and portable I may even include them in a spiral bound book that can lay flat, with the game pieces (which as a default are KS blocks) placed right on top. On the opposite page would be all special rules for the scenario.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP21 Aug 2019 2:03 p.m. PST

In ancient days, Intel analysts did this with acetate and called them "maneuver overlays." You marked a particular contour level, a specified steepness of slope, outlined the woods of built-up areas which actually impeded fire or maneuver--and wound up with something looking very like a wargame map. Anyway, good idea.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP22 Aug 2019 12:24 a.m. PST

This proves to magnify very well….. thanks for that.

I have always wondered why there appears to be an airstrip near Brain l'Alleud, at 0900 on the map. What the heck is it?

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP22 Aug 2019 5:25 a.m. PST

Not all rises are the same heights which means, once on one you might or not see what lies on another far away. See the boardgame map of Wellington's Victory for ex.

forwardmarchstudios22 Aug 2019 6:27 a.m. PST

deadhead- no idea! It might be some sort of political boundary marker. The Ferraris maps marks out territory. Not so much in this area but in others.

jcfrog, I agree. And the pre-modern elevation markers are the biggest failure of the Ferraris maps, aesthetically.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP22 Aug 2019 7:57 a.m. PST

His maps are also so interesting in showing that deforestation is not confined to the 21st Century Amazon rain forest.

The formal wood, with all the crossways, on the SE corner of Hougomont was largely open fields by 1815. The famous wood was much smaller south of Hgmt. The isolated wooded strip a few yards east of it was just a memory. See the woods either side of the Ohain road, east of the crossroads? Gone.

forwardmarchstudios22 Aug 2019 10:23 a.m. PST

I did some more thinking and tinkering and came up with something that might be a bit better for my purposes (which is simplicity and clarity of presentation).


It was pretty simple, actually. I just took a map with contours and traced them in Power Point, then adjusted the colors and added an overlay. The elevation lines are actually from Waterloo, but for the purposes of a test I decided to create a generic map with a generic scale, which is perfect for my generic rules (haha).

It was must easier than creating rules for using the Ferraris maps directly, I think. And like I said, this would be better for testing out the game that I'm working on.

Here is what the map would look like with the blocks on it, for an idea of scale. They are .5" x .25". This is fairly small, but I'm attempting to keep it inside a particular parameter for the game. The blue and white boundary is a reserve tracker, around which units can move before entering the board. The rectangles are each 1", for an idea of how big the board is.


forwardmarchstudios22 Aug 2019 7:15 p.m. PST

Here's a 24" x 18" map in the same style (and only half-finished). I added two armies worth of units for the rules I'm working on. The pieces are .5" x .25".


Sho Boki Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Aug 2019 12:17 a.m. PST

Great! Now you do exactly as I done. :-)
Such unfinished Waterloo map stand on my wall from last year.
Only for 6mm figures and fitted to my EMPEROR rules.

Sho Boki Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Aug 2019 12:25 a.m. PST

I painted such battlefield with tracks to magnetic shields on wood table and all figures are clued to metallic sheets. So game may be stopped any time and put on wall, it will serve as decoration.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.