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"Impact of Terrain on rules" Topic

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UshCha10 Dec 2019 5:00 a.m. PST

Our rules (Maneouvre Group) has since its inception some limited distortions in ground scale to accommodate the disparity between model and ground scale. These have been to:-

1) ignore the door on a house at it represents possibly 25 houses. However we have used windows and doors to limit the number of elements firing to at least in part represent the limited number of elements that can fire in any one direction from cover in an urban area.
2) increase the range of short range weapons (approx 300m or less) to allow them to fire across roads in a credible way, again the roads are too wide with respect to the ground scale, as indeed they are on many maps.

However in looking more closely into the application of air power we have discovered a further issue, that of height. Typically war games tables are very limited to the size and scope of hills and even tall buildings.

As an example, to expand the possibilities for complex terrain we have defined trees as being only 3 contours high (about 24 ft or about 4 m high). This is about war game tree height but very small for real terrain. This does allow our very low hills to work credibly, its just about possible for a hill to overlook a wood. However this "compression" of typical real world heights becomes a bit of an issue for air power in translating to the table top. Some minimum height restrictions have had to be reduced. Electricity pylons are between 15m and 55m, many round where I live are towards the latter (55m). Even at 1/144 scale that would be 347 mm, far too big to be practical on a war games table. This means when defining rules some allowance has to be made such that the geometry of the real world and that of the war games world don't become sufficiency disconnected to make analysis of a tactical solution or the application of a weapon system like a plane, as to make judgements in the simulation that would not be representative of the real world.

Are there any other areas you have run into and what were your solutions?

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2019 6:16 a.m. PST

I think most wargames' rules recognise the distortion of scale when we introduce our figures onto the stylised terrain.

If I could add water courses to your list?

We seldom include actual rivers as the difficulty in crossing them at the periods we game in (ie nothing post modern) means they distort the game. However streams of a usually fordable depth make a frequent appearance. These are always wider than they would be in reality by virtue of the models we use. I rationalise this by thinking that the 2-3 cm wide stream actually represents not just the water but the steeper banks that would line it.

I think all gaming involves a certain amount of compromise.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2019 1:57 p.m. PST

Like any scale, height is 'unitized' based on pre-determined heights. Little measuring is necessary. Heights are compared. Level II can see over level I etc.

One thing we have added is unknown terrain/dips and swells. We lay out strips of felt with a chit, blank side up. The player who scouts the area can see the type of terrain, whether dips, water course, rough ground, swamp or nothing, it works for us. Depending on the ground there could be several of these areas on the tabletop.

The uneven/hidden ground is thus accounted for. Such things as the dip in front of the Angle at Antietam or the ground that surprised the French at the Battle of Sacile.

UshCha11 Dec 2019 2:56 a.m. PST

ocoin, being a modern player one of the issues are that rivers can be too big, They can be so wide that they take up too much board. Spaced tables can somtimes do it but its not terribly practical in many cases. Just adding distance makes as many problems as it solves do as you say we just mark small rivers and streams oversized as normal. We always use thin plastic. no banks but the artistic versions have severe proplems for us. Although they have banks they are very inflexible in layout. No ptoblem if just playing toys but they have serious problems if tying to model real world maps. It may be possible to do somthing like our card roads but they still need top be "D to allow flexability.

I guess in depiction it's an art vs practical issue. To me toys are very secondary to the game so my choices may be very different to others.

McLaddie that is a good one.

Stoppage11 Dec 2019 3:40 a.m. PST


You can also add the shapes and severities of hill slopes (US:grades) and things like military crests to your list.

UshCha11 Dec 2019 6:36 a.m. PST

I admit we don't do military crests. We use Hexon II for hills or our own Fold flat stuff for 1/172 so at least we have flat tops (generally) which means that at normally troops can only see across the flat top and down a limited number of sides. Again vertical compression limits the hills we can re-produce and use without even more difficultly rules. Even out Dead ground rules are stylized but are reasonable for the very limited types we can reproduce on the table top.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Dec 2019 6:39 a.m. PST

QILS has simple terrain rules. The expectation is you will design (select, implement, choose, etc.) your terrain to achieve the effect needed for the scenario rather than pick "realistic" terrain and figure out how to stat it out for the rules.

As in ochoin's example above, what we use for a stream is not a function of a ground scale and a referent map, but how it is supposed to affect maneuver and fires. The stats are then assigned to complement the designed effect.

RudyNelson11 Dec 2019 7:23 p.m. PST

The level of terrain in order to affect movement must be significant. The basic evaluation of terrain must include natural irregularities to determine basic rates. So rough terrain adjustment must be imposing. The same goes for woods.
In regards to a model, house representing many houses, then a door or window or ruins is a none factor. Only in a skirmish system with every thing being one represents one would minor things like doors or windows be counted.
My 1981 GLORY rules 150-1914 was a set of that style of skirmish rules. Still we had an extended time scale so the game could flow. So opening of doors would be able to occur in the span of a turn.

Stoppage12 Dec 2019 3:55 a.m. PST

Remembering military training from days of yore:

Infantry positions were always on a forward slope and started at the military crest – so you could engage anything approaching the hill. Rifle-persons out to 600m, GPMG/L4 to 800m, GPMG fixed out to 1200m

Prepared positions were to have overhead protection, movement only at night.

Positioning of ATGWs had to take pylons/electricity lines into account (!) out to 2000m, effective 1200m.

Forgotten effective ranges of LAW/66 nor Charlie-G.

Wolfhag12 Dec 2019 11:02 a.m. PST

With infantry moving through urban rubble, marsh, woods and irregular terrain their formation is going to impact movement. Column is fastest but no flank security and poor response to contact. Skirmiish line is slowest but best for making contact.


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