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"The rise of skirmish gaming and unused models" Topic


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arealdeadone16 Mar 2020 5:12 p.m. PST

It's interesting to note that the most popular games these days are so-called skirmish games ala Bolt Action or Chain of Command.

The bizarre thing about these rule sets is they actually discourage painting and modelling.

Once you have your core platoon, there's precious little opportunity left for all the funky stuff. Literally with these two game systems you could get away with painting core infantry platoon, 1 tank, 1 AT unit, an MMG and a sniper (and very often not use any of it!).

Both game systems aren't very favourable to armour either as both are infantry-centric. I've noted vehicles are of marginal use in CoC whilst in Bolt Action anything heavier than a light tank is generally a waste of precious points.

Sure you can go bigger (especially with BA) but many players will stick to limits set by rules.

This leads to the interesting phenomena where models are painted then never used. I've experienced this myself as well as noted it on a number of blogs I follow, whereby someone will paint up a ton of tanks and supports for their CoC campaign and then not use most of it.

Personally I've discovered I'm being put off painting models by it. Why paint a platoon's worth of soft skins when you'll never use them? Why paint a platoon of tanks, when you only ever get to field 1 and then it's probably not a good option compared to more infantry.

whitphoto16 Mar 2020 5:20 p.m. PST

I don't know who you're playing bolt action with but everyone I know buys everything under the sun, two of them most times.

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2020 5:30 p.m. PST

I have 4 Bolt Action Armies of Russians (10,000+ points), Italian (6,000+ points), DAK (6,000+ points) and USA (3,000+ points) and plan to build more Like Whitphoto above, although my Russians get 1 tank per platoon I have 8 or so of them (just in case). So no stoppage or shortage of painting for me……

Rich Bliss16 Mar 2020 6:11 p.m. PST

You speak as if this is a bad thing. I personally feel BA is a terrible set of rules and not worth my time, but I quite like CoC and have painted up two opposing platoons and support options, and then I stopped . It's a low level tactical infantry game. Armor shouldn't be involved. Why would you paint anything for a game that you won't use?

d88mm1940 Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2020 7:07 p.m. PST

I have 170 to 180 (hard to count that high) vehicles for Bolt Action. I have at least 4 squads with support (MG's, mortars, snipers, flame-throwers, etc) for four main nations in North Africa. Also Free French and other interesting small forces.
Am I looking for more?
Maybe…

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2020 7:49 p.m. PST

Nature of the hobby. We are all a bunch of megalomaniacs who will buy and paint until we die.

I've completed my Zulu war collections several times only to find I needed just one more unit. How much space will 500+ Zulus take up on a 4x8 table?

arealdeadone16 Mar 2020 7:50 p.m. PST

on't know who you're playing bolt action with but everyone I know buys everything under the sun, two of them most times.

Never said people didn't do this, merely that most of the time you won't be allowed to field even 2 of those units in a normal game. Most of the minis end up as shelf queens.


Personally I like to paint units and then use them. I see no point in painting up a tank platoon and then dumping it in a storage box and occasionally using 1 out of those 3-5 tanks. Or painting up a full company, then only using 1 platoon and leave the rest sitting in a storage box.


It seems almost counter intuitive that players have adapted en masse systems that don't allow/discourage using lots of the toys we buy.

Systems like Battlegroup or Command Decision or Rapid Fire allow lots of toys, yet players have largely shunned these in favour of the low model skirmish games.

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2020 7:52 p.m. PST

You make it sound like you can only collect and paint one period. The beauty of skirmish gaming is you can collect forces for a dozen periods quite easily, and it also allows room for spending time and money on terrain.

For example, most Old West miniature gaming is of only a few miniatures at a time, but everyone would still want one of every model in existence, plus a dozen or more buildings.

arealdeadone16 Mar 2020 8:07 p.m. PST

You make it sound like you can only collect and paint one period. The beauty of skirmish gaming is you can collect forces for a dozen periods quite easily

Not at all.

But that is still very limited painting.

E.g paint a platoon of US infantry and a Sherman and it covers most conflict zones and spring to autumn. Same with Soviets a 1942 platoon covers you for whole war.

Brits you can get away with 2 desert and later Normandy style uniforms. These also cover virtually all Commonwealth and many other allied troops.

You only get variety if you are really interested in playing obscure forces ala the Belgians or Norwegians. And then good luck finding an opponent who wants to play that particular theatre.


and it also allows room for spending time and money on terrain.


Agreed but terrain is usually hard for most of us to make due to lack of tools/workplace/skills or prohibitively expensive to buy. Thus we game at clubs etc.


----

My main point is it's interesting players horde minis but then mainly chose to play games that don't entail many using many of those minis.

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2020 8:08 p.m. PST

Both Bolt Action and Chain of Command are geared to 28mm figures, instead of the 15mm for Flames of War, where you can put lots of things on the table. I suppose this is for the visual effect of the larger figures. So, you're right that, if you're going to play these games, you don't need vast quantities of equipment, especially vast quantities of tanks.

I find myself in a different position. I have a lovely platoon of Greeks for CoC, but I've found that Bolt Action is more popular out here outside my little group, so I'm looking into adding things to get me up to the 1000 points needed for a standard game. This will probably include a 37mm AT gun, an L3 light tank, and another section of infantry. OK, maybe a second section of infantry to give me a bit of flexibility. We'll see.

Come to think of it, the folks I game with do have a bunch of excess stuff. Part of this is sometimes used for What a Tanker games, which don't allow for infantry (or L3 light tanks, either).

Grelber

arealdeadone16 Mar 2020 8:12 p.m. PST

Personally I've wasted several hundred dollars on miniatures I don't ever get to use (not including the waste of space 20mm forces that I never get to use and which I am selling).

Thus I now don't feel like painting more miniatures. Why paint up a Marder for my DAK when I've already got 3 Pz IIIs and a PIV and generally are only allowed to use 1 or 2 in a standard game?

My last force (Stalingrad Krauts) I actually gave up on the AFVs I planned simply cause I don't see the point of spending hard earned dollars on shelf queens.

BrockLanders16 Mar 2020 11:06 p.m. PST

Our group frequently plays larger games of Chain of Command, with multiple platoons per side in 28mm. I have Wehrmacht, SS and Fallschirmjager figs for the Germans, as well as Russians in summer and winter uniforms, engineers, NKVD. There are also MG teams, special weapons teams, snipers, medical etc. I have about 400 28mm figs at this point, and I'm planning on assembling an American force soon.

I also have numerous 1/48 scale tanks we use, partly because I enjoy building and painting them and partly because we like having different tanks and vehicles for various scenarios. To me one of the great things about skirmish is you can get as detailed and granular as you desire. Conversely, you can go much more basic with just two opposing platoons and a couple of tanks if that's your cup of tea. Something for everyone 😁

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2020 1:08 a.m. PST

There are 4 uniforms through the war for the British, 1940, Africa, Europe 43-44, and late 44 to 45. You also have airborne, so that's 5 I Europe. You also got specialist troops in Europe, Africa and Asia, so there's like 10 different forces just for British infantry.
And support will be varied too, 2pdrs early on, 6pdrs or even 17pdrs later.
Silly British tanks like the Matildas early, when half decent Americans tanks. Then decent and good British and American tanks later on. Etc etc.

Now I'm actually not a huge skirmish fan, but ww2 is one that I feel is quite suited for it.
Also I'm not happy with any of the large scale stuff I've look into, flames of war is silly, and blitzkrieg commander,just gives me no inspiration or will to do anything with.

uglyfatbloke17 Mar 2020 2:08 a.m. PST

We play company-ish in attack and platoon-ish in defence all the time so we've got pretty large collections that don't see action all that often, but there's always a game on the table. NWE in 1944 gets the most attention admittedly, but then again there's loads of options – UK, US, SS, Heer…and then there's Airborne, Recce……

4th Cuirassier17 Mar 2020 2:11 a.m. PST

I've played solo WW2 games in the past where one side consisted of markers and even I didn't know what they were. Something in an ambush position could be a PAK, a StuG, or anything. This only works if you have more options than one PAK, because then you'd always know what it was.

So you have to buy, build and paint more models. It's the law.

FlyXwire17 Mar 2020 6:54 a.m. PST

This is what's been happening to the hobby in the last 15-20 years, as so many rulesets go "small" (or focus on the skirmish-centric gaming level), and figures go "big" (towards 28mm and their epic-variations).

Along with the draw towards tournament style sessions and rules (tied in with the move towards the "small"), many points-equal 'scenarios' leave little in units to command for more than two players in a game (a self-limiting, enforced format, that reinforces the acceptance of tournament style gaming anyway).

Along with the allure of the bigger figures, and/or with tournament size boards (4' X 4' being typical) maneuver space, and "flanks" have been redefined can't tell you how many AARs I've seen from the products guys who ascribe a flanking maneuver to little more than an off-angle frontal assault.

Gamers have options.

Explore new playing formats (actually old ways of how miniatures wargaming came up from the 1960s & 70s), and seek out rules that provide for combined-arms commands, and in ground scales that allow for game tables to have multiple approach routes, multiple objectives (phase line mission plans), and battlefield space that can be deployed to with depth. Basically, what all modern armies have used for training company and battalion level officers at as called "battle problems".

Lastly, lots of big figs just won't fit into small spaces. If the planned-for table space is strictly limited, the next best option is going to smaller scale figure/model collections, and ones where having units comprised of multiple AFVs (per platoon/company/battalion-unit numbers), isn't going to break the gamer's bank account.

There's a lot of 'guidance' of where the industry has been taking the hobby, and I've seen non-critical player reviews of rulesets that tout them to have terrific interactive turn sequences and mechanism, but then you realize the reviewer probably plays [and accepts] nothing beyond 1 on 1 match sessions, and has no idea to review a rule system's multi-player suitability.

Again gamer, you still have (and actually want) options.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2020 7:10 a.m. PST

As I have said before, I don't particularly enjoy painting or model building, and I consider these acts to be a time consuming necessary evil. There is a lot of appeal to doing small games, especially if you want to game multiple time periods.

FlyXwire17 Mar 2020 7:29 a.m. PST

79th, I used to never enjoy painting much either it was a necessary evil to getting the game on the table.

As an aside, I came to the conclusion that as a hobbyist, I needed to take more small bites at my painting load, and to accomplish only what I needed for the scenario being planned instead of painting up five units at once, and with two extra which would make my collection that much more 'perfect', but actually weren't required, and so began to just paint for the game, and not for the collection.

I like to play small games and battle-size games too this often requires different tools of the trade.

Munin Ilor17 Mar 2020 9:39 a.m. PST

Skirmish games are great for people getting into the hobby, as the barrier to entry is low. I mean, I love the look of massive ranks of troops in a 15mm Waterloo game or whatever, but realistically I don't have the time or resources to put towards doing something like that myself. But if I can paint up 30-40 guys and maybe a vehicle and get a really good game of Chain of Command going, that's much easier to do (especially with something like the Perry plastic DAK or 8th Army, where you can have your entire core platoon purchased for as little as $25 USD).

Also, I don't feel like I'm painting less. If anything, I'm painting MORE because it's so easy to put together a core force. I now have fully-painted infantry platoons for US Army, DAK, 8th Army, and Italians. I have a Japanese platoon on my table right now and a Russian platoon waiting in the wings. And I can do this because it's (relatively) easy to put together a fully-playable force.

I first started collecting 15mm ACW to play Gettysburg Soldiers like a decade ago. But it takes so many figures, I never actually got it to the table – and my painting output slowed to basically nothing because I got discouraged about how much more I needed to do. But I've already used those figs to play Sharp Practice 2, and that's motivated me to actually paint them again – because I have enough for a core force and now I'm painting smaller projects here and there to expand what I can field (e.g. a group of cavalry).

DeRuyter17 Mar 2020 11:08 a.m. PST

Both of these skirmish rules allow for larger armored forces. BA has a Tank platoon oriented supplement and CoC has Big Chain of Command where you can field a tank platoon. I used to play in BA tournaments with US and Italian forces and I have a Sherman platoon for the US that has seen table top action. Than as someone mentioned there is What A Tanker which is all tanks.

FlyXwire17 Mar 2020 11:16 a.m. PST

So MI, you have North Africa desert terrain, Eastern Front steppe or urban terrain, and jungle terrain commensurate with your cheaper-priced, and surely nicely painted figures?

Realistically speaking, moving from one theater of ops with a handful of figures, but modeling new environments in 28mm-1/56th scale, can be a time-intensive and expensive proposition IF DONE with the same fidelity as we might expect to apply to our figure painting. I do this as best I can, but as a retired person I know the time devoted to pull it off.

Additionally, skirmish systems put a premium on terrain construction, interactivity with such terrain, and details that aren't of such consequence nor importance when moving up the chain of command and up game-play levels.

So easy skirmish gaming is in the eye of the beholder, and particularly in regards to how someone plans to be hosting that force of 30-40 guys within. Also, I can attest that modelling bigger scale terrain won't be any cheaper nor less involved than for the smaller scale game boards (actually, and as would be expected often more).

FlyXwire17 Mar 2020 11:22 a.m. PST

DeRuyter, a platoon of tanks isn't skirmish level?

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2020 12:14 p.m. PST

Great photo FlyXwire! Those look like skirmishers. What rules were you using at that time?

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2020 12:41 p.m. PST

I have a platoon of early war Brits for the BEF. Two platoons for North Africa, an a platoon for Late war. Tanks BEF Matilda MK 1 & a MK 2 plus an MH armored car. Desert i have an A9, Matilda MK 2, Crusader 2, Early Grant. Plus a damiler AC. Late war Sherman 2 , Churchill 7 , Plus an AEC armored car. Plenty of stuff to buy. I have to say my German / Italian Bolt Action opponents love when i show up. Usually get the stuffing knocked out of my Brits no matter the time period.

FlyXwire17 Mar 2020 12:43 p.m. PST

My modified version of Muskets & Tomahawks (now v.'I') for the ACW, and thanks too Big Red!

I do think the OP here (arealdeadone), and his thoughts on when a collection might be "too big" to be useful (my paraphrase), has poked an issue that's legitimate.

In fact, my gaming buds wrestle with this constantly and concurrently against the tugs an pulls of what the 'industry' peddles, and doing games we think are more interesting. Sometimes the more interesting games are with smaller scale figures, but in games that offer more tactical depth, opportunities for combined arms coordination, and decision-making. That's when we actually start to say that bigger figures aren't always better (and can 'get in the way' – although we've collected those figures too). ;)

FlyXwire17 Mar 2020 2:38 p.m. PST

Well, hopefully arealdeadone won't mind me spamming some more pictures here, so here's the last big figure game I put on a couple weeks ago, and it's with some of that Weird WWII DUST stuff (they're awesome models and the featured factions have some righteous-looking infantry figures available you can go as weird as you like though I've stayed mostly 'legitimate'….so far). ;) :)))

DUST in most of its iterations has been a tourney-play system, and it's not much played anymore either, there's also newer W-WWII stuff out to entice and pull in the cashflow. Now, if I was going to get motivated for this stuff way after the blume had worn off of it, it had to be budget-viable (and it has been, as the models became much cheaper these past years along with the dropped in popularity), but more importantly to consider was the effort to create a DUST world gamespace (I envisioned that as a Winters-DUSTing), so that involved assembling dedicated terrain needed for it. If this project was to be, it was going to be played my way, as a multiplayer game, scenario-based, and mission-oriented.

At it's core, this presentation example is just based on an easy-play, tourney-type skirmish game system, but not encumbered now to have to be played exactly that way. When calculating over the weapon ranges designed to be used (movement rates too) , and there were a couple of legacy sets to choose from, these game scale parameters led me to see using a bigger board environment was needed to allow players to have some meaningful maneuver room, and avenues to close up with the enemy, and/or towards their assigned objectives so this pictured board above is 2 to 3 times larger than it's tourney counterpart. This which I felt was needed to make for an interesting game for the participants so for a multiple-player format to be enjoyed.

So now I hope there's something here related to the topic at hand as this game won't go bigger (in game size nor much in figure counts), but the missions can change, and I do plan on swapping out platoon elements on a side to keep things "fresh" as I create new missions for my friends to play. Does playing DUST divorced this way from its tourney roots possibly relate to anything slightly military in context well it can, because now that's up to the players to find the tactics and approaches that make up their open-field battlefield choices, and that's where I get my just rewards when I'm presenting something seeing the players match wits, and contemplating those battlefield choices (some which I would never have thought of myself).

Munin Ilor17 Mar 2020 3:09 p.m. PST

FlyXWire said:

So MI, you have North Africa desert terrain, Eastern Front steppe or urban terrain, and jungle terrain commensurate with your cheaper-priced, and surely nicely painted figures?

I have a fair amount of North Africa terrain, much of which is also appropriate for both East Africa and Sicily/Italy. That allows me to play on fully-fledged boards with all four of my currently-painted forces. I'm currently trying to decide whether to build some jungle terrain (usable for both the Pacific and East Africa), or go with some broadly European buildings/ruins (usable for Sicily, Italy, and colonial settings in both Africa and East Asia).

Further, hills, grass, scrub, trees, hedges, fences, roads, and water features offer a lot of reusability (even across theaters and time periods). You can do "steppes of Russia" with a handful of bushes or trees and a couple of hilly bits. Sure, if I want to do Stalingrad I've got some work cut out for me but I'd have just as much (if not more) work cut out for me trying to build a board suitable for a division-sized engagement, or whatever. For people who belong to organized gaming clubs with shared terrain, this is even easier.

Building terrain is always going to be part of tabletop wargaming, but building or painting enough terrain to adequately fill a 4x6 table (or whatever size you use) doesn't appreciably change based on the scale of that terrain you're either painting a couple of big pieces or a bunch of little ones.

Here's a recent table, an Italian AT gun trying to get the drop on an American Sherman:

arealdeadone17 Mar 2020 3:23 p.m. PST

Spamming photos is always good.

Gamers have options.

Only if your fellow local gamers are open to options. And as we all know most people play by the rules.

e play company-ish in attack and platoon-ish in defence all the time

This is where in my opinion the "realism" of CoC falls apart. CoC attackers are too thin as usually you have a platoon attacking on a company level frontage (they provide a scale). Also any numerical superiority by the attacker is screwed by the fact that the more units you have, the poorer your control over them is due to activation dice being limited to same as defender.

FlyXwire17 Mar 2020 4:42 p.m. PST

MI, I like your Mediterranean setup.

Here's my Ost Afrika kit (also tried to share some appropriate pieces as best I could).

Lee49417 Mar 2020 4:46 p.m. PST

Try my Skirmish Action rules. Have as many tanks as you want. And they are murderously effective against infantry. Rules allow you to use included points/OB system, OR another system from other rules, you can even use FoW Lists, OR make up one of your own which allows for historical battles. Great little game we play, albeit not with a ton of tanks, is Saving Private Ryan .. Two Tigers on any table is kinda cool. Cheers!

FlyXwire17 Mar 2020 4:53 p.m. PST

How did we know Mr. Lee would be chiming in here to peddle his rules again? ;)

(but we still like ya)

So realdeadone Only if your fellow local gamers are open to options.

You're not hosting these games are you, because it sounds like you would organize and promote different rule systems.

I dunno. We actually gave up on the idea of teaming up for games that would and did fall apart when planning game days each GM is responsible for supplying all the troops, terrain, and his particular scenario. Then we try to reciprocate the responsibility at the next event, with others hosting, and previous presenters getting to play. If someone in our group puts on good games, we'll accept improvements or limited rule changes. We accept scenario-based changes anyway things like limited ammo, depleted units, troops retreating in a situation….

This can't be that different for other regions or gaming groups I guess it is!

Levi the Ox17 Mar 2020 5:32 p.m. PST

This is where in my opinion the "realism" of CoC falls apart. CoC attackers are too thin as usually you have a platoon attacking on a company level frontage (they provide a scale). Also any numerical superiority by the attacker is screwed by the fact that the more units you have, the poorer your control over them is due to activation dice being limited to same as defender.

The listed ground scale gives 12" to 40 yards, which makes a standard 6' x 4' table a 240yd x 160yd battlefield. But how much of that space is actually going to be fought over in-game? The patrol phase will cover a fair amount of ground, with the Jump-Off Points usually 2~3' from each other. The defender has to plan to protect the whole area, but the attacker is likely going to concentrate on half of it, giving frontages in practice similar to those specified by doctrine.

I play in 15mm, which puts the table closer to 200m x 130m, which works out similar to the officially listed ground scale and doctrinal frontages and also "feels" about right. Importantly, it means that the flanks aren't anchored by the table edges, as is too often the case. If you're playing in 28mm, the visual ground scale is going to look like 110m x 75m, which is pretty much bang-on for a platoon's attack frontage. Because of the in-game concentration mentioned above, in practice it'll actually be more compact than doctrine but still *far* better than what I've seen out of most other commercially published rules.

---

If you want to really leverage numerical superiority, the Red Dice support option from the Blitzkrieg 1940 book will help you activate additional units attached to a single platoon, or I highly recommend Big Chain of Command for multiple platoons. Or play one of the campaigns, which usually give the defender limited replacements.

---

…with tournament size boards (4' X 4' being typical) maneuver space, and "flanks" have been redefined can't tell you how many AARs I've seen from the products guys who ascribe a flanking maneuver to little more than an off-angle frontal assault.

A very good reason to think about how many figures you actually want to use to have a *good* game, rather than just piling everything on the table that can fit!

---

To the general points OP raised, I'll echo others in the accessibility of skirmish gaming being a major draw, both as an initial reason to start and a reward of keeping with it.

Miniature wargames can be very intimidating, and single-figure skirmish games offer a comparatively approachable entry point for both the art and gaming aspects of the hobby. Even for experienced gamers, it's easier to get into another faction or period with a dozen figures than a hundred.

In this regard, I'd say they actually *encourage* people, because they are more likely to be able to collect, paint, and play with a force that they will actually be able to use! Then, if they want more, they can either add new options to that force or start another, but even if they are content to not expand, what they have remains playable.

Skirmish games also tend to take less time to play, which means that people are likely going to get to play them more often than a big all-day mass battle. Playing more often means more incentives to finish that cool unit you want to try next time. It also means that you can play many different types of scenarios, having new game experiences (and potentially using different unit types) each time!

Levi the Ox17 Mar 2020 6:50 p.m. PST

Once you have your core platoon, there's precious little opportunity left for all the funky stuff. Literally with these two game systems you could get away with painting core infantry platoon, 1 tank, 1 AT unit, an MMG and a sniper (and very often not use any of it!).

This leads to the interesting phenomena where models are painted then never used. I've experienced this myself as well as noted it on a number of blogs I follow, whereby someone will paint up a ton of tanks and supports for their CoC campaign and then not use most of it.

Personally I've discovered I'm being put off painting models by it. Why paint a platoon's worth of soft skins when you'll never use them? Why paint a platoon of tanks, when you only ever get to field 1 and then it's probably not a good option compared to more infantry.

I think some of this is (maybe even a lot of it) is going to come down to what kind of games you are playing, who you're playing with, and how regularly. If you don't play very often, or are generally playing the same basic encounter-ish scenario each time, yeah, your core platoon and one of each broad category of support will cover your bases if that's what you want to limit yourself to.

If you do play often enough to make campaigns feasible, and/or game with folks willing to try different scenarios (or even make their own), you'll probably find yourself wanting a wider variety of units for all of the different gaming experiences they will contribute to. Using myself as an example (and since we're sharing photos now), here is my in-progress 15mm German force for Chain of Command:


The infantry and artillery, in early war uniforms.


The vehicles, mostly early-war, but a couple of mid- and late-war variants.

The core platoon is the front-left quarter of the box, everything else is support. I've collected it not just because I like assembling and painting it (I do); but because I play regularly enough, and a wide enough variety of scenarios, that I plan to use it. In fact, the only infantry that I haven't used are the duplicate pioneer teams, and while I've only used about half of the vehicles so-far, the soft-skins and the Pz. II platoon are going to play key roles in my next few games.

Focus on what you enjoy! If you've got "shelf queens", look for an excuse to put them on the table! Maybe that's a more specialized scenario, a game of Big Coc or What a Tanker, or a solo game using randomized blinds so your variety of options comes in handy.

arealdeadone17 Mar 2020 8:14 p.m. PST

iF you've got "shelf queens", look for an excuse to put them on the table!

As stated the issue is that these games don't allow using all those goodies. Eg BA is often restricted to 1000 points,and 1 tank/1 gun/1 armoured car per platoon. Squeezing in 2 Panzer IVHs (235 points per tank) or 2 Shermans (195 points per tank) requires 2 small platoons (LT plus 2 small squads) and chews up your entire points allocation for a very poorly balanced and ahistorical force.

CoC is even more brutal and reliant on rolling dice for support which means at times you will get virtually no support with low rolls. You need 6 points for something as common as a T-34/76 or Sherman or 7 points for a StuG G or Hetzer or Churchill. Good luck fielding more than 1 tank (and in many cases good luck fielding any vehicles!!). Also good luck when you want to field an IS-2 or Tiger.

Oh and you can't even field those trucks you have other than asterrain in normal CoC they would be total shelf queens. :P


This is my point these games don't actually promote collecting much in the way of minis because many of the minis won't be used in standard games.

200m x 130m, which works out similar to the officially listed ground scale and doctrinal frontages and also "feels" about right

Authorised frontage depends on the army but in the British Army that is a company level frontage for an attacking force. Platoon frontage in attack is 50-100m.

Defensive frontages are much bigger in which case 200 metres is probably about right for a platoon.

So given the groundscale a "realistic" approach for CoC would involve a wedge with 2 platoons up front attacking and 1 in reserve.

arealdeadone17 Mar 2020 9:26 p.m. PST

Interestingly enough you can play Battlegroup with as little as a squad of infantry and lots of toys.

You want a platoon of tanks supporting your infantry platoon – BANG you got it.

You want to use your bridgelayers and ARV – BANG you got it.

ALAS due to lack of decent marketing the system languishes in relative obscurity unlike Bolt Action (WH2K) or Chain of Command (the Lardies guys are good at marketing and Richard Clarke gets his face everywhere!).

Personal logo 15mm and 28mm Fanatik Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2020 9:33 p.m. PST

I sold off all my BA stuff because it's too infantry-centric and I couldn't bring enough vehicles on the table. I now play FoW and regularly use tank-heavy forces with few infantry as support rather than vice versa.

arealdeadone17 Mar 2020 9:43 p.m. PST

I've been promoting higher points for Bolt Action (as well as emphasis on historical gaming).

I think 1500 points with multiple platoons (including tank platoons) works well if the players are gentlemen and not win at all costs types.

UshCha18 Mar 2020 1:12 a.m. PST

I paint to play, so painting is just a chore.

My experience of shows and localy is that wargames is moving to be more game centric than Minature centic. That to me is a good move. Personally I play 1/144 moderns but even then the "body count" is low; a Mixed Company (baseline for the attacker) is as little as 4 tanks and 2 platoons of infantry (with vehicles about 16 to 20 bases) so little more than a 28mm Platoon at 1:1. This to me is great not a massive painting overhead.

However at Company level there are options for variety, Bridge layers, trucks for Convoys, the odd Recoonisance team etc.

uglyfatbloke18 Mar 2020 4:27 a.m. PST

Flyxwire…..lovely terrain and figures. Very impressive.

FlyXwire18 Mar 2020 5:26 a.m. PST

Thanks Bloke, I appreciate your kind words!

I've sort of been in the camp that the terrain makes the game, but still, I've got the spare time to put my emphasis on crafting it up too (I might be lucky in this regard).

Of course gamers know that terrain density can have a lot to do with maneuver room and practical unit frontages also, therefore figures and models on any game board don't exist in a vacuum.

I think that the more formatted a game board's dimensions are prescribed in a ruleset, or that terrain within them is programmed, the less realistic the games can be it basically comes down to either wiggle room available, or having game maps looking or functioning similarly across the board so to speak (or maybe that should be looking across the tables, they start to take on that degree of sameness).

As of the last time I checked, there's never been a prescribed ground scale put down for Bolt Action. So the designers gave themselves some wiggle room, by avoiding the exactitude of what effective weapon ranges really might be, and then any reference to the relationship of movements rates and firepower to some delineated time scale. However, there's game board dimensions recommended 3' X 3' with reduced build points, and/or with reduced distances by a "proportion", or 6' X 4' surface for an average game scenario's have placement measurements typical of so far from the middle of a table, etc..

Think about this no actual ground or time scale is notated, but there's recommendation for pts. builds, and for smaller tables, and troop placement zones….

That's ass-backwards IMO, but then Bolt Action is meant for performing, dare I say, within a programmed game space.

Don't get me wrong, I like Bolt Action, but then I've modded it, and the group here have never played it as a tournament system, which did require thinking about game scales and the battle problems being presented when we began using it for skirmish-level gaming.

Back to my first posting in the thread here, thinking much of this tourney-related gaming style and designing style has occurred in the past 15 years or so (for the historical side of the hobby). For some of us old blokes, there were some basic game scale points we understood to be the primary building blocks for "laying out the groundwork" of any historically-inspired rule system.

I don't that's viewed as of much importance anymore.

FlyXwire18 Mar 2020 6:50 a.m. PST

EDIT I must add, Guys and Gals, Us fellow hobbyists, these are unusual times we're facing. For most of us gaming is a diversion from the day-to-day. Ultimately, much of why we meet here virtually, or in person over a table, is for our mutual enjoyment.

So we share this common pursuit! I hope the small game businesses [all game businesses] might survive the immediate consequences, and although we might not be getting together face to face that soon, we still have dreams of good gaming days ahead.

Stay safe my friends, and carry your good gamin' thoughts with you!

Personal logo 15mm and 28mm Fanatik Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2020 8:26 a.m. PST

👍

Murvihill18 Mar 2020 11:16 a.m. PST

It may have more to do with who you game with than the rules. That said, I've noticed that the all-day Saturday games I played in as a teen seem to have dried up. Even cons split the day up into three separate games.

Munin Ilor18 Mar 2020 12:37 p.m. PST

arealdeadone wrote:

CoC is even more brutal and reliant on rolling dice for support which means at times you will get virtually no support with low rolls. You need 6 points for something as common as a T-34/76 or Sherman or 7 points for a StuG G or Hetzer or Churchill. Good luck fielding more than 1 tank (and in many cases good luck fielding any vehicles!!). Also good luck when you want to field an IS-2 or Tiger.

Oh and you can't even field those trucks you have other than asterrain in normal CoC they would be total shelf queens. :P


Counterexample: you need to look at the "Totensonntag" Pint-Sized Campaign that came out in the 2019 Lard Annual. In that campaign, the core German force is an armored platoon of 5 Pz III Ausf G tanks, and German infantry (which are purchased as supports) must enter the board embarked in trucks or half-tracks. Further, the South African force's consistent objective across all of the stages of the game is to evacuate as many non-combatant support vehicles as possible, so they have a minimum of 3 trucks on the table every single battle. The whole thing is designed such that while each individual battle is wildly asymmetric, "winning" a particular battle is less important than covering ground and capturing (or evacuating) vital materiel. I'm partial to it because I wrote it, but it's a great example of what you can do with the CoC framework using forces that are very "non-standard."

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2020 1:21 p.m. PST

Also you don't need to roll for support in CoC. Like all Lardie games, it's between gentlemen/women. So if you want a Sherman, Vickers and a 6pdr you can have it, just make a deal with you opponent to make it a fairish fight.

uglyfatbloke18 Mar 2020 2:10 p.m. PST

We don't really have any shelf queens at all – everything gets on the table from time to time…even SWMBO's 5.5 Howitzers, which have appeared as objectives several times – and in the hands of several nationalities. We just count the crew as lower quality troops and let them fire the SAs they would have been issued with.

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