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"is there an almost universal basing size -" Topic

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Part II of the Gates of Old Jerusalem.

1,245 hits since 7 Apr 2022
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
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GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2022 3:37 a.m. PST

hi, so i am just trying now to figure out what i should have for base size for my armies and it is really doing my head in as there are a number of rulesets i am keen on but surely one wouldnt have to make a new army for each set

what is the best size to go with that would work across systems like ESR, Polemos, Napoleons Battles and Bataille Empire for example – is it possible or do folks just stick with one rule system only (hard to do when tehre are so many out there and each with different areas of focus)

i liked the idea of 40mm x 20mm size suggested in Bataille empire, but then that doesnt fit with Napoleons Battles

and then i see that there are some beautiful armies that people have posted up and they have skirmishers included on the bases – doing so would only be suitable for some specific rules yes?

JimDuncanUK07 Apr 2022 4:04 a.m. PST

You can't please all the people all the time. There is no such thing as a universal base size.

Do you really want to play all the different rulesets?

If you do then collect different forces on different bases and do everything.

You will die before you finish.

Speak to your best mate, find out what he likes, and if you like it too then problem solved. If not then do just two sizes.

IUsedToBeSomeone07 Apr 2022 4:16 a.m. PST

I miss the days when a topic like this would summon Glenn Pearce….

mildbill07 Apr 2022 5:43 a.m. PST

40mm is the most common lenght. Depth etc is variable. if the two armies are based the same, usually it wont matter regardless of the rules.

Sho Boki Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Apr 2022 5:45 a.m. PST

I prefer trios with 1cm front.
From trios you can build up whatever other bases you want.

GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2022 5:45 a.m. PST

thanks – yes i think i am just being overwhelmed and indecisive with options and probably it is best that i dont just go down every online rules review and battle report i come across – i think ESR will probably be what i focus on

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2022 5:52 a.m. PST

As long as basing is consistent, I wouldn't worry about it. Base for ESR if that is what you want. You can still experiment with different rule sets without rebasing your figures.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Apr 2022 6:09 a.m. PST

Here is what I do to address just that issue.

Base your 6mm troops on steel bases 20mm wide. That's the width of one Baccus strip of troops. I went with 20mm deep for ease of handling.

Now, when you need a unit to be a specific size, cut movement trays from sheet magnet. Sheet magnet is cheap and can be cut with scissors. You can cut trays for an entire army in short order.

I did this so I could use my troops at other people's games, and knowing the rules in use might change.

If your trays will be a tad wider than the unit (for example, if you need a 3 base, 75mm unit) just spray paint the tray green.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Apr 2022 6:10 a.m. PST

Incidentally, this has worked quite well for….

Et Sans Resultat
Grande Armee
Black Powder
Le Feu Sacre
Age of Eagles

Eumelus Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2022 6:25 a.m. PST

Every time this subject comes up, I always say the same thing. Whatever you decide, only use PVA (white) glue to base your figures. It is almost inevitable that you will want to rebase at some point in the future…

Glenn Pearce07 Apr 2022 7:12 a.m. PST

Hello GeorgBuchner!

Due to a request from my good friend Black Hat Miniatures, I'm here to help you out.

As Jim Duncan says there is no such thing as a universal base size. There is, however, the most popular horse and musket base size in 6mm. That's the Polemos basing system sold by Baccus that I think I may have mentioned to you before. The basic system is the 60mm x 30mm base for infantry, cavalry, limbers, wagons, etc. The 30mm x 30mm for commanders and artillery. Only two base sizes for your entire collection! There is also the optional 60mm x 60mm base if you like brigade games. Most people just use two 60x30 bases.

You can play pretty much any single unit game you want with this system, as is or with a few simple house rules. If you want to play a game where units change formations you simply use markers to show columns or squares. Some people just make a few column or square bases and change them out when required. Others make two flank company bases on 30mm x 30mm. So a single unit has one 60x30 and two 30x30. That allows you to make line, battle column or square. Some just use two 60x30 bases for a single unit.

People who use skirmishers often use them on the base as indicators for a units skirmish capability. In the latest version in the Polemos series "Ruse de Guerre", skirmishers and light infantry are on their own 60x30 bases so your able to actually use light infantry tactics.

I call the Polemos basing system the "Swiss Army Knife" of 6mm basing as it works very well with so many different rules. It's also the reason why some people who don't even play Polemos use the basing system. It's certainly a lot better than the alternative as you have noted, to base your figures differently for every different rule set out there.

Although some people build sabots to mount all their smaller bases onto a single base for different game purposes there is no need for them using Polemos basing.

Best regards,


GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2022 4:17 p.m. PST

thanks all, i will save this thread to a txt document and just digest it more to help my decision making

GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2022 4:41 p.m. PST

the polemos approach sounds flexible – would it be even more so if instead of 60x30 one does 30x30 and so then i could go small or bigger as need be

i got the polemos napoleonic rules on wargame vault the other day – these look great, but why does every one seem only to talk about ruse de guerre ?

i actually am the person who made that cover artwork for the Ruse de Guerre rules – i did that a few years back before i was seriously looking into miniature wargaming (i have just stuck with pc wargaming until now)
are the napoleonic rules from baccus not as good?

i am torn between what Glenn Pearce has written above and then also the earlier pics with the 1cm fronts, and the then the 2x2cm could work also – aargh

whilst i am still waiting on the 6mm armies i am having someone 3d print for me. I am also keen on making my 6mm paper armies (being a visual artist i am drawn to doing my own art) and so i guess it would be flexible with my options regarding these

Glenn Pearce08 Apr 2022 6:16 a.m. PST

Hello GeorgBuchner!

Yes there are some people who have small tables and are using 30x30 bases to play Polemos games. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that the smaller bases are more manoeuvrable then intended. You will also need to make a couple of house rules for distances. For normal Polemos games they just use two bases side by side.

Basing depends on your table size and long term goals. If your long term goal is to fight big battles with multiple players on a 6' x 4' table or bigger then you don't want to use small bases. They become a logistical nightmare.

The Napoleonic version of the Polemos rules are great rules and caters to players who enjoy fine detail in their mechanics. Ruse de Guerre was written roughly 20 years after the Napoleonic ones and caters to players who like fast and simple rules. It also covers a wider range of wars. It's the first rule system in the series to use light infantry and skirmish bases which were critical in the horse and musket era. There is also a unique sliding scale that lets you increase the size of your battles as the size of your collection grows. So you no longer have to look for different rule sets to play different sizes of battle. The overall advantage is you can play all three rule sets with the same basing and pretty much any other popular rule set with no rebasing or sabots required. Bottom line is Ruse de Guerre is simply the latest version in the series so it gets a lot of attention.

I must thank you for your amazing art work on the cover of Ruse de Guerre. It was like you took the image right out of my head. It really embodies the main period of the rule set in way I didn't think was possible.

Best regards,


GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP08 Apr 2022 3:40 p.m. PST

Thanks Glenn – those Ruse de Guerre rules sound great. Actually i wonder being i made the cover for it perhaps Baccus might be able to spare me a pdf copy of it -otherwsie i will just buy it on wargame vault.

CaptainDarling09 Apr 2022 3:58 a.m. PST

For my 6mm Napoleonics I use 20mm x 20mm increments for basing, everything is either 40mm x 20mm or 20mm x 20mm which can be used as is or combined with sabots onto larger bases if necessary.
An example of the bases combined to make 60mm x 40mm for Blucher Game (Battle of Alexandria)


Whirlwind09 Apr 2022 11:35 a.m. PST

i got the polemos napoleonic rules on wargame vault the other day these look great, but why does every one seem only to talk about Ruse de Guerre ?…are the napoleonic rules from baccus not as good?

GeorgBuchner, I guess that I have played as much of Polemos:Napoleonics and Polemos:Ruse de Guerre as anyone who wasn't a writer or playtester. Polemos:Napoleonics gets talked about a bit less now I think since it is a distinctly older set of rules – the 2nd edition was released well over 10 years ago now IIRC. There was a fair bit of talk about it then, but it has dropped off a bit – not helped by the end of Yahoo groups, since Polemos Yahoo groups was where most of the discussions happened. From the questions that pop up on the Baccus forum from time-to-time, I would guess that there are quite a few European-based players of Polemos:Napoleonics.

Polemos:Napoleonics had some very interesting and well-calibrated mechanics: I still play it and really enjoy it. In particular, the implementation of the Polemos 'tempo points' is good and the infantry assault mechanic is very good and very period specific. But it had some complexities in it, partly from some loose-ish language but partly because the bases can interact with each other and the terrain in ways which are more complex than the rules seemed to envisage. Ruse de Guerre sorts all that out, retaining the basic concepts but eliminating lots of the parts of Polemos:Napoleonics which can cause a bit of head-scratching during a game. The firing and combat have a different flavour though, in which infantry and artillery firepower plays more of a role (which as Glenn notes, is correct for the wider period which Ruse de Guerre covers).

Personally I use the 60mm x 30mm base size for all of my pre-C20 6mm forces and it does work really well, I have found.

bgbboogie18 Jun 2022 4:06 a.m. PST

Best way do not keep buying rules, base them so the look right and make up your own. there are far tooooo many rule sets out there now.
mine are 100mm x 30mm.
I use them as battalions or brigades as i feel the need.

GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2022 10:32 p.m. PST

you are right there – getting a new ruleset is always tempting and i am sure everyone does it, but i have enough now for sure.

pfmodel23 Jun 2022 11:17 p.m. PST

One option is to pick a reasonable small base size and then grow it using movement trays. This is certainly what i am looking at for 6mm napoleonic figures. While i make no claims this is the final story on the topic, this video is my current finding on the whole 6mm basing issue.

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