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"Does your playing area vary by number of players?" Topic

22 Posts

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15 May 2024 8:42 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Crossposted to Wargaming in General board

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Current Poll

444 hits since 15 May 2024
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian15 May 2024 8:41 p.m. PST

Do you adjust the size of the playing area depending on how many people are playing?

Martin Rapier15 May 2024 11:39 p.m. PST

Perhaps the other way around. I limit player numbers to those that can be comfortably accommodated by table size.

advocate15 May 2024 11:45 p.m. PST

In that bigger games need bigger tables. But some of our multi-player games need less space.

Louis XIV16 May 2024 1:55 a.m. PST

The room has four walls so: no.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2024 2:45 a.m. PST

A bit of both, mostly we have a fixed size table so that limits the number of players.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2024 2:59 a.m. PST

Usually. We find that 20 people can be crowded playing on a 3x3 board, and two people running between 20x6 and 16x5 tables in separate rooms slows down play.

PzGeneral16 May 2024 4:19 a.m. PST

Nope. Same size regardless….


Micman Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2024 7:18 a.m. PST

It can sometimes. There are other variables that effect the table size more. Figure size, rule mechanics and ranges as well as the scenario.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2024 7:18 a.m. PST

Yep – sometimes

Small number of players, usually smaller game

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2024 7:24 a.m. PST

No. I play big areas, because I find that more fun than small play areas. There are exceptions, but they are few and far between. Cheers!

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2024 9:50 a.m. PST


Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2024 11:47 a.m. PST

No. The playing area is adjusted by the size of the table and/or tablecloth/battlecloth, which is dependent on whose house we're in. Other than that, people will have to cram in as best they can!

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP16 May 2024 2:09 p.m. PST


Playing area is traded against scale to provide something appropriate for the scenario that fits in the space available.

Number of players is driven by the number of people who show up to game day and want to play that game. This also drives player/unit ratio, with modification from (closest to) uniform distribution based on who the people are.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2024 5:33 p.m. PST

A heavily caveated "yes".

I set up the table for a min/max number of players, and adjust the forces within that min/max. I never add terrain to the edges, but I have sometimes removed parts of the table to compress down for a smaller number of players. There has to be both "enough" maneuver room and "not too much" maneuver room.

For most naval games I can add more maneuver room at one or more edges (if there's no coastline with fixed features), but there is still a min and max scale of game I can run with the miniatures available, vocal cord endurance, and personal brain capacity.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2024 6:23 p.m. PST

I assume you mean the size of the playing surface and not the size of the game room.


I do not alter the size of the playing surface. I have adjusted the number of units in the game depending on the number of players, but not very often. I don't always know how many players are showing up for the game. So it is difficult to change the game size on the fly. Usually when I set it up, that's it.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2024 5:23 a.m. PST

All you guys who insist you NEVER change the table size: what range of players are you talking about? I find it hard to believe that it's the two to 20+ I was considering. Our tables ran the same for years from two to six players, but that's a very different problem.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP18 May 2024 4:32 a.m. PST

I'm not one of the three "all you guys", my range of players is one to six (on a rare occasion, up to eight). Six is about the place where the time for a round (each player gets one turn) starts to interfere with the flow of the game for us.

Why were you surprised that people answered the question with respect to the way they wargame instead of how you wargame?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2024 10:42 a.m. PST

More annoyed than surprised, eto. To answer that you never change table size without specifying a player range is uninformative. Same thing with the recent terrain scale/troop scale poll.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP18 May 2024 11:04 a.m. PST

I didn't answer that. In my response to the post, I said

Playing area is traded against scale to provide something appropriate for the scenario that fits in the space available.

For me, playing area is independent of the number of players.

What is annoying about everyone else not conforming their answer to your playing style?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2024 7:50 p.m. PST

As with the questions, eto, the annoyance is when I don't get enough information to make the question or the answer informative. I really am interested in how other wargamers do things, and--taking two recent examples--knowing that they use the same terrain for multiple scales without knowing which terrain and scales, or knowing they use the same table for different numbers of players without knowing the range of numbers just isn't enough context to be helpful.

One of the glossies used to have a feature in which one wargamer described how he did things, and it was a different wargamer each month. I always liked that one. If someone put together a book of, say, 50 wargamers spending five pages each to explain what they were trying to do, what problems they had and how they solved them, it would have a prominent place on my shelves. But poll questions without context don't get me there.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP19 May 2024 8:00 a.m. PST

A simple question is pretty much always open to interpretation, which leads to answers with an assumed context. This does make it difficult to use answers.

I would guess most people here have answered some sort of "workplace climate survey". The question that frustrates me is "Is the workload appropriate?" I answer no. I think all of us could and should be working more and harder. But that is the opposite of how the answers to this question are interpreted in the results.

Going beyond the limit of canned responses, if you have a "comments" section the amplification "Well, we are worked too hard but everyone else is not worked hard enough." doesn't help much. I think when most people read that, they want to classify it as perception bias. But it also could be true. Or it could be true and be perception bias on the part of the respondent. One answer, three cases with different mitigation approaches.

This is a known problem in designing questions and surveys (with a great story to go with it).

But when you try to remove ambiguity and nail down context in a question, the structure becomes complex and often feels stilted. When doing this on a TMP poll suggestion, one time someone suggested English was not my primary language. Which was an understandable conclusion, as my question was not written in English. It was written in Lawyer.

Another approach is to ask multiple versions of similar questions in order to suss out subtleties. That's something we're not likely to do here. And the approach has its own challenges.

It takes a lot of work and time to get useful data, and there are always ambiguities.

The upshot is, these polls are intended to be casual and to spark interesting discussions, bot to lead to volumes of usable data. Getting a cool insight or two shouldn't be an expectation … it's a bonus.

olicana22 May 2024 12:51 p.m. PST

These days I limit all games to four players, possibly with me as a +1 umpire. Two players a side on a 12x6 each with plenty of toys is pretty much the ideal as far as I'm concerned.



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