Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
53 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Can any wargame switch to miniatures? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
john m
United States
Georgia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If I don't use paper counters, can't most wargames use minis instead?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin L. Kitchens
United States
Gainesville
Georgia
flag msg tools
designer
Snowflakes Melt
badge
Snowflakes Melt
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
johnnyLikesGames wrote:
If I don't use paper counters, can't most wargames use minis instead?


Not well or effectively.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Evan
United States
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Possibly, how good are you at balancing them on top of each other?
26 
 Thumb up
0.03
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve C
United States
Princeton
New Jersey
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
No balance needed. Just go to printer and get copy made at 10x the size of map!
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Clive Cleland
Australia
Baulkham Hills
NSW
flag msg tools
I supported because ...
badge
my silence is not questioned, nor is my presence, and sometimes there's magic!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
With a little more explanation:
- Counters are easy to stack, when multiple units occupy the same space.
- Counters can visibly differentiate units, with combat and movement information printed on the unit.
- Counters can be flipped over to reveal a previously unknown enemy unit, a promoted general, etc.
- Blocks can hide information, such as unit strength or number.

None of those things are as easily done with minis, although a lot will depend on the type of wargame you intend playing. Twilight Struggle, for instance ...
whistle
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Irving
United States
Harrisburg
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
johnnyLikesGames wrote:
If I don't use paper counters, can't most wargames use minis instead?


There are miniatures and there are figurines.

Miniatures are played to a nominal scale (which may be based on the size of the base and not the size of the figure) where movement and firing are done with specific measuring tools. So many inches/cm of movement per turn, units may fire up to X in./cm away, etc.

Most board games use a regular grid to simplify play so you don't have to do all that fiddly measuring.

Figurines are simply pieces that are sculptures. Axis & Allies (to name but one example) is not a miniatures game, it is a game with figurines.

Granted you may enjoy the look of miniatures/figurines in a game, but counters have many uses:
- information on the counter (so there can be MANY different units in the game),
- face down (to implement hidden units or partial losses or broken/pinned status, etc.),
- stacking so several units can occupy the same space and the map isn't unplayably huge (Granted, I myself don't like stacking units--but I can see it's use.) Etc.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JPotter - Bits77
United States
Tulsa
Oklahoma
flag msg tools
I enjoy designing / manufacturing game components and upgrades. Got a project? PM!
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
johnnyLikesGames wrote:
If I don't use paper counters, can't most wargames use minis instead?


No one asked the most obvious: why do you ask? Are you designing a game? Thinking of converting a game? Asking in a roundabout way why wargames use counters? Have any specific games in mind?
______________

Counters are the most efficient way to 1) convey information about a large number of units in the smallest space possible, 2) produce and provide large numbers of playing pieces, 3) represent a wide variety of unit types, and 4) achieve unit densities that allow the use of most efficient scales, that is, represent the largest area with the most spatial divisions in the most manageable map size.

TL;DR - they are the most efficient not only to produce but also to design around, and to play with.
_______________

That said, there are come counter games that could be converted to minis. They have a smaller number of units, or a small number of unit types. Some games might require a conversion of map scale to work.

Some simpler block games can be converted to minis, like Command & Colors.

There are also wargames that use minis a/o standees. Usually lighter fare like Memoir '44 or more high level abstracts like Conquest of the Empire or Hannibal ... and yes, RISK, Axis & Allies, and their variants.

Some tactical games are commonly converted to minis, esp games depicting vehicle combat, aerial a/o naval engagements, armored engagements, space combat.

There's also miniatures wargaming, look into that, both traditional, pre-modern, large units on sleds, and more low-level, tactical modern variants like Sergeants and Battletech.

I'd say it's more common to convert a minis game to counters (saves a lot of time and money!), than the other way around.

And then you have things like Heroclix and Attack Wing that combine (and even exceed!) the informational capacity of a counter with the representation of a mini.
____________

So there's a lot of variety. But circling back around to traditional, H&C wargames, they employ counters because the density of the design necessitates it, and to use miniatures would generally require a huge change in the map scale, and balloon production cost, if it's possible at all.
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Follow me for wargames!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As board wargames are a paper extension of miniatures games, it shouldn't be too difficult to reverse engineer counters back into figures.

Older games had either limited stacking or no stacking at all allowed. Those would be the simplest to convert. Other games, like Jutland and Tobruk: Tank Battles in North Africa 1942, were effectively miniatures rules with counters replacing the figures.

Even for games with substantial stacks of counters, enlarging the maps could accommodate however many miniatures are needed.

There's just the matter of efficiently keeping all of the data points found on a game counter in an accessible format.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddy Sterckx
Belgium
Vilvoorde
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
People in here have disagreed with me on this before, but I happen to think miniatures on 3D terrain just look better. When our group converted CC:Ancients to 28mm miniatures and Kallistra hexagon terrain it played the same, but looked like a million bucks. But that's just me I suppose.

That said, most board wargames can't be converted that easily for all the reasons outlined above.




17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
johnnyLikesGames wrote:
If I don't use paper counters, can't most wargames use minis instead?

No. Besides the gameplay issues mentioned upthread (stacking, lots of information printed on counters, hidden info on covered counters, etc) there are also the practical matters of price and storage.

E.g. a wargame with 600 counters would be ridiculous to convert to miniatures, even if it were a simple wargame with no stacking and no data printed on the counters so that the gameplay issues were not a problem.

The financial cost of using 600 miniatures, and the huge box size and shelf space to hold 600 miniatures, instead of 600 counters, would be nuts.
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JPotter - Bits77
United States
Tulsa
Oklahoma
flag msg tools
I enjoy designing / manufacturing game components and upgrades. Got a project? PM!
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:
The financial cost of using 600 miniatures, and the huge box size and shelf space to hold 600 miniatures, instead of 600 counters, would be nuts.


See Medioevo Universale. For illustration of that point. Went to KS boasting of offering 1000+ minis. Huge price and box to match, and not possible w/o crowdfunding.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddy Sterckx
Belgium
Vilvoorde
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:

The financial cost of using 600 miniatures, and the huge box size and shelf space to hold 600 miniatures, instead of 600 counters, would be nuts.


I know half a dozen historical miniature gamers who'd disagree with you on that. They're the kind of guys who plonk down 300 euro for a 28mm scale Roman/medieval church with detachable roof just because it looks good on the table. They're the kind of guys who print 500 throw-away cards in China just for a single demo game at a convention. And that's just the nutters in my game group
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gordon Blizzard
United States
Winfield
West Virginia
flag msg tools
The big problem is getting the information on a counter onto miniatures and, if you have stacking, to deal with that.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Burt
United Kingdom
Cambridge
UK
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Most tactical counter games can be converted to miniatures.
Operational and strategic games, not so much - there's just too much info on the counters, plus stacking. Doesn't really make sense to use miniatures.
But obviously you can - Axis & Allies is a strategic game which uses miniatures.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
eddy_sterckx wrote:
russ wrote:

The financial cost of using 600 miniatures, and the huge box size and shelf space to hold 600 miniatures, instead of 600 counters, would be nuts.


I know half a dozen historical miniature gamers who'd disagree with you on that. They're the kind of guys who plonk down 300 euro for a 28mm scale Roman/medieval church with detachable roof just because it looks good on the table. They're the kind of guys who print 500 throw-away cards in China just for a single demo game at a convention. And that's just the nutters in my game group

I didn't say no one would buy them; I said it would be nuts.

Sure, some people have more money and storage space (and less sense ), but most wargamers with a counter-based wargame collection would not own nearly as many of those wargames if they were mini-based. (For both financial and storage space reasons.) I sure wouldn't. Would you?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gone C. Profile
msg tools
Avatar
johnnyLikesGames wrote:
If I don't use paper counters, can't most wargames use minis instead?

Not the best wargames.



8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddy Sterckx
Belgium
Vilvoorde
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:

but most wargamers with a counter-based wargame collection would not own nearly as many of those wargames if they were mini-based.


Sure, but you'd be surprised how much money and space miniature gamers spend on their collection. I know a guy who rents not 1 but 2 garages as extra storage space. Board wargaming sure is more cheaper and compact.

One thing though : a German WWII late war miniature army is not just 1 game, it's 2 dozen, as you can re-purpose the same miniatures while using various rulesets. So the extra storage space required for another tactical WWII game is just room for a printed ruleset. Or zero space for a digital ruleset, which is quite common in that world.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin L. Kitchens
United States
Gainesville
Georgia
flag msg tools
designer
Snowflakes Melt
badge
Snowflakes Melt
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
johnnyLikesGames wrote:
If I don't use paper counters, can't most wargames use minis instead?


If you use Vassal... whistle

But here's a good step in that direction

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Bracey
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
kuhrusty wrote:
johnnyLikesGames wrote:
If I don't use paper counters, can't most wargames use minis instead?

Not the best wargames.



Though this is not a good example (of a game that cannot use minis, its an excellent example of one of the best wargames). It would be really easy to build an alternative board for Napoleon's triump as a scale mode of the battlefield, then to mount half a dozen or so miniatures on a stand with the information about the exact nature of the unit concealed behind (and use actual cannot for the fixed battery). I personally prefer the faux operations room map but it could definitely be done.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Con
Ireland
Dublin
flag msg tools
badge
Penny of king Sigtrygg II Silkbeard of Dublin
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
One practical example is Deluxe ASL, in which minis could substitute for counters. See Streets of Fire: ASL Deluxe Module 1. It didn't really catch on.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gone C. Profile
msg tools
Avatar
RobertBr wrote:
Though this is not a good example (of a game that cannot use minis, its an excellent example of one of the best wargames). It would be really easy to build an alternative board for Napoleon's triump as a scale mode of the battlefield, then to mount half a dozen or so miniatures on a stand with the information about the exact nature of the unit concealed behind (and use actual cannot for the fixed battery). I personally prefer the faux operations room map but it could definitely be done.

Uhh... what?

Maybe I'm not visualizing what you're talking about correctly, but it seems to me that the point of miniatures games is to give some visual reproduction of the battlefield, while the point of block games is to conceal information. At the point where you're using miniature cavalry to represent infantry, and miniature infantry to represent cavalry, what the heck are the miniatures doing for you!?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rory McAllister
Ireland
Derry
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
steveburt wrote:
Most tactical counter games can be converted to miniatures.
Operational and strategic games, not so much - there's just too much info on the counters, plus stacking. Doesn't really make sense to use miniatures.
But obviously you can - Axis & Allies is a strategic game which uses miniatures.


This. Most miniatures rules are designed for small-scale combat. About the biggest scale I’ve seen in miniatures rules were Craig Taylor’s “Napoleon’s Battles” and John Hill’s “Johnny Reb”. I don’t think it is a coincidence that both of these gentlemen were board wargame designers.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
eddy_sterckx wrote:
russ wrote:

but most wargamers with a counter-based wargame collection would not own nearly as many of those wargames if they were mini-based.


Sure, but you'd be surprised how much money and space miniature gamers spend on their collection. I know a guy who rents not 1 but 2 garages as extra storage space. Board wargaming sure is more cheaper and compact.

No, I wouldn't be surprised, but either way, they're doing a different hobby from what we board wargamers do.

Some people spend crazy amounts of money collecting wine bottles in a wine cellar too. But that doesn't mean that it would be financially practical and storage-space-wise practical to sell wargames with a wine bottle for each unit instead of a counter for each unit...

Quote:
One thing though : a German WWII late war miniature army is not just 1 game, it's 2 dozen, as you can re-purpose the same miniatures while using various rulesets.

Right, which is different from what board wargames do. I can't buy only the rules for Combat Commander and then use my Squad Leader or Conflict of Heroes components to play it!

When I buy a board wargame, it's a self-contained game. (Or a compatible expansion to some single specific existing game, of course.)
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin L. Kitchens
United States
Gainesville
Georgia
flag msg tools
designer
Snowflakes Melt
badge
Snowflakes Melt
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Pedro M wrote:
steveburt wrote:
Most tactical counter games can be converted to miniatures.
Operational and strategic games, not so much - there's just too much info on the counters, plus stacking. Doesn't really make sense to use miniatures.
But obviously you can - Axis & Allies is a strategic game which uses miniatures.


This. Most miniatures rules are designed for small-scale combat. About the biggest scale I’ve seen in miniatures rules were Craig Taylor’s “Napoleon’s Battles” and John Hill’s “Johnny Reb”. I don’t think it is a coincidence that both of these gentlemen were board wargame designers.


But if they don't get the scale of the figures correct, the minis are just cute playing pieces. See Axis and Allies, Memoir '44 and more...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Bracey
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
kuhrusty wrote:
RobertBr wrote:
Though this is not a good example (of a game that cannot use minis, its an excellent example of one of the best wargames). It would be really easy to build an alternative board for Napoleon's triump as a scale mode of the battlefield, then to mount half a dozen or so miniatures on a stand with the information about the exact nature of the unit concealed behind (and use actual cannot for the fixed battery). I personally prefer the faux operations room map but it could definitely be done.

Uhh... what?

Maybe I'm not visualizing what you're talking about correctly...


Yep, that.

kuhrusty wrote:

, but it seems to me that the point of miniatures games is to give some visual reproduction of the battlefield, while the point of block games is to conceal information. At the point where you're using miniature cavalry to represent infantry, and miniature infantry to represent cavalry, what the heck are the miniatures doing for you!?


I have to assume you have not played miniature games. The 'point' of miniature games is to put pretty peices on the table and/or enjoy the process of doing so, which is why terrain might be represented by felt pieces, a legion of Roman infantry by four men with shields, etc. You could easily do that with NT, I would not but you could. You cannot do that with something like East Front because stacking limits are high and the rotation of the blocks matters, but NT is concealing nothing more than a strength value and broad class.
In a similar fashion you could do that with a lot of hex and counter games that have low stacking limits and no flipping of counters by glueing a 6mm model to the centre of the counter (that might be quite fun for a popular game).
You could also take a popular miniatures game and replace the figures with cardboard counters with unit details marked on them. That would actually work very well for some popular sets like DBA or KoW.

But it is important to remember that hobbies are different and people do them for a different reason. Most miniature gamers like the time and effort that goes into making all of the pieces, like P&P boardgamers. I have a scenario game of Crecy which involves a 1:3000 scale board, 1:300 representations of the major terrain features and 30 'counters' with 1:100 figures. I've only played it once. If the point was to 'give a visual representation' I've wasted my time because none of those scales match and I could have done the same thing better with a map and counters. In at least one case I have a starship combat game originally designed as a miniatures game which I converted to counters because I like the look and play better that way.

Different people's mileage varies and I can will imagine a NT player who is not me appreciating little model pieces - or lots of other cases where people might prefer a different aesthetic than the one the designer/publisher went with. In a few cases games are obviously better suited to one (Necromunda with counters would be odd; East Front with miniatures would be hard) but most games (including NT could convert between those fairly easily.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.