Booker Hooker
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Are they the same thing? Which is Heroscape? How about Space Hulk, Dust Tactics, or Battleship Galaxies?
 
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Brad Miller
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Skirmish game, in my mind, involves individual figures. I would call all of these Skirmish.

Not sure exactly what I would consider "squad-based". Perhaps that would be, lightbulb moment, where the squad is the base individual unit. So, Combat Commander would be squad based. The "single unit" is a squad, not an individual unit figure.
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Aaron Morgan
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Skirmish-based: each figure is an independently-functioning unit, and can be assigned its own unique actions each turn.

Squad-based: units are made up of several individual figures, with orders assigned to the group as a whole.

Scratches wrote:
Are they the same thing? Which is Heroscape? How about Space Hulk, Dust Tactics, or Battleship Galaxies?


Heroscape has some units that are a single figure, some that are made up of several figures, and some that act as leaders or who can provide benefits to certain nearby units. I'd still call it skirmish-based, though, as the figures in multiple-figure units operate independently.

Space Hulk is also skirmish-based, IMO - each Marine is given orders individually. Genestealers come onto the board in small groups, but they aren't treated as a combined squad once they start moving and fighting.

I've not played the other two games, but it appears that Dust functions similarly to Heroscape as described above, and Battleship may as well with its fighter squadrons.
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Charles Phillips
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Squad based: Tide of Iron, Ambush Alley

I agree with the previous. Skirmish games tend to function more on individual figures, which are generally less coherent than a squad.
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Brian McCormick
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When I hear "squad based", I think videogames.

When I hear "skirmish", I think boardgames.

But in my mind, they refer to the same thing: a ground-level game where you command a small group of individually-flavored (sometimes not) fighters.
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Booker Hooker
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Okay, that makes total sense. Would ya'll consider Blood Bowl, Grind, and Battleball to be skirmish games?
 
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Aaron Morgan
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Scratches wrote:
Okay, that makes total sense. Would ya'll consider Blood Bowl, Grind, and Battleball to be skirmish games?


Bringing sports-themed games blurs the line a little, but I'd say yes on Blood Bowl, as the combat and maneuvering of players is as important (if not moreso) than moving the ball.

No to Battleball - it's more football and less combat than BB.

I've not played Grind, but it seems close enough to BB to call it a skirmish game.
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Mike Jones
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Scratches wrote:
Okay, that makes total sense. Would ya'll consider Blood Bowl, Grind, and Battleball to be skirmish games?


I don't know about Grind, but the other two would be considered 'skirmish' to a large extent.

When I hear these terms though, I normally think of them as referring to miniature gaming.

In miniature gaming, there are basically two types of systems. Ones like Warzone (first edition), VOR: The Maelstrom and to a large extent Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition where each figure is resolved individually. Conversely systems like Void 1.1, Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 (fifth edition) where you move 'units' around. While there maybe some 'large' units that are single figures, the system is written around the concept of units taking 'actions' instead of individual models.

I little off topic I think but... Unfortunately, like many things terms can be used in different meanings depending on context. Skirmish troops in some systems refer to how they act in cohesion to each other indifferent to if the system is individual based or unit based. Either system may have varying levels of 'command' structure. That structure maybe be very structured where they must stay in 'formation' or less structured where they must stay within x distance to a leader or each other. In this context, 'Skirmish' is often used to denote a troops that can ignore some or all 'command' rules.
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William Boykin
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The terms are descriptions of the unit scale.

A skirmish game is a 1:1 figure scale, where the base maneuver element is ONE figure. Usually, this means that as a player you're commanding several figures, making you a Squad or Platoon leader. Usually, these are miniature games, but sometimes they are board games. Space Hulk, Man to Man, Force on Force- these are all 'skirmish' level games.

(Games where you control only ONE figure, which is ONE person, are usually considered Role Playing Games).

A squad based game is one where you usually have 1:1 figure scale (1 model is one 1 guy), but sometimes 1:2 or 1:5. The base maneuver element is therefore either a fireteam (4-6 guys), or a squad (2-3 fireteams). This means that the player is anything from a Squad leader or a platoon commander (Combat Commander: Europe, Advanced Squad Leader), a Company Commander (Flames of War), or even a Battallion commander (BattleGroup: PanzerGrenadier from Partizan Press).

Games where the base or counter represents a platoon are (wait for it!!!) Platoon Level games. The Panzer Leader series, the Eisenbach Gap games, Cold War Commander, Command Decision, and the Avalanche Press Panzergrenadier games are like this. In these games, you're commanding a Battallion up to a Brigade at the very most.

These three scales are definitely the most 'tactical' of wargames, in that they are predominantly about WEAPONS- specific, individual weapon systems. When you move up a scale, to where a counter is a Company, the focus moves to doctrine- the INTERACTION of different weapons by a specific formation. Thus, a German Armour company isn't all tanks- it gets its strength based on the interaction of its Panzers AND its Motorized/Mechanized infantry, mortar support, and so on. This means that the focus of the game moves from the Tactical/Grand Tactical and goes up to the more 'Operational' scale of modelling battles.

Games that focus upon entire wars are considered 'Strategic' level games.

Darilian
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Agree largely with EitherOrlok and Windopaene and Darilian.

To expand minutely upon what Mike Jones wrote, The Lord of All Things Miniature, Except the Prices, to Whom We All Pay Great Homage, and Even Greater Retail Markup, has Necromunda/Mordheim and WH40K/WFB as their SF/fantasy skirmish games and squad based games respectively. In the former there might be ten figures per side, each one an individual unit that goes where it pleases. In the latter each unit might be ten figures itself which move together and attack the same target.

I wouldn't call Battleship Galaxies a squad game on the basis of it being naval in origin, maybe a squadron game but not a squad game. But, since the ships move independently it's a skirmish.

This is all pretty artificial though as, without too much regard for its historical usage, skirmish now means a small scale engagement (as opposed to an open order harasser). A squad based game could easily represent what would nowadays be termed a skirmish engagement. It might be better to talk of squad based skirmish games and individual based skirmish games but I don't think that's going to be done.
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