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Subject: Ground/figure scale in miniature rules rss

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As someone who primarily plays board games, but occasionally dabbles in miniatures, I'm wondering if other people are bothered about the issue of ground and figure scale in miniatures games.

In board wargames, the time, unit and map scale are almost always explicitly defined: 1 hex = 100 yards, each strength point = 100 men, 1 turn = 20 minutes. So looking at, say, Wellington's Victory, I can calculate the distance between Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte by counting the hexes, I can see that hex 2904 contains a French infantry regiment with a strength of 600 men, and after playing three turns I know that one hour of historical time has passed.

Yes, I know that these numbers are fudged more often than not, but that sense of definite scale is important in sustaining my willing suspension of disbelief.

With most miniatures rules, it's very, very different. Ground and time scales are generally not defined, or are stated as being "very approximate". Regarding figure scale and basing, it seems that the main consideration is to not require players to rebase their figures, so I'm reading things like "any basing system will do" or "we use X" by X", but any of the standard base sizes will work."

The problem I have with this is that military formations do in fact take up a specific amount of ground, and if this is not addressed in the game, everything gets thrown out of sync. This is especially true if you want to play out a scenario from an actual battle. The number of battalions that could be deployed between point A and point B on an historic battlefield can be calculated quite precisely, and if you can’t physically place these battalions between point A and point B on the game table because your figure bases are too big, it becomes impossible to represent the battle with any semblance of accuracy.

Almost all the miniatures rules I’ve read have pointed out that some scale distortion is inevitable, especially when it comes to unit depths, because the space taken up by a lead figure is completely out of proportion to actual unit depths – the depth of a an infantry battalion deployed in line would be measured in millimetres in most tactical games, if the base's depth was proportional to its length. So this:



Actually represents something much more like this:



Of course, this means that the distance between Battalion B, deployed in line immediately behind Battalion A, will be dictated by the physical space taken up by Battalion A’s bases – which are wildly out of proportion to both the ground scale and Battalion A’s frontage. So this:



Actually represents this:



These distortions add up quickly on a crowded battlefield.

The rules that I’m playing with now, Lasalle, address at least some of these issues by using base width as the standard of measurement: formations, movement, and firing ranges are all given in base widths. This reduces the distortion somewhat by imposing consistency in unit frontages, movement rates and firing ranges. Unfortunately, the problem of base depth distortion remains, so unit deployments – say, a brigade deployed in attack columns – cannot be replicated accurately on the table, since the bases take up many times the space of their historical counterparts, even if the frontage is correct.

I’m less troubled by the question of figure scale (1 figure = 20 men, or 1 base = 100 men), if only because I don’t actually play with miniatures. I use paper counters instead of figures (as I said, I’m mainly a board gamer, and only make the occasional casual foray into miniatures):


I painted up a couple of corps while I watched the Simpsons

I have to admit though that I am put off by the sight of miniatures whose height, if consistent with the ground scale, would mean that the battle was being fought by an army of giants. For me, this destroys my perception of distance and range (“Wait! Those guys can only fire six inches? But that’s like, what? Twenty feet? Oh, that’s actually 120 yards? My bad.”), and the willing suspension of disbelief goes out the window.


Original photo by user crusher100

I think maybe this issue wouldn’t bother me nearly so much if some of the rule sets I’ve looked at weren’t so incredibly detailed and complex. I don’t see the point, if the rules don’t take into account the physical realities of time and space on the battlefields they’re trying to represent, in expending so much energy on the intricacies of command and control, manoeuvring and changing formation .

I’d be interested in hearing from some dedicated miniatures players. Do these issues bother you at all? Am I approaching this wrong? The idea of waging battle unfettered by hexagons does have its appeal, but in the end I always give up and go back to map and counters. What am I missing?

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Charles Vasey
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I think if you use cardboard, you can actually have height and depth matching the correct scale. Though it'll detract some of the visual appeal, one of the reasons I occasionally dabble with miniatures.
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Edmund Hon
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Currently I'm working on my on set of simple Napoleonic rules for 28mm figures, 1:30 figure:men ratio, individual figure based, battalion/squadron sized units. There is a reason why I name it "JAETPFA", because that's what it is: "Just An Excuse To Push Figures Around". When it comes to miniatures games on pre-20th century warfare, I prefer the rules to be simple. I just want a good game (emphasis on the game part) with the satisfaction of seeing my army in action on the table. If I want a more accurate/detailed simulation of Napoleonic warfare, I'll just play a La Bataille series game.
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Yes, at some point in all my abortive ventures into miniatures, that discrepancy between ground scale and figure scale has bothered me.

At 1:1 skirmish level, you can get the two scales to match. And I once embarked on a project to create such a game, partly because I liked that scale matching. (But I got overwhelmed with detail and abandoned that project too.)

Another thing you can do is go for 6mm or 2mm figures. But to my mind, you're almost out of miniatures altogether then and might as well stick to board wargames. (Some miniaturists have worked miracles with those tiny figures, though, much to my surprise. I wouldn't try it.)

After all these off-and-on failed attempts of mine over the years, I've concluded that to be a miniatures wargamer you have to love the visual display and not worry too much about ground scale and such.
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Edmund Hon
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Don't forget that with the phrase "Miniature Wargames", the word "Miniatures" comes first, the wargame comes second. Myself - and probably the same with most miniatures gamers - enjoys building and painting the army first, and then exclaim "Hey, you mean I get to do something with my army after it is done? What a bonus!" If you look at the building and painting as a bothersome chore that needs to be done, then you might as well not start in the endeavor. Of course, you can always play with unpainted figures.
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I saw a thread on this subject recently on TMP. I bet they have threads on the subject frequently, considering how strongly it seems like many miniature gamers feel about this (one way or the other).

Obviously it is about cost of figures and available table size. And that many insists on using huge figures like 28 mm.

For those reasons I'm leaning towards investing in some (more) 2mm minis. At scale 1:900 you can actually get a rather big battle on a small table, and you can have something at least close to 1:1 figure scale (might cheat and have fewer, but understrength units was always quite common anyway).
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Carl Marl
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I've always felt that playing miniatures rules with paper counters combines the worst of both worlds, all the complications of miniatures rules and none of the visual appeal. The main appeal of miniatures is aesthetic. If the sight of well painted figures bothers you because the scale doesn't look right, then miniatures are not for you, I guess.
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The best suggestion I can make is to use tiny (say 6mm) figures.
It still isn't likely to be a perfect representation, but comes
a lot closer. You can also build a larger army cheaply.
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Edmund Hon
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pelni wrote:
For those reasons I'm leaning towards investing in some (more) 2mm minis. At scale 1:900 you can actually get a rather big battle on a small table, and you can have something at least close to 1:1 figure scale


Haha I have 1:6000 ship models for both the Russian and Japanese fleet in the Russo-Japanese War. When I finish I can game the Battle of Tsushima with the same ground scale as figure scale. Historically the first hit in that battle (on the Mikasa) was scored at a range of 7000 meters, which is 1.167 meters (3.8 feet) in 1:6000 scale - just within the area covered by my 6'x4' table.

calandale wrote:
The best suggestion I can make is to use tiny (say 6mm) figures.
It still isn't likely to be a perfect representation, but comes
a lot closer. You can also build a larger army cheaply.


Those are the very reason for the increasing popularity with 6mm and 2mm figures, as it lessens the distortion between figure and ground scale.
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Taskforce 58 wrote:
Don't forget that with the phrase "Miniature Wargames", the word "Miniatures" comes first, the wargame comes second. Myself - and probably the same with most miniatures gamers - enjoys building and painting the army first, and then exclaim "Hey, you mean I get to do something with my army after it is done? What a bonus!" If you look at the building and painting as a bothersome chore that needs to be done, then you might as well not start in the endeavor. Of course, you can always play with unpainted figures.


What surprises me with most minis games I see photos of is the amount of time put into making nicely painted minis, but then the terrain looks very bad (like... strongly colored felt in different colors bad, plus a few houses at the wrong scale). And quite frequently people build up so much terrain on the bases, like little gardens moving around the battlefield, soldiers rolling big boulders in front of them. Seems like the actual paint on the minis is the only thing most (not all!) enjoy really?

I don't see painting as bothersome chore, as much as something I just don't have time for really. I did buy some packs of 15mm minis 2 years ago, then some 2mm after that, but only painted up about 10 of the 2mm ones, still not based, plus some 2mm terrain. I do look forward to the day/year I can play. Seems like a new version of Square Bashing 1914-1918 will be published before I get to try the one I bought.
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fambans wrote:
I've always felt that playing miniatures rules with paper counters combines the worst of both worlds, all the complications of miniatures rules and none of the visual appeal. The main appeal of miniatures is aesthetic. If the sight of well painted figures bothers you because the scale doesn't look right, then miniatures are not for you, I guess.

That's exactly what I concluded after trying De Bellis Antiquitatis with foam-board elements instead of miniatures. The game worked, and my imagination could fill in some of what was missing, but without actual miniatures the game was flat--and more trouble than it was worth.

I started as a board wargamer and tried to get into miniatures. It took years for me to realize that all I had ever wanted was a nice set of game pieces--so that my wargame would look more like a fine chess set.* Meanwhile, miniatures wargamers wanted something entirely different--a visual effect that I didn't care about and certainly wasn't willing to work at.


*Actually, there's one other thing I always liked about miniatures: a single set of rules that could be used for limitless scenarios. Tactical board wargames with lots of scenarios and a DYO system fill that bill for me.
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While most miniatures systems involve some sort of spatial distortion as a compromise allowing battle action to be represented with figures large enough to be seen and enjoyed, such distortion is more often in the realm of height and depth than frontage.

Given the all-seeing perspective of gamers whether playing miniatures OR boardgames--in most systems the entire battlefield array, or campaign region, are fully visible--I'd say that there is already a significant distortion in the presentation of visual information no matter which medium is used for the wargame (board or miniatures).

Relative height is usually distorted significantly for the same of recognition, particularly in the case of figures, structures, and trees (relative terrain height is generally distorted to a far lesser degree than structural or figure height), but line-of-sight rules generally cancel out such distortion in the actual impact of visual obstacled no matter how the obstacles are represented.

Depth is often problematic, particularly for aesthetes who prefer multi-rank units in their musket-era armies, and that's just something miniatures gamers usually live with.

However, some systems--"Napoleon's Battles" comes to mind--minimize both frontal and depth distortion by shifting the unit scale to Brigades, in which case a based unit represents not only the battalions or squadrons within that unit, but the unit's "deployment area" generally--the entire "ground footprint" of that brigade in both frontage and depth, whether battalions or squadrons within that brigade are deployed in line or tactical columns.

Therefore while players will see a "block" of Infantry, for example, four to a stand (two by two) and four to eight stands, generally, to a Brigade, given the ground scale of the battlefield, that brigade will occupy its historical volume both frontally and in terms of depth.

It may look like a phalanx when in column, but it really isn't representing a solid block of soldiers.

Tactical games necessarily reduce relative distance most of the time; few miniatures gamers own a gymnasium. This is a compromise in favor of practicality. Visually, a 20th-century tactical game will be a compromise in any case: one tank miniature may represent a single vehicle, or two-three vehicles, or a full platoon, or even a company. I've seen many miniatures games in which solid lines of tanks advance bogie wheel-to-bogie wheel in order to represent the appropriate frontage for armor in the attack. It looks a bit silly sometimes, but the tanks are fun to look at, gaps appear in such lines fast enough, and the players enjoy themselves. Good enough for me!

The plethora of scales available to miniatures gamers these days helps reduce visual distortion for those who strongly dislike it. I've seen everything from 1/6 scale (GI Joe size) tanks, vehicles and figures (I'll never forget the garter belt-and-stockings-garbed Barbie on the second floor of a ruined building in a played-on-the-floor WW II game at "Fall In" in Gettysburg some years ago; not sure what role she played in the scenario) through 1/35 scale (54mm) and 1/48 scale down to 1/72, 1/76, 1/87, 15mm (approx. 1:115), 12mm (1/144), 10mm (1/160), 6 mm (1/285) down to about 2 mm (1/600 or so).

I've seen people play some of these with individual vehicles and soldiers, others with stands basing a four or five-tank platoon or an infantry squad, and everything in-between.

Personally, given my ageing eyes, I've found that 15mm is a nice scale for twentieth-century and modern gaming; it's big enough that I can recognize which AFV is which, and small enough that range distortion is reduced to a level my brain will process as believable. Another compromise: visibility vs. visualization.

The aesthetics of miniatures will always appeal to me, just as the easy access to play appeals to me in boardgames (nothing to paint or scratchbuild first), and as far as I'm concerned, both forms of wargame have many compromises both in physical presentation and in simulation abstraction. Especially when one considers that a cardboard counter representing an armored brigade, while it may feature a NATO armor symbol or a nifty tank silhouette, almost always contains more infantry and motorized vehicles than it does the tank featured on the game piece.

For me the bottom line is to play something that's fun to look at and fun to spend time doing from my particular "gaming value set." One nice thing about the hobby is that there are so many options suitable to individuals' tastes.
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zuludawn wrote:
Almost all the miniatures rules I’ve read have pointed out that some scale distortion is inevitable, especially when it comes to unit depths, because the space taken up by a lead figure is completely out of proportion to actual unit depths – the depth of a an infantry battalion deployed in line would be measured in millimetres in most tactical games, if the base's depth was proportional to its length. So this:



Actually represents something much more like this:



The closest you'll come to the above representation is to use 2mm scale miniatures, which are cast in blocks of 1, 2, or more ranks. At 1/800 scale, this equals 1" = 20-25 yds. Here's a picture of some light cavalry stands from Irregular Miniatures site, who at the moment are the only people making figures in this scale. 1/600 (about 3mm) is becoming more popular.



and here is a view of an army:

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I'm a fairly avid miniatures gamer and it's something we discuss a lot.

I guess it's a tradeoff- we love nice looking games, but we are willing to accept some abstraction. When you get to larger scales (i.e. 25-28mm) there is realistically no way you can have accurate scale distances- you'd have to play in the parking lot. Obviously, this gets worse as you get to more modern conflicts.

Others disagree, but I approach miniatures gaming as just gaming. I get to play a fun game, and I get to move cool models around the table. I accept that it is not an accurate simulation of war. I love building models and there is nothing quite like playing with a well crafted army on beautiful terrain.

I'm desperately trying to convert my buddies to true wargamers, but they are in love with their models. In my experience, most wargamers and miniatures wargamers get into their hobbies for different reasons. I happen to like both, but I think I'm in the minority.
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pelni wrote:


What surprises me with most minis games I see photos of is the amount of time put into making nicely painted minis, but then the terrain looks very bad (like... strongly colored felt in different colors bad, plus a few houses at the wrong scale).


This is what always killed me about that hobby. I've played with one
person, who had nice enough terrain, but I don't think I've seen
another set up that I considered adequate.

Quote:
I don't see painting as bothersome chore, as much as something I just don't have time for really. I did buy some packs of 15mm minis 2 years ago, then some 2mm after that, but only painted up about 10 of the 2mm ones, still not based, plus some 2mm terrain. I do look forward to the day/year I can play. Seems like a new version of Square Bashing 1914-1918 will be published before I get to try the one I bought.


I'd be willing to just put a little bit of color onto the 2mm -
like spray paint, and assembly-line one or two details on each.
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Yes, everytime the urge to get into miniature wargaming comes up in me this kind of bothers me.

I am more concerned with getting a credible visual representation of the forces involved, but your thoughts obviously come into this. Four 20mm Figures representing hundreds or thousands of men and towering over the battlefield like lumbering giants just doesn´t cut it for me, no matter how pretty the miniatures are.

I guess that´s why I´m always more drawn to either skirmish games where the figure/unit scale is 1:1 or to using the smaller scale miniatures mentioned above.
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oldsin wrote:
Four 20mm Figures representing hundreds or thousands of men and towering over the battlefield like lumbering giants just doesn´t cut it for me, no matter how pretty the miniatures are.


A rectangular box with two diagonal lines in the shape of an X represents that hundreds and thousands of men so much better. whistle

Just kidding there, I understand your point, even though I am able to wrap my head around the fact that 1 figure = 30 men.

The funny thing is, for games on WW2 and on, I absolutely hate using one tank model to represent a whole platoon, which is the scale used by a lot of rulesets.. When it comes to tanks I want 1:1. I guess that's why the new Oddzial Osmy line of 1:600 models are so appealing to me now, as I can actually fit a platoon worth of tank models in a 2" square base.
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In board wargaming we have a counter which represents a unit. It never feels like it is the actual company, brigade etc but merely a representation of that company brigade etc. We accept that so it is never a problem that a unit which might represent a squad actually covers an area of 50 metres by 50 metres. We also do not mind when another unit is placed atop of the original unit. The counter is always a representation of the unit.

In figure gaming we place a physical unit onto the map so that a company is always larger than a platoon which is always larger than a squad etc. We place 3 dimensional terrain and have figures move on this terrain suspending the belief that we are using figures to represent a unit but instead these figures are the actual units involved. When we then come across something which shatters this belief it feels wrong and out of place. Take a Churchill tank with flamethrowing equipment (Crocodile) the range might well be shorter than the model tank on the map. A hill between 2 units may obscure LOS yet it can be seen that each unit can physically see each other. Try placing several units into a building, that is if you can get inside the building in the first place.

Scale is one negative in figure gaming for me but it is something I can accept most of the time. My biggest problem with figures is "creep" where a figure is moved because of measuring sticks or to move terrain etc. Imagine firing on an enemy unit and being just in range to find when he fires back you are just out of range because the figure is placed slightly further away by a cm or so. Another problem for me is vague LOS the corner of that building is half blocking the gun team or is it a quarter blocking, it doesn't really matter because the rules don't allow for such vagueness anyway.

I found the best figure gaming was either 20 mm man to man or 1:300th WW2 and realising now that these are akin to the models representing the units rather than them being the actual units. After 20+ years of figure gaming I realised that what I really wanted was a clean cut rule system with no vague situations. Board gaming has this and all in one package.
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zuludawn wrote:
I’d be interested in hearing from some dedicated miniatures players. Do these issues bother you at all? Am I approaching this wrong? The idea of waging battle unfettered by hexagons does have its appeal, but in the end I always give up and go back to map and counters. What am I missing?


Miniatures games are becoming more sophisticated than they once were, but to me are still stuck in tropes of rules sets created in decades past. As for the abstractions, I have simply learned to accept them when I am at someone else's table. I just play. If the game devolves into arguments or confusion over what is happening, I simply wont play it again.

I think there are solutions to the problems you describe, but good luck inserting them into a set. There's a real hive-mind among miniatures players and how things are "supposed to look."

For example, you could have your beautifully painted units set aside in holding-boxes around the edge of the table and playing area. This is to display the modeler's prowess and to show the current status and/or formation of the unit. Here, you show the unit in column, line, or square, and any other little models or chits that show disorder, low ammunition/supply, the presence of Fearless Leader, or what have you. (On reflection, the ideal application for this may be naval games from the Dreadnought Age and forward.)

But on the table—in the actual play-area—you might have large counters or smaller-scale proxies (10mm, 6mm, or even smaller miniatures) of the units around the table that are precisely to scale to the landscape around them. You would have tiny buildings and trees and fences and the like and everything would be as you see it. Now you can have those closely-formed units and the basing depth or the scale of the terrain would not be much of a consideration.

Another alternative that works is to play only those games where ground scale and figure match. (Skirmish or role-playing games, usually. Some naval games.) Or to play games where ground and figure scale really don't matter. (Space or aerial combat games. Sometimes naval games.)

There are some games, "Napoleons Battles" and "Volley and Bayonet", where units are really just a large base and the figures are arranged in some tableau or diorama. Now the unit is just a big, 3-D counter on an unregulated game board. Those may suit.

The older I get, the more I just want to play miniatures games on a hex-field—or supersize a favorite board game into a miniatures spectacle on a hex-grid. On a hex-grid, movement, ranges, and the placement of terrain and units are clearly defined. A lot of argument and debate suddenly goes away (and therefore "the fun" for a sub-set of miniatures players). Games are faster and smoother. The abstract elements are easier to understand. And the spectacle remains as a centerpiece of the game.
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Good thread. Yes, much discussion of ground (and time) scale in places like the TMP forums. This seems to be more of a challenge for black powder era, and, to a lesser extent, naval games. Not much discussion of ground (and time) scale in places like Lead Adventures Forums, which are more about the craft aspects. Everything involved in wargames, cardboard and miniatures, involves some compromises to deal with distance and time scales. There is a lot of emphasis now on the chaotic aspects of the battlefield, so that actions and movements don't always represent things that are happening in a strict timeline. That does rationalize away some of the issues with ground and time scales.

If you want a black powder period army to look like it would in a birds eye view of a battlefield, then you have to use the smaller figures in 2mm, 3mm, 6mm or 10mm sizes. If you want to celebrate the fabulous uniforms, with all their colorful details, then you have to use larger figures, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm, 28mm, or even bigger than that. Many painters are older, treating miniatures as a relaxing sedate hobby for their declining years, and many suffer from poorer eyesight. If they want to paint a detailed figure with some character, they may find it hard to do so with figure sizes less than 25mm. With larger figures depicting the linear black powder armies it can be better to use a single line of figures rather than a double line. But that's a matter of taste, in a hobby that is all about the aethetics.

I think miniatures players are usually more concerned about the craft. And quality terrain is getting much more attention world wide due to wonderful sites like the Lead Adventures Forums. But there are a lot of miniatures players who put little effort into the terrain. There is a philosophical split in the miniatures hobby on that point. It's the "quasi-diorama" people vs the "plain Jane terrain" people.

I think the interesting trend is that many of the miniatures painters today are getting away from the massed armies and are focussing on very small scale action. Much of this is "skirmish" level, with small groups of figures representing individual people, basically squads and fire teams. But some of this is going even lower, to the Pulp heroic type action in which there are less than 10 figures on a side. For example, the scene in The Three Musketeers in which D'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis gather for a set of duels against D'Artagnan, only to have the group set upon by 6 to 10 of Cardinal Richelieu's Guard would be a game in itself now. Similar games can involve a few gunfighters in the Old West, or a few Samurai, or a few characters in a Pulp adventure setting such as those in the Indiana Jones movies. More work is put into the terrain for these games because the game is supposed to look (and play) like a movie scene. This, to me, seems like the most important current trend, and it is illustrated best on the Lead Adventures Forums.

The bottom line is this: as with marriage, if you have any doubts about whether you should get into miniatures, DON'T! Miniatures and their associated terrain pieces take up a lot of space and time and money. You have to really enjoy them enough to want to acquire and store the miniatures and the terrain, regardless of whether or not you want to do the painting and terrain building yourself. Ground Scale is NOT the issue. The issue is whether or not you love little toy soldiers, tanks, planes, ships, creatures, buildings, etc., enough to pay the time/space/money cost to collect and use them. It's about grown ups being kids with more expensive toys.
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starkeyboy
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Than you everyone for these posts. I don't mean to derail the topic, but as someone looking to learn miniatures (and before we get off on the tangent of marriage), would it be possible for someone to direct me to a post (here TMP or the etherweb) where I can learn just what on earth you all are talking about?

Thanks, Scott.
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Enrico Viglino
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Warren Bruhn wrote:


If you want a black powder period army to look like it would in a birds eye view of a battlefield, then you have to use the smaller figures in 2mm, 3mm, 6mm or 10mm sizes. If you want to celebrate the fabulous uniforms, with all their colorful details, then you have to use larger figures, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm, 28mm, or even bigger than that. Many painters are older, treating miniatures as a relaxing sedate hobby for their declining years, and many suffer from poorer eyesight. If they want to paint a detailed figure with some character, they may find it hard to do so with figure sizes less than 25mm. With larger figures depicting the linear black powder armies it can be better to use a single line of figures rather than a double line. But that's a matter of taste, in a hobby that is all about the aethetics.


A couple of points with the few historical minis gamers I've been around.

- They're no where as interested in getting the details all right;
far more into getting quantity painted.

- I think they still want to really SEE the figures on the field
more than they care about scale; and far more than they care
about terrain.

- There's a tactile joy to moving stands of figures around,
much as there is with counters on a board. If all we wanted
were realistic views, and good models, computer sims would
be the was to go - and there would be better, more realistic
ones available.

- A lot of minis gamers have played board wargames - and they
seem to have the complaint about 'all them damned little counters'
I don't think smaller minis would please them for this.


Now, I've certainly met exceptions. The only guy I knew who
used primarily smaller (6mm) minis, was a huge fan of WiF
and EiA. The only one who had terrific terrain was primarily
into an odd example - focusing on 30 Years War, using Newburyport
Rules; his minis were among the best I've seen too - though
he didn't worry too much about scale. But by and large, they've
been into simplified systems (or cut down versions of more
complex ones); they've been gamers who had a nostalgia for the
old days when AH was king (many knew about SPI, but viewed it
with derision - and felt the boardgame side of the hobby had
strayed to unplayably complex games with inferior components).
In short, they strike me as having a lot in common with the
lighter side of the board wargamers I see here - but had left
the board side during a period when games which appealed to
them were not being produced; I wouldn't be shocked if they'd
returned to enjoying some of the more modern board designs
like Combat Commander.

Hmm...more meandering unfocused stuff from me. Ah well.

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I am a devoted miniature gamer and I agree that ground scale was the basis of a lot of discussion...after all for other than skirmish gaming basing your figures is a major investment in time and material. However, I see that the trend today is more emphasis on the gameplay aspect. Yes I struggled through the various editions of WRG Ancients (up to the 6th edition). But then along came Armati which introduced the concept of Unit Casualaties vs element removal. Warhammer Ancients abstracted ground scale even further but added the concept of characters into into unit based historical ancient gaming. Rick Priestly and Jervis Johnson extended this approach further in Black Powder (for horse and musket/rifle) and Hail Caesar for ancients where ground scale and movement is abstracted in favor of enjoyable gameplay. I personally see a parallel in this evolution of miniature gaming rules to historical board war gaming. Technical heavy games like the old SPI line and some classic AH games like Tobruk look nothing like today's generation of board war games using innovative new systems like A Few Acres of Snow.
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Honestly, I think reach determines how big a table you can use, which determines the size of your battle field ,which then relates to how big the battle is that can be gamed, which in turn tells you how many miniatures you can use and still engage in ranged combat that relates to the setting being gamed and by the time you buy as many miniatures as needed to look convincing as armies on said table and paint and finish them; you usually run out of money for equally appealing scenery. Or you can do skirmishes.
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