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if I’m playing Star Fleet Battles (though it’s been a decade or so) or Silent Death, say, no one expects the ‘ground scale’ for a space ship to be realistic, do they?

I’m stating the obvious, but spacecraft combat in Star Trek and the various films, TV shows and video games that inspired Silent Death is hardly realistic, especially in regard to range. Spaceships close to a scant few kilometers of each other, and fighter craft to a few dozen meters, before weapons go hot. It’s not realistic, but it doesn’t have to be because it looks good (admittedly in a childish “pew pew” kind of way, but that’s a large part of the attraction of space combat games anyway), and it has become an established, appreciated convention of “visually presented” sci-fi.

So if I was to play a game of Full Thrust or Starmada on a 4′ X 4′ table with 1/3000 spaceships like those from Brigade Models (for instance), there’s nothing misrepresentative of the way it’s done in the fiction I’m seeking to emulate to define “ground”/space/table scale and model scale as being the same.

It doesn’t suit all space combat fiction, of course, but it works for much of it. If – if – I’m seeking to emulate a more hard sci-fi setting, then I’ll accept a divergence in table scale and model scale. But hard sci-fi miniatures gaming is mostly a deception anyway, so I don’t see that as a primary objective.