I am a big fan of having all sorts of stuff on the table that is odd, but that has a function. I have some limbers in 3mm for ACW that I am just starting.
Now, most of my gaming is modern+ and in skirmish scales, so small things like where carts are, if there is an ambulance, etc, are actual major concerns as far as effect and cover go, as well as good scenario fodder.
Here are some examples of “odd” things I have put on the table that made for great scenarios:
- after a big battle in NWE a small German unit attempts to secure a couple of US ambulances in order to use their medical supplies and transport ability, must take them intact.
- A US (or brit) patrol hear the Germans attempting to recover a pair of tanks (either the feared tigers or common PnzIV) using retriever tanks and must disrupt and hopefully stop their efforts with meager AT and a whole lot of guts.
- A lost Brit patrol finds itself being driven back their lines by an armored advance. Only problem is a German kitchen unit is in their path and they must fight through it and the unit that it is feeding before the armor catches up to them (this one was messy and fun, with troops scattered all over the place, guys from both sides surrendering, and one dude making off with a wagon full of potatos!)
- Half squad of troops hear about the fantastic wine cellar in a nearby farmhouse and set out foraging. They have a motorcycle and sidecar and hope to grab the local’s donkey and cart to haul the spoils. Problem is that some enemy are taking a rest scattered through the area, including a machinegun team in the second story of the house… (this too was a hoot!)
Also did one that was the start of a “kelly’s heroes” sort of game where an OSS team had to hijack a german tank off of a captured US transporter to use in their attempt to secure some special items being held in a town hall nearby that were in danger of being evacuated by the enemy. Also also did one where some US Rangers came across a pretty large enemy howitzer battery and their motor transport. As the guns were to well protected they decided to wreck the trucks so the guns couldn’t get away when friendly armor pushed forwards.
Now, I also do a lot of games where civilians are involved, usually in Vietnam games or sci-fi. Vietnam is especially good for this because troops could be doing a cordon-and-search, or even just a normal patrol and have to keep an eye out for rice farmers suddenly turning into snipers and such. Having a lambreta full of prostitutes show up at the wounded collection point in a battle can also be a hoot. And fleeing civies can indeed cause chaos and clog roads that need to be used, cause some ROE problems and the like.
And to push this even further, my guys are planning on doing a huge mech game in 28mm. Mechs, tanks, helicopters, infantry, ambulances, trash trucks…. yup, trash trucks. As a big convention game it will be set up to entertain and there are always those people that want to do goofy or out of the ordinary things so we give them an outlet. In fact, the game will actually be set up so that it is more about these people (trash trucks, news crews, competing case-evac companies, the paper boy, hotdog seller, drug dealers) than the actual mech on mech combat. War is confusing, and just because there is a fight going on doesn’t mean that other people are going to put their lives on hold and stand aside… Should be ridiculously fun!
So TDLR: ya, I use unusual things/units in my games.
"I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."