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    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    In some of the 1980s issues of Miniature Wargames, there were a few scenarios for quite big WW2 battles: Arras, Kasserine, Kustrin (there may have been a Cold War Gone Hot affair too).  These involved a few divisions per side, over areas with maps covering c.25 8’x6′ tables.  The forces involved were done on a 1:1 level with the WRG 1925-1950 rules.  The author was called David Harrison. They looked absolutely fascinating to my pre-teen self, wondering how much it would all cost to get all the kit!

    But looking back, I don’t understand how these games/campaigns were actually meant to be played, in terms of the mechanics of what is on which table when?  For example, if action was happening simultaneously on tables A1 and A2, for how long would the battle on A1 be allowed to last before switching to A2?  Or if the battle was allowed to continue, would there be a magical forcefield to isolate it from further intervention until complete – possible, but rather against the spirit of the design.  Anyway, any memories of these gratefully received.

    Avatar photoMartinR

    I remember the Kustrin scenario.

    Ive played a few multi table big games, albeit with Megablitz or Divcom, not WRG! Turn coordination was mainly by the lead umpire shouting out when the turn was due to end. If you ran out of time, tough.

    The main issue with separate tables is moving stuff between them, it works better if you have strictly delineated unit boundaries.

    The more senior commanders also won’t be pushing toys either, but ensuring their subordinates move along at a reasonable pace and maintain the aim.

    Pretty standard Mega game chaos really!

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoDan Kennedy

    I remember those!

    I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how you were meant to coordinate forces depicted at that scale and those turn lengths (bounds? what did that mean?!) over 25 (!) tables.

    There was indeed a WW3 scenario involving Soviet airborne forces seizing a Hamburg airport and it being a race for Brits/WG forces to destroy them before the tank division arrived.

    Not gonna lie, I’d still love to play it. It was an major inspiration for a lot of home brew scenarios.

    But yeah, I was never convinced of the feasibility of the whole enterprise.

    Avatar photoirishserb

    I remember those, after reading your post, I looked back through at stack of old mags that I had handy, but none of those issues were in there.  I did have a blast going through them though.

    Anyway, I’ve seen a few of these big multi-table games at conventions over the years, and for the most part, all of the tables are always on the same game turn, with some players being idle for long periods.

    One, I remember had players who weren’t actively involved, leaving the tables for periods, and coming back at a scheduled time to start their parts of the battle.The games seemed to go well enough, with players generally understanding what they were getting into.

    I didn’t play in it (a good friend did), but am aware of a guy running something like this at his house, where he had like 7 or 8 tables set up in different rooms in his house.  My understanding was that players forces could move between tables, and if it looked like that could happen, then one table might have to wait for another to complete turns, so that they could stay on scedule with one anoother.  Otherwise, they were free to play a turn or two ahead of “adjacent tables” before having to pause.


    Avatar photoPhil Dutré

    With large games like this there are actually 2 games folded in one: the tactical game on each of the tables; and the command game that revolves around the command structure (players being put in different roles with the game mostly being about controlling the flow of information and acting on incomplete feedback). It’s hard to combine them both.

    The command structure bit is the fun part in such large games.

    Sometimes you see ‘huge’ games played on multiple tables without an overarching command structure, but these are in essence 1-1 parallel independent games with a (weak) connecting narrative.

    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    @MartinR of course you are correct, there are these kind of problems in all Megagames, but setting it up in the way these scenarios suggest seems to exacerbate them to the extreme.  If I ever get around to doing these scenarios at some point, I imagine that I will actually use Megablitz or Rommel or something of that nature.  In a way, I think these scenarios show the ’70s-80s’ type of thinking which led to some of the interesting things that people did in the ’90s-00s’ to actually make this type of thing into more playable games.

    Kennedy – Snap! They were inspiring then, they still kind of beckon now…but now I am old enough to afford all the toys to do this kind of thing, I am grizzled enough to suspect that it just won’t work as written.

    – when I get a chance, I will try and dig out the issue numbers…

    Dutre – I am sure you are quite right (and hence D&D was born, apparently!), although if I understand the idea correctly, there should be a  lot of interesting tactical games generated by campaigns such as this…but no obvious way to manage them.

    I know you can do this kind of thing if you plonk a few fairly hard rules down.  An acquaintance (a very long time ago!) played out all of the battle of Waterloo on a 3’x2′ board using General de Brigade or somesuch, with each mini battle being an hour in a given sector.  But easier when effective ranges are in the low hundreds of metres and tactical movement is slower, and there is no hidden movement etc.  But no such rules were presented in these scenarios, so just wondered how it could be tackled as a ‘straight-up’ game.

    Avatar photoMartinR

    tbh I’m not entirely convinced those scenarios were ever meant to be played. They were fun to read though.


    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    @IrishSerb – when I get a chance, I will try and dig out the issue numbers…

    Okay, so:

    Race to Berlin 1945 (MW062)

    Pass at Kasserine (MW071-072)

    Arras 1940 (MW076-77)

    Op Thunderclap – Cold War (MW084,087)

    Sedan 1940 (MW121-122)

    Java Sea (MW209)

    Iku Incident – Cold War (WI024)

    Sorry, forgot about this at the time. The Iku Incident looks great, have no idea how you would actually execute this.

    Avatar photoirishserb

    Cool, thanks for looking those up.  By chance, last weekend I found a box of my old mags that had been stashed away, though another box is still in hiding with some of the listed issues.

    I’m going to take a look at the Sedan and Arras scenarios, and see if they are useful for some of the 1940 gaming that I was planning to do soon.  If I end up using them, I’ll be sure to share the process here.

    Thanks again, it is much appreciated.

    Avatar photoPatrice

    I don’t know about these rules, but for skirmishes on different tables, or on very long tables, in a same game, when action can be very separated I often favour to “desynchronise”, I mean that game turns are no longer related for a while; to avoid players in one place waiting for what happens far away if there is no interaction.


    Avatar photoPhil Dutré

    Cool, thanks for looking those up. By chance, last weekend I found a box of my old mags that had been stashed away, though another box is still in hiding with some of the listed issues.

    Just as a reminder, over the years I have compiled an index for many (old) wargaming magazines:


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