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  • #75319
    MikeMike
    Keymaster

    So I came across this on FB the other day.
    For me it certainly has the holy carp look at all those figures wow factor.

    But then I thought, hmmmm what is there to do other than just march forwards?
    There does not appear to be any way to outflank or make use of terrain, just a straight up, line em and march em type game.

    Which is fine, but not my own cup of tea.

    What are your thoughts around this style of game?
    Be polite as usual.

    Original link HERE

    #75320
    Not Connard SageNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    The problem with wargames tables is their width is limited by the length of the average wargamer’s arms. You can make the bloody table a mile long, but if you intend to play soldiers on it then it’s still going to be narrow in relation. 🙂

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #75321
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    A game to be admired but not played, perhaps? I had a good pontificate about this kind of thing on the BBBBlog:

    http://bloodybigbattles.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/airing-some-prejudices-on-one.html

    It’s a serious post and offers some thoughts about geometry and technology and what they mean for whether a game is interesting or not.

    I say this in the blog post, but for the avoidance of doubt and in the hope of forestalling any more of the recent unpleasantness, let me say it again here: I don’t mean to belittle anyone else’s fun – it’s all about personal preference, and if others love the games I hate, that’s fine, I don’t have to play them. My personal tastes in playing toy soldiers are no more or less right than anyone else’s.

    Chris

    Bloody Big BATTLES!

    https://uk.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/BBB_wargames/info

    #75322
    kyotebluekyoteblue
    Participant

    If the game is for multiple players it’s fine, but if for just two!

    #75323
    Simon Miller
    Participant

    Re the picture. although the game in the foreground used the whole table, the further game had 2′ of space on each wing for manoeuvring.

    Both the battles were historical refights, fought on flat plains. I could have stuck in a mountain and some forests, but it might have offended the purists. 😉

    #75324
    Victoria DicksonVictoria Dickson
    Participant

    The link implies it’s two separate games side by side, so maybe not as bad as it looks. 

    I suspect it will give a realistic game, it certainly looks like what I’d imagine it should.  I’d be happy to play it, I expect there would be plenty of tension and excitement to be had as you hope for one part of your line to hold just a little longer while wishing a neighbouring section to break through.  Not sure I’d want to do it every week or paint all those figures required for it though.

    When it comes to pre twentieth century wargames I have a suspicion many people tend to play in a Napoleonic way regardless of which armies they are using.  It gives good games which allows for more player decisions than limiting yourself to battleplans more appropriate to your period, so fair enough, I do it myself too.

     

     

    #75325
    willzwillz
    Participant

    I have played on a 48 x 6 foot table but every 6 foot was a different sector, with limited firing into some sectors.  I felt it gamed very well as you only needed to concentrate on your 6 x 6 area.  As I said there was very limited firing into other areas and only up to 1 foot.  As it was part of a WW2 Normandy D day + 12 the game played as a campaign game.

    Here is a photo from a Sealion game I did about 8 years ago 6 x 28 foot with an extra 6 foot in the corner.

    The reach over tables is always the problem Mike, I have used a square S shaped table to maximise space and have troops enter at different times to allow outflanking.

    Mike I have a business idea “wargaming extendo arms” extend your reach up to 12 foot buy now only ÂŁ45 a pair.  Pat pending registered trade mark and all that.

    #75326
    Victoria DicksonVictoria Dickson
    Participant

    Mike I have a business idea “wargaming extendo arms” extend your reach up to 12 foot buy now only £45 a pair. Pat pending registered trade mark and all that.

     

    I look forward to seeing that episode of Dragons Den. 🙂

    #75327
    Not Connard SageNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    Depending on the size of your figures, two feet a side still may not be a lot of room for maneuvering.

    The problem I have with most games, as illustrated above, is their linearity. I’m guilty myself, so it’s an observation rather than a moan. That’s one trouble with table width. Another is that proper outflanking, and flanking attacks rarely happen. Maybe I should move into 6mm 🙂

    If you look at actual battle maps, not only are armies arrayed in depth, but they aren’t in convenient straight lines. The latter is usually due to geography, which rarely allows real generals to line their troops up as though on the parade ground.

    As an example, Oudenarde.

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #75330
    Simon Miller
    Participant

    Ancient (medieval and renaissance) battles were generally very different from the WSS; generally both sides turned up, deployed parallel to each other, and marched forwards. If you look at deployment plans for Ruspina and Gaza, they are parallel.  90% or more ancient battles have parallel deployment.  I could have inclined the wings but then they wouldn’t have been Ruspina and Gaza. Also, ancient generals generally picked flat plains to fight on; there are loads of battles without even a hillock or piece of shrubbery; terrain got in the way of the complicated business of fighting.

    The WSS is one of the first periods where armies tended to deploy at angles to each other, taking advantage of terrain features, refusing wings at 30 and 45 degree angles, per the above plan. I’d not use a square grid for the WSS.

    #75331
    Simon Miller
    Participant

    #75346
    irishserbirishserb
    Participant

    One of the great things about our hobby is that there is enough diversity for just about any interest or preference.  I tend to be attracted to games of a different style and/or scope than that depicted above, but certainly still enjoy seeing  and appreciate the work and artistry in presentations that fall outside of my own playing preferences.

    #75351
    MartinRMartinR
    Participant

    As noted above, Ancient battles tended to consist entirely of both sides lining up and then marching towards each other. Tbh that was true of warfare up to the end of the Renaissance, in both cases with a few obvious exceptions The interesting bit from a command point of view are the initial deployment, and the management of reserves.

    So no, I don’t have the slightest problem in filling the table from side to side, if it is historically appropriate. There weren’t many flanks on the Western Front from 1915 to 1918 either.

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

    #75355
    RhodericRhoderic
    Participant

    I’d certainly be open to participating in a game like that, all the more so because of the “grand manner” wow factor (but I don’t even think of that as a necessary precondition).

    I’d imagine that much of the excitement would be had from the unevenness of command, control, combat outcomes, psychology etc. up and down the line. Which maybe can’t really be had in the same way in a game with broken ground. I try to look at these kinds of things as trade-offs where each style of game has some mutually exclusive positive aspect.

    It might be worth pointing out that I don’t “need” to be able to execute tactics and strategies in order to enjoy a wargame. I just need for an interesting story to play out. YM, as always, MV.

    Keep gaming!

    #75372
    RuarighRuarigh
    Participant

    The layout seems reasonable for the battles being modelled. Our large Towton game looked similar, although with a bit more vertical terrain. The fun in the game came from command and control, as Rhoderic suggests. The command and control rules meant that the players focused on trying to keep their contingents together so that the wings of the army did not become fragmented and attack piecemeal, instead of focusing on geometry and manoeuvre. Certainly for the Wars of the Roses, manoeuvring large bodies of troops was not as easy as some rules would have it.

    There was some interesting pontification on the Polemarch blog about flanks. It was noted that flank marches per DBM and similar rules were not nearly as common in reality as wargamers would like them to be. Instead, flanking would happen as a result of one wing being driven from the field, and the army then falling on the remainder of the enemy.

    There’s fun to be had either way, as long as your opponent(s) are good company.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    https://roderickdale.co.uk/

    #75373
    UsagitsukiUsagitsuki
    Participant

    We played Raphia in 15mm on a 15′ x 6′ table. It wasn’t a great game as such, in that it didn’t have as much unpredictability and manoeuvre as our big Napoleonic games, but that hardly mattered. It was Raphia, and there were several hundred figures on the table. It looked fantastic.

    For me, I actually prefer my ancients games to be like this. In my opinion, most ancients rules allow TOO much manoeuvre. I mostly play Lost Battles, and that game usually has 1 or 2 turns of deployment, 1 or 2 turns of movement and then a few turns either struggling against the inevitable collapse of your army, or maximising your almost certain victory. I can totally see why most wargamers wouldn’t want to play a game like that.

    So I’d certainly play the game in the OP, but that’s as much about a love for the period and the visual ascetic of massed bodies of troops as it is for the ‘game experience.’

    "Gareth Bale is running amok here, he's running an absolute mok." - John Hartson

    #75375
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    Thank you Mike for raising the topic, and fellow TWWers for some nice insights into the pleasures to be had from such games.

    Chris

    #75377
    MikeMike
    Keymaster

    So how do you play?

    Is some of the game the setting up?
    Do you set up first if you have better scouts in your army and thus you can dictate the terrain you fight on?
    Do you copy the historical set up in which case the game starts once the figures are placed?

    Do you use the same forces which are presumably unbalanced/unequal and you win if your side does better than its historical counterpart?

    and so on..  😀

     

    #75378
    Roger Calderbank
    Participant

    I too would be happy to play the game shown in the photo. As has been said, there are games where the fun is in the manoeuvres, and others where it is in the command, control and combat. I know that, with the game shown, the troops will probably be in contact within 2 or 3 turns, and game revolves around local advantage and the use you can make if it. The absence of large scale manoeuvring isn’t then a problem for me. Equally, while I have played games where the manoeuvring is the fun part, I’ve also known some where the two sides spend so long trying to find an opening that it is time to pack up and go home before the two sides have come to grips.

    So I think either manoeuvre games or linear clash games can be fun or dull, depending on the way the game plays and the rules involved. A good opponent also helps.

    I also see that, from the map of the battle of Gaza, the two sides were about 20-25,000 a side. I believe Oudenarde had something like 80,000 a side, so 3 to 4 times larger. For the same table size, the effective depth would be greater for any Oodenarde game, and it would become possible to have a battle line that wasn’t straight, and/or more room for flanking moves. Alternatively, if you looked at a slice of Oodenarde representing the same number of troops as Gaza, it would probably be more linear.

    As Not Conrad Sage said, we’re limited by the length of our arms (at least until ‘extendo arms’ arrive!), and different games cope with that in different ways. I don’t think any one game style is intrinsically more fun than others.

    RogerC

    #75380
    Roger Calderbank
    Participant

    Mike, I think the set up in the photo was a historical one, so the interest is in the details of local actions, and how the resulting game is similar or differs from the historical battle.

    More generally, set up is often important in ‘linear’ games, with each side seeking some sort of advantage. One side may have greater control of the terrain whilst the other may have deployment benefits. It will depend on the players and the rules used. Generally, if you have better scouts you will deploy second, to reflect knowledge of the enemy deployment when making your own.

    I would have thought set up and deployment would be important in most wargames, whether a game of manoeuvre or something more linear. Perhaps I am missing something in your questions.

    RogerC

    #75385
    Simon Miller
    Participant

    For historical scenarios , such as these, we set up for both sides. However for a standard two player game there are rules for placing terrain, scouting, deployment and (somewhat occasionally) flank marches and ambushes. In terms of game play, it’s mostly about deciding the order in which units activate; and being lucky!

    #75390
    UsagitsukiUsagitsuki
    Participant

    So how do you play? Is some of the game the setting up? Do you set up first if you have better scouts in your army and thus you can dictate the terrain you fight on? Do you copy the historical set up in which case the game starts once the figures are placed? Do you use the same forces which are presumably unbalanced/unequal and you win if your side does better than its historical counterpart? and so on.. 😀

    In ‘Lost Battles’ there is a victory point bonus at the end of the game to compensate for the disparity in the forces. Some battles are virtually impossible for one side to win, but you can lose the battle and still ‘win’ the game by doing better than expected.

    As to the deployment, I once read a review of ‘Tactica’ which said that every game of Tactica had 3 phases:

    1: Choose your army.

    2: Deploy your army.

    3: Decide who’s won.

    The (not entirely serious) implication being that movement was so restricted that whoever deployed ‘better’ would have a massive advantage. I bought the rules on the strength of that review 

    "Gareth Bale is running amok here, he's running an absolute mok." - John Hartson

    #75394
    MartinRMartinR
    Participant

    I also play Lost Battles, and the first couple of turns are effectively your deployment into line of battle. You need to manage this stage very, very carefully.

    After that, you march towards each other and slug it out, with a combination of your deployment and skills at attritional asset management determining the winner.

    A big favourite at our club is Command and Colours Ancients, which also generally features a table stuffed with troops. The command system is a card game though, and the card plays get resolved on the tabletop. Produces an enjoyable game, and occasionally a good simulation too although like DBA it suffers a bit from silly ‘buttocks of doom’ type tactics.  Not that I’d ever do anything like that. Ahem.

     

     

     

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

    #75401
    Simon Miller
    Participant

    Command and Colors is a great game; I used to play a heck of a lot of C&C with miniatures.  I’ve not yet played Lost Battles, although several chums swear by it.  Lots of people swear DURING To the Strongest. 😉

    #75418
    RetroboomRetroboom
    Participant

    This is why wargamers need tables like this: 

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by RetroboomRetroboom.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by RetroboomRetroboom.

    www.RetroBoom.com
    Stafford, Va. Let's play!

    #75421
    Norm SNorm S
    Participant

    The width of a battlefield like that gives more opportunity for different things to be going on in different places on the field at the same time. A battle could be being lost on the right flank and the left flank would never know ……………… not immediately anyway, though the wargamer does know and that is probably a bigger problem that there apparently being no open flanks in this game.

    #75422
    Simon Miller
    Participant

    I recall one cracking Raphia at Partizan, where two players on the Seleucid side didn’t co-operate very well, and got distracted, and a small gap opened in their line.  The opposing Ptolemaic player was a quiet 12 year old boy called Tim, who I think they had barely noticed. Against my advice but with an astonishing series of cards, he moved a unit into the gap, turned it 90 degrees and rolled up the Seleucid line, winning the game in a turn.

    #75489
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    I was having a discussion once about why rectangular wargaming tabletops seem the norm and why not square for an equal proportion of depth & flank. Which got me thinking, why not a round table? Bit of a link here.

    My gamer chum thought it was such a ridiculous idea he couldn’t put his objections into words but neither could I explain why I thought it was interesting but I still think there may be something ineffably logical about a circular table.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by Les Hammond.

    6mm France 1940

    http://les1940.blogspot.co.uk/
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    #75493
    Victoria DicksonVictoria Dickson
    Participant

    I’ve seen board games with hexes where the game board is also hexagonal, which is the closest I’ve seen to a round playing area outside of gladiatorial games.  I’m not sure how it would work for a miniatures game outside of where there is a central force defending in all directions, like a siege of a castle.

    #75517
    Simon Miller
    Participant

    A round table could work with a single mini, ship or tank fixed at the centre, and the limit of the table representing its line of sight. The terrain and foes could then move relative to the mini…   Might be fun for space combat.

    #75518
    RuarighRuarigh
    Participant

    I think the old Urban War demo games were on round tables. Just had a look but can’t find any photos though.

    Round tables have the advantage that a player can designate any point on the edge as their starting area, and the other players’ starting areas can then be spaced equally around the table with all players being equidistant from the centre and from each other. I can see this being an advantage over square or rectangular tables if you have an odd number of players, in particular. That way no one player is sandwiched between two others while the others have more open flanks.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    https://roderickdale.co.uk/

    #75519
    Guy FarrishGuy Farrish
    Participant

    It’s not really about table shape – it’s about playing area size versus the size of the figures (or in truth the unit footprint).

    A set up like the one in the photo is fantastic to look at and gives a lovely ‘sharp end’ focus to a game (which my be very satisfying – depending on the rules – to be honest many/most ancient rules are not aiming to model this close focus – Andy Callan’s Dark Age Infantry Slog rules, for (oddly) Early Mediaeval Infantry combat do concentrate on a different approach to the modified Napoleonic rules usually seen, and achieve their aim very well. But that is probably another discussion.

    The actively interesting bit of Ancient battles for most gamers I suspect is very anachronistic (and unrealistic in most games to be fair)- they want to control each unit in a cunning plan.

    The cunning plan bit in real life- as has been said above – is generally in the approach march, deployment of which troops where in the line, and keeping control of a reserve that you can actually have some influence over when everyone else is imply focusing on shooting stabbing and slashing.

    For both of those phases I suspect you need a bigger table space to army footprint ratio than the table portrayed or exists in most other wargames tables. 25/28mm – you probably need very small unit/base footprints (which will rather defeat the object of amassing armies of the size shown- and the visual appeal) or a VERY big hall in which to deploy them – careful of those feet chaps!

    Other alternatives include 6mm or smaller figs on small bases and large tables.

    Or just enjoying the focus on the stabbing and slashing end of things.

    #75540
    willzwillz
    Participant

    This is why wargamers need tables like this:

    That’s a good idea but a real bummer if you had a couple of regiments on top  of the trap door  your tactical plan goes to pot at this stage.

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