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    I don’t have a bespoke wargames room (yet!) so a game at my place involves setting up & pulling down all that’s needed for several hours of gaming fun with my pals.

    Over the years, it’s been the unconscious practice to concentrate on one period or another but in the last 6 months we’ve gamed several different periods in a shuffled order.

    This has meant the different requirements of each period have been underlined.

    Notably, Napoleonic games take considerable organisational time. This is the result of the need for several hundred figures & generally more terrain items.Indeed, up to an hour set up & two hours to put everything safely away is the norm.

    This contrasts with our Colonial gaming, which not only have fewer figures but those are based on unit-sized movement trays. The sands of the Sudan & the South African veldt also tend to have less paraphernalia placed on them, Not so many farms, fields, orchards, hedges, bridges etc. Our Ancient games fall in between the two, largely because of simpler terrain & units with fewer bases than Naps. Our annual Australia Day game is approaching & we usually game SAGA which, of course, is a dottle to set up.

    My point is this: given the exigencies of Life, I feel a push towards smaller, simpler games even though my “favourite” period is Horse & Musket with its large armies etc.

    How do others feel about this? Are there any other insights into the set-up/pull down process?



    • This topic was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Deleted User.

    I’m a bit prejudiced but for ease of set up and take down, it is hard to beat naval games.

    I’ve got a real fondness for both Ancients and Crusades in desert areas and that also makes things much easier.


    The tree of Life is self pruning.


    I feel a push towards smaller, simpler games even though my “favourite” period is Horse & Musket with its large armies etc. How do others feel about this? Are there any other insights into the set-up/pull down process?

    I felt similar to you in the 90s when I did not have a permanent table. 🙂


    Yeah, sure. rub it in.

    I must admit to being very careful with my figures & terrain so very few breakages. However, when I get a wargames’ room (quite soon, I think), the sheer joy of setting up & leaving games for days & weeks will be considerable.



    Norm S

    I take stuff from a storage room to the play area over several journeys, which can feel tedious, but from a state of mind point of view, I have always seen setting up as an investment and taking down as chore, but one that I need to just do and get on with.

    I draw some parallels to my boardgaming, those with big collections have to do a lot of counter preparation (punching, clipping and deploying to all those hard to see hex numbers), before they can get a game and then on take-down, everything has to go into its own baggie so that set-up next time is not too time consuming. I hate to think of how many counters I have punched (cut out with a knife) and clipped over a life-time of play.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Norm S.

    I primarily play at the Wargames club, so I need to be able to transport all the stuff, get it set up and put it all away as fast as possible. Over the decades we have developed endless tricks to do this, primarily in the way storage boxes are organised and the durability of certain items (eg I have grab bag of virtually indestructible wooden buildings) as well as the use of gridded games and prepared ground sheets with the roads already on them.

    Smaller games certainly help, but I can generally get set up in 20 minutes and take down in less than 15 (everyone mucks in) as it is mainly a matter of matching items to the relevant storage boxes. A certain amount of sorting out at home later may be required.

    I suspect our little group is particularly efficient, some of our gaming colleagues are still setting up while we are packing away! But they play big 28mm games:)

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

    Steve Johnson

    I find WWII games take the longest to set up, even after bringing down all of the gaming material which is stored upstairs. Getting the terrain layout is the major headache as, from experience, one poorly sighted set of hedges, houses etc can have a major impact on the game. I try and set up so that neither side is favoured, which is easier said than done.

    For quick games with minimal set up, such as Lion Rampant, The Pikemen’s Lament etc win hands down. All I need is a 2’x2′ board (or larger for bigger games), a few pieces of terrain and away I go.

    Packing away I hate as it seems to take so long compared to the set up, but in truth is probably much quicker as I’m not having to think about where to put terrain, deployment areas etc,


    Even with a permanent table and a small game, I find that set-up/tear-down take approaching two hours each way.  Games with lots of figs double that, and generally  involve a couple evenings of setup/tear-down each.


    Like McKistry but not quite, I find myself GMing a lot of airplane wargames lately. The terrain is a breeze.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!


    BTW Here’s one fix for games with lots of figures on smaller bases.

    My typical Napoleonic infantry battalion has 16 figures on 5 bases. So a brigade has approximately 20 bases & if you add an attached artillery battery etc there’s quite a lot of bases to shift.

    The partial solution is to acquire some place mats. These are those cork-backed mats meant to be underneath a person’s dining plate, used to protect the table from the heat of the plate and food.  Mine are about 200 X 300 & the twee pattern had faded so were due to be discarded.

    I simply spray painted them mat black & drilled a thumb sized hole in one corner. Each holds a brigade. They are useful to take your figures from storage to the table.





    I’m a bit prejudiced but for ease of set up and take down, it is hard to beat naval games.  

    That made me think of the good old days when I used to play Pirates of the Spanish Main. We set up a 8’x’4 sheet of MDF in the loft and painted it blue for the sea. Set up whatever campaign we decided on, chose our fleets. Whacked out the islands and away we went.

    The campaigns went on for weeks in some cases. It was not uncommon for a game to last 12 hours. So it was great that we could leave all the ships in situ. Come back a week or so later. Spend 10 minutes scratching our heads as to what we’ve been doing and carry on.

    Used to use the same table for 6mm SF armour games too. Later on played a lot of skirmish games but those were always concluded in a few hours. So the need for a permanent set up was kind of negated.

    The ship models aren’t easy to storage due to the masts and not easy to dissemble. It was handy, very handy having a gaming room which we could just leave in play.

    I think your storage definitely works hand in hand with set up and take down.

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