Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Basing - some more ruminations

No painting nor hobby-related activities tonight, as professional duties keep me busy until late in the evening. But I have been ruminating a few thoughts about how will base my WSS miniatures that, as you read yesterday, are quickly moving along the painting production-chain.

I already posted once about my general philosophy on basing miniatures. It is really based on the KISS principle: same Litko bases through the different periods, with only one modification for WWI in the number of figures for base.

When I started working on the 18th century miniatures, I was thinking to stick to my convention, opting for a 3 figures per rectangular base, 0.75" x 1.5". As I do for my Napoleonic or 19th century. This system has a few advantages:
  • it is the basic system for my favourite rules, "Piquet-Cartouche" and "Warfare in the Age of Reason";

  • if I want to scale up to larger battalions, in the above rule-sets I can double the number of stands from four to eight, with no inconvenience as far as the mechanisms of play are concerned, thus enjoying 24-miniature battalions (I know this really resounds with the "old school" gamers among you!)

  • this system can easily accommodate other rules, i.e. GaPa and Grant's "War Game" which is based on individually mounted figures, but can be easily adjusted to 3-figure bases.
Then, so far so good?
Well, not really. For starter, there is a very minor, aesthetic inconvenience in the 3-figure per stand, 4- or 8-stand per battalion: I do not like how these units look in march column. More substantially, I am not thrilled by the way these units look in line, either. Let's face it: pretending that a line of 12 miniatures is a battalion is lame. I can put up with it for the Napoleonic period, where the sheer size of most battles is such that I need to economize on space and on the number of miniatures. But for smaller scale affairs, as my 18th century imagi-nation battles will likely be, it is something I do not need to endure.
Therefore, I am considering something different: for the first time in my gaming life, I am pondering to adopt the old basing scheme for "Napoleon's Battles," which indeed was, according to Coggins' original intention, a rule-set for the 18th century. That means slightly more "square-ish" stands with 4 miniatures. Here's some advantages:
  • fantastic look in any formation: line, column, march column;

  • no need to double up stands to "beef up" the look in "Piquet-Cartouche" or "Warfare in the Age of Reason": standard game mechanisms will remain the same, with a basic battalion now made by 16 miniatures on 4 stands; actually, I would gain a few spare miniatures from each Minifigs bag;

  • no changes need for GaPa, either, although I need to recheck the recommendations in the booklet;
But here a few disadvantages:
  • if I ever want to play Grant's rule, I need to do some statistical work to transition from a 6-figure to a 4-figure firing group;

  • since I am not going to move up to 32-miniature battalions ever, it means that I will only game with a 16-miniature per unit max; somehow I like the flexibility to play 12-miniature units in larger battles and 24-miniature units in smaller scale affairs.

  • If I am moving to the "Napoleon's Battles" system, I need to completely rethink the size of cavalry units: a perspective I am less than thrilled about.
Bottom line: this is probably too much thinking for a no-brainer issue. I should just stick with my standard, go for 12- and/or 24- figures per unit, forget about NB, and live happy.
But hey: I didn't get my painting fix, and I need something to keep my mind busy tonight!
Needless to say, I would very welcome your opinions and thoughts.


Bluebear Jeff said...

Okay, my first (and for me, most emphatic) comment is that I think that you need at least two ranks for a battalion to look right.

One of my dislikes of AOR is their single-rank system. For me, if there is only one rank, they are skirmishers.

Look at the various units and battles that Steve-the-Wargamer has on his WSS Project site . . . his foot is in 24-man units (a size I like as well).

Four-man stands (two ranks of two) or six-man stands (two rands of three) are both viable options.

The "Napoleon's Battles" rules use similar basing to the older "Koenig Krieg" rule set (due to be re-issued) . . . for more information go to this site and explore:

The standard KK battalion was 12 figures (three bases of 4-man stands), but many used double that size.

For AOR take a look at what Ian Croxall has done for his 25mm figures. You would have to adjust for 15mm, but he has some interesting basing ideas. Take a look here:

Also, here is a WSS link that you might want to take a look at for background:

Finally a not on "Ga Pa". It can be a bit of a struggle figuring it out (the organization and logic are a bit different) . . . but once you do get it, it is apparently a very good set of rules . . . there is just a bit of an initial "learning curve".

I hope that some of this helps.

-- Jeff of Saxe Bearstein

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

...two ranks for me to - it just doesn't look right with any less... at a minimum though those idea's Ian has for an offset single rank might do... ;o))

Capt Bill said...

I agree two ranks has that substanial look of the period. Our group remounted everything for Might and Reason, but eventually didn't like the lopesided results of the rules. We kept the mounting system and you can see the results on my site. I have posted several after action reports with both 15mm and 25mm figures. Enjoy!
Best regards...Bill