Making Alterations

A favorite clip from a favorite movie:

The great downsizing of my wargaming world continues as my previous (already small) For King and Parliament terrain and armies are further shrunk. A 12 box by 8 box battlespace now fits in 24” by 16”. Gone is any feel of majestic scope (some would say reality) or sweeping panorama. Does it look like a boardgame? Yes, yes it does. Is that a problem? Not for me (OK, maybe slightly). “The world is what you make of it friend, If it doesn’t fit you make alterations”.

Given this new reality, alterations also have to be made in game-play at least in the way unit status is tracked. The units are now so compact that there is little room for the substantial number of (pom pom) markers I’ve used in the past. I’ll still use hit (disorder) markers but most everything else will be tracked by check-off boxes on the OoB sheet.

The OoB sheet has a stiff plastic overlay (which causes the hash pattern in the photo above)making it easy to mark with a grease pencil. In the above example, green boxes are Dash, lavender boxes are Ammo, and yellow indicates untried.

Setting up the Battle of Alford (1645)

I have had Peter Page’s FK&P scenario for Alford (See his report here) for a couple months and now finally have everything needed to do a condensed area setup.

<All the following photos may be enlarged by clicking>

A downward-looking “drone view” of the battle space for Alford (North at the top). The edges of the map are indicated by the green right angles in each corner.
Napier’s reserve brigade (of Montrose’s army) is in the foreground. As we know nothing about its composition, Peter has it comprised of baggage train rabble, roving tinkers and other hangers-on. A small group of highlanders (conjectured by Stewart Reid) is added for stiffening.

The new units are much more compressed than previously and mounted on a single base. This eliminates the possibility of altering the unit composition to indicate size and weapon make-up. It also causes an infantry unit to look more squat (the musket sleeves should extend the front farther).

I have also mentioned elsewhere that the flags for the foot are about 50% larger than true scale but, without the unit labeling I have used previously, they are the only indication of which unit is which (granted I do have an ID number under the base which is linked to the Order of Battle sheet). Most of the flags are fanciful (although approximate the look of the period). For example, each of the Gordon foot regiments carry a second color with a red rampant lion on a field of gold to indicate they are Scots Royalists. This is entirely incorrect but helps tell which side is which in photographs.

Montrose’s army drawn up on Gallows Hill, facing North. The reserve brigade is off the board at the bottom of the picture.
The reverse view showing Baillie’s Covenanters in the foreground.
A drone view of the battle space, Covenanters at the bottom and Royalists at the top.

OK, ten days have passed and I managed to get one battle in. The really tight space more or less worked but it was too crowded to my taste! I think in the long run, this compressed configuration will look better if I am doing a much larger area battle with 18 by 18 squares. Just need to figure out how to get my standard 100mm squares, in a 9 (or 8) by 12 grid, crammed into the current available space.

Montrose LOST the battle by the way! I don’t think he should have done but the raw Covenanters did most everything well, plus I made some mind numbingly stupid moves powered by a great deal of over confidence. On paper, I think, the Royalists should win as high as eight out of ten at Alford. It of course did not help that Montrose managed to get himself killed leading the Gordon infantry! Oh well, this shan’t be my OFFICIAL replay of the battle. Many thanks to Peter for this setup.

It is now a week later and I figured out a way to add one additional panel to the underlayment (with only about an inch and half over-hang on two sides. As I use mouse-pad material for the battle mats this does not seem to Be a problem.

The setup from Montrose’s side of the field
the setup from the Covenanter side

The pictures above are a couple days old, I took the board down to watch conference basketball tourneys followed by March Madness. The latter now has a different meaning since everything is now cancelled. Strange days. I’ll set up again soon but for now my wife and I are just going to sit around, watch Netflix and play our newly acquired, Eldritch Horror.


8 thoughts on “Making Alterations

  1. Interesting post thanks. In the past I’ve often looked at ways to minimise games a bit to fit the space but not as much as this. FK&P (and similar) does lend itself to this in that the grid gives a certain “board gamification” aspect to it. The final set up looks well, much more spacious and doesn’t look too small for a good game. Tracking on the sheet seems sensible, though if you find it to onerous are you considering making other makers? I’ve been toying with the idea of using a small magnetic strip along the back of units to track various statuses and recently saw an image of someone who had a clever magnetic number track along the back for unit activation numbers. Reduces the clutter of cards, chits and dice.

    For the very small setup, have you considered making it into an almost board game? Making printed counters or even small bases in 2mm? Could be a nice way to scratch the gaming itch when you aren’t able to set up a full board, even if it’s not quite as grand as a full game. I’ll likely do this when they release the Renaissance version of the rules to get a taste before deciding if I go full project on it. I’m currently working on some 2mm Crimean forces for BBB but plan to use them for coffee table games of Black Powder, etc as at present I’ve no figures done for anything post 17th century!


    • Thanks for the thoughtful comments.
      As it happens I do have wooden pieces that I use to quickly test rules ideas and scenarios (although they are almost as big as my current bases). I also have a fair number of 2mm pieces and will likely use them when the Renaissance extension (or variant) of TtS! comes out.

      The magnetic strip idea is a good one. Until the current basing interation I used magnetic sabots to assemble units and a label with essential information behind the figures. Never tried to use it for tracking however.

      As I just reread “Flashman at the Charge” (and then watched the excellent 1997 documentary) I could get fired up to do the Crimean War. I resist these urges! Look forward to seeing what you come up with.


      • Flashman at the Charge provided good inspiration to get by British all done. Just need another boost to do the Russians and French but have a few other projects on the go at the moment taking precedence. Must hunt out that documentary! Been reading Flashman and the Great Game which is dangerous after Pendraken released their Indian mutiny range…

        Magnetics are good, my ECW range is all magnetic based with the aim of making sabots as you did. Can be fiddly though if there’s too many bits on the go at once. I do want to experiment with integrated magnetic strip on single based units at some point for labels and casualty tracking etc.

        Look forward to seeing how you get on with this project going forwards!


  2. I’m glad to see you are busily working on your passion still. I’m really impressed by the amount of work you do to allow you to do your war gaming. Then again, as it’s a passion, I suppose it must be worth it to you! Good luck with your gaming!


    • Hi Steve. Yes, one can only reduce down so far before (as mmcv pointed out) one needs to reduce the figure scale as well. I liked your “Battle of Telegraph Hill”! Your boards are always so handsomely done.


  3. Pingback: The Great Basing Debate – Wisely lead… without a head!

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