Thursday 6 September 2012

A tank battle by way of a rules test

Last night Peter and I played another Western Desert game. The rules are working quite well now - though there are lots of things to add, and everything to write up. The game is a German attack on an isolated British infantry battalion in a defencive position, perhaps the flanking battalion of a brigade (currently being painted), with British armour rushing to support.  The table might seem quite crowded, but each unit (typically 2 - 3 stands) is a company and ground scale is 18" to 1 km - the table is 8 km long. Anyway, here are some shots of the action.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Table 'terrain boundaries'

Usually, green wargames terrain and its boundaries can be easily marked. Trees and lichen can be used to mark the edge of a wood; lichen can be used to mark the edge of a marsh; and the beauty of lichen is that it is very flexible - it 'bends' to a slope - and sits quite firmly on the table. Here is a picture of what I mean.

But, in the Western Desert, lichen boundaries would look a little odd; as would long lines of applique terrain pieces, laid end to end to form a boundary, because they would be too clutter-some for that general 'open desert' look we associate with the Western desert.

Last week, Peter and I experimented with declaring whole terrain tiles as a terrain type, marking each with a few small applique terrain pieces. This week I improved the look of my 'terrain area offering possible hull down positions' markers. I laid them out, within the boundaries of the tiles as I did last week. They looked OK, but I thought how much better it would be if I could mark the boundary with a 'line' of some kind to get a much greater variety of terrain area shapes and sizes.

First, I wondered about chalk but, being polystyrene, the tiles might not take well to being cleaned, and chalk has a habit of being a little more permanent than one might suppose. What I needed was something as versatile and flexible as lichen, but which had very little profile - it had to be totally and easily removable, thin, heavy, very bendy, and easy to put on the table-top. In a flash it came to me. I went straight to ebay to get a price and was pleasantly surprised - it was £0.60 per metre. I ordered 14 meters of '3mm x 4mm antique bronze'. Last night I put it on the table.

Can you see the long, thin, line surrounding the small rises?

Can you see what it is? 

Subtle, isn't it?

And, just in case, and to give you an idea of the thickness of the 'line' here it is next to some 15mm scale infantry.

I think this is quite an elegant solution, but only play testing will tell if it is durable. In fact, I think it is very clever, so clever that I'm unsure that it could could be an original idea of my own - I must have seen it somewhere before [?].