Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Some playing with toys: Regimental assault in 1877

There was a recent ruckus caused by this article by the owner of the very nice Baccus miniatures 6mm range. Now those of you that follow this blog know that I have dabbled in 6mm in the past, both ancient and in Napolenics, and specifically the Baccus range. Their stuff is phenomenal and worth their price. The main reason why I do 19th century in 10mm is because a) Onur preferred it b) Pendraken does a better job at covering more conflicts.

Now Baccus have been some of the most aggressive exponents of small scale gaming. And by aggressive, I mean sometimes obnoxious. There is no question that they are right that there is a 28mm bias in the industry, and among wargamers. Simply put my expectation from my anecdotal evidence  is that people who game at the smaller scales are more interested in grand tactical and operational gaming. But I have found that most wargamers I have met tend to be first and fore-most adherents of the ooh shinny doctrine. This is not a good or bad thing, but it means that smaller scales will always be a niche hobby in a niche hobby. This is simply because you cannot match the painting detail of 28mm with 6mm or 10mm. Now believe me, if you have the time and skills you can do exceptional things at 6mm and 10mm (see this work of Javier for example ), but the same person could do even more amazing things with 28mm.

There is a truth that it is easier to get the mass effect with 6mm, 10mm and 15mm compared to 28mm. But it is not impossible for players at those scales to also do so. Sparkers RN massive battalion games or those set up by The Alter Fritz can awe you with mass just as fine as any 6mm or 10mm scale game. Thus I do not believe the appeal of small scales can be either the painting quality or just mass.

For me the appeal is simple Doing a whole battle on one normal table on one day and having operational choices. Try as you might you would have a hard time getting a good scenario covering the whole of Konningratz, or Third Pleven with using just 28mm figures. And I mean the whole of Pleven or Konningratz (the way it is captured in Chris Pringle's scenarios). You would either need a massive table, or multiple days. And you would probably have to sacrifice operational options (flanking maneuvers,  different decisions on were to focus attacks, the use of reserves) for just one massive assault. One thing I have noticed with all these big battalion games in 28mm and 10mm is that they all lack flanks. And I feel that a game in 6mm and 10mm that tried to emulate it, would quickly run the same problem. Now this is not a problem ,if this is the type of game you enjoy. But my feeling is that if you want maneuver, options, a richer puzzle if you want, then you have to go for the smaller scales, or eschew the big battalion style. For me that is the advantage of small scale gaming, and that is what we should focus on promoting and showing off. The other advantage is in what I call grand skirmish games, games like IABSM, which have you play on a 1-1 ratio with companies. With a need for 100s of miniatures, and realistic terrain, these are games that come to life with small scales.

One thing I want to ask is why the Small Scale Companies do not band together to produce a hobby magazine that focuses on their products. There was Small Scale Quarterly, but I wonder if it received any support?

Anyhow, Baccus called on people producing pictures showing off their small scale figures in big battalion styles. So I set up a fictional depictions of a Russian regiment of three battalions, attacking a Ottoman fortified hill, protected by a Ottoman battalion, somewhere in the Balkans in 1877. Each bases is representing roughly 40 men, with each figure roughly representing 10 men. All figures are 10mm Pendraken. Click on photos for larger pictures.


Steve J. said...

A nice article Konstantinos with well made points, most of which I agree with. Sadly my photographic skills are not up to much, otherwise I would attempt some nice picks of my BKCII games.

Craig Welter said...

I think some of the pictures in my battle reports have turned out pretty well. Here are a couple examples:

I like the look of hundreds of 10mm figures on the table in one picture. I would never achieve that with 28mm figures.

Perhaps skilled member of the community could write up a good article on painting small scale figures and submit it to the major magazines?