Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Scaling Bull Run.

So what will I need and how much of it? Figure-wise I have already a nice start in 6mm Baccus miniatures, the first base I ever made pictured above. The stuff I have, however, is based on the Polemos rules with a 28 figure 6cm*3cm stand being the norm. For Fire and Fury, I'll need to rebase.

Fire and Fury uses infantry based on 1"*3/4" stands, which converts nicely to 25mm*19mm stands which a SI system oriented person is more keen to understand. The stand represents either 150 or 200 infantrymen making the groundscale either 45 or 60 yards per inch. I've chosen to use the 200 scale for Bull Run to make the task of painting them easier and because fitting the game on a reasonably sized table will be difficult enough on the 200 scale as I'll reveal later.

Fire and Fury has been designed with 15mm figures in mind, with 3 figures per stand, but I see absolutely no problem in using 6mm figures with the same stands, as the groundscale will be closer to the figure scale and I'll get a better massed effect by putting more figures on the stands. I will have eight to ten figures per stand, standing in two ranks. Sort of like on the image above, only on smaller bases. 

The  The Wikipedia article on Bull Run cites the number of soldiers engaged as being approximately 18 000 men per side. Using the 200 scale, that means I will need to do about 36 000 / 200 = 180 stands of models for this project. This might be reduced somewhat when I design the scenario and see who will be controllable by the players, but if I'll put 10 models on each stand, I'm going to have some work ahead of me. The good thing is that I have roughly half of that already painted up!

Yes, I know there is a Bull Run scenario in the Great Eastern Battles supplement for Fire and Fury. I just haven't seen a copy I could procure at a manageable price anywhere.

Then the battlefield itself. Looking at the very  wargames friendly map on the Wikipedia article, we can see that the fighting was centered around the area of Henry house hill. A lot of the Wikipedia ACW maps are made by one Hal Jespersen, and they're great. You can find a collection of his maps at Now, the thing I don't like about many wargames based on historical battles is that the scenario sets up to a point in the battle when the die is already cast. The armies are facing each other in the historical positions and there is very limited maneuverability left for the player. You simply roll a lot of dice and see if history repeats itself. Now, I want a scenario where I have the possibility to choose different strategies than the ones the generals of history took. I want this scenario to give some maneuverability to the player so he can move in from a different direction if he wants and use the troops at his disposal in different ways. I think the battle of Bull Run gives good opportunities for this.

Now ideally, if you want to give good maneuverability to the players, you should have a playground which has (take a look at the map now) Sudley church in the north, Groveton in the west, old Warrenton road to the south and the Stone bridge with enough elbow room beyond it to the east. That would give the players some good road march options and enough space to try and maneuver. The problem with that is not that I'd need a lot of miniatures terrain. The problem is the table size.

If one inch of table represents sixty yards, then one mile is 29 inches which is about 73 centimeters.  The battlefield area I'd want to cover is about 4 miles times four miles. That is nearly three meters across per side. That would look impressive, but there is no way that anyone would be able to reach the center of the board where the action is the hottest. Damn you, real world!

 So, I'll have to trim my grandiose plans and figure out a couple of tricks to be able to fulfill my wish to give the players ample maneuverability...

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