Movement/Distances

In August, the Naseby game went to Britcon.

This was a new venture and I was very pleased with the response.

Visitors to the show and tournament players alike were interested in all aspects of the project: from visiting the battlefield, how Armati works in the Renaissance period, and how the reconstruction on the tabletop was devised, to some extremely detailed interest in how the Naseby Project itself was intending to restore/reconstruct the physical landscape of the battle …

Due to Britcon’s fairly low visitor footfall, rather than attempt to play through as a game with a specific set of players, I ran shorter sequences of the game both as a tool for demonstrating how sectors of the battle fought out historically (and how that resolves itself in a wargame) and/or how Armati 2 works for this period.

Distances

It emerged in conversation with a regular Armati player that I had never clarified the movement adaptation I had made for reconstructing the battle in the compact space of the shows display.

To be clear, although I have conventional sized (2 section) units, I have used Intro Scale measurement.

Whereas 15mm scale therefore usually uses 2/3 sized ‘inches’, the Naseby game uses 1/3 sized ‘inches’*.   For convenience (I have a full set of Litko wheeling ‘widgets’) and because I am not using single section into scale units, I opted to retain the 2/3 sized wheeling arcs.

All this resulted from extensive play-testing … the full-sized moves brought the cavalry wings into immediate contact, rather than allowed for the reported pause/reorder before the final charge.   Meanwhile, musket fire was able to rake across the table from the outset.

So the response was to try dropping the measurements to the smaller ‘Intro’ scale.  It worked.  Equally, I retained the wheeling arcs because it was simpler not to replace them.

Everything worked, the game clicked into harmony with the space, and further testing required no adjustments.

short-range musketry

I hadn’t made any big point out of this: to me it was just a natural and necessary adjustment of movement to space available for a show game.

Discussing this at Britcon made me realise the implications of the simple (and smooth working) change.

Players of other figure wargames frequently have an immediate criticism of Armati, and a culture change to cope with: over movement distances and ranges … whereas a FoG or DBM cavalryman will move 4 or 5 inches, and Armati Cavalryman will move 10 (15 inches applied at the 2/3 scale) … whereas a FoG archer will shoot 6 inches, an Armati archer will shoot 16 (24 at 2/3)!   Although many players are not subtle enough to appreciate it, the effects are not that great – Armati troops shoot just as many times prior to contact as in DBM (just the armies come to grips sooner) … but the unfamiliarity can put players off.  Combining the 15mm scale wheel with other measurements in Intro Scale, does, however, make the wheeling more generous …

Overall, the effect is to make the game more accessible … a few more moves to contact, measurements that the wider wargames community considers ‘normal’, and wheels a little more generous than in the standard game.   The key, of course, is that it works.   Both in introducing the game to potential new players and in attempting to depict an important and well-documented historical battle.

As an example of the synergy, here are some typical measurements …

………………………  Intro       DBM       FoG         (15 Armati std)

‘Heavy’ infantry … 2″               2″            3″                      (4″)

Skirmish infantry.. 3″                3″            5″                     (6″)

Cavalry …………….  5″               4″            5″                     (10″)

Light Horse ………. 5″               5″            7″                     (10″)

Muskets range ….. 6″               4″            6″                      (12″)

I think it’s pretty obvious from this why the feel of Intro measurements seems OK and the game raises no eyebrows in a shows environment.   Having used Armati for historical display games in the past (most recently ‘Arsuf’) with standard 15mm measurements and some inevitable consequences, I think for future projects I am likely to stick with Intro.  I also feel the wider Armati community might at least experiment with this measuring convention: it will certainly make the game less unusual for players of more common game systems.

Also worth mentioning, I guess (as the photos betray), I used hamster bedding to indicate who had fired during the shooting phase ….  I think it added to the spectacle of the battle.

The Britcon games represented the first appearance of Maurice as a (depicted) commander of the Royalist Cavalry (right) flank.  I rated him rash, so he had no real ability to prevent the cavalry racing off in pursuit.   As Charles is not of any great use to the Royalists, this ‘extra’ general didn’t distort the game in favour of the king, despite the numerical edge (Charles + Rupert, Maurice,  Astley and Langdale … vs Fairfax + Cromwell, Skippon and Ireton).

A very useful outing.

*Armati calls its Movement Units ‘inches’.  In 25mm Optimal scale, these are true inches.  In 15mm they are 2/3.  In Intro, which uses one base per unit (so is the Armati equivalent of DBA), the inch is 1/3 sized.  This allows the rules to express all their mechanisms in terms of inches, then the application of the ‘inch’ to vary according to the scale in play.  It is a MU, but a decade ahead of Field of Glory.

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