More on scales and rulers

Since the post-Britcon ruminations on rules and scales, my local group of enthusiasts have been keen to try out the combination more widely … we have played Armati ancients with Optimal and Intro rulers, and ECW with Armati (to the system given here) and using an alternative approach (Graham E’s ‘Victory without Squares’) …

(Armati Ancients trial (Romans vs Parthians): Intro Ruler)

(Armati Ancients trial (Ostrogoths vs Late Romans): Intro Ruler)

(Armati Trial ECW … Bishops War .. Intro Ruler)

All these games were played on a full-sized wargames table, using Optimal Scale units combined with Intro Scale measurements.   The Roman/Parthian game was essentially the Intro rules with all units 2 sections wide (no deep FT to resist cavalry impetus etc.).  The Ostrogoth/Late Roman game used all the normal A2 chrome.  In the ECW game, of course, all the units (except Dragoons when mounted up) are 2 sections.

The only ‘complication’ to this whole experiment is over wheeling arcs: … simply, 2 Intro inches are enough to wheel 1-section wide Intro units, and 2 Optimal inches are enough to wheel 2-section units.   2 Intro inches are not enough to wheel divisions of 2-section wide units.

The resolution … to use the Optimal scale arcs is obvious, and works.   It is not without its complications of course.   A simple idea, it breaks the link between the ruler and game mechanism (the Optimal wheel is effectively 4 Intro inches, and therefore also no longer 1/3 of a Complex wheel … likewise, the 6″ limit on the complex wheel is hardly enough to get normal sized divisions to 45 degrees …): to work, the wheeling rule needs a more explicit re-write.

(Armati ECW … stout English horsemen chase off the Scots)

Our proposal is …

Standard Wheel

One or two sections wheel 24 degrees; 3 or 4 sections wheel 12 degrees; more than 4 sections wheel 8 degrees.

(these are the angles of the respective wheels in Optimal scale)

The wheel costs simply its own value as a deduction from the move (i.e. the corner that does wheel may move up to its normal maximum, the corner on which the unit/division wheels only moves the straight ahead portion) …

However, no unit may exceed its normal move distance.

Complex move

Units/Divisions may continue to wheel as a complex move, up to 90 degrees, but likewise may not exceed their normal move distance.  Such moves cause undressing in the ranks as usual.

These revisions are simple to apply with the Intro Ruler but allow wheeling to work as it does within the Optimal game.   It is a little more generous to bigger divisions, but less to single section blocks (should they be a feature of your chosen unit scheme) …

(More action from the trial games)


What certainly did show up in the ECW trial was that the standard (Advanced Armati) artillery ranges are wrong.   They are OK on an Optimal sized table using the optimal ruler (which means that artillery is almost always in range).  However, at 24/30/36″ (L/M/H), they are respectively just 33%, 66% and ‘double’ the range of musketry.   And, using the Intro Ruler, do not reach very far across a full size table.

Looking at weapons effectiveness 1618 to 1720, Chandler gives 250 yards as the range of a matchlock, compared with 1,500 for the lightest guns, up to 4,500 for Culverins.   Optimum range being identified as 800 yards or less.   Point blank is identified as rising from 300 yards.

From this, we can safely double the range of all the guns.  Personally, as recommended in the ECW adaptations appended to this site, I would rate all artillery as medium (but the option is there). And I would take musket range (18″) as a reasonable marker for artillery ‘point blank’.

I accept that this might make artillery something of a ‘wonder weapon’ if you allow it to cause casualties as per AA (but I don’t know anyone who plays that bit of the Renaissance Rules by the book – obviously the recommendation here is that they only inflict BPs on disordered units … on steady units they cause disorder).

For a complete Change …

We played the battle of Lansdown using ‘Victory without Squares’, a set of rules by Graham Evans from an original idea by Richard Brooks (played on squares, which Graham has done away with – hence, in part, the title)The game has some good ideas for those who like all their units to be independently manoeuvrable (but who wouldn’t begin to want the complexity of FoG-R, DBR or whatever …). You can get the rules in full from Graham’s Wargaming for Grown Ups blog (always worth a visit, but here is a link to the rules):

Victory Without Squares

For me it served to emphasise why I like units being collected together under divisional control … however, I don’t think the divisions really work until you allow temporary control to be exerted by the attachment of generals (all in the ECW adaptations herewith).   That said, I do wonder if it might improve the game to allow generals to create temporary divisions outside the scope allowed for splits within the rules (i.e. do it whenever they like).  My worry, of course, is that players would just twist that to mean 4+, say, 3 generals = 7 divisions (and having played with 7 divisions then complain towards the end of the game that the command structure prevents them being able to turn their reserve to face the flank threat as they have no splits or generals left …)…

Command and Control continues to allow plenty of scope for debate and development ….

Some more views of the Victory without Squares Lansdown game

(All figures are Peter Pig from Graham’s collection)

(General arrangement)

The numerically superior Royalists (Hopton/Grenville) have to defeat a determined Parliamentarian (Waller/Haselrigg) attempt to deny them the road.   The approach to the position is very steep, and the terrain does not offer easy ways to turn the position.

Lansdown: the final moments

(The position is carried)

I played Sir Bevil Grenville, and personally led the Cornish charge up the road – getting myself killed in the process.  It spurred the men on.   Meanwhile we denied Haselrigg any kind of success on the cavalry wing.

For orbats, notes and more pictures, follow the story here on Graham’s blog.

In case you missed it, there was more on the ancients Armati trial game recently on Ancients on the Move

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One Comment on “More on scales and rulers”

  1. Daniel Says:

    great post, thanks for sharing

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