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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

All Things Must Pass

Zorndorf no more
After having a long run on the gaming table of nearly five months, the Zorndorf battlefield passes into the annals of the Palouse Wargaming Journal.  No more long lines of red-coated Russians and blue-coated Prussians at attention waiting to greet me every time I walk down into the game room.  There may be a brief period of mourning with no Zorndorf on the table but a new interest is sure to take its place.  With a backlog of games waiting for some table space to open up, it was time to take down the battle and put away the figures.  Jake will be happy to see the return of his fine Russian Army away on campaign for so long.  A return engagement is not out of the question at a later date.  For now, though, time to move on.

Having cleared the table and carefully put away the troops, my first thoughts were focused on grid-based gaming.  With an empty table, now would be the perfect opportunity to create a gridded mat.  Who knows when the gaming table will be barren again?
Italian Wars troops deployed for battle on the grid
With two, six feet by four feet flocked felt mats by MKP stored under the gaming table, I unrolled them on the table and began formulating a plan.
ECW troops deployed for battle on the grid
To the Strongest! (TtS!) was the main driver for the pull toward gaming on a grid on a large scale.  Given that, the first question to arise was the size of the rectangular grid to plot out on the mats.  While getting the basics of TtS! under my belt in Scott's recent 15mm Ancients games, I really needed a gridded game mat for my own rules' study to advance my understanding of the system.
ECW BMU spacing looks good.
Several of the 28mm collections use Impetvs basing with a 120mm frontage.  For 120mm frontage, TtS! suggests a grid size of 150mm squares.  For the 32mm ECW collection, which is not based for Impetvs, cavalry has a frontage of 180mm and infantry maintains a frontage of 140mm; both too large for a 150mm grid.  
Italian Wars battle line from behind
Wanting to use both 4'x6' mats together to form a 6'x8' playing area, only one grid pattern could be chosen.  In the end, I decided upon a 200mm grid and set to work laying out the grid.  200mm grid is the suggested size for "large" unit sizes as defined in TtS!  Out of the 8' x 6' playing area, a grid of 9 boxes by 12 boxes can be produced.  Perfect size for a TtS! battlefield.
Angle view of two pike blocks and supports
The result?  After laying out the grid, I pulled a handful of ECW units and Italian Wars units from their storage boxes and deployed them upon their new battle mat.  While half intervals exist especially between the 120mm frontage Impetvs units, the appearance does not look too spaced-out to my eye.  Others may disagree but there it is.  A grid box of 200mm is perfect to accommodate the depth of a pike block three stands deep (180mm).  The grid is in place and ready for a test.  
Scottish foot arrayed for battle
One advantage of the recommended battle mat size of 12 grids by 9 is that a four foot by six foot portion of the gaming table remains open when TtS! is on the table.  I could have more than one game in play at a time!

Seeing the Italian Wars troops out on the table reminds me that I have a small stack of flags to distribute to the lads.  Another task to address. 

46 comments:

  1. Interesting, my friend has just got 'To the Strongest' put away for Christmas, so I imagine I will be getting some exposure to this early next year. We both have Hexon and he plans to initially use 6mm armies, so we are hoping the Hexon will work.

    I think the 200mm is a good shout for your basing, a size that is pretty much set by the 180mm pike anyway, though I think once you are up and running, it will not be long before the Assyrians with their marvellous chariotry might get the table space :-)

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    1. Hi Norm. I look forward to your impressions on TtS! From my very limited experience of two playings, the game is dynamic, unpredictable, and enjoyable. We will see how tactics and impressions develop with more trials.

      Once up and running on the grid, it seems only natural that the Assyrians get trotted out too.

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  2. TtS! Is a fine set of rules. You'll have a lot of fun with them, I would imagine :)

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  3. It was a great game, deserved a rest!

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  4. I will be interested to hear your thoughts on TtS.

    Christopher

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  5. I started working my way through TtS but have got pulled into DBMM V2.1 by the group I game with. I am still hopeful we'll get to the former once we have a few games of the DBMM under our belts, but in the meantime I'll have to live vicariously through your comments.

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    1. With luck, you will be able to return to TtS! after your DBMM games conclude. TtS! looks to have much to offer including very fast resolution.

      Of course, expect commentary as I travel this journey.

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  6. Just thinking about the Zorndorf game which I found thoroughly engaging, and those lucky enough like yourself who can leave a table in situ for a while, I wonder whether it would be possible to play a full game by blog with reader participation.

    It's given me an idea, if I can ever wrest back the downstairs home cinema room from our nineteen year-old (who, to be fair, is actually using it as a home cinema room).

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the Zorndorf replays, Peter! Five months on the gaming table is a long time to have a battle in situ but it was fun for me too.

      I did something similar to what you propose when I moderated a two-player Battle of Raab. See "Battle of Raab" in the blog header.

      The two commanders issued orders to their troops which I would carry out on the gaming table. Updates would be fed to the commanders and they would write new orders in response. It worked well and was good fun for me. I think the players enjoyed it too. Take a look if you are interested and see if this is similar to what you have in mind.

      Can't blame your 19 year old for using a room for its intended purpose!

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  7. Don't know about the rules, but these units are superb!

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  8. I love your ECW regiments- they look perfect.

    I liked TtS!, the couple of games I played. I am thinking of ordering the ECW version in the new year. It would give me an excuse to make a new game mat.

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    1. Thank you for the ECW troop compliment!

      I have the pdf version of the ECW rules and they look good. Who needs an excuse for a new game mat?

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  9. I have an associate who has had good things to say about TtS: looking forward to seeing more. Farewell to Zorndorf. I always fancied I'd do Russians if I ever got into SYW, so it was pleasing to see them arrayed and battle-reported (as opposed to the usual Austrians v Prussians).

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    1. Ed, glad you enjoyed seeing the Russians out for battle. The Russians are Jake's from https://dartfrog06mm.blogspot.com/. THey have been on line for a long time!

      TtS! will likely see some action on the gaming table so stay tuned.

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  10. 5 months is a long time. But I have learnt a lot and it might have encouraged my SYW project 😀 I have a copy of TTS but it just doesn’t do it for me the grid thing kills the aesthetics. I know the rules were developed very much to allow play for very large games for demonstrations , good to see how you get on. Everyone for there own thing 😀

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    1. Glad to have a positive , if indirect, influence on a new project, Matt!

      I am still in a quandary of the grid with respect to overlaying hills and woods onto the grid. I understand the aesthetics argument but will see how it works out. On open battlefields, I think it a fine mechanism.

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  11. My only regret is not being able to arrange a return myself. I was present for one resounding defeat of my stalwart Russians and was then left to witness their trials and tribulations from afar. As for being on campaign, I am not concerned. As you have the only available opposition available to them, they are in more danger of disuse and neglect in my den. Perhaps we should plan to visit Kunersdorf or Gross Jaegersburg in the Spring?

    I purchased the TtS! rules last year when I started the Kushite Egyptian project, and have been eager to give it a go.

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    1. Yeah, I have the same sense of regret that we could not coordinate our schedules to get you more than one shot at Zorndorf. Kunersdorf or Gross Jaegersburg in the Spring sounds like a good plan.

      Since you have TtS! in hand, let's give the rules a try.

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    2. For the record I have them in hand, not necessarily in mind. They appear rather easy to use though.

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    3. Yes, the rules seem straightforward. We can see what differences the chariots add into the gaming model. Play is fast too with activation by card and movement by grid. Rarely have I seen a large game play so quickly.

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  12. RIP Zorndorf! Exciting to see both your Italian wars and your ECW troops on the table and yes flags really help! TTS was great fun when I played it and Im hoping to have a go at the ECW version which I have in the shed,are you going full grid or just the corners? I found marking the corners worked fine for defining the grid but you almost didn't notice them otherwise.
    Best Iain

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    1. Yes, it was fun to pull a few stands of both ECW and Italian Wars troops out of the boxes for a quick set up.

      For the grid, I only made a dot at the corners. In the photos, the dots are difficult to identify but can be seen from directly behind. We will see how this goes. Placing terrain is a concern but something that can be overcome.

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  13. The units look nicely spaced out with the grid you are using with sufficient space for the odd piece of terrain.

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  14. All good things come to an end unfortunately but they lead us on to pastures new. Looking forward to your next project Jonathan!

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    1. Putting Zorndorf away gives opportunities for some more variety on the table. Well, unless, I use the entire table for the next game and leave it set up for several months!

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  15. A timely post Jonathan as I too am pondering on how to attack tables and terrain. This will be my main focus for next year.

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    1. I look forward to seeing what you will be up to in the New Year. Whatever direction you pursue, I am sure it will be spectacular.

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  16. I really liked the way you examined Zorndorf from different approaches, but yes variety (and this Renaissance period) will be great too! :)

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    1. Thank you, Mark. Glad you found the different looks at Zorndorf interesting.

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  17. On to the next project and game.
    I’ve read TtS but haven’t tried a game myself yet. It’s one of the things I’m been meaning to try for my dark ages mass battles. Have fun giving it a go yourself. 😀

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    1. Yep. I have a feeling I will return to SYW and Honours of War sooner rather than later. We have a couple of battles featuring the Russians again under consideration.

      If you give TtS! a try, report back, please.

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  18. I opted for a 150 mm grid for my 25/28 mm troops, but almost when bigger. My enthusiasm for TtS! is already well known.
    When placing terrain, it is often best if it not conform too rigidly to the grid; a little larger or smaller will work fine in most circumstances.

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    1. Looks like our Biblicals with take to the field on Sunday. We may go with minimal or no terrain in our first game to see how it goes as we work out the kinks. It will be fun to get a new project and a new ruleset out onto the gaming table. It was your enthusiasm that gave me the motivation to pull these rules off the shelf and finally give them a try. While I do have two games of TtS! under my belt, this will be the first time with 25s and my very limited experience. I am sure mistakes will be made but it ought to be fun.

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  19. Incredible armies!! Above all, the Italian crossbowmen look splendid, too bad they're not 1/72... but I could paint some as Warhammer mercenaries :)

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    1. Thanks, Phil!

      One day, I will get these Italian Wars armies into a game. Until then, we must be satisfied with static displays for now.

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