Thursday, 8 January 2015

2015 projects and options

Portuguese/Dutch for Irregular Wars
Enumerating last year's wargame-related achievements reminded me that retirement has not provided the expected increase in spare time, but, rather, the opposite. Accordingly, and contrary to every wargamer's natural instincts, I really must learn to maximise the time I do get by concentrating on completing current projects and making use of existing armies before moving on to anything new, especially if that carries a significant painting burden. I may have said that before, but it's a mantra I need to repeat. My main immediate priorities are thus to finish at least the first batch of ships for Galleys & Galleons and the Portuguese and Dutch armies for Irregular Wars.

Beyond that I aim to develop my 'platoon-hex' WW2 and 'battalion-hex' ACW/19thC rules so that the respective 10mm armies finally get some use. In the WW2 rules, each base will represent a platoon or equivalent. In the ACW/19thC rules, each base will represent a battalion. Both were originally designed for Hexon, but the ACW/19thC rules now use a 2" hex cloth.

Anything else I attempt will probably be done with counters, at least initially. These worked very well for playing both Maurice and Irregular Wars, and are a huge help in defining exactly what is actually needed should they subsequently be replaced with lead. My current fancy (and I have a lot to choose from) is something 20thC, tank-heavy and Grand Tactical, i.e. towards the Megablitz end of the spectrum, but using Hexon. If eventually using actual lead, it will be 3mm and involve multiple AFVs per base.

Israeli tank on the Golan Heights during
the Yom Kippur War 1973
One candidate is 1940 Belgium (and/or North Africa and the Eastern Front). The other is the 1973 Yom Kippur War (and/or the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War). I could also do the Cold War using my existing 6mm armies.

My original plan for WW2 was to use Bob Cordery's Hexblitz or its successor, Hexblitz II, if and when it becomes available. For post-War, there is  Tim Gow's NATO Brigade Commander, which is also awaiting publication. Hexblitz follows Megablitz in using 1 base per battalion, while NBC uses 1 base per company (or Soviet half-battalion). For WW2 there is also Martin Rapier's  RKKA Brigade Commander (Eastern Front only), which is partly based on NBC and uses the same 1 base per company representation. And there is always Megablitz itself, which can be translated to hexes.

One big advantage of using Hexon (or an equally large square grid) is that, within reason, base sizes don't really matter. For 3mm, I'd be inclined to use bases 40mm wide x 30mm deep with 3 or even 4 AFVs and a back strip reserved for interchangeable magnetic labels. Such bases might represent a Battalion, Company or Platoon (at more-or-less 1:1 scale) depending on the level being played. Working out the combination of bases needed will require some effort, but that's where the counter approach pays off.

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