Monday, August 7, 2017

Yet More Thoughts on Grid War Games

Multi-element units on a chessboard.  Swedish foot and Imperialist
Horse.  Or Severeian vs Austereian if you prefer.

Some of the recent response to my earlier comments and posting on this topic led me to look into the practicalities of:

1.  Units that occupy more than one grid cell
2.  How one might approach diagonal movement and placement.

This was very experimental - not a play test, withal, merely to inquire into the 'look of the thing.'  In the accompanying pictures, I was focusing more on the infantry than the horse.   Unfortunately the 6cm width elements are slightly too wide for the 5.7cm squares on the chessboard.

 Black Regiment in line.
A Swedish (or Severeian when I'm feeling whimsical) regiment (battalion) of foot, comprising a pike block (8 figures) with 2 arqubusier/musketeer wing elements (6 figures each).  The unit occupies 3 spaces - grid cells.  In play, each element would have conferred upon them their own strength points.
Red Regiment in left echelon, facing north.
In this formation, the unit can switch front to due west
and then form line in a single move.
Lined up orthogonally, the unit presents a nicely ordered, solid line, but suppose they found their enemy somewhere off to their left flank front?  One possibility is to begin by throwing forward the right flank to form left echelon as in the above picture.  In my view this would work quite well in the kind of 'orthogonal-only' systems we have been discussing, as the unit would be flexibly enough placed immediately to form the solid line East-West or North-South as required.
Red Regimentin line facing diagonally 45-degrees.  The gaps
 do rather detract from the notion of contiguity, one feels.
Suppose we allowed diagonal moves and shooting according to the system proposed in my previous posting (counting a diagonal step as one-and-a-half steps, and rounding the fractions down for completed moves).  With a two-square movement rate, it would be possible, provided the left-flank element pivoted in place, to wheel the whole  3-element line 45-degrees as in the diagram (except they ought in the picture to be lined up on the light-coloured squares).
If the cavalry advance into the adjacent light squares, a
close combat would ensue.  But what about the
corner-t0-corner adjacent green squares? Ought the
cavalry be permitted to concentrate their attack
upon the right flank musketeers, say?

Then of course you run into the elements splitting up to centre upon their grid cells  Is this good?  Do I like this? Not sure. This diagram has alerted me to another fishhook with this system. Suppose the Imperialist (Austereian)  Horse were to try charge the Severeian line. Does an element placed upon a diagonally adjacent square count as being in close combat? If so, you could bring seven (7!) elements into close combat with the diagonally oriented unit.  Against an orthogonally oriented unit, only five. In the pictured situation, the cavalry might try concentrating upon the right flank musket element, say. That does not sound at all like a Good Thing!  
I perceive, then, that there is a whole lot more to this whole question than meets the eye. I'd probably be inclined to allow close combat between orthogonally adjacent grid-cells, and allow only shooting between diagonally adjacent cells. This would equalise to 8 the 'contactable' cells around the unit, though in one case there would be 3 frontal, 2 flank and 3 rear; the other 4 frontal and 4 rear.   It would also solve a little problem I noticed last time with javelins shooting diagonally.
Food for thought, but I am beginning to think that maybe trying to sort out the diagonal moves, orientations and effects aren't worth the candle.  It seems more than likely that my 30YW armies are better suited to an ungridded battlefield after all.   If I wanted to persist with this, I would have to construct a grid field with 6cm squares.  Starting from scratch, 6cm hexes might be a better option.  
These last couple of pictures are a bit of self indulgence. I rather regret my neglect of these armies, especially as there isn't all that much to do (Swedish Horse and some artillery) to finish these off. But other projects are clamouring more for attention... 


  1. Archduke Piccolo
    Another Interesting post - is the overhang and orthogonal problem on a gridded board or chessboard partly the square basing that we have as automatic / standard?

    If we had round bases would this work?

    If we had hexagonal or octagonal bases (admittedly as busy as the old multi sided predecimal or new £1coin) would this solve the hang over corners by rotating and trimming the square edges? Not sure what some of the new shapes should be called but they recall a certain squarish gemstone cut.
    On paper I have tried trimming corners off squares and it seems to work. I'm sure that suitable unit clusters could still be achieved with a little creative spacing of figures.

    1. Yarooh! I typed out a reply and forgot to 'Publish' That's the second time today. Let me try again.

      1. Round or octagonal bases would obviate the corner overlaps, that's for sure. You'd still have the stretching effect with diagonal orientation, but that might be livable with.

      2. My experiments here were due to the frontages of these units being 3x6cm = 18cm roughly 5 inches. My grids use 4-inch squares. Not much use there!

      3. If I were to use 1-unit/1 square on a 4"-cell grid, there are two approaches I could take: 10mm frontage per figure for an 18 or 20 figure unit in 2 ranks of 10 (6 shot - 6-8 pikes - 6 shot) ; OR 15mm frontage per figure for a 12 figure unit in two ranks (4S - 4P - 4S). That would certainly make things a lot easier. To avoid corner overlaps, experiment indicates you probably wouldn't need to clip the corners at all, except for very deep formations like artillery or the deep cavalry columns favoured by the Imperialists.

  2. Interesting. That is a particularly large chess board.

    1. I have had this chess board nigh on 40 years. Guy in Wellington used to make them. They are, I believe, standard tournament sized - or at least I have known the type to be used in tournaments. I have a commercially made 'Holdson' board kicking around the house somewhere. I was going to use that but couldn't find it.

      Apart from my Russian magnetic set here beside me, for use when I play chess on-line, none of my 6 chess sets gets much action... Except as temporary 'storage' for WIP...

    2. Chess game in action...

    3. Several hours later, it flashed across my mind that I had the chess board squares's units wrong. Nope: 5.7cm squares they are - slightly over 2 inches.

  3. It seems to me that some level of focus and some periods work better on a grid than others.

    2 examples:
    a) a Grand Tactical horse and musket game where each unit is a battalion or brigade with all combat being adjacent apart from massed artillery and a theoretical skirmisher/battalion gun factor.
    b) late 19thC/20thC low level games where small open order sub-units have more command flexibility and long ranges.

    1. I think you might well be right, Ross Mac. I can't really see my doing 30YW in this format. Worth a look, though, if only to encounter the problematic features.