Dec 4, 2012 11:06am

Calen - thanks, mate, I'll check that out as soon as I can.  and do ANy of the games you play have detailed rules for sighting units through the forests?


Divisionby0 -Im sending you a personal message to discuss the possibilities of your playing wargames with me.  I hope you get the message, considering how wonky the message system is here


Leonard - that JCATS looks like a marvelous simulation but it seems rather cumbersome and burdened with details.  from what Ive read a battalion-level game can still take MONTHS to play.  while I would love a copy of the rules, I fear that it is a classified system and I wouldnt be able to figure it out even if I could find a copy.  of course, that is exactly the kind of thing our armed forces commanders should be using, I just dont think its feasible for normal civilian use as a game.  my system is based on the wargames research group's game, which has been used by many military commanders in training, at least according to the description the writers give in the book.  thing is, a battalion level game would only take a few days to play, even with many different forms of transport and weaponry being used.

do you play any games with this JCATS?



and why has our discussion on wargames drawn not one but two bisexual women to our thread to mock us?



Dec 4, 2012 1:00pm

Calen - thanks, mate, I'll check that out as soon as I can.  and do ANy of the games you play have detailed rules for sighting units through the forests?

Depends on what you mean by detailed. Most minis games have LOS blockage based upon inches of obstruction. That kind of thinking is precisely what hex-boards largely obviate - the obstruction is either there or not. There are some games which represent unit awareness with less strict criteria than LOS. Usually this requires double-blind movement, and tends to be an option.


Dec 4, 2012 1:06pm


thats just what I needed.

this is for all your diligence in answering my questions!

I'm going to go with cumulative reduction in visibility based on the number of inches of forested area in front of the aquiring unit




Dec 4, 2012 8:15pm

Overall, nothing beats what you can do with minis - both in appearance and realism,
for the tactical stuff. My problem is I like too many periods to be able to use them.


Dec 5, 2012 2:38am

thats exactly right.  the miniatures offer a pretty wide range of games, within a certain time frame.  for example, Ive got fifty t-72's as the main adversary for my games.  you would think that limits me to the era between 1972 to, say, 1990 or so.  however, these t72's look very much like the t80, which extends the plausible life of the game to roughly 2012.  its easy to say that the t72's are t80's.

however, nobody could fool themselves and say that they are t34's and we're going to try to play ww2 games with them.

by having such a wide range of interests in military simulations, you are effectively placing yourself right out of the detailed world of miniatures.

of course, the point could be made that instead of spending that ten thousand dollars on boardgames, you probably could have built several armies by now, of quite a few different time periods.

but on the whole I'd say you probably have a much wider knowledge of tactics and strategy because of your choice to focus on the boardgames.  also, no miniature simulation in the world can offer anything like a strategic-level scenario.  so your boardgames are probably the only way to experience the difficulties of a very large scale battle.


I guess when I began gaming, I made a conscious decision to focus solely on one period.  Ive got a couple hundred vehicles now, and they suit me perfectly for a fairly wide variety of games from 1970 onwards.  I'm satisfied with that because of the overwhelming number of possible games within that period.  for example, I can easy replicate, with just a bit of research, the recent missile wars in Israel, the potential conflict between nato and syria, or even a naval battle with north korea. (I made many modern ships from clay many years ago, and they are perfect for harpoon rules)


so, you probably know a lot more than I about military sims, but I am content with the possibilities which my set of miniatures provieds.

thanks again for answering all my questions


Dec 5, 2012 4:09am

On top of the eras, the minis just give tactical views.

Much as I love tactical games, I probably prefer strategic (certainly did when younger).

I'm also becoming more pleased with operational stuff.


Dec 5, 2012 12:28pm

La-Ritournelle: thanks for the Qs. First of all, the games do not tak emonths. A usual exercise (as they are called) is probably more like 4-6 hours. Old-fashioned MAPEX (as the name implies, this uses maps instead of computer systems) might take a bit longer, as the game automates a lot, but as the idea is not at all to measure who is the better tactician and 'wins' the game, then only a short sequence is played.

JCATS itself is not classified (or I wouldn't be yapping here), but a lot of unit data and such is. It is probably also out of the reach of mere mortals, as it is not sold on the open market and the price is more in the 7 digit range. So it is not, by far, a similar thing as what is being discussed here, but I thought some perspective might be interesting and also to emphasize that games need not be realistic to have a purpose.

I do have a question to the gamers who use miniatures in playing modern warfare: how on earth do you keep the battle map to scale!? Or do you operate on a scale where one tank represents something like an armoured company and an foot is perhaps a mile?


Dec 5, 2012 1:41pm

oh.  well, can I borrow YOUR copy of JCATS?

and to answer your question, first look at this map of worlds end state park in pennsylvania in america

I am tracing each topographical line (contour lines) onto a separate sheet of flat cardboard, which I recycled from people's trash

now, drawing the lines before cutting them with a sharp razor is certainly an art

it requires a careful eye and good hand-to-eye coordination

personally, I super-impose a grid over the map, and try to visualize each contour line as its own shape

once drawn, I cut them out and glue them all together.

then I paint the whole thing green, make the details like roads (rubber inner tubes), houses (small clay houses), and the river (painted plastic sheet) together and add a few thousand trees made from Q-Tips dunked in various shades of green.

the result is very much lile the real place.  maybe not perfect, but good enough for a detailed wargame.

each tank represents one tank, each cardboard square with infantry represents a half-squad, and each inch on the map equals one hundred meters.  normally I use one inch to fifty meters, but in this case, I had to adapt to a smaller scale.  the game turns each represent one minute of real life, even though they can take an hour for a large battalion level game

I cant wait until this board is finished. it will be roughly five feet long by four feet wide, and the total depth of the gorge is about six inches.  the only thing I had to buy was two boxes of Q-tips, costing a total of three dollars.  everything else was free.

I think I'll cut another layer of the western-most hill right now

excuse me


Dec 5, 2012 2:38pm

Wow, this kind of commitment makes me envious. And I am not kidding, it really does — I am kinda stuck with my work 24/7. Mind you — I think what I do is the next best thing to sliced bread, but still — boardgames are pretty damn close as well!

But riddle me this (and don't take me for being snotty, I just want to know): if one inch is 100m, then for a realistic simulation, your tank would have to be what - 0,1" or about 2,5 mm. Otherwise LOS & cover simply do not work. Or did I completely misunderstand what was said earlier about aiming for realism?

As for borrowing my copy — while I do think that copyright reform is long overdue, in this case I am sorry, but no can do. The mighty EDF would rain down hard on my ass :(


Oh, and looking at your pics, two more Qs:

1. you call Russian company-equivalent units 'companies' in English? Also — are those BMP3-s I see on the right flank?

2. do your wooden subs have some propulsion (wind up rubber or similar)?


Dec 5, 2012 3:10pm

lol, those wooden subs were german type 7 U-boats, the best sub in the world, and yes, they DID have tiny rubber band driven propellors inside.  can you believe I sold them for only three dollars each?  they were made of fine black walnut, with lead keels, finished with a light coat of oil to bring out the swirling grain.  the problem was that the propellors didnt work very well... they just gave a few feeble turns of the axle and then stopped.  next time I will spend more effort into aligning the axle within the submarine housing. still, it made a lot of kids pretty happy.

yes, you found the one big flaw in the miniature wargame design... the vehicles are out of proportion. (it would be hard to manipulate vehicles which were tiny enough for scale)  but theres a trick to get around this, you simply assume that the vehicle is exactly where the center of the front edge of the model is.  that way you can pinpoint its location exactly

yes, a russian tank company, at least as far as I understand, is three platoons of three tanks each, plus one company level command tank.  and yes again, you have a good eye for these things, they are bmp-3's with the improved stabber anti-tank missile and the thirty mm. gun.


is EDF the Estonian Defense Force?  were you using ex-soviet vehicles and weapon systems?  what did you do? this is fascinating to me.


Dec 5, 2012 6:47pm

It's also common for minis games to not be at 1:1 scale - though still there tends to be a scale issue.


Dec 7, 2012 9:02am

it seems to be against the entire purpose on using miniatures, at least to me.

if one model represents anything more than one thing, you might as well be playing with little squares of cardboard on a flat map

I am now more than halfway finished the model of worlds end state park

two more weeks and it should be complete and forested


Dec 8, 2012 5:28am

There are two advantages. Aesthetics and free measured movement (though you could
do the latter on a map if you really wanted). 

It would be pretty hard to do ANY reasonable sized battle in 1:1 scale. Even small medieval battles had thousands on a side. I've only seen ONE game done that way - 19th century Afgan ambush on a British 
column; a very small battle, done in 6mm figures. So, you're left playing skirmishes. Now, that can be
fun for some, but I want to be able to see important battles, not whether Joe and Steve make it
through alive. There are formations that don't even work in such small scales - and thus tactical
systems you can't explore.

1:1 almost hits an RPG type aspect. I've played some skirmishes of modern stuff done in it,
as well a revolutionary war raid, and a Traveller based merchant deal. Yeah, they're fun, 
but they can't show you more than what a game of paintball would show.


Dec 8, 2012 11:01am

well, it depends on what you mean by 'large-scale'

the largest game I have is when the full russian independent tank battalion (50 t72's and 30 BMP-3's)

meets the american tank battalion.  I certainly do NOT name individual commanders, I think thats silly.

but its still a pretty large game.  Ive never heard of anyone having a larger game with modern miniatures.  the next step up would be a brigade level game, with about a hundred tanks on the russian side, with all the assorted support vehicles.  it would probably cost a couple thousand dollars to buy all those vehicles, not to mention all the infantry which would be required.  and it would be impossible to play with only two opponents.  a single turn would probably take a day.

yes, I also want to play 'important' battles.  thats why I do the modern miniatures.  nothing from the past is as relevant and 'important'  as being able to play out modern scenarios such as north korea right now, or syria.  this immediate relevance is what draws me to the modern era.   by combining elements of Harpoon's modern naval battle rules and my own compilation of three armored wargame rules I feel confident that I could effectively represent any possible modern battle.

thats one of the main reasons for the modern era mini's

I'm now in touch with no less than six local modern wargamers through that message board you mentioned.



Dec 8, 2012 12:06pm


Boy, all you sexxxxxy warmongering sapiosexuals suuuuure do get me hot! :P



Dec 8, 2012 12:30pm

trolls must go to the fantasy wargame threads

away, evil troll


Dec 8, 2012 4:39pm

Boy, all you sexxxxxy warmongering sapiosexuals suuuuure do get me hot! :P

You obvious haven't seen two-pike-one-horse.


Dec 9, 2012 10:56pm


Man.. I am vaguely recalling the phrase that you are playing off of there but can't recall it. Some internet meme.

Oh well.

Back to wargames.



Dec 10, 2012 2:13am

pfft, the dude's pathetic

its two girls one cup

and it doesnt even have to do with the subject under discussion

my board is nearly completely mountained

its almost time to make two thousand tiny trees from Q-tip heads

any suggestions on how to make them look like the different species of trees found in the eastern deciduous forests?


Dec 10, 2012 9:13am

A few comments and responses:

yes, La-R, EDF is for Estonian Defence Forces. Very tiny, infantry all the way, no soviet legacy, all NATO nowadays. There's still many conflicting opinions about whether it would have been wise to try and bribe local garrisons for cheap EQ when the Union collapsed (you could buy tanks with vodka, is what I've been told and all things considered — might be rather close to reality 20 years back). But we didn't, so our meanest Motherf****r is Finnish PASI APC, and they are happily rolling around Afghanistan, to the cause of which Estonia was once the largest contributor per capita ;)

As for the game, we did have lots and lots of Soviet/Russian units in there, for rather obvious reasons. When you're a NATO member country next to a huge non-NATO one, threat assesments tend to follow that logic... So I've studied my share of Soviet armor and the BMP-3 is easy to spot with its long barrel. I never could tell the difference between all those T-whatevers, though...

But, but, but. I can completely understand using a single point of the miniature to represent the unit in terms of LOS etc. I don't think that really is a flaw, there are limits to how realistic you can and should get, everything has a tradeoff. My main concern would instead be that when aiming for realism, such a game setup completely ignores the fact that a commander (batallion, even company) never has this precise overview of the battlefield and the bigger your units, the less the commander deals with directing individual tanks/squads/platoons, instead giving orders that become more and more general, the higher up you go. So instead of "shoot that biatch!" you get to things like "advance towards the river and secure a birdgehead", which translates into specific tasks on lower command levels, down to tank commanders and crew. There is a term micro-management used in, well, management theories, meaning a situation, where a manager deals with minute details of organisation instead of focusing on his/her level of the organisation, which should be more strategic.

This is something, that I think can never be adequately reprsented on such maps and while the physics can approach very high levels of realism, the chain of command can not, unless you include a lot of people to play any side, isolate them into separate rooms and find a way to provide them only fragmentary information.

What do you think — am I making sense to you, is this something the miniature enthusiasts consider and do they have solutions/workarouds/tradeoffs?

Aside: hi sfg and tell me where the fuck does this high-handed attitude come from? I thought all geeks had a healthy appetite for things that go boom? Or was I wrong about the geek part?

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