Wednesday 8 February 2023

Making 2mm Scale Even Smaller

EDIT: If you read this on Patreon last week, be aware there are some changes as I've worked on the game a bit.

There's a meme somewhere about how miniature wargamers move to increasingly smaller scales as their eyesight worsens with age.

Well I've written about my history with 28mm miniatures.

Then I started messing around with 10mm scale.

Recently I made a dip into the long-admired 6mm via Battletech and Epic.

For scale these unit bases are 25mm (1") square

So of course I've gone and bought myself some 2mm scale Napoleonic nonsense to try out. 

(I always feel like I should apologise to all the RPG people when I end up writing a post about wargames, but today's the day I stop beating myself up)

I originally picked up a pair of 2mm armies and set of terrain thinking I could quickly paint up some units to use with One Hour Wargames, creating an ultra-portable wargame in a box, or maybe use something like Rebels and Patriots since I've been enjoying the Rampant family of games recently. 

Then I stumbled onto 2x2 Napoleonics by Rod Humble and I felt the click. This quick reference sheet is particularly nice.  

Something about this system grabbed me. It feels very purposeful, focused in on a few specific elements of the era at hand (here the Glue of War and the Evolving Battlefield. Units mostly behave in the same manner with a few major exceptions where appropriate. There's a bit of "+1/-1 overload" (for me) in the combat resolution, but overall things are decisive and simple. 

I'm keen to try this system out as written, but of course I wanted to see if I could strip it back even further.

Here's what I'm calling the 1x1 Wargame, in honour of cramming hundreds of soldiers onto a 1x1" base.  

I'm not sure if this game can be understood on its own yet, so you might need to read through 2x2 Napoleonics if something doesn't make sense, though remember I've cut a lot of that system away too.   

I've replaced all of the +1/-1 modifiers with a clause where the player gains Edge on their roll (rolling two dice and keeping the highest) if they meet a certain requirement. There's just one of these clauses for each of the four types of roll in the game.

Everything else is just a straight d6 roll, no +1s or -1s to be found. Threshold for success is also 4+ across the board. 

Working within these self-imposed restrictions forces some lateral thinking in modelling expected combat effects. Here's how some of the modifiers from 2x2 Napoleonics have been modelled into this system in other ways:

  • In assaults ties normally go to the defender, but charging cavalry always win ties. Their speed also means they're able to run down retreating enemies, giving them a further boost in assaults.
  • Hills let you fire over other units, so you'll still want to put your cannons up there even if there's not a numerical benefit.
  • Walls break ties for the defender on Firing attacks, and cavalry just can't enter. 
  • Elite troops get an Edge on Rally rolls.
  • Everybody gets an Edge when assaulting Disrupted/Light/HQ units.
  • Everybody gets an Edge firing at Cavalry, so you'll want yours to charge infantry in a way that prevents them shooting you first, typically by disrupting them or charging the flank.
  • Artillery are automatically Broken when Assaulted, so don't let this happen. 
  • Assaulting a target with multiple units is less about maximising your roll and more about gaining some much needed protection from the somewhat unpredictable assault roll. Having that second unit engaged prevents the enemy from chasing you down if your first unit retreats. If you can get around the back then you can cut off their retreat too. Assaults are less about piling in from all angles and more about disrupting the enemy with fire before moving in with the bayonets or sabres.  

So while this sounds like a lot when I go into it, it's all there on a single page of A4. 

Why am I doing this? Is this really better just having a list of +1s and -1s? It feels better for me, and I've always said that games should be selfishly designed, rather than trying to make something somebody else would like. Maybe I'll see if this same structure can work for something more Medieval just by changing around the units, edges, and combat tables. 

So let me know if this selfish design has the side effect of being fun for anybody else!

1 comment:

  1. Hah, didn't expect you to dwindle further down the scale-spiral. I die not really read through your 6mm project but loved the concepts of The Doomed and Project 10. Since I don't have any Friends interested in such small scales I'll probably pass in buying 2mm armies, but heck, do I adore these little fellas...