Thursday, June 7, 2007

Big armies, small battles

sgtjj posted a comment, suggesting that I might be able to solve my problem by playing smaller battles with my figures.

First, thanks for the feedback, sgtjj.

I've been down this path, and there are pros and cons.

On the positive side, I get to play battles with painted figures. Good stuff, for sure. And, actually playing battles with my figures is usually a great source of the inspiration I need to sit down and paint more of them for that game/collection/army.

And, I like small skirmish games. I have a lot more to say about that kind of gaming, but I'll save it for another post.

The biggest downside is a bit hidden. If I start playing small games with a set of figures, it's very very tempting to start to build out that set of figures just for that purpose. This usually means using a different set of rules (e.g. Pith Helmet or The Sword and The Flame for small battles and skirmishes, versus Battles for Empire for large colonial slugfests), which usually means different basing schemes.

And, once I start thinking in the "small game" mindset, what I want in the collection changes, to include a lot more variety and character type figures, and fewer (relative to large armies) of the same old Line Infantrymen.

Once upon a time I started down the path of 25mm Napoleonic gaming. I started by painting a single unit of 24 French Line Infantry. So far, so good. But, thought I, I could play some skirmish games with them while I paint up the rest of the army. So next up were some lovely British Rifles, and a foray into the Sharpe novels while I wasn't painting. Then I bought up a collection of light cavalry, officers, civilians, and spanish guerillas and...watched Glory again. And these poor chaps sat unpainted at the back of my painting table until I sold them off on Bartertown a few years ago.

So, it's a good suggestion, sgtjj. And, with a little discipline ("I swear, I'll be better this time!") it could work. I shall think on it, but it's a road I've travelled to distraction before.

Thanks again for the feedback.


William Stewart said...

Have you thought about using a painting service like Fernando? You could have the bulk of the line figures painted by them and concentrate on specialty or command figures.

Anonymous said...

I base most of my mins on metal washers. That way if I need square bases, round bases, 6 figures to a base, or whatever; I just make the new base with magnetic tape in or on it. I then place washers of the same size as the washers on my figures on the new base. I mold the terrain around these washers. When I am done with the new base I remove the washers and place the figures on the base and I am ready to go with the new system. I can post some photos on the "ultracheapminis" Yahoo group if you want to see some examples. Drop a line there if you need more info.

Ron Hamilton

Concentrationally Challenged said...

Hi William,

I have indeed. In fact, I'm thinking about placing a large order with them in the next month or two.

I have another idea I want to try first ("hair curler armies"), that I'll write about on the blog today or tomorrow. If that doesn't pan out, Fernando gets the business.

I'd also need to get some of my extra unpainted lead up on eBay and Bartertown to raise the gaming capital. I'll probably do that _while_ I see whether I can paint an army of little tiny stick figures before "inspiration" hits again.

The local gaming club placed a big group order with Fernando last month, and were very pleased with the speed, quality and price.

Thanks for the idea, William.

Concentrationally Challenged said...

Hi Rob,

Hey, that's a cool idea! It solves the basing part of my "big armies, small battles" issues, anyway.

Got any tips for hiding the seams between the individual figure bases and the terrain on the larger sabot? Or maybe that's just not necessary when they're formed up en masse?