Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Maps, Scales, and A Restless Night

I love math.  I wish that I was better at calculus and physics back in high school and went more into a mathematical career.  Anyways, why am I even pining over math?  Well, last night I was sitting down with one of my 1:50000 topo maps of the Falklands thinking about how I am going to enlarge it make templates to cut out for elevations when it totally dawn on me…I was wrong on my thinking about using the altered ground scale for Charlie Don’t Surf for company battles in the Falklands and Vietnam! 
I suggested changing the game ground scale from 1:300 to 1:328 so to scale metrics to British Engineering measurements.  Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! (This is not including several other grammar and misspelling / typo mistakes I caught after re-reading the article, like on a 1:50000 scale map, 1cm=50m...sigh…that should have been 1cm=500m…that is a huge difference! I will go back and clean it up one day.)

All of sudden as I was thinking about what I was going to need to tell the copier people to use for enlarging, it dawned on me that it was going to be some kind of weird number which would cause all kinds of distortions on the scaling.  What was I thinking!  Instead, I decided to reverse my thinking from forcing a map to be scaled to the game system to forcing the game system to meet the best scale for my enlargements of the map.  (Palm slap to forehead!)  OK…the best scale for that will be 1:250.  That means the topo maps need to be enlarged by 200x, keeping the map from distorted and will make it easy on the copy person.  So, how much of a difference is this?  It is only 5/6th (83%) difference between the two.  While that will mean there is a noticeable difference, it is still close enough that I am happy with it.  Besides, I am using 10mm figures which would still be bigger in life in either scale and now they would only be 8’-3” in height…talk about Big Men!
So how does effect everything for my basing and the game distances?  It will not affect much at all as far as I am concern.  I will still use inches for movement and ranges, as well as keep the same templates for artillery as stated in the rules.  I will still use my current basing of a squad on a 50mm hex, which now means that there is 8-9 men occupying a roughly 12.5m x 12.5m area, with each man occupying roughly a 4m x 4m area, instead of the 6m x 6m area that they would have been taking up had I stuck with the 1:328 scale.  As I was mentioning earlier, I am rethinking of remounting my figures so to have the actual number of figures on each base that it represents.  I am also thinking when I do this, I probably will remount them in a way to spread them out more, plus it will give the players more stands to handle so it make it feel like that have more stuff to play with.  As it is now, a small US platoon, which is the smallest element that I would have one player run, might have only 4 stands, including Big Men and a Medic, or up to 7 stands with the set up I have now.  If I go with the re-basing, I am concerning 30mm frontage (7.5m scaled) for 2 men for both sides and 3 men for the VC and 40mm (10m scaled) frontage for the 3 men on the Free World powers.  This would my distance between men would drop, but still be reasonable:  2.5m per man for the Communist forces and 3.3m to 3.75m per man for the Free World forces.

I told you that I love math…

Now, on to how this new scale will affect the modeling of elevation on the board.  As I mention earlier, a typical topo map has elevation marked off with contour lines at 10m and 20m intervals, with 5m intervals marked off on special terrain features.  In this new scale, 2cm = 5m, so ¾” is almost 5m.  So that is what I am going to run with for elevation heights for my board.  But I am hoping to find something light and will not warp when painted / textured that comes in 1’x1’ sheets, but I have not started that search yet.  At least, if I have to, ¾” plywood will do, but I don’t want anything that heavy to carrying out to a convention or elsewhere, but it will survive traveling…hmm. 

Now, keep in mind all of the above really boring stuff that I was just talking about…yeah, now I am reworking my whole idea on the BN level games for the Falklands.  I am debating if I really want to spend about $50 to buy a copy of the long out of print game, Combined Arms by GDW, if it pops back up on eBay.  Or dust off my copy of Cold War Commander.  Or, see if I still can find a third option.  Sadly, there is a clear lack of games today that is designed for BN / RGT/ BDE actions anymore.  I do have my hands on two another rules sets for this level of games, but I have not read through them completely yet.  I am not sure if they are very “game-able” as they are very detailed and I am not sure how well they would go down with my fellow gamers.  One of the rules set is going to get a blog entry about it something soon.  The other will get mentioned as well in a later blog.  So, for now, I will leave my readers in suspense on what those rules sets are that still are to be mention!

Finally, here is a picture of one of the topo maps I bought for the Falklands, plus some mapping tools that I have. 

I am a mad man!


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