Sunday 17 October 2021

The Lay of the Land

Warfare rarely takes place in nice rectangular shaped battlefields, so when wargamers try to recreate the map and place terrain on their games tables, compromises often happen. But if we move the terrain to fit our table, is it still a historical game?

This subject came about because I recently played a game that necessitated some creative squeezing and twisting to make the map fit my undersized table. I still think it produced a reasonable representation of the battle I was playing, even though the terrain was placed slightly differently from how it was at the battle. 


  1. So long as you enjoy the game I don't see that it matters too much. No game is ever going to be historically accurate for the reasons you outline. Interestingly I would say the vertical scale of any game is almost always wrong i.e. the hills should be much higher than they actually are. I get around the problem by having mainly fictitious encounters or a very loose interpretation of real events.

    1. True, we get fixated by the horizontal axis and often forget that terrain has height as well. We are making compromises from the moment we step up to the table because otherwise many historical encounters would be unplayable.

    2. Interesting food for thought. I agree it's a case of horses for courses, and it depends on what you want to achieve.
      I tend to be a bit of a literalist. I'll try to keep the geographical relationship between features and all the appropriate distances between them. However, space is always limited so I might have to take a particular slice of the whole battlefield area, and leave out some of the more peripheral areas. Or if it's too big a problem I might just leave it and do something else! I did once try an alternative approach, where I telescoped some parts of the battlefield, but I couldn't get my head round it. Perhaps I need a bit more imagination :-D


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