Different rule systems assume different ground scales. So I thought I’d show one scenario map, a Liberators scenario by John Fletcher for the Battle of Ica, at different ground scales. And suggest which Wargaming Rules suit each scale.
Map and Table Scales
The scale of a map is the ratio of a distance on the map to the corresponding distance on the ground. In a wargaming context this means the distance on the table to the corresponding distance on the ground. Map scales may be expressed in words, as a ratio, or as a fraction.
Thanks to John Fletcher for permission to use his Ica map to illustrate this post.
Folk from North America tend to use words with inches as the starting measurement. For example “1 inch to 40 yards” or “40 yards per inch” both mean 1 inch on the map or table corresponds to 40 yards on the ground.
Where I grew up, in New Zealand, we use ratios for map scales. 1:25,000, for example, means 1 cm on the map corresponds to 25,000 cm (or 250 m) on the ground. A more common wargaming scale would be 1:1000 which means 1 cm on table corresponds to 1000 cm (or 10 m) on the ground.
I tend to use Ratio scales but I’ll try to put the American equivalent with each.
Map from the Ica Scenario
I’m using the map from John Fletcher’s Ica Scenario to illustrate my point. The map corresponds to an area 2.6 x 1.7 km. There is nothing particularly significant about this map except John originally provided the Ica Scenario as a free give away and it uses his normal ground scale.
1:1000 (~30 yards per inch) Wing Scale
The most likely scale I’ll be using, the Wing Scale of 1:1000 (~30 yards per inch), poses problems when using John Fletcher’s maps as I would need a bigger table. Quite a lot bigger. Each square on John’s map would be over 17 inches on the table. A 6′ x 4′ table would be way too small. It would take a 9′ x 6′ table to accommodate the Ica Scenario comfortably although you could, and I probably would, squeeze it onto a 8′ x 5′ table.
You could use this table for Liberators QPR with small bases only one rank deep. You could also use it for any battalion based set of rules using Big Bases, e.g. Shako, March Attack or the “Wing Scale” of Volley & Bayonet.
1:1440 (40 yards per inch) Liberators QPR Scale
40 yards per inch is John Fletcher’s default scale for his Liberators books and the Liberators QPR specifically. John design the Ica Scenario to fit perfectly on a 6′ x 4′ table at that scale. Each map grid square is 12 inches by 12 inches on the table.
Obviously you could use this table for Liberators QPR however you really should change the rules so that battalions are deployed with two rows of troops. You could also use it for Liberators HOTT on Big Bases and for the “Battalion Scale” of Volley & Bayonet.
1:2000 (~60 yards per inch) Battalion Scale
The Battalion Scale of 1:2000 is where I use a single Big Base for a battalion. Each of John’s map squares is about 8.5 inches. You probably only need a 4′ x 3′ table to fight the Ica Scenario.
Suitable for: Liberators HOTT
1:2880 (80 yards per inch) Liberators HOTT Scale
The smallest scale I’ll look at requires only a 3′ x 2′ table for the Ica Scenario. Each of John’s map squares is only 6 inches on table.
Suitable for: Liberators HOTT
The smallest table is reserved for Liberators HOTT with small bases.
Volley & Bayonet
I’ve mentioned Volley & Bayonet, “Wing scale” and “Battalion scale” a few times above. The standard scale for V&B is 1:3600 (100 yards per inch) – this is the “Regimental Scale” and is way too big for South America. But there are Volley and Bayonet Alternate Scales including “Wing Scale” and “Battalion Scale”. These alternatives offer some possibilities for my own Big Bases.
Wing Scale: In Wing Scale each base is half a battalion, so there are two bases for a battalion. Exactly the configuration I’ve used for my Liberators armies. Each of my battalions has two bases, each base being 80mm wide x 40mm deep. So one of my battalions in line would be 160mm wide and 40mm deep.
Battalion Scale: Each base is a full-strength battalion, so my battalions would be 80mm wide and 40mm deep.
Given my preference for metrics, round numbers, and ratio scales I’m inclined to adjust the V&B ground scales.
|Rules||Battalion Bases||Ratio Scale||American Scale||Battalion Frontage|
|V&B Wing Scale||2 x 3″ wide||1:900||25 yards per inch||150 yards|
|V&B Battalion Scale||1 x 3″ wide||1:1800||50 yards per inch||150 yards|
|Steven’s Wing Scale||2 x 80mm wide||1:1000||28 yards per inch (~30 yards per inch)||160 metres|
|Steven’s Battalion Scale||1 x 80mm wide||1:2000||56 yards per inch (~60 yards per inch)||160 metres|
Fletcher, J. (2005). Liberators! Volume 1: The War in the South. Grenadier Productions.
Fletcher, J. (2006). Liberators! Supplement 1: The War in the South. Grenadier Productions.