Moscow 1941 – Map on a 60km Square Grid for Deep Battle

I’ve drawn a new table top map for the Battle of Moscow. This time I’ve gone for a square grid with one square per 60 km. This is all part of the agonisingly slow development of my Deep Battle rule set. These rules will be Operational in nature hence the grand scale of the map.

Why square? Why 6 inch? Why 60km?

Why square? I have previously experimented with hex maps, e.g. Kharkov 1942 Map for Deep Battle with 20km hexes, and wanted to see what a square grid would offer. Both hex and square grids have their problems, and since I’ve done some hex maps I thought I’d go for square this time.

Why 6 inch squares? My previous musing on what size Hex/Square Grid to use an operational game suggested that my 4 inch squares might be too small to fit my 15mm figures and tanks. I went to 6 inch because this size grid is easy to make on my normal wargaming table.

Why 60km? I wanted to get the entire map of Drive on Moscow onto the table. And with 6 inch squares that made each square 60km.

All of these decisions could be flawed. Hexes might be better than squares. 4 inches might be better than 6 inches. And part of the reason for that is that 60 km is too big for an operational level game, and 40km is ideal.

The map

So here it is, my 60km per square, square grid, for the Battle of Moscow.

Moscow 1941 Map for Deep Battle with 60km Squares
Moscow 1941 Map for Deep Battle with 60km Squares

The result is okay but not perfect. It proves to me that a square grid can work for the Battle of Moscow. But I think 60km is too much for Deep Battle rule set. These rules will have 40km for Strategic Operations. So to get the entire area of operations on table, I’ll need to revert back to my 4 inch squares. I feel another map coming on.

15 thoughts on “Moscow 1941 – Map on a 60km Square Grid for Deep Battle”

  1. Having read through the various musings, I’d suggest your impasse is coming from wanting to represent armoured formations by using more than one model tank.
    Having been through the quandary of aesthetics v what is a practical marker, I’d suggest unthinking the problem as it were.
    Your other musings suggest you had established 4″ / 100mm hexes as the ideal and invested time, effort and money into that ideal.
    You then tested the aesthetic look which caused the problem and led to uncertainties about figure scale, hex size, hex v square.
    The question you really should ask is whether you want to use your 15mm existing collection or embark on a whole new scale, which there is no guarantee will fulfil your aesthetic requirements?
    Is the tail wagging the dog?
    I’ve been here on similar journeys; I believe the problem stems from wargamers wanting to put as many model toys on the table as possible. It’s deeply ingrained that somehow a 24 (or 36 or 48) figure battalion “looks better” than one with 6 or 12 figures.
    It is of course all nonsense; 48 figures no better represent 500 men than 6 do, it’s just easier to suspend disbelief. More figures may be aesthetically pleasing but are as much a token as 6.
    Partly inspired by some of your ideas, my solution is to look at the base as representing the unit. This determines how many tokens or models populate it. That’s a question of which figure size you own or wish to use.
    Here, the 4″ hex could determine the base size; the question then becomes how many model tanks or figures you can fit on it. Putting 6x 1/300 tanks on a base or 1x 1/100 is simply an aesthetic marker to identity troop type. If you cannot fit more than 1x 15mm tank, how about filling the base with a halftrack as well, after all if fielding a tank corps or similar large formation, it’s likely to be made up of combined mechanised elements…..

    • Actually Neil, my intention is to use one “stand” for each unit. So at the Strategic level a German panzer corps will be a single tank model. A German infantry corps will be a single stand of infantry figures (in my case 3 infantry figures on a 3x3cm base). A mechanised corps will be a single assault gun or half track.

      I’m interested in how many stands/units fit in a hex/square, because historically quite a lot of units could fit into a 40km wide hex/square. Units had a high density on attack and were often overcrowded when on defence surrounded in a pocket. I want to model both. By the way, just because a lot of units are present in a hex/square doesn’t mean they can all fight.

      Actually, I originally decided I’d go for 4″ / 100mm hexes with no thought whatsoever. None. Not even a little musing. I just started buying. Only later, after getting the mats/terrain did I try to see if it made sense for the game I have in mind. With mixed results.

      Again, figure scale is a player choice. Chris and Adam are keen on 6mm for WW2. But my wargaming mates know I’m a one-true-scale gamer. 15mm all the way. That is mainly because it means I only have to collect one set of terrain – a set that works for 15mm figures. This is pragmatic rather than religious. We’ll see if Deep Battle forces me to break my own rule. Again hex/square size will have an impact. You can’t fit many 15mm houses in a 4″/100mm hex, and still leave room for roads, railway lines and troops.

      • Steven,
        My misunderstanding; as they are your musings perhaps less surprising. I took “suggested that my 4 inch squares might be too small to fit my 15mm figures and tanks” as meaning the issue was about wanting maximum number of models in a hex.
        In some way it is, but more about unit density rather than aesthetics.
        However, if your 4″ is a better fit for a 40km area, I think it’s more about making that work.
        In many ways it’s akin to boardgaming: here the classic solution is to form a stack, which is possible with counters but not miniatures.
        But think about how combat works with stacks; the combat value is combined. There is nothing to stop you indicating the formation type with the use of appropriate models (as tokens) but the actual strength by other means (rota, dice or other markers). So a tank corps may have only one model tank but be comprised of several divisions. Scope for hidden strength and maskrovia where it’s not clear what strength the enemy has, much like it’s impossible to see what’s in a stack.
        I wouldn’t give up on the 4″ hex so easily .

  2. “Hexes might be better than squares”. Not if the squares represented combat sectors (areas) instead of geometric constraints.

    • Alessandro, that’s an interesting take. I’m biased for hexes because of elegance reasons, but both your comments favoring squares make sense.

      Ultimately I think Deep Battle will make or break by how good a game the rules provide, and I can see Steven keeping the option to use both grid systems.

    • Alessandro, actually I prefer games using area maps over those with hexes/squares. But different sizes areas are hard to model on the table top. So in the interest of simplicity I’m gone with a grid.

  3. Squares are more efficient for fitting bases into them, and are easier to improvise. Because of other games using squares, I think land miniature players are more likely to have grid than hex mats.

    Some issues do arise if rules allow both.

    Personality I would design the game to be grid-size agnostic. That’s sort of the point of grid games.

    • The rules will be grid size agnostic. But players, including myself, will have a specific grid size. So my musing/experiments about grid size are not about the rules, they are about how I’ll play the game. Two things about that:
      – Hex/Squares will represent either 20km (Front Operation) or 40km (Strategic Operation). So the smaller the number of hex/squares on table the smaller operation the player will be able to play.
      – How many miniature units fit into a hex/square is an important constraint.

  4. Offset the squares and you effectively have the hex grid effect for a less linear method than squares adjoined at their corners.

    • The rules already allow for hexes, squares and offset squares. Personally my preference is probably: (1) Square, (2) Hex, (3) Off-set Square. But players and scenario designers can choose whatever they want.

  5. I’m compelled to suggest you might accelerate the playtest process by elevating yourself above the misery associated with being constrained to one specific physical representation of your forces. Just use counters or – better yet – blocks. And, I’m suggesting this for entirely selfish reasons, since I’m eagerly waiting for a draft of your operational rules since you first mentioned them 😀

    • Very pragmatic MarkusB. In truth there is nothing stopping me play testing today, with my existing kit. I was just distracted by other projects.


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