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madman



Joined: 19 Nov 2016
Posts: 95
Location: Ontario Canada

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hoth_902 wrote:
Great stuff guys. I am still wading through all the information. As I do so, I had an additional question. How many pieces do you typically use in a game? Number of infantry and vehicles.

Thanks in advance.


I have never counted but my aim points would be a platoon of infantry (assuming 2 bases per squad) so say 8 to 15 and a company of vehicles so about the same. This doesn't include non player pieces like civilian vehicles and say the bulk of a convoy which is not "controlled" by a player (lines of trucks) but would include the convoy escort. So say a dozen to three dozen separate elements anywhere from a command stand of infantry to a vehicle, helicopter or gun.

Hope this helps some.
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Hoth_902
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Madman,.

It helps more than you know. I am trying to calibrate my expectation on what a game should look like. My current gaming group is not into modern. My only real modern game was with some guys who I played with in Florida. Shout out to Paul. Miss gaming with ya.
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madman



Joined: 19 Nov 2016
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hoth_902 wrote:
Madman,.

It helps more than you know. I am trying to calibrate my expectation on what a game should look like. My current gaming group is not into modern. My only real modern game was with some guys who I played with in Florida. Shout out to Paul. Miss gaming with ya.


I am getting resigned to gaming micro armour both WWII and especially modern as skirmish or large skirmish (platoon) as that is the thrust of the rules I like nowadays. I don't care for one mini equals a platoon or such. My issues are gaming micro armour as single figures and or working inside buildings.
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Hoth_902
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Madman,

I am of the same thought, 1:1 for the vehicles and skirmish type battles. However, I have played games that had over 100 pieces, a side, on the board and I have played games that were about the size of two companies of Armor and maybe two companies of IFVs. Enjoyed both games. I believe the ground scale for the larger game was, understandably so, smaller than that of the one with a couple of companies. Like I said, I am trying to calibrate my expectation on how many pieces are a good fit for certain game board sizes.
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madman



Joined: 19 Nov 2016
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hoth_902 wrote:
Madman,

I am of the same thought, 1:1 for the vehicles and skirmish type battles. However, I have played games that had over 100 pieces, a side, on the board and I have played games that were about the size of two companies of Armor and maybe two companies of IFVs. Enjoyed both games. I believe the ground scale for the larger game was, understandably so, smaller than that of the one with a couple of companies. Like I said, I am trying to calibrate my expectation on how many pieces are a good fit for certain game board sizes.


I am just trying to give you ideas as I am back into this after 25 years off. Sort of Rip Van Winkle saying "nutin is what it used to be" but this is the direction(s) I am looking right now.
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Hoth_902
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Madman,.

I am totally appreciative of the information you and the others have provided. Hopefully soon, I will pour over the great information that everyone has shared. I am currently a blank canvas.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before this recent dive into table top wargaming,. Cardboard cutout and hex spaces on a board was what I was accustom to. Well, also axis and allies. So again blank canvas.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
How many pieces do you typically use in a game? Number of infantry and vehicles.


As mentioned in my long-winded diatribe, I try to focus on about a re-enforced company per player. And I try to limit my number of game pieces per player to about 20-25 each. That seems to my experience to be the upper limit for an experience where the game actually flows along.

With unit scales of one-to-one for vehicles, and one-to-squad for infantry, these two targets come together nicely. A typical platoon will have 3 to 5 game pieces, be they tanks or infantry. A typical company will have 3 platoons (9 to 15 pieces), a support platoon of some sort with another 3 to 5 pieces (now up to 12-20 pieces total), and a company HQ of 1 or 2 pieces (now up to 13-22 pieces). Add one more platoon as an attachment, and you have pretty much hit your limit. Or my limit. Or my "target" limit. Or where I should have stopped, because you know after all these years I really should know better and I don't know WHY I always make my games too d@mned big....ahem ... or whatever.

I describe my approach in number of pieces per player, not number of pieces in total per game. I can use this approach and scale up to battalion per side games quite easily. They will fit admirably on a ping-pong table.

Quote:
s for the games you like, Mein Panzer primarily, what aspects have you found the most satisfying, least and what may be missing.

I really like the turn sequence. Rather than I-go-U-go alternative per side, or having some very complicated mechanism for simultaneous movement (written and committed, or driven by "modes", or counted down in impulses or whatever), MP breaks the turn up onto activations of one unit at a time. A "unit" in this context is typically a platoon, but sometimes you may have sub-platoon sized detachments that can act independently, and for some forces you might want to activate by companies rather than by platoons.

Within each activation, each player moves and shoots with one unit (one platoon).The activation is done on an I-go-U-go basis. The side with "initiative" gets to chose if they go first, or second. But the results of alll actions within that activation are considered to have occurred simultaneously. All units get to activate only ONE time per turn. You don't have to draw activation cards or throw dice to see how many activations ... none of that. If you have a company with 4 platoons and a small HQ, you get 5 activations, and you play one of those units in each. You get to choose which one, in which activation.

It sounds a little complicated when I write it, but it is actually very simple in practice.
You move and shoot with one unit at a time.

There are a few advantages to this scheme. First, you wind up experiencing the action, thinking, making tactical decisions, etc. by platoon, not by individual playing piece. Your force structure is not some abstract diagram or table on a piece of paper somewhere, it is real and tangible as you play. I really like that.

Second, there is a very palpable sense of flow to the game. It is not start-stop-start again, as so many I-go-U-go games are. I have seen so so SO many games where the side B team members wander off, mentally and emotionally if not physically, while the side A team takes 30 or 40 minutes to move all of their pieces and measure all of their measurements and shoot all of their guns. In the MP flow all players are moving and shooting with one of their platoons in each activation. Even if you don't get through more turns in a game, it feels like the game flows much faster.

Third, it has an odd way of diluting the rules-lawyering. It's really hard to practice gamesmanship around the edge of the turn. We've all seen or experienced the opponent who manages to move like a Bugs Bunny cartoon ... each individual vehicle bounds across wide open spaces but is always behind a house or a tree or a rock when it's your turn to try to shoot. It's like ....ziiiip POING he's hidden, then ziiiiip POING he's done it again next turn. In response rules often have all kinds of complex mechanisms for call-backs that can lead to arguments about who did what when. I call him back to shoot him EXACTLY when he is in the alley between two buildings, and I succeed in hitting him. Now, did the other 12 vehicles he moved with that one get past the wreck to their current locations? Or do they all need to be called back too? Well I didn't say which order they went through the alley in. Yeah but on page 63, in paragraph 12.2.4 it says......

The platoon based activation, with all actions resolved simultaneously within the activation, resolves so much of that. Usually he doesn't know which of your units will activate at the same time, so planning his move is less precise. Nor which units will activate next, so even if he gets behind a lone house, you may put some unit in a position to fire on him before the turn ends anyway. And while you can still do "call backs", it's only IF you have units with LOS who, in some prior activation, took an "overwatch" action, so not too common. And if you do, and you hit him and his wreck blocks the alley, most of his 12 other vehicles either went through that same alley in prior activations (clear) , or haven't gone through that same alley yet (also clear), and so will have to do something else when they do activate.

The rules are pretty fast-play for tank combat. So they fit well with the swirling masses that some gamers prefer. But they also play very well for combined arms warfaire, with tanks, infantry, artillery all taking part and no one feeling out of time-scale burdensome to the others. I really like that.

It has long been promised (since at least around 2003 in my observation) that the same basic ruleset can be used for pre-WW2 through moderns, just using different weapons/equipment books. The topic comes up from time to time on the publisher's website (ODGW - Old Dominion Game Works). Now there are finally equipment handbook for the Korean War and the Arab-Israeli conflicts. I have not yet bought it, so can't say much except that I know Kenny who did much (most) of the work on it reasonably well, and I expect it's a pretty thorough set of forces and stats with little unvarnished bias.

Hope that helps.
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Mk 1
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thought I might give some illustration to the terrain / gametable techniques I described.

My earlier work was somewhat self-taught. I did read a few wargaming mags back in the early 1990s when I was developing my first techniques. But much was just trial-and-error.


This is a Tunisia 1942 game board. The cloth is felt. Most of the elevations are on top of the felt. The cut cardboard elevations are visible. These have been sprayed some combination of dessert-like colors. There are some elevations under the cloth, but those were outside of the playing area and just used for background (stacked books under the felt). Roads are tape, including black cloth tape for paved roads and masking tape for dirt roads. I consider most of these techniques self-taught. Trees are mounted on pennies. Some are model RR shrubbery clump-glued onto nails. The palm trees are nails on pennies, with felt cut into star patterns glued two or three each on top. I got that technique from a wargaming mag BitD.


This is a Tunisia 1942 game board using my more recent technique. I learned this approach from Mark Luther, who posts occasionally here and on other wargaming fora. He is better at it than I, but even at my skill level I very much like the results.

The cloth is not a felt. In this case it is a canvas, but he uses simple bedsheets. Elevations, including my cardboard cut-outs, are beneath the cloth. Roads, streams, broken dirt fields, slope highlighting are all drawn right onto the cloth with pastels.


You can hardly see the palm trees in the wide views, but here you get a close-up of the development of my tree-making. The older cut-felt-star trees are in front. Most of the trees here are done using the technique I learned from the GHQ Terrainmaker kit for trees. They are made from bump chenille. Still mounted on pennies. I think they look ... well, let's say noticeably ... better.


Here is a similar before-and-after in a European temporate environment. Again tape for roads (paved and dirt), with blue tape for a stream, with elevations (cut carboard) on top of a felt cloth.

(You can also see my approach to hidden movement, as paper "chits" of the defending player have already been laid out on the table).


Here is my more recent technique, with cardboard elevations under a cloth, and roads and rivers drawn on the cloth with pastels. It is reasonably easy with cut cardboard to make depressions, as you only need to have a large screen TV or kitchen appliance come in to the house to give you some very large sheets of cardboard. This makes it possible to have most of the table at a one sheet elevation above the tabletop, except where you leave gaps for waterways, wadis, etc.


When you game at company-sized forces, a one-on-one game tends to take place in one small part of the table. But having a 5' x 8' area of tabletop makes an interesting commanders' challenge of figuring out WHAT small part of the table is likely to be the center of action.

(Pictured is James Poli -- I think he goes/went by pagrognard on this forum. Met him at a game I put on at a con, and hooked him into a big Kursk game where I offeried a GHQ discount coupon to the game participant voted to have the "most heroic" unit in my game by the other players. He won, and has been a micro armor fan ever since!)

No moderns, but it's the terrain techniques I'm trying to illustrate.

Hope that helps.
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Guroburov
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love those tables, Mark. I've seen other people online going to drawing with pastels as well. Someday, if I find a player and time, I'll try it out myself
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple tips to add to fill-out the technique...

Make a trip to your local fabric / sewing shop. They usually have a bin full of discoutned ends and bits cut from longer bolts of fabric. These odd pieces can help you make your fields of crops. Any odd shape is useful to you (not so much to a tailor), because whatever you get, you wan to cut it down a couple more times into various quadrangle shapes and sizes. Put at least one curved side on a few, straight sides on others.

Faux fur can be fields of grain. Look for dull colors of yellows, tans or greens. Don't be afraid to add some spray paint across the top to make them greener (spring crops) or yellower (end of summer grains). Also variance, multi-shading helps make them look like anything other than a piece of cloth on the table.

Corduroy is quite useful for row crops. Get odd pieces in multiple sizes of cord to help ensure it looks like different crops. Browns and tans are best. They use a couple of your many green spray paints, htting them at a fairly flat angle and sweeping over each bit of cloth from at least 2 sides, with at least 2 shades of green. Spraying at a flat angle will miss most of the area between the raised cords, leaving you with green raised strips down a brown or tan base ... exactly what you want.

Get some sewing spray temporary adhesive. This is used to put large pieces of cloth together in desired patterns before they are sewn permanently. If you spray the backs of your cloth "agricultural fields" you can then stick them down to lay very flat on your table cover base cloth.

One of the great advantages of the pastel approach to roads is that you can draw your main roads and small paths around and between fields of any shape, placed on the table in any combination.

For hedges, walls, fences and tree lines, my suggestion is to save your used stirrer sticks when you buy coffee at your friendly Starbucks. Didn't take me long to collect 30 or 40 of the things. Painted in ground color and flocked with model RR grass, you can then add clumps of model RR foliage for unkept hedges, cut strips from green kitchen scouring pads for well manicured hedges, cut strips of thin cork for stone walls, layers of model RR talus if you prefer to build your own stone walls, and a line of small nails, painted and with clumps of model RR foliage applied for lines of trees. For the cost of a couple basic supplies you can build a very flexible and yet quite appealing set of terrain filling pieces to go around whatever buildings you may have.

You can see several of these techniques applied in the later images of my before-and-after comparisons.

Hope that helps. I find that a good game board ads almost as much enjoyment to my game as nice looking models in the game force.

Your mileage may vary. Kids, don't try this at home.
(Wait a minute... um .. .yeah DO try this at home. That's kinda the whole point, isn't it?)

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)
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madman



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mk1

Mein Panzer sounds really good. I wish there was a copy or slimmed down on line version to review. Especially given the price AND you also need to buy the data. I am not adverse to paying for something but I like to look, if not play, first. personally I have gotten to like unsure or incomplete activations. Seems to give a realistic feel.

And yes I would really like one rules set which covers both WWII and modern. Some of my opponents say it just messes up the feel as each is and has to be modeled differently. I don't think so. I did look at the discussion forum and the delays and lack of real time line to bring a modern version is also making me hesitant.


I really like your game boards. Not too much beyond where I was decades ago and still having that stuff it wouldn't take too much to get there. Here are a couple ideas I have seen and would like to implement into my own efforts.

Heavy Woods. Use black foam core (dollar store) cut into irregular shapes. Cover with glue and attach lichen (kinda thin) or ground foam. Then mount nails on the bottom. The heads on the foam core and rest n the points. Paint the nails brown. I think 1" nails may be best (tried that and 3/4 inch. The shorter nails looked better (for smaller forests) but the clearance of the longer ones was more useful. In my case I ironed on 2" white hexes on the foam core before covering to define woods locations (I prefer hexes on my terrain for various reasons) when put down. I have also seen this with a base put under the forest first. The base is left when the forest is picked up for movement or combat. The stationary base serves to keep players honest about forest location plus gives a good feel to the forest. The outermost edge of the base has bushes which matches the appearance of real world forests.

I was at a con once and the guy used a fabric cloth for his base. He used sand to define roads for the scenario. hey looked like a cross between gravel and dirt and after the game he cleaned up using a hand held vacuum cleaner (like one for your car). Real neat and the sand was reused next game.

Light Forest or Open woods. Individual trees are attached to tongue depressors and these are laid out to define areas of spotty woods coverage. When used with the above dense or heavy woods solution the lighter areas are easy to differentiate.

i like the corduroy fields. Used to differentiate between fallow or open fields (plain brown felt) and ones with crops capable of providing cover. I picked up the same about a year ago in a few different browns and differing spacing. The sales people were glad the decades old corduroy was going (relief was apparent) but I didn't push for a discount as I wasn't taking enough for a suit!

I am not so keen on elevations under the cloth. I want to see and be able to act on the differences directly. I like the idea of cardboard. Years ago I used thin green carpet but cut it into different size squares to be able to "build" larger areas. Nowadays I think individual hills would be more useful. The carpet had a thin yellow foam backing which helped define the hill edges.

Another thing I have seen lately is rather than using individual houses group them into towns, or farms, base them as a group and scenic the surrounding base with walls, hedges, fences, etc.. I like that idea and having collected enough buildings to be able to create towns which would be a collection of say 3 to 12 bases each with two or more buildings and other terrain I think I will start going that way as opposed to always relying on singles. I am more likely detail a town base so they will grow fences, walls, hedges, etc..

I have seen a lot of fields with outlining of walls or hedges. Use your hedge ideas and attach around the fields. You can also add gates or openings. I used pipe cleaners for hedges in the past but the cut up pot scrubbers work as well. Get the cheapo crap as the good stuff has a grit to aid cleaning. That will mess up your scissors fast!

I haven't tried faux fur, also refereed to as teddy bear fur (?). Didn't think it would work in our scale until you mentioned wheat. I am still looking for ideas for corn rows!
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark that looks very effective, some great ideas and info.Many thanks.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

madman wrote:

Mein Panzer sounds really good. I wish there was a copy or slimmed down on line version to review. Especially given the price AND you also need to buy the data. I am not adverse to paying for something but I like to look, if not play, first.

Quite understand and agree. I was able to play it a couple times first before I bought.

They do have a sort of free trials version. Not labelled as such, but you can always try it. From the ODGW Home Page click on Dowlnoad Library, then instead of clicking Mein Panzer, click on Free Kids Rules. That will take you to a free simplified version of Mein Panzer, which gives you 3 potential levels of play complexity. It's tanks-only in this version, but you can get a feel for the activations with the 3rd level of the free play rules.

Our first foray with the rules is present on their forum in the AARs section (see Forum, Lounge, AARs, BATN-PPs: 1st MP Game - Russia 1943).

We were not wholly satisfied with the simplified rules, and rather quickly moved up to the whole ruleset. But at least we got a sense of the flow.

Quote:
personally I have gotten to like unsure or incomplete activations. Seems to give a realistic feel.

I have come to like it quite a bit. Some portion is the way it breaks up what I call "gaming the edge of the turn". Particularly as, at the end of this turn, you don't know which of the other guys' units will activate on the first activation of the next turn! So it's all playing the likelyhoods of your opponent's priorities rather than the hard rules of he can or he can't.

And, really, there is MUCH to be said for everyone doing a little bit all the time, rather than half the gamers doing stuff for 20-30 minutes while the others contemplate all their complaints about the game mastering...

Quote:
And yes I would really like one rules set which covers both WWII and modern.

You and me both.

Quote:
Here are a couple ideas I have seen and would like to implement into my own efforts.

Heavy Woods. Use black foam core (dollar store) cut into irregular shapes. Cover with glue and attach lichen (kinda thin) or ground foam. Then mount nails on the bottom. The heads on the foam core and rest n the points. Paint the nails brown. I think 1" nails may be best (tried that and 3/4 inch. The shorter nails looked better (for smaller forests) but the clearance of the longer ones was more useful. In my case I ironed on 2" white hexes on the foam core before covering to define woods locations (I prefer hexes on my terrain for various reasons) when put down. I have also seen this with a base put under the forest first. The base is left when the forest is picked up for movement or combat. The stationary base serves to keep players honest about forest location plus gives a good feel to the forest. The outermost edge of the base has bushes which matches the appearance of real world forests.


I have seen such an approach described in various fora. One suggestion was to use the base for the forest, with the nails point-down into the base, so that you have some flat surface area above the nails to hold your forest canopy better. (Also safer for those who put a hand down on the table without looking mid-game).

And one suggestion was to put the nails mostly just around the edge/periphery, leaving the interior area of the forest with very few (if any) nails, so that you can more easily move your figures when the "roof" is off.

But as I said, I've seen it described, and rather like the concept, but I've never played on a table with such a removable-canopy forest.

Quote:
I was at a con once and the guy used a fabric cloth for his base. He used sand to define roads for the scenario. hey looked like a cross between gravel and dirt and after the game he cleaned up using a hand held vacuum cleaner (like one for your car). Real neat and the sand was reused next game.


I have used sand for roads on built game terrain boards, and on my own felt cloth table covers.


Here we use a set of 2' x 4' game boards provided by a good gaming buddy (Oh Chris, why did you move to Arizona?!). After 3 or 4 games on the same boards, we were looking for some variety, so we put blue tape on some of the roads, and sand along some new paths, and voila! Instant new map!

But I found that over the course of a game the roads got kinda messed up. Maybe that was the right phenom -- maybe a dirt road SHOULD fade away after a company of tanks has rolled over it. But when I tried the pastels, I concluded it just looks better and feels better.


At one point (more than) a few years ago I started a habit of emailing "recon images" to gamers in advance of game day. At least, when possible. My idea was that I get so much enjoyment out of imagining how a scenario will go, planning and re-planning etc. Well why not share some of that with my gamer buddies? But I still prefer imperfect information. So they get perhaps a map, some info on their own forces (typically with some variable portion that the dice will determine on game day), and then some recon fragments, and then they get to try to make sense of it all
.
This was an aerial recon photo showing units moving behind the lines. Gave the German players some idea of what kinds of vehicles he might face on game day. Or not. 'Cuz the Russian players had to dice for what vehicles actually made it onto the game board.


Here is a photo taken by a patrol, the evening before the battle, as they probed the outskirts of the village.


They were able to get this far before withdrawing, and are confident that there were no enemy forces that they missed up to here.


Trying to orient and understand how far forward you knew you could go with no opposition, from the recon photos, is actually quite challenging when you arrive and the table looks like this:

This was one of the games that really set me on the pastels. I just love the flexibility in setting up my game boards, and how they look when I'm done.

Quote:
I am not so keen on elevations under the cloth. I want to see and be able to act on the differences directly. I like the idea of cardboard. Years ago I used thin green carpet but cut it into different size squares to be able to "build" larger areas. Nowadays I think individual hills would be more useful. The carpet had a thin yellow foam backing which helped define the hill edges.


Years ago (decades? I'm afraid so) I gamed with an ex- US Amored Cav vet who had saved a a few of his old IGB maps. He wanted to see how he would have faired if the balloon ever did go up, so he was into setting up the places he had actually deployed. He used thread to mark off the elevations as per his maps.

It may have been all readable to him. To me it was just a table covered with spaghetti. I mean yes, I knew how to read it as elevations, but I didn't have in my mind's eye a view of the actual terrain, as he did. It kind of left me cold.

This experience was much in my mind when I started with the corrugated cardboard. Think of it as elevation lines come to life.


You can (and I did) use them to make a map with elevation lines into something with elevations on your table. Even without putting the under the cloth, there is a certain sense of reality to the terrain. At least that's what I felt when I was doing things this way.

I like my current approach better, but this was also a very serviceable approach for me for more than a few years.

So yes, by all means adopt and adapt as you see fit, and play the way you like to play.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the cardboard idea Dr terrain elevation. Looks good. We played Dunn Kempf during the Armor Advanced Course on an enlarged flat map. We all could visualize, but the actual elevation would have been so much better. If course, it helped that many of us had seen the real thing.
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