What is the ground scale?

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w_michael
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What is the ground scale?

Post by w_michael » Tue May 19, 2015 12:49 pm

I am thinking of trying the Scenario Editor to create the Battle of Launceston, and the first question that comes to mind is what the ground scale is so that I can start designing the map. What is typically the width of each square?
William Michael, Pike & Shot Campaigns & Field of Glory II enthusiast

rbodleyscott
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Re: What is the ground scale?

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed May 20, 2015 7:40 am

This is probably not the most useful way of thinking of it. A better way is to work out the width that the troops present at the battle will occupy in the game, and then scale the map so that it matches the actual battlefield terrain relative to the battle line.
Richard Bodley Scott

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w_michael
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Re: What is the ground scale?

Post by w_michael » Wed May 20, 2015 10:51 am

OK, thanks.
William Michael, Pike & Shot Campaigns & Field of Glory II enthusiast

josant
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Re: What is the ground scale?

Post by josant » Wed May 27, 2015 7:25 am

Although it is not very precise, I use this other system; in the game a musket has a range of 4 and a arquebus has a range of 2, according with the wikipedia a musket have a range of 100 meters and a arquebus a range of 50 meters, so each square of the map must be treated as 25 meters.
This is not exactly true but is enough for me.

fogman
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Re: What is the ground scale?

Post by fogman » Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:43 am

I don't think you thought that through. Unless you have a liliputian army, you won't be able to squeeze a 1500 men tercio in a 25 by 25m square. The firing range in the game has more to do with commercial than historical considerations.

shawkhan2
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Re: What is the ground scale?

Post by shawkhan2 » Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:58 am

I personally think that a 40 meter distance is a good compromise.
In tactical games, you must balance firing ranges with movement allowances in order to get the correct feeling for the era.
Whether it is Squad Leader or Battletech or Space Marines, the correlation between range and movement is critical. I like this game as you can see the gradual transition from the primacy of melee ala the great pike formations, through Tercios and then having mostly fire unlts.

fogman
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Re: What is the ground scale?

Post by fogman » Thu Jun 11, 2015 2:56 pm

Re: squad leader. People complained that no typical city has 40 m wide (inc sidewalks) streets, let alone village street.

It's usually best not to be too precise because you run into all sorts of incongruities, unless you have a super realistic simulation like the old 'tigers on the prowl' and 'panther in the shadows' from Hps Sims, which are unplayable but fantastic study tools.

Being too precise actually gives rise to a large number of issues that go beyond firing ranges and movement rates. I will expand on this later.

shawkhan2
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Re: What is the ground scale?

Post by shawkhan2 » Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:24 pm

Eggzactally!

PanCalvus
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Re: What is the ground scale?

Post by PanCalvus » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:10 pm

I'm digging this up because I found it by searching. I am actually kind of wondering what the scale was supposed to be. By my best guess 100x100 meter squares and full rounds being maybe 5 minutes or so work pretty well. The larger cavalry formations are about 300 horses, so they take space, as do villages and fortifications. And even though even the largest pike and shot formations would fit in 50*50 meters or so, you could still see them as controlling a 100x100 meter square. That leaves some room for diagonal attacks and such. And while an arquebus can fire two squares, the units take up a large part of the square, so its effective range from the front of one formation to the front of the next is maybe 120 meters or so, which seems further out than generally recommended effective range, but reasonable for hitting something. The range for the muskets is long, but by matching it up to standard moving distances it does become a more natural mechanic, rather than something you're always trying to take advantage of, so that's fine.

Most ordered infantry units can move two squares in one turn, if they do that in 3 min they're doing 4 km/h, in 4 minutes it's 3 km/h. That sounds like reasonable to do in formation, and with 5 minutes per turn (yours and the opponents together, one move action and firing twice) it leaves them enough time (almost enough time for the earlier periods) to fire two volleys while not making it too weird that walking without firing or firing without walking would not seem like a huge waste of time.

The problem is this makes the battles too short. A full 24 turn game would be two hours, and then the sun sets in 5 minutes time. A good battle in reality lasts several hours to the whole day. The mission editor assumes a turn represents 15 minutes, which makes the game match historic battle durations really well, but it doesn't fit as well with how the map feels. Surely my men can charge 300 meters in less then 15-30 minutes right? So the assumed timescale seems to suggest squares quite a bit larger than 100x100 meters. It also suggests a single volley of fire is not representative of a single volley of fire, you can just fire at up to two targets in a round, but that's fine.

The height of stuff is also weird. If we assume height is given in meters I can make sense of a mountain being height 300. It's on the low side, but just high enough that it can actually mean something. Dunes being classified as 100 meters I can live with as well. They're smaller, but the loose sand makes them the equivalent to climb of a normal 100 meter hill. That leaves the hillsides with a slope of around 100% though. Good luck charging up to that. It gets worse assuming smaller squares. Assuming the height is given in period appropriate feet makes the way playing on the slopes works much more natural, but it renders a mountain of height 300 a little silly.

So my question basically is: is there an official scale? Is there anyone else with a headcanon for it that works really well? I'm just curious. The game replicates the idea and feel of pike and shot combat really well, and that's exactly why it bothers me somewhat that the scale seems to dance around a little.

(As a bonus the number of guns in a gun unit also dances around a little. The flavor text says I have 70 organ guns, the losses say I had 16 guns, or 8 if I didn't buy the extra unit. Since the 8 guns per unit of 100 people makes sense I'll treat the flavor text as just flavor text.)

My guess as a TL;DR is squares 100x100 meters, rounds 5 minutes, hill height in feet.

(I get that there are game design requirements by the way, needing detail on one hand and speed on another. I appreciate the choices made on that level, I'd just still like to puzzle on it on another level.)

rbodleyscott
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Re: What is the ground scale?

Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:58 am

All playable wargames rules assume a variable amount of delay. In reality tactical moves in this period were even more ponderous than presented in the game. Rates of fire were very slow, and the whole game timescale is telescoped to provide a playable game.

As I have said elsewhere, Pike and Shot is a top-down design, not a bottom up design. We chose the mechanisms to fit the desired interactions and results, we didn't build up the effects from ground-up considerations. (And then wonder why they don't seem to match historical results).
Richard Bodley Scott

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