Monday, 14 March 2016

Dice Frames and Movement Trays

Like many wargamers I'm always in search of that elusive best way to show damage, morale and disorder on units. I don't want a paper rosta - I want to look and the table and see what is going on. I also don't want on-table cards I have to mark off - they tend to be too big and need reproducing for every game.

My current solution is small smoke puffs for damage/morale (which look good on table as they show where the fighting is), and red markers (vertical not flat as easier to pick up and blend better with figures) for disorder. But the problem with both is that you place them by a unit and then have to remember to move them - and as battalions start to bunch its easy for the markers to get mislaid.

I'd seen some dice frames at last year's Salute, and decided to pick some up at WMMS to experiment with. I bought a 4mm (green dice) and 7mm (black dice) set. In the image above shows the frames on the back of a couple of 6mm battalions and a 20mm company.

They certainly look neat, and the 4mm naturally fits better with the 6mm figures. I also had the idea that I could use dice colours to reflect unit quality, which I currently do by a paint mark on the base.

But when I used a couple of dice framed units in my Waterloo refight I found that the 4mm ones were just totally impractical. They were far too small to pick up and change without picking up the whole unit and amost using a set of tweezers (or a wet finger!). And the dice was easily dropped whilst changing from one value to another. Things would be a little easier with the 20mm/7mm combination, but I doubt by a lot, and bigger dice will just start to look odd. The other issue at eitehr scale was that I lost that immediate sense of a unis state - I had to deliberately read the dice rather than glancing at a large cluster of smoke puffs.

So back to the drawing board I think. The dice frames may still have a role, but right now I'm not quite sure what that is.

I also picked up some movement trays which actually fitted my non-standard basing. They will be great for my Brigade scale games (2 elements per Bde), or for my planned Mega Battalion games (6 elements per Bn).

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