Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Selecting a tabletop game: part 3 (Space Requirements)

Time for part three of my little series. As before You have three things outside of cost that you need to consider when looking to get into wargaming, and just about any hobby for that matter.

Any wargamer will tell you that the games size is only limited by your imagination, and that is partly true. there comes a time when it becomes either to large to be a valid form of play, or to small to feel cramped on the field of battle. Yes, people have battles that take up entire basketball courts, but these are huge, last for days, have multiple players on each side, and tons of other variables that make it almost impossible for an everyday casual player to fathom doing on any sort of regular basis. On the flip side, you are going to have a hard time finding a good sized battle that happens easily on a two foot squared space.

The fact of the matter is almost every game has a predetermined 'perfect' size for the games, of course this can be scaled depending on size, but when the rules are under creation it is that 'perfect' size that they are formatted to take advantage of. Warhammer and Warhammer 40K is best on 4'x6' tables, and can easily do 4'x8' tables if wanted or needed. On the flip side of that however you have games like Firestorm Armada and Warmachine that work best on 4'x4' fields, but can be expanded to 4'x6' fields once the games get large enough (ie; 50+ points for Warmachine).

Of course if you really are just trying to get into wargaming, most likely you are going to be using starter forces which is of course going to be best played on the field of battle preferred for that particular ruleset. You can easily gather an idea of how much space you will need from looking at the core starting force of any game system. A WarmaHordes Menoth starter set only has four miniatures included, the Firestorm Armada start packs only come with ten miniatures, a Warhammer battalion on the other hand can come with 30+ miniatures. As you expand your force, of course it is expected that you will need a larger field to battle on.

If only the space required to play was just limited to the field you actually play on, but there is another aspect you need to consider when taking up a game. Where are all those miniatures and bits of terrain going to be stored, and how much space is each going to be taking up? You will be quite amazed by how much space these little toy soldiers can take up once everything is said and done. Some game systems naturally come with easier storage then others. Firestorm Armada for instance, I only need lava rocks which I get from right outside my front door before the battle, 'planets' from the Warhammer Storm of Magic affects box set you could get, and a cloth starfield for gaming. Those are easy to store and take up very little space, and the ships are easily slipped out of sight due to their small force sizes. Warhammer though has buildings, forests, ruins, and a hard cased textured playing field. All that together makes storing that game a bit more of a hassle compared to Firestorm Armada.

You do have other options if you are not interested in keeping your own battlefield handy though. Most gaming stores have some form of gaming table you can use, which of course means you only need to transport your minis only. This option does have some serious draw backs though, as you are limited to whatever terrain that store has, limited to how many tables and how busy that store is, and limited to only playing while that store is open. This is a valid option for someone living in very tight spaces, such as apartments, and still wanting to get into wargaming, but in the end may still be to constricting of a way to play depending on your schedule and location.

There really isn't much else to say in regards to space requirements. You simply have to know the rules of the system you are interested in enough to know what the preferred field of battle size is, and work out for yourself if you can work that into your hobby.  Combined with my other recent posts, you can see that getting started in wargaming is something that can take some serious thought, and in the end taking that little bit of extra time may well save your hundreds of dollars.
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