Sunday, October 25, 2009

Loss Markers for Field of Battle

Field of Battle tracks unit's "strength" by losses and rallies of a units Unit Integrity (UI).  Units start with 4 UI for infantry, 3 UI for cavalry, and 2 UI for artillery.  While stands or figures can be removed, I don't like that option for more than 1 UI loss as the unit frontage starts to get ridiculously small as well as making it hard to indicate unit formations.

I've gone through a few iterations of UI loss markers over the years.

First I started with 1 marker per unit, with a numbered loss marker on each corner of the stand.  The stand is just rotated to show the UI loss on the right front.  This worked well, requiring only 1 stand to be removed and replaced with the loss marker, but players could confuse which number was the actual loss number.  Also, the big white numbers detracted from the appearance of it all.

The second iteration was to use casualty figures and eliminate the numbers.  This looked great, but had a couple of problems.  For 3 or 4 UI loss, the system required 2 stands to be removed.  As I use 4 stand infantry units, that meant that 1/2 of the unit was removed and replaced with casualty stands.  Also, I didn't create specific artillery and cavalry casualty markers, so sometimes it was a bit odd seeing infantry casualties on a cavalry unit.

The top stand is for a 1 UI loss, the bottom stand is for a 2 UI loss.  Both stands together are 3 UI loss, etc.

I've finally settled on a single system using 1 stand that shows 1 UI, 2 UI, and 3 UI loss.  The stands are generic so that they work for any horse and musket period - no need for spending that extra time painting dead guys.  So - I used extra muskets for casualty markers.  I also used a matching number of small rocks per stand to reinforce the loss value.  So - 1 musket and 1 rock is a 1 UI loss marker.  2 muskets and 2 rocks is a 2 UI loss marker.  3 cannon balls and 3 rocks is a 3 UI loss marker.  The cannon balls are just BB's painted to look like cannon balls (black with grey highlights).  I just terrain the stands (yellow glue and dip in ballast/sand) and then glue on the muskets/cannon balls after the yellow glue has dried.  Paint all the terrain and paint the muskets/cannon balls last.   Finish off with some turf and the marker is finished!  Fast and easy, and they look good.

Here's an example of the system in play.  Note the 1 UI loss marker on the Prussian infantry unit deployed in the woods.


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  2. I feel this is an excellent solution. I have plenty of extra bitz from the Victrix and Perry plastics. So when there is a casualty you substitute 1 base for the marker?

    I was curious, how often do you vary the number of bases in an infantry unit from 4.

    Nice blog, I will look forward to following it. I hope you post plenty of action reports for FoB.


  3. I always use 4 stands per infantry unit. I don't think FoB is a game of number counting as it focuses on UI instead of unit head count.

    Yes - remove a standard base and use the marker base.