Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Built-Up Areas For 'Maurice'

When we played the Ramillies scenario the other week, one thing which I found a little unaesthetic was the fact that when the two main built-up areas were garrisoned by French infantry, they ceased to look like built-up areas.  This was because the area they covered was exactly the same size as that covered by the occupying unit, so all of the buildings representing them had to be removed, leaving us with four bases arranged on a piece of grey felt which couldn't really be seen any more.

Since then I have been pondering how to set things up such that a unit may garrison such a space, but the fact that the area has buildings can be shown. I have been considering solutions based on paper buildings and inspired, in part, by stuff Bob Cordery is doing at the moment with L-shaped building pieces.

This evening, after a disappointing cinema trip to see '300: Rise of an Empire' (disappointing because it was a complete pile of pants) I resized and printed off a few building pieces from Junior General so that I could test some concepts I'd been considering.

This was the first configuration I tried - the built-up area is two base-widths square (2"). This is about the smallest practical area in the game, and I wanted to see if I could make it look like a group of buildings - a village even - rather than just one building.

It's not bad, although the hollow space in the centre isn't quite right.

It does allow for easy deployment of troops, though. Add some barricades and you have a nice garrison in 'Maurice' terms.

I'm not sure it looks so good from this angle, but maybe it's the choice of buildings and a roof-line that's more broken up would work better.

Another possible configuration is a cross bisecting the area into four spaces. This looks too much like a single building, though.

Easy to deploy troops in, it has to be said.

I only did three pieces; this would look better with a fourth, but has that open space in the centre.

Again - with troops.

It looks more like a collection of buildings.

This has possibilities - smaller buildings around the edges, and a larger cross in the centre.

Finally I hit on a possible way forward - User the flat paper buildings to define the area through the whole game, but add 3D model buildings to break up the blank spaces when there are no troops in the settlement. This would look good with the first or sixth photos, and a 3D building (made from balsa and the same frontages I'm using here) placed in the centre, only needing to be removed when the troops move in. I'd get the feeling of a settlement, whilst still having something that's practical in game terms.

As you can see, I'm still playing around with ideas at this stage, and am more than open to suggestions.


  1. I thought that first arrangement looked pretty good - even the 'rear' angle looked OK. Possibly that can be combined with a central cruciform arrangement for an ungarrisoned town - sort of like that second-last picture, but with the other L-shape added. That would certainly look 'townish'. At that, if the dimensions are large enough, perhaps the BUA could be garrisoned without removing the central piece.

  2. These look really nice. I look forward to seeing what your experiments lead you to in the end.

  3. I like what you have done, and I think that the hollow square works best in terms of aesthetics. The cruciform arrangement is very similar to the sort of skeleton built-up areas that Joseph Morschauser experimented with and looks better when seen from a distance. Perhaps a combination of the two styles would produce the best solution.

    All the best,


  4. Neat idea! I will agree, the first one looks the best...

  5. Kap'n Kobold
    I like the idea and agree that the hollow square works best. I may be stealing our idea!

  6. Very ingenious! I'm a big fan of Junior General and you've put their wares to very good use. Built up areas have always been difficult on the tabletop. (Also, love your phrase "complete pile of pants".)

  7. To my mind the 1st version gave the impression of city streets, lined with row buildings, leading into a town square where the streets cross. A key feature of many towns. I like the whole effect but thats the one that looks most suggestive to me.


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