Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 18: Irregular Spaces

Phil Barker, Know Your Game: Wargaming book (1976)

Interesting page on hexes and irregular spaces that puzzled and intrigued me as a young boy reading this curious book.

Phil Barker’s Know the Game: Wargaming book was part of a series of 1970s illustrated individual booklets that were advertised as covering “every major sport and pastime … from archery to yoga.” This somehow put me playing with Airfix figures  on the same level playing field (!) as Rugby, Football and every other major sport.

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5 thoughts on “Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 18: Irregular Spaces”

  1. I never had this book though l recall them in shops. I did have one in the series,on Chinese Chess l think, shows how sporty l was ! Phil Barker and his Ancient wargaming rules/ guides have run through my gaming history. I used his platoon action rules with Airfix figures and tanks on the big Bellona vacuum scenes, a ruined village and harbour ones. I played ancient rules 4th, 5th, 6th edition , never 7th, dba and now Dbm. His rules have passed into wargaming folklore and the story of how he thought he was onto something with the morale rules at the start , read of it in the purple primer. Dbm gives me a fast, fun, accessible game where l keep lots of factors in my head. On reading it looks so arcane but it is not and has served the wargaming community well.
    On a different note l was interested in the picture of the hexes and Irregular spaces. I wonder how the Irregular spaces would work drawn on a cloth and with figures? It is too early in the morning to get my head round the feasibility of it. I will have a think and see… I can see movement but firing,hmm How? Could be a really interesting side track for me to go down…


    1. This book was a bit of an odd birthday type present from my Dad. I found it quite a curious book.

      Drawn onto cloth? Maybe you could work it out first onto big sheets of packaging card or back of rolls of wall paper first? Maybe overlapping irregular felt shapes would work?
      The firing range question is an interesting one. I shall look at the comment / post by Phil Dutre. Maybe this only works on map / board games campaign type thing.

      I have an interesting early newspaper clipping interview about Phil Barker that I will feature in early next years posts.


    2. Alan – Brain fried just reading this!
      From Phil’s blog post: re your “Shooting ranges on a grid” query

      “Most miniature wargaming rules require us to measure the distance between a shooter and a target. Again, as in a movement procedure, we rather want a counting procedure rather than a measurement procedure. We usually want to be able to count the number of cells that lie between the shooter and the target, and use this number as the shooting distance to determine whether the target is in range, whether modifiers need to be applied, and so on.

      This is the real bottleneck for using irregular-shaped grids in miniature wargaming. Although we can imagine counting the number of cells, on an irregular grid we might be left to wonder whether it is the shortest distance possible. Especially when the size of the gridcells reflect the type of terrain as mentioned above, the counted shooting ranges can become really distorted, and it would allow you to shoot further if the intermediate terrain is easy-going and suddenly reduce your range when you difficult-to-traverse grid cells lying in front of you. Hence, counting shooting ranges requires cells more or less of equal size.

      However, if your ground-scale is such that shooting is restricted to adjacent cells, this is not really a strong requirement. Some distortion might pop up, but no more as in the many boardgames that use an irregular grid and allow adjacent combat only.

      Related to determining the shooting range is the issue of visibility. On hexagonal or square grids, the line-of-sight is checked vs intermediate grid cells and terrain therein that might block the line of sight. Because of the regularity of the grid, deciding what cells are crossed by the shooting line can often be eye-balled. But not so in an irregular grid, where this would become more complex, unless you limit shooting ranges to 1 or 2 cells.”


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