Size Isn't Everything - A Discussion on 2mm Wargaming
This blog started out as a firmly 28mm blog. It was all about 40K at first, then moved into other historicals like WWII, with a wide variety of fantasy and non-fantasy games. But they were all 28mm - until my recent American Civil War campaign, when I got into 2mm wargaming. In this article I'm going to share some of the reasons for my love of 2mm gaming, and hopefully you'll share your own thoughts as well.
|Cinematic, realistic, dramatic... 28mm wargaming all over.|
How did you start collecting 2mm?
My main motivation for collecting and painting models is for the visual effect on the board. I want my armies to look realistic - like a shot from a film, where possible. Clearly, the biggest reason I started in 28mm was that it's the dominant scale for all wargaming, thanks to GW. But they're also a good balance between detail and collectability, and every model I paint in 28mm improves my skill at that level and reinforces the preference.
I've always resisted wargames that aren't 1:1 scale - that is, games where one figure on the board doesn't represent one man in real life. These games can still look great on the board, but for me there's just something not right about putting down ten models with a flag and calling it a 'regiment'. It just chips away at my suspension of disbelief.
|Ten men waving a flag just doesn't feel |
like a 'real' regiment to me.
(Pic from Web Ramblings)
That's why, when I started an ACW campaign, I reluctantly decided against using rules like Regimental Fire and Fury and the lovely Perry Miniatures sculpts. Instead, I explored the possibility of using a new scale. I can't over-emphasise how much of an eye-opener this was. Looking back, I can see how much I've missed out on by restricting myself to 28mm gaming - it's like trying to explain to a square what a cube is.
Searching the internet for alternative scales, I of course looked at 15mm, 10mm and 6mm. But I also came across Irregular Miniatures' site, which conveniently has figures in just about every scale imaginable, and the first on the list is 2mm. I was drawn to it primarily because it allowed me to have a 'true' representation of the divisional-sized games I wanted to play.
What's so great about 2mm?
So that leads nicely into some of the benefits of 2mm gaming. The first is the ability to recreate massive, army-sized clashes without compromising on scale. In our recent ACW campaign we could have figures for each individual regiment, grouped together to make brigades in a real 'bird's eye' view of the battlefield - and suddenly legendary encounters like Waterloo, Naseby, Gettysburg, become very achievable.
|The Battle of Chattanooga - an engagement that would|
have been impossible in any other scale.
That scale benefit also means, of course, that the games are much more easy to set up and play. In 28mm, a 6 x 4' board equates to roughly 110 x 75 yards - a minuscule snapshot on any battle except a skirmish. In 2mm, a 2 x 4' board works out at (depending on your interpretation) about 2 x 4 miles. You can recreate much larger battles with much less space. The armies themselves are tiny; I carry around 20 Civil War brigades in a small storage tray.
Of course, then there's the terrain. Roads and rivers can be represented by string, and Irregular do a nice range of small buildings and farmsteads. If you don't think that sounds good, take a look at some of our battle report shots. Those 'forests' are just clumps of tree material glued to green paper. Again, very easy to carry around and set up, taking up much less space.
And finally, of course, the cost. Breaking into a new period in 28mm gaming can be an expensive business. Irregular Miniatures sell army packs which contain a staggering quantity of troops (tens of thousands) for £12.50. We recently decided to start an English Civil War campaign (more on this next week), and for an initial investment of about £30 each we got a sizable army and enough terrain to do an exact replica of the town of Newark - including all siege defences, roads, bridges and rivers. My conservative estimate for doing this in 28mm would need at least two thousand pounds and certainly a dedicated gaming room to make the model town.
Of course, it's not to everyone's taste. I won't list any of the disadvantages I've found just yet - I'll let other people comment. I'm not trying to suggest that 2mm is the best scale and everyone should immediately start collecting it. Horses for courses - I still use 28mm very regularly for skirmish games, because it's the best scale for that sort of action. But by including 2mm in your armoury, you widen the scope of what you can even consider gaming.
What are your thoughts on other scales? What's your primary scale and why? Would you / have you ever tried 2mm?