What is the meaning of a skirmish wargame to you?

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What is the meaning of a skirmish wargame to you?

Postby Dropbear » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:15 pm

When I was a young tacker I borrowed a book from the library by Donald Featherstone on Napoleonic wargaming.

This book covered games from Skirmish games all the way through to Brigade and Army level games.

The book referred to a skirmish game where your troops number anywhere from say five to twenty figures and you give orders to individual soldiers/figures during the game. It even went as far as suggesting you name the soldiers in your unit.

Ever since that day this is what a skirmish game means to me.

But is seems some people don't regard this as a skirmish game. Apparently a skirmish game is where you field a platoon or company + units on the table. At least so it was mentioned on LAF.

By this definition a skirmish game is where you field individual figures up to what ever strength level of the game you are playing, but you give orders to units rather that individuals. i.e. you give an order to a whole section, platoon or even company.

According to the author of the post, this is a skirmish game. By this definition, Flames of War is a skirmish game. Thus Bolt Action, Rules of Engagement, and even Force on Force are all skirmish games.

Personally I believe the author has it totally wrong, and a skirmish game is what Mr. Featherstone described in his book.

With this in mind, what makes a skirmish game a skirmish game to you?

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Re: What is the meaning of a skirmish wargame to you?

Postby Admin Fella » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:07 pm

I agree with both. I would consider it from a section/group through to a platoon with the option for a couple of attachments.

I would not consider FOW skirmish as such in my mind.

I always considered 40k 2nd edition skirmish.

Anything where you move/shoot/action an individual figure on a 1:1 scale is ideal , but would stretch it to group firing if desired (if that is the case for Bolt Action).

Just to digress a little i always found systems such as Rapid Fire contradictory (I do enjoy playing it though). This game is for Brigade level really at a 1:8 for soldiers (I think), but you would then have "Panzershrek" or "Bazooka" teams which were individuals.

I am reading Forgotten Soldier at the moment and think Bolt Action would suit some of the scenes from that book, platoon with a Pak, MG and maybe a Halftrack.

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Re: What is the meaning of a skirmish wargame to you?

Postby Graf Luckner » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:20 pm

My definition of Skirmish wargames is based on two key elements, scale of figure representation and scale of force composition.

I believe a 1:1 figure representation is important along with a game where force composition is of small numbers of figures.
I don't believe it can be based of what layer the orders are directed at (individual, squad, platoon etc)

As an example, games like Bolt action are representative of skirmish gaming where 1:1 scale is achieved , the force composition is a reinforced platoon, and there are a small numbers of figures involved.

FOW on the other hand has a company force composition and importantly each Infantry stand is representative of more than 1 figure. I would therefore class this as a 'small action' game and not a skirmish game.

I feel DF is correct in that 1:1 representational figure scale is the key.
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Re: What is the meaning of a skirmish wargame to you?

Postby Paul » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:59 am

I suppose it´s a personal point of perspective. Me, I reckon it´s a small group, like D.featherstone puts it of 20 -25, but some skirmishes are small battle´s in themselves beofre the two main forces meet and the Main battle takes place, but then that is also dependant on the period..mine being medieval or colonial.
The more modern the battle fought (as a rule) the more small battles take place,The battle for berlin is basically an intense series of large and small skirmishes and the conflict in Afgahnistan virtually nothing but a series of what could be called skirmishes.
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Re: What is the meaning of a skirmish wargame to you?

Postby nevermore » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:31 am

I look at as many figures as you want, i mean at the club we can at times have 6 players around the table with around 10-20 figures each, i suppose it could have two meanings then as a large battle and a skirmish game depends how you look at it, i mean its like a guy going to the doctors and saying i hurt my arm in several places and the reply is "well don't go there any more" it has two meanings...just read what i wrote i really do need to take my med now.

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Re: What is the meaning of a skirmish wargame to you?

Postby Bluewillow2 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:36 am

for me,

single figure removal
squad level or single miniature (aircraft, ships, western)
max 100 figs on the table, each player controlling max 15 figs.
fragile morale
simple sytem
Game should take between 10 mins and less then a hour
mutiple players up to 10 at a time
suitable for Convention participation game

my fav skirmish rules
Jonny Tremaine (FIW, AWI)
Brother against Brother (ACW, FPW, QVW, Boer war)
canvas eagles (ww1, SCW, aircraft)
Rules with No Name (Pulp, VBCW)
Gutshot (western)
Mig Alley (ww2 and jet combat)
Trafalger (7yw, Nap ships)
Wooden ships Iron men (ACW, SAW, ww1)
crossfire WW2
Force on Force (Modern)

cheers
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Re: What is the meaning of a skirmish wargame to you?

Postby Kokoda Guy » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:37 am

Sorry to dig up another old topic but this is fascinating!

To me, as we play almost exclusively "Skirmish" games, the definition is straight forward.

1. Above all, 1:1 scale for forces.

2. Small enough forces for each "man" to retain his identity.

3. No "orders" above very low level tactics "Jacko, get the ****** 203 up!!!" "Smithy, go around that wall and pin him". What would be traditionally considered to be "orders" form the "scenario"......"1 Platoon will clear the village". Immediate Action Drills become very important.

4. "Reaction" to the immediate situation is much more important than "Morale".

We fly counter to most in that our skirmish rules are probably much more complicated than most (based on Phoenix Command).

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Re: What is the meaning of a skirmish wargame to you?

Postby Dropbear » Sat Oct 25, 2014 6:03 am

That is more or less how I feel about what a skirmish should be Darryl.

I have recently purchased a set of rules that allow for a platoon worth of soldiers, but you are actually giving individual 'orders' to figures in a fire team/section.

They are quite good too. Anyone interested in a review of the rules, can read it here: http://shelldrakewargames.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/new-rules-no-end-in-sight.html

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Re: What is the meaning of a skirmish wargame to you?

Postby Kokoda Guy » Sat Oct 25, 2014 2:08 pm

Interesting AAR and review.

http://dropshiphorizon.blogspot.com.au/ ... ew-by.html is another I found which has peaked my interest....controlling ground through pinning not massive casualties and the idea of "friction".

About 1 million rounds fired per man killed or wounded in WW2 IIRC, so I am always on the look out for games which make it too dangerous to actually risk much in most situations. Mind you, our group take casualties very seriously on the whole and two or three Aussie dead and wounded in a platoon v platoon contact in the jungle is not an uncommon result with 0-10 VC casualties. Not bad but still, really, too many on a consistent basis.

I did buy FNG for Vietnam back a while but haven't really even looked at it yet. We generally just pinch ideas from rulesets and slot them in to PC. The morale rules are always a problem though. I have still to find a solution for the gap between "ducks now" and "deserts". Fitting longer term morale into a skirmish game is not easy.

cheers for the info mate!


[EDIT; Bugger..just bought NEiS and the Alpha supplement to have a look at it. ]

"I've never shot a man who wasn't at the end of my bayonet."
- Bayonete Pete, a man largely unclear on small arms tactics

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Re: What is the meaning of a skirmish wargame to you?

Postby Dropbear » Sun Oct 26, 2014 5:39 am

Darryl wrote: Bugger..just bought NEiS and the Alpha supplement to have a look at it. ]


:twisted: yay! Actually, they are a very good set of rules, and if you have any questions, the author hangs around this particular forum a lot:http://www.thewargameswebsite.com/

Oh, and if you just purchased the rules, I hope you like the index - I wrote it 8)

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Re: What is the meaning of a skirmish wargame to you?

Postby Kokoda Guy » Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:10 pm

Well I spent two hours last night going right through it and it definitely falls into my 1% category (the 1% of rules I buy that will actually SEE a tabletop).

The rules are very logical and seem to bury a large amount of sophistication in a a simple package. That is to say the "system has been made simple" rather than "making a simple system".....

I am old school and have no problem with simultaneous movement, lookup tables and multi factored/modification roles.

Generally I have an aversion to IGOUGO, heavy reliance on luck to even move and random "activation" type ideas. But where such things exist in NEiS there seems to be a good reason and it seems to be a true abstraction rather than a method of simplifying things for simplicity's sake.

VERY promising, thanks for the tip Mate!!
(Where do I send the commission cheque? :) )

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Re: What is the meaning of a skirmish wargame to you?

Postby Admin Fella » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:21 pm

Thats one of the things I like about BA. The dice system to determine who goes. A really random thing and a nice touch.


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