Sunday, June 24, 2012

How Many Figures?

How Many Figures?

With Tékumel gaming the tradition has been to use a ratio of 1:100 when translating a battle for the tabletop. With the maximum Tsolyáni legion size fixed at 8000 men, this yields 80 figures on the tabletop. This seems manageable, and I think the thought is that any lower figure ratio would make for units that were just too large to be manageable (let alone affordable.)

The thing is that Tsolyánu is a big place and the odds are that elements are going to be detached for garrision duty or to other sectors. In addition, the paper strength is 20 cohorts @ 400 men per cohort giving the total strength of 8000 men (and aridáni.) This does not take into account casualties and those missing due to illness or injury or desertion.

In the published battle reports the numbers of troops available for the battles is much lower. In fact, the Professor doesn't even refer to cohorts, but rather "blocks" of 500, 1000, 1500 or 2000 men. I'm assuming these numbers are approximate; and so they should be - no one is going to know exactly how many men are at a given battle. It's almost always going to be an approximation.

Granted there could be really large battles fought where the full legion, or a large part of it, were present but these are going to be the exception, not the rule in my opinion. My thinking was at first to use a 1:100 ratio but now I am thinking that small to medium sized battles are going to be more likely. Battles where any particular legion typically has 500 to 2000 troops available.

With this in mind, I want a figure ratio that makes a nice looking unit of the tabletop. At 1:40 scale, one could field a cohort or two of skirmishers in 12-figure skirmish groups. A 2000-strong detachment from the Legion of Ever-Present Glory would be 50 figures. That could be an on-table formation some 12 figures wide by 4 deep with assorted officers, standards and musicians included. On 20mm bases that would be a unit about 240mm wide by 80mm deep (about 9.5" x 3".) A proper phalanx! :-) IIRC, that would be the size fielded at the Battle of Ry (or Rü.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment