Monday, May 27, 2013

Where board games and miniatures collide

Steven Duke had posted this photo on Facebook over the weekend, commenting that it made him want to play Iron & Oak.
I was playing Iron & Oak over the weekend and saw this photo and thought: man, that's gotta be neat.

So I started doing a little research on ACW Naval miniatures. Two common scales are 1/1200 and 1/600. The models in the picture above appear to be even larger. The 1/600 scale models caught my eye and I found the following manufacturers:
Thoroughbred Models

Bay Area Yards

TITAN Military Miniature Products
Thoroughbred models appear to be all metal. Bay Area Yard models appear to be a mix of all metal, metal/resin, and resin. And after going back to the site, it appears TITAN MMP models are actually 1/1200 scale. 

My queries led me to the Ironclads Yahoo! Group:

After that, my search turned to eBay. As fate would have it, it just so happened that a seller had posted several Thoroughbred Models that were ending Sunday evening. I put a watch on a few of them and threw a bid at a couple of others. As 8:00pm approached, the bidding intensified. I ended up withdrawing from the bidding on the USS Hartford but stuck to my guns on the CSS Tennessee (an ironclad ram). I won the auction for the Tennessee as well as one for a riverboat.

I should have looked a little more closely, as riverboat did not mean river gunboat, but rather a troop carrying riverboat transport.

This will not make for an interesting duel, so I will likely pick up a counterpart for the Tennessee. The Tecumseh seemed like an obvious choice, however, it seems Thoroughbred suggests using the Canonicus which is a similar monitor class ironclad.

On that same Facebook posting, Kev Sharp commented: ...counters are one thing, minis another. When does a game system cross the line...?

That's an interesting question, and what ultimately led me to this post rather than just responding via comment.

In this case it's just counter replacement. Glorified Monopoly pieces if you will. I could swap out the Tennessee counter and (hopefully) the Tecumseh counter for these and enhance a duel among giants.
Another thought I had was to replace the map with an overview of an area - Mobile Bay for example - and apply the grids in the water space to duplicate what is used on the Iron & Oak map. However, this is just pimping the board as Iron & Oak uses these grids and can abstract many locations.

What I need to figure out is if the Iron & Oak system can be tweaked to move to a grid-less map. What becomes of movement and range? Can this system be adapted... or is a new miniatures rules set the only way to go?

In the interim, pushing 1/600 metal will certainly be entertaining... More so than pushing tiny cardboard chits. But for the foreseeable future, that cool factor will be limited to duels no doubt. 

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