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Creating the tabletop


geoffbarrall
(@geoffbarrall)
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Just getting started with both ESR Napoleonics and the 1808 supplement. I'm finding the maps in the book somewhat daunting. Normally in a scenario book things have been simplified down to the most important features but the maps in this book are incredibly detailed. I'm looking at the map on page 23 with all of the hills and tributaries wondering how on earth to represent this on the tabletop without spending months on set up. How are other players approaching this?

This topic was modified 2 months ago 2 times by geoffbarrall

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uncleleo
(@uncleleo)
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Hi Geoff,    Welcome.   

 

To your question and NOT being flip, but: Do you want to play the game, or do you want to impress others with the tabletop ? 

If you are just playing with your gang of regulars or solo... what's the difference ?  For most scenarios - especially the new book in Iberia - cut cheap fabric to represent the heights.  Remember, there's only 3 kinds of effective terrain, open rough, and dense, so while some scenarios show 7 elevation levels... there's only 3 you need worry over.  Roads, (trails) old fashioned kitty litter will handle some (fits Spain ideally)  if its the 1814 campaign with roads *everywhere*... well cheap fabric again.

MY gangs... Most folks are just happy to play in someone else's game, and ain't gonna be impressed with me or my games anyhow.  A couple decades of experience together, and they know better 🙂  Your best will be complimented - effusively even.  But...5 minutes into a game, guys are rolling dice trying to outwit or at least outroll each other, not admiring figures & scenery

 

I don't downplay anyone's desire for a beautiful table top, which adds to the effect and pleasure in any game immensely.  A fancy restaurant's food may not actually taste any better than something you're *really* good at making, if you take the extra time to prepare from scratch using the best ingredients.  Yet the presentation is 100x better than I anything can manage.  

My plan is to hold a game at Historicon / Fall-In '21.  A battle I never heard of until buying the iberia book, with forces I'm scratching together.  You're darn right i want this thing to look nice, since I am dubious I'll be master of the rules by that point.  The best I can manage will be on display "for company," and if nothing else... It's a game nobody else has to run !

I'm 56 years old.  Many in our hobby are a decade + older.   Do i want to USE these figures and terrain or do i want them collecting dust in my basement for my wife to eventually throw out tens of thousands of invested dollars once I'm gone ?

 

if your game isn't perfect nobody's going to care.  If they care that much to comment, you don't want to play with them !

 


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David
(@david)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 318
 
Posted by: @geoffbarrall

Just getting started with both ESR Napoleonics and the 1808 supplement. I'm finding the maps in the book somewhat daunting. Normally in a scenario book things have been simplified down to the most important features but the maps in this book are incredibly detailed. I'm looking at the map on page 23 with all of the hills and tributaries wondering how on earth to represent this on the tabletop without spending months on set up. How are other players approaching this?

Good question Geoff.

The first thing is: Don't be intimidated, the goal is an enjoyable game.

When developing the maps for the Series 3 Campaign Guides we admittedly had some competing motivations:

1. Not everyone who uses our Campaign Guides plays ESR… i.e. they will have different interests and focuses as to how much of a battle they are going to represent, or how much detail they need for their game system.

2. If we don't provide the detail, players *can't* include it, if we include the detail, players can *choose* to include it (or not).

We sometimes get a variation on this question picking up on uncleleo's point that not all terrain impacts game play: Why include any terrain that doesn't impact game play? The answer is pretty simple a) since ESR encourages players to think in terms of landmarks, i.e. geographic objectives and b) it makes the table look neat and sometimes players need some encouragement & direction as to how to do such.

So, can you simplify the maps down when you stage them on the table? Of course. Everyone does. We're just letting you make those choices rather than locking you in.

Hope that helps.

-David


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geoffbarrall
(@geoffbarrall)
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Topic starter  

@david Thanks for the follow up. I had a friend send me the map from the first (earlier) version of the supplement. It's simple and clear and I could lay out the table easily. The new map in the revised version of the book is so complex I'm not even sure what's important. While I understand your point, when I buy a scenario book a large part of what I'm looking for is for the author to have worked out how to represent the game on the tabletop successfully. The older version does just that but the newer version puts that burden on me. Maybe that's what everybody else is looking for but I'd much prefer the simpler maps where you've worked out what's important already. Is it possible the get the maps from the first edition of the book (say as a download for paying customers)? It'd make the new version a lot more usable. Appreciate anything you can do here.


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David
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Posted by: @geoffbarrall

Is it possible the get the maps from the first edition of the book (say as a download for paying customers)?

The problem is that it wasn't only the maps that changed, we examined each scenario, considered new source material we didn't have previously available, and effectively wrote new scenarios for the Series 3 edition of Iberia-1s3. Mixing the two editions of a scenario will create discrepancies in duration, start times and locations, arrival times and locations, terrain descriptions, and in some cases even victory conditions.

You can observe this in the two different maps of Medina de Río Seco you have, the "old" map is 3.5x4.5 miles while the new edition is 4x6 miles, the starting time and starting locations for both the French and the Spanish have been changed. The duration changed from open ended to 9 hours. French arrival is also staggered in the Iberia-1s3 edition, where as in the "old" scenario the French were arriving all at once.

My recommendation would be, rather than mix material from the two editions, spend a little time looking at the Iberia-1s3 map for Medina de Río Seco. While it first may look imposing, if your desire is to simplify it as much as possible, this can be accomplished quite quickly:

• The bottom two elevations are considered open terrain – so ignore them, that drastically reduces the number of hills necessary to represent (and if you look at the two maps you have and the overlapping area, makes them far more similar).

• Lay in the east-west roads since that is the vector the two Armies collide on.

• Lay in the two major rivers and the olive groves (which are all small clusters).

• Add in the dry creek beds as you see fit.

Just how fast these things can be done will vary some by what your terrain methods are. In my own experience, I'm commonly involved in staging games for both play testing and public demonstrations and never take more than an hour to stage a game.

I hope this helps.

-David


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geoffbarrall
(@geoffbarrall)
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Joined: 3 months ago
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Thanks David. I appreciate the support and guidance.


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