Very Brief Musing on 15mm Scale and Game Board Size

Hello all!

I was play-testing a “Tomorrow’s War” scenario on Sunday that I intend to run at the “Recruits” gaming convention.

The game was played at 15mm scale and I was explaining to a new player about the fact that in the Ambush Alley gaming system most weapons have “unlimited range” at least as far as the game board goes.  There are a few exceptions but those are mainly due to the amazing difficulty in hitting something at further ranges with, say, a pistol.  Anyway I explained that an M1 Abrams tank on the table would probably land a shot into the next block from the game store.  I decided to check my math today during lunch at work and it turns out I was over estimating a bit, but still…

For 15mm scale I worked out:

6 feet = 15mm (general assumption for scale)

5280 feet = 13,200mm = 13.2 meters = 43 feet 4 inches for 1 game mile.

Kill range for a M1 Abrams is = 8200 feet (more of less) = 1.55 miles = 20.5 meters = 67.25 feet

Yeah, less than a block – but it would have damaged the “Dollar General” store across the street.  However, it would be a humungous game board.  Longer than the store we were playing in and taking a bit more terrain than I could fit into my Prius.

By comparison, we were gaming on a 4 foot by 4 foot game board.  Let’s see here –

4 feet = 48 inches = 1219mm = 487 game feet = 162.5 game yards = about 1 1/2 average city blocks long.

We carried out a battle involving multiple armored vehicles at a (game) range of less than 2 football fields, basically the size of a small American neighborhood.  Deadly knife-fighting range for these powerful war machines.

Unrealistic engagement ranges?  Heh – go read  the book (not the game) “Ambush Alley” or the book “Heavy Metal: A Tank Company’s Battle to Baghdad” or many of David Drake’s “Hammer’s Slammers” novels.  Lots of short range engagements occurred during the drive to Baghdad.  The “Hammer’s Slammers” books are replete with them (as well as 10-mile long powergun shots and the occasional satellite being shot down).

The short-range fights tend to be brutal and quick in real life and in the novels.  They also tend to be that way in the games, too.  It makes for nightmarish reality but for very interesting gaming scenarios.  I’m just glad no stray firing from the tanks hit the front of the game store…


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