I really want to game the First World War and I have for a long time. The release of the the stunning Renegade WWI models several years ago first got me interested in gaming the period. Then came the The Great War rules from Warhammer Historical. The combination of beautiful figures and rules has been very hard to resist.
One of the major roadblocks to moving ahead with this project has been interest of other gamers in my local game group. The lack of interest has been due to a few different reasons but mostly I think that the period is thought of as dull trench fights and machine gun slaughter. The fact is that WWI is almost as diverse of a game setting as WW2. The other factor as been the perceived expense of 28mm figures.
A couple of years ago I started to think of using The Great War rules and 15mm miniatures. It is actually pretty easy to do as TGW uses a three to one figure ratio so I thought it would be cool to use three 15mm figures in place of one 28mm on the same size base. This would allow the rules to remain unchanged and would actually look more like a battalion on the table. I also thought it might be cheaper.
A few of my friends have expressed an interest in this approach so recently I start to look at the idea more seriously. On the plus side there are some nice figures available for the period. This is particularly true of the new Blue Moon range. The down side (at least for me) is that most of this coverage is for late war (1917-18). This really isn't that bad even though I prefer the early (1914) period. The late period seems more popular so I started planning a 1918 German Assault Battalion.
Using the army lists in the book, and just looking at the minimum for a legal army (Battalion command and 2 companies of three platoons each), I came up with a force that comprises 63 bases and 189 figures. This is a three figures to a base configuration. I planned this around Flames of War small bases rather than 25mm round bases. I think the FOW bases look better. This about a 500 point army.
With this basic army plan I was able to determine the number of figures it was going to take to build the army. I started by looking at Blue Moon as these are the cheapest and easiest to get. They are also pretty nice looking figures. For Blue Moon it takes 4 bags of infantry and 1 bag of command totaling $112 (I did not count the member discount as this will not give a fair comparison to the other companies). Next I looked at Peter Pig. It takes 24 packs of infantry and 1 pack of command to build this army at a total cost of $117 (priced from Brookhurst Hobbies). Neither of these includes shipping. So, using 15mm figures at a near one to one figure ratio will cost me about $120.
Another item I need to consider is that I have no terrain for 15mm European games. All my FOW stuff is for North Africa ad would be of no use for this project. This means starting from scratch on terrain. Not sure how much this will cost but it is a factor I have to keep in mind.
After doing all this research I thought it might be fun to price out this army in 28mm using the TGW standard army build. This will require 63 figures. I started with Old Glory 25mm late war. For this I would need 6 bags of infantry and one bag of command for a total of...$112. Exactly the same price as the Blue Moon 15mm project. OK, now I have a problem.
That had to be a fluke. No way there would be no savings by doing 15mm, even with the increased figure count. So I checked Renegade, my favorite WWI figures. This would take 4 regiment boxes and 1 command blister costing $114! AAAggggHHHH!! What the hell? How about Great War Miniatures? These figures might be better than Renegade but they are expensive. This would require 10 packs of infantry and 1 pack of command for a total cost of $119. This is just wrong...
Once I realized that this project would cost the same at 1 to 3 ration for 28mm as it would for 1 to 1 ratio for 15mm I was in trouble. You see, I have lots of usable terrain for 28mm and I am adding more all the time for my 28mm WW2 games. This means that total project cost for me is cheaper at 28mm.
I must apologize to my friends who would like to do this period in 15mm but I cannot join you. I will be moving ahead with this project but it will be in 28mm. I know of one person who will join in but I am afraid that will be it. Oh well, once they see it all painted and on the table they might change their minds.
FoW 3rd Edition 1-0-0 FoW v4 1-4-0 FoW GW 0-1-0 Bolt Action 1-0-0 Kings of War 0-2-0 TANKS 2-4-0 Black Powder 2-0-0 Wings of Glory 0-1-0 Warhammer Quest 1-1-0 Frostgrave 0-1-0 Warhammer 40K 0-1-0 Fistful of Lead 0-1-0 Shadow War Armageddon 1-0-0
Here are the games I play regularly.
Flames of War
Black Powder SAGA Bolt Action
Kings of War
These games are played every so often.
Wings of Glory
These are the games I dream of playing or am building forces for.
Then there are the games that have been retired. Not all of these are bad. In fact some are really great. The reasons for retirement are varied.
The Great War Empire of the Dead Clash of Empires Lord of the Rings:SBG Warhammer Ancient Battles Battleground World War 2 Arc of Fire Johnny Reb III Crossfire Rules of Engagement Rate of Fire Legends of the High Seas Necromunda Warhammer 40,000 Waterloo Legends of the Old West