As I’ve put together the two armies for Zama, there is one thing that I can’t get away from – this battle is potentially big, really big.
We are looking at 2700+ Infantry, 200+ Cavalry and 18 Elephants – Even in 6mm, this is going to look a very impressive sight.
But are things getting out of hand? Time for a sanity check…
Size of the game
Lets take a look at the points values. I’ve roughly worked out the points value of each army:
- Romans – 1131
- Carthaginians – 1134
Surprisingly similar, but very large – especially considering that the Impetus rules are designed to work with armies of between 300 – 500 points. Will the system even work with armies that are so big?
Playing Impetus in 6mm means that you use 1/4 sized based from the 28mm equivalent…which should mean that you can play the game on a 4′ x 2′ board.
Obviously with a game this size, you need a much bigger table – for example, the Carthaginian line is potentialy something like 17 base widths wide – that’s just over a meter…and you need room for the cavalry to operate on both flanks. An 8′ x 4′ table is not an excessive space as far as wargames go, but having this filled with 6mm figures does put some perspective on the size of the battle.
OK, here’s where it gets difficult. Anyone who reads this blog will know that I am not the quickest painter in the world – far from it. I can achieve some good results when pushed, but I do struggle to stay focused on projects. The sheer size of the forces required would be challenging, even for a quick painter, never mind someone like me.
So what do I do?
I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a dreamer, and I get very enthusiastic about new projects. The idea of a huge battle of Zama is, I still think, a great one. Seeing the table would certainly give an appreciation of the sheer scale of the battle. However, I think if I move forward based on the inital plans, the project may very well be doomed for failure.
So, especially considering my concerns with game size, I think a sensible option would be to start by building the armies at half size – so each unit would effectively represent double the amount of troops that it should normally.
Though it will still produce a couple of large armies (26 bases for the Romans and 31 for the Carthaginians) these are certainly much more managable within the confines of ‘standard’ Impetus game play.
Obviously, the added bonus of this approach is that I can complete 2 armies which can be used as they stand, and then still go and produce the larger armies if I have the time and resource.