A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Saturday, 5 July 2014

How about Something in a Larger Size, Sir?

Last September I finally took the bull by the wassname and repainted my 40-year-old battleboards. I had some misadventures on the way, but ended up with a much smartened tabletop – one side now having the hexes the correct way round for Commands & Colors (previously I was 90 degrees off, though I could justifiably claim that I was there first), while the other side is now very smart, plain Old School green.

I was so pleased with the results that it started me thinking again of producing an extra section of table, to produce an optional, bigger battlefield. There are a number of drivers for this.

(1) I’ve always fancied a huge tabletop as an occasional variant – the fact that I have nowhere handy to set up such a thing is an issue, of course. I have a secret hankering for a vast battlefield in a marquee in the garden, but that is impractical for a number of reasons. Nice idea though.

(2) I recently read the Black Powder horse and musket rules, which I enjoyed, though it was a bit of a shock when they casually announced that, of course, the game was best played on a table at least 12 feet long. Er – right. Of course, I ignored this, but I kept finding myself thinking, “hmmm, 12 feet long…”

(3) When I repainted the battleboards, I did some thinking and some measuring, and I came up with something, as follows:

My tabletop is 8 feet wide by 5 feet across, cut into 4 sections, each 2 feet x 5 feet, for easy storage and to enable them to be laid out on our (large) dining table, in a dining room whose design, if I am to be honest, was influenced by wargaming needs. The C&C-style hex board is the correct 13 hexes wide by 9 across, and the hexes are 7 inches across the flats. These are big hexes, but they sit well with my 20mm (or so) armies. Since the 4 tabletop sections are symmetrical, the centre line of the table could have a 4-hex-wide fillet inserted, which would give an expanded version of the table which is 28 inches wider, and a revised C&C board of 17 hexes by 9. This would require a couple of MDF hex plates to be painted to allow the C&C flank demarcation line to be shifted one hex in from each end when the long version is in use, but this is a trifling matter.

I estimate that this extended version of the table will still fit in the room, though it will now be necessary to walk around it at one end only – full circumnavigation will not be possible, but – hey – I need the exercise.

At risk of getting really wild, it would be possible to add further, similar slices to the centre of the table in future to produce a Memoir 44 Overlord (or CCA Epic) style giant board – but at this point we really are looking for the marquee in the garden, or a church hall yet to be identified.

Back to the point. The first 28-inch extension fillet is feasible, and I have plenty of paint left over from September. If this is not going to go ahead, I’ll have to come up with some new and better excuses. The most obvious excuse is that the tabletop is made of old-fashioned ½-inch chipboard, which I am not sure is available any more.

That excuse didn’t last long. I phoned my local branch of B&Q, who have masses of 12mm chipboard, and are absolutely itching to use their computer-controlled cutter to produce my new extension for what is really a very small cost.

Well, I don’t have my truck any more, so how will I transport it home? That one didn’t last either; with the back seat folded flat, my car will take a 5 feet x 28 inch panel, no problem.

So I’m going to do it. I measured everything up accurately, and (allowing for inaccuracy in the 1971-vintage cutting of the original boards) I need a perfectly rectangular piece 1531mm x 711mm.

I have a feeling that somehow it can’t be as easy as this, but I’m off to B&Q tomorrow morning to do the deed. There will be a lot of marking up (with my tongue sticking out) and painting and suchlike, but my extension should be coming up shortly.


  1. Most excellent news!

    Best Regards,


  2. I do like those boards. Be interesting to see how the new section fits.


  3. Great layout for Commands and Colors. Seven inch hexes are massive. Looking forward to seeing a game set up on it.