Thursday, April 16, 2009

Finding a Scale For Gettysburg

When making a game map one of the first things to consider is the scale. That is, how many yards per hex.

Using the McElfresh Map, the Gettysburg battlefield was measured at 25,600 feet or 8533 yards wide. The game map size depends on the number of yards per hex. If we have 100 yards per hex then we will have a game map about 85 hexes wide which is pretty large. That was deemed too large. If we have 200 yards per hex, we have a good-sized map 42 hexes wide.

Now two regiments would probably fit in 200 yards (one hex) so that would be a fine scale for a regimental game. But there are probably over 400 regiments and other units in the Gettysburg battle. That was deemed too large a project to take on right now.

What to do.

A brigade-level game would require only about 110 units, making a much more manageable game size. For brigades, we need enough yards per hex for a brigade to fit in. It was estimated (rightly or wrongly) that an average brigade with four or five regiments would fit into 400 yards.

Making each hex 400 yards, we have a map 8533/400 = 21 hexes across.