Readers of the blog will no doubt be aware of my fondness for block based games and indeed, some of the most purple of my purple prose has been devoted to the after action reports arising from games using these. The blocks I use are sized at 63mm x 21mm x 12mm and with the MS Paint drawn labels look pretty good on the table top. I am also really looking forward to using these for the inaugural game on my Hexon terrain (once it arrives of course!) in due course.
However, they are not without their disadvantages. As deployed they look fine for anything linear and ordered but are a little clumsy when used for detachments or smaller units - I am thinking gun batteries or skirmishers here - and so having a smaller size would seem to the ideal. In fact, when I first mooted the idea of using blocks my pilot set made use of some blocks that had been cut in half. With my current version however, I have no such provision simply because I lack the correct tools to cut these accurately enough as they are produced in a hard wood. My joinery skills are modest and the tools of the trade are lacking so rather than try and have a go at cutting them in half I simply didn't bother.
With the certainty of night following day though this was never going to be a permanent solution and so the niggling itch has taken hold to the extent that something needs to be done about it. As a result I have made a few enquiries in my local area and I have managed to locate a joiner that is prepared to chop the blocks in half using the appropriate tools and above all accurately for the cost of 'a drink' aka cash in hand. I will have six sets (288 blocks so the 'drink' may have to be a fair size!) that will be treated thus and so it will mean a couple of relabeling sessions in due course but that is of no matter. The following half sized blocks will be produced - command, infantry, cavalry, crew served weapons (artillery, AT guns, MGs), skirmishers and vehicles. When used in conjunction with the full sized versions this will give me a whole lot flexibility on the tabletop and thus the overall look of the thing. The significance of this is immense as I will also be able to use blocks almost as stands which will place less reliance on the use of rosters - especially when using the 'Memoir of' or 'Portable…' series of rules. A good example would be to use a full size block with a couple of half sized versions to represent a unit. The unit takes a casualty and so one of the blocks could be removed. It also paves the way for a better representation of unit formations.
I am really pleased about this development as it offers a lot of potential for the blocks going forward and it will give me a much greater degree of flexibility in their use in the short term.
The smaller size is also eminently suitable for naval usage….;-)