|Germans advance across the fields as the British CO looks on armed|
with nothing but a strongly brewed cup of tea!
For a bit of background I've come to Tabletop Wargaming from Roleplaying, which is probably why I am comfortable and enthused with my gaming focusing on a small number of individuals, if not characters. For play-ability this rarely goes much above 10 figures per side. This is what I'd have defined Skirmish gaming as when asked in the past.
The above linked thread made me wonder though. It would appear that games with "one figure = one man" is a common element, but the general conscientious was that games with a small number of squads would also be described as Skirmish games.
I suppose that once an engagement stops being a main mass battle, other actions are brief peripheral events and so would fit into the definition of Skirmish. The majority (not all of course) of gamers seem to come from a mass battle standpoint as default and then "drop down" to skirmish level, although there are seems to have been a move towards non mass battle rulesets over the last few years so the numbers may be changing slightly. Certainly looking round the discussion forums of clubs based about the centre of Scotland you'll find most chat about games like 40k, Bolt Action, Flames of War etc rather than Frostgrave, even despite it's success. I'm not saying this is wrong, just an observation.
By coincidence this timed with a demo game introducing me to the Two Fat Lardies rules of "Chain of Command" at Falkirk Wargames Club. This had two sides with 3 squads\platoons each + command, with one side having a basic objective of breaking through to the other side of the table. Despite my initial light "loads of figures" to control the size and manner of engagement was very direct, similar to the "10 figures each" level I'm used to, and at no time felt like I was manoeuvring a powerful army. Each platoon felt slightly fragile and personal much like my usual small warbands.
So I think my identification of what is a Skirmish game is starting to broaden. Talk about a C-change after 15 years of gaming!
Oh, and I really enjoyed my game of Chain of Command, by the way. Enough tactics and randomness to be right up my alley. I'll be look for future games of that indeed (that'll be some sort of recommendation I suppose)