- more fiddly/slower to move them all in a game
+ simple way to record casualties (just remove/tip over minis)
+ can easily fit them in and around terrain pieces
/ usually "true line of sight" rules
+ allows for cool dioramas
- not as flexible - i.e. once based you may not be able to use them for other games
+ easier to tell if squad is in/out of cover
+ less dice chugging
/ tends to have simpler/faster resolution (i.e. unit suppressed/destroyed)
- tends to use counters (clutter)
- can't record individual casualties
/ usually uses "area terrain" rules
I think "what's best" depends on your rules - do you ever allow units to detach individual minis or do you always move/fire them as a group? If your base unit is a squad, in a platoon-company game, then group bases seem to offer faster gameplay. But if you're looking at smaller fire-teams or sub-divide the squad, then individual basing is better. (I personally maintain my minis as individually based for anything 15mm+, as I prefer not to commit to a particular base size and can use the minis for any game - given I try so many different games - but I do like the simplicity, speed and diorama potential of multibase games like FoW)
Question: So when is a group basing best - and when is it better to individually base your models?
The Group Move vs Individual Move ConundrumThis bring me to my second thought - how most skirmish-platoon rules struggle to allow units to move both individually and as a group. Generally there is two methods:
(a) heroes/leaders are individually based, and the "units" - everyone else - is in groups of 4-10 or so which must move, shoot etc in unison with the other group members. (Warhammer 40K)
(b) all minis move and shoot completely independently of each other (Necromunda)
It's like you must choose either one or the other - either units or every man for himself - whereas in reality soldiers might act as individuals, pairs, fire teams, and squads, and even in unison with other squads of a platoon. However, I notice some rules are starting to address this.
Infinity, while orientated around "every man for himself" individual movement, allows for "link teams" - fire teams of 3-5 to act in unison. This has a benefit in that enemies can only react to the fire team's action, instead of repeatedly to each individual soldier, thus minimizing the reactive fire.
Chain of Command allows for weapons teams to be detached from the squad, under the direction of the squad leader.
However I think it's important to maintain a balance - i.e. it's BENEFICIAL to move as a squad/fire team, without being absolutely MANDATORY to do so. I think breaking off individuals/pairs should be easy to do, and a plausible option to squad/fire team leaders.
Question: What is the best way to allow units to move both as squads and as individuals?
Does it have to be one or the other?
Fire+MoveAnother thought that spun out of the above paragraph. Reading Ambrose's Citizen Soldiers I was struck by the emphasis of fire-and-move; pinning enemies with fire while other troops advance/flank. And whilst most modern rules incorporate this to some decree, I don't remember many rules that allow this as a specific order for their units.
Most units in most games, when activated, can move and then fire; or fire and then move.
But why can't some individuals within the unit are move, simultaneous with others in the same unit firing/suppressing?
For example, in Infinity, we can have individual soldiers form link teams to act together - but they are all doing the same thing i.e. all troops firing, or all moving etc. In Tomorrow's War, other fire teams can give overwatch to fire teams who are moving, but not members within the fireteam (also, I find the "reacting to a reaction" in Tomorrow's War a bit confusing and messy). But once again, all members of the fire team (of 4 or so) are doing the same thing.
As the fire-and-move concept works with only a pair of soldiers - one firing, one moving - you should be able to break it down to the individual level as well as by squads/fire teams.
So I'd like a rule that works at every level - individuals with a fire team, by fire team, by squad/s within a platoon. Presuming some sort of reaction/overwatch system is in place (as most current modern rulesets do) it would act like this:
One portion of a fire team/squad/platoon may fire, at the same time the other portion moves.
I.e. in a 4-man fire team, three guys could sprint forward, covered by the SAW gunner. On the next turn, the SAW gunner could sprint to catch up, covered by the other three guys who are already in the position.
In game terms, a Fire+Move action by a squad/pair might look something like this:
Any group/unit of minis (of any size) can be given a split Fire+Move order. You divide them into:
*Moving minis - move full speed/sprint (do not fire)
*Covering minis - rolls suppressive fire dice which cancels out hits by enemy reactions but causes little/no casualties
Anyway, the essence of this is in most games, units can only do the same thing as each other. But they aren't some sort of hivemind drone (unless they actually are, of course!) Why not allow units to do two things at the same time?
This isn't a new or original thought, but I'm surprised more modern rules don't include something of this sort. Given that it is a very, very basic tactic that even rookie troops straight from the US could use in combat. Rookies always clustered up too much, making them vulnerable to AoE/machine guns (a "forced cluster together" from suppression might be an interesting addition to the morale rules) and they have poorer awareness of cover/concealment when moving through terrain; but even the greenest troops could execute a basic fire-and-move manuever.
Yes, I probably could have used better/other rules examples but I'm sitting at a kitchen table at my parents place, far away from my man cave and rules collection.