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I Can Stand It if You Can

In gaming with miniatures player are required to mount their figurines onto bases which we call stands. Over the years I have found that in creating scenarios regardless of period that it is easier to describe types of units in regard to their stands. I call this F.P.S. or figures per stand. This rather avoids terms like loose heavy, heavy, medium, loose or light in regard to infantry and cavalry. I will work up a sample scenario sheet or go to the Yahoo Group and check the files section and you can find what I am talking about there.

Here is my break down of F.P.S. in regard to types of foot and horse units.

  • Heavy & Medium Infantry (HI) close order 4 figures per stand (you can cut these in half)
  • Loose Infantry (MI & LHI) heavily armored foot 3 figures per stand but in loose order
  • Light Infantry (LI) light infantry 2 figures per stand
  • Heavy Cavalry (HC) 3 figures per stand (I use this for most cavalry even cataphracts)
  • Light Cavalry (LC) 2 figures per stand usually skirmish cavalry

With these basic types of units we have covered types by their order in what I think a more practical methodology. Order means how men would arrange themselves according to their function. A heavy infantry unit would be in close order or 4 F.P.S. I assign their morale and combat values accordingly. So with this said if you can stand to continue, so can I.

Roman Examples Infantry

Lets begin with infantry of the heaviest type. First are heavy infantry in close order or 4 figures per stand. On the right of the photo are 4 figures per stand or close order; heavy infantry. To the left are also heavy infantry but they are in a different order called loose order. Both are heavy infantry but due to a tactical need they are in different orders. This is applicable for medium infantry. Heavy and medium infantry just addresses the completeness of a soldier�s armor not his tactical deployment.

To the left in the photo we have a 4 F.P.S. stand cut in half. These can be used either in column, one behind the other or placed one stand beside the other. When placed side by side their frontage is the same as it would normally be used. This gives players the ability to do a lot of really tactical things. It also permits players to even up lines. This is applicable to both medium and heavy infantry. I always have to mention this in scenario demo games to clarify half stands of 2 figures close order are not 2 F.P.S. or light infantry. On the left of the photo is the traditional 4 F.P.S. use of stands. Another plus is the removal of figures. When two whole figures have become casualties they are easily removed and the need for casualty caps is reduced.

Let us now look at 3 F.P.S. These figures can also be mounted in what is a much unusual method. Here we cut the stands into thirds and not halves. Again this gives more latitude tactically as well as providing a way to even out units with stands of 3 F.P.S.

Above we have a Roman unit of heavy infantry mounted 3 F.P.S. on their left is a heavy cavalry figure who is a leader figure. Both leader and foot are loose order-3 F.P.S. Now let us start cutting things up.

In the photo above I have cut a loose order stand into two thirds and one third. Together they become a single stand of three figures. Again this applies to either heavy infantry or medium infantry. I determine their strengths on the Q.R.S. (Quick Reference Sheets) for the scenario games.

Let us go on to skirmish units commonly called LI or light infantry. Below are Roman velvets who usually took position in front of the Roman first line of hastati and then retired back to the triarii. On the right is single stand of 2 F.P.S. To the left is a stand cut in half. Both are the same thing but much more flexible for playing a game.

The Ala or Wing

In the Roman army at this time each legion was assigned a wing or ala of cavalry. These ala were composed of squadrons of 32 mounted men grouped into one unit. There were about 300 mounted men in the ala give or take 10 or 20. Like the infantry these can be mounted on stands as 3 F.P.S. Likewise these stands can be cut for purposes of tactics and casualty removable. I like to cut the stands by thirds. A two third (2 figures) and a third with one figure. Here is an ala.


We deal with cavalry in the same way. However in Classical Hack there are no 4 F.P.S. Players are free to use cavalry mounted that way but I think cavalry in loose order best suits historical use in regard to gaming. But then who am I to deny 4 F.P.S. mounted? In Classical Hack we count up figures for everything anyway.

Models are a different story and are always mounted on single stands with a frontage of 2-3/8 th inches or 60mm. These can be grouped tow gather to make units of chariots, elephants or artillery. More on that later.

Let me conclude with this. I like to change a unit�s order to meet battlefield problems during a game. In the movement phase I take a unit say in close order (4 F.P.S.) and change it into loose order (3 F.P.S.). In doing so I have to exchange units figure for figure. A 12 figure unit can easily be changed out for similar figures of the same type without much trouble. Yes I have tons of figures to do this.