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For me it depends on the size/scale of the game. In smaller skirmish games where the figures are 1/1 I like to have casualty figures to place down where a man would’ve fallen. Adds some realism and helps remind me that the games we play are all based off real mens life or death experiences. What really gets me is finishing a WWII skirmish game and seeing 70 or so bodies scattered across the terrain and visually it looks like a large loss of life. But then I’ll think back and remember a battle like Antietam where 32,000 men fell in a single day. Casualties are a hard thing to comprehend and visualize!
I agree, I have never really understood the current trend for keeping units intact on the wargames table. Whilst I do not actively wargame these days, I still base my units with a few single/double figure bases to allow for casualties to be removed...just in case, that is, these units ever find their way back onto a wargaming table!
I too would prefer to remove men prior to the entire unit breaking, but then again I am mostly a PC gamer (especially AoE) so I am used to such things.
Depends on the game. Where we have individually based figures - CoC, Bolt Action, One Hour Skirmish - we remove figures but where our figures are already multiple based such as our medievals before Lion Rampant arrived we use microdice beside the unit to record strength.
I do both, depending on the rule set.
My instincts are that if it took that long to paint a figure, why be in a hurry to take it off the table?
However, there are no wrongs or rights in this subject - just personal preference.
Again, personal opinion, I don't really like that battalion that has suffered heavy casualties & has 8 figures left - 14 or so figures at "full strength" looks worryingly puny.
I guess I'm all about the look of the thing (so superficial....)
I almost always do not do individual figure removal. I mostly have multi-base units, which represent step losses, so a base is removed when the unit takes a certain amount of damage. I mark hits with small plastic rings or dead figures, depending upon what I'm doing.
I like to keep as many figures on the table for as long as possible because they look nice. Individual figures is just plain fiddly.
Keep these posts coming! They are excellent stimulants of interesting discussion/responses.
For rules/games with figures losses, I have adopted a technique suggested by a good wargaming friend and have bases with fewer figures on them—he often jokingly suggests snapping the figures off to represent casualties! That way gaps occur in the ranks until a full base of figures is lost. The economy of plastic figures helps this immensely.
I also like casualty figures as markers. Makes a game look more like one of those photos from the period; I think people refer to them as paintings? It's a shame that Ykreol went out of business (I assume). Yves' RIP figures are/were a brilliant, specialist production line.
As already suggested it would depend on the rules and size of the units. In more recent rules, units of figures could represent a battalion of 400 - 700 men, so could be represented by as little as 12 figures depending on the rules Hits on a unit are not always just casualties, they could also represent loss of moral, so to keep the rules from turning into something more complex, just keeping the unit as a whole on the table and marking the hits can make valid sense. We also know that depth in wargaming units is really not representative or true depth and that units in battle would reduce ranks to maintain frontage so again keeping the entire unit on the table would more clearly represent this maintaining of frontage that may not be possible if figures are removed from an already limited number representing the unit.
As the scale comes down then yes it makes better sense. I think Donald will also agree we took this path of leaving units on when doing demonstration/show games so the spectacle of the wargaming table remained just that. ie keeping the look of a big game. Units were removed once destroyed or routed.