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Think Galactically, Warfight Locally


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Just as a little experiment, I found an aerial view of a place I knew well (probably a satellite photo) and saw what I could learn from it in a wargame context. The place is New Port Richey in Florida, specifically Gulf View Square Mall, Embassy Plaza, The West Port neighborhood, and assorted environs.


I printed out the view and compared it to a map of the area and determined that the scale was about 1/6000. That meant that one millimeter on the map represented 6 meters in the real world. One helpful fact about the area is that two intersections of US 19 are almost exactly one kilometer apart. Using a navigational plotter (a relic from my student pilot days) drew in hexes representing a half kilometer--the standard set by the Battletech mapsheet and its Aerotech low-altitude map model. The purpose was to see how much real-life geography could fit in such an area. (A B-Tech mapsheet is a good measure of how big a CAV-level wargame can get and still be managable.)


Some observations of dubious value:


Gulf View Square Mall is just a tad too big to fit in the space. If you set one edge of the mapsheet hex along the drainage ditch on the northeast side of the Mall parking lot, the opposite edge would cut off the Sears and most of its parking lot.


Dozens of residential houses can fit in this space. In a hex I drew over the area south of Embassy Blvd, there might be upwards of 70 to 100 houses and mobile homes.


A six-lane highway, with medians and turn lanes, is between 40 and 50 meters wide. (50 meters, of course, is considered assault range for infantry.)


One mapsheet hex was centered on the parking lot for the old WalMart (probably closed now). It completely encompassed the store, its adjacent plaza with two other large stores, a nearby strip center with two buildings, about a block's worth of US 19 pavement, maybe 20 houses and some buildings across the road.


I don't know if I'll ever set a scenerio in a mall parking lot, but you never know in the CAV verse. If anything, this is just an interesting lesson in how big things are an how big they ought to be.

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Further observations:


A 6' by 4' table in CAV scale means a real-world area of 960' by 640' (or about 300 meters by 200 meters). This is about 5 or 6 residential blocks or most of one city block. It takes at least two of these areas to cover the same space as the shopping mall mentioned above.

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