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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > May 2019 (#30) > A question of Scale

A question of Scale

We take a look at some of the conventions and challenges around making miniatures ‘miniature’
Kings of War: Vanguard and Achtung!

Contrary to the popular idiom, size does matter – at least when it comes to tabletop miniatures. On the surface, the idea of a miniature seems straightforward; it’s simply a shrunk-down representation of something from the real world or imagination. But look a bit beyond that and things start getting tricky. Above all are the issues surrounding the concept of ‘scale’, and how it interacts with the practicalities of design and even gameplay.


Miniatures don’t actually use a ‘scale’, at least in a rigid sense. Scale is all to do with proportion, and involves not only the ratio of size between the replica and the original, but the size relation of all the various component pieces as well. In this sense, ‘scale’ is a term better suited to the world of model ships or vehicles than games.

Instead, miniatures conform to certain standard sizes that are still, confusingly, called ‘scales’.The most popular scales are 6mm, 10mm, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm, 28mm, 32mm and 54mm and particular games often lend themselves to a given size. Miniatures that are 20mm or smaller tend to belong to mass-battle wargames that feature hundreds of soldiers. 54mm miniatures, meanwhile, are nearly always used for skirmish games that only involve a handful of figures. In-between these two extremes, 20mm to 32mm miniatures are used in games of all shapes and sizes.

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About Tabletop Gaming

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