Friday, 27 April 2012

Casualty Markers

I thought it might be interesting for me to write up a brief discussion on the various types of casualty markers I use.

Casualty markers are a necessary evil for me as pretty much all of my figures are mounted on multiple bases, so I can't remove single figures to represent loses (at this point the 28mm brigade snort and switch over to the other channel).

I've seen a few different methodologies. The mini dice seem to be in vogue at the moment, as they're discrete and you can turn them over in order to record the number of hits. I'm not a fan as they can be easily separated from the unit they relate to, or knocked over to show another number.

As followers of this blog will know my favourite method is to use plastic rings as they hook over figures, are clearly visible and don't get lost or separated. I use venetian festoon rings that you can buy in any drapers. My players aren't necessarily as keen as me, as the rings aren't as aesthetically pleasing as some would like. On the other hand sometimes, like in a modern game when a unit has taken a lot of hits from artillery they do give the real impression of a unit being clobbered.

More recently I had a go with small pebbles, such as you can sift out of coarse sand or put in the bottom of fish tanks. These look okay and are pretty discrete. They also sit, mostly, quite comfortable on the 30mm square Peter Pig style bases that I use a lot.

The main downside is that some of my bases have these as decoration on them, so it can be hard to tell how many hits a base has actually got!

I have a number of Peter Pig dead figures, which I use when I play RFCM rules, but for other rule sets I've usually ended up with the rings, reserving the PP figures for when a whole base is lost. For my Byzantine Army, however, I went out and bought a number of Donnington casualty figures.

These will work for Armati as you don't ever take off bases except when the unit breaks and it should be clear what unit they're attached to. To make them go further I've pinched an idea off Chris Ager, a Monday Night irregular. Some of the figures are based on pennies, as these fine fellows are, and count as one casualty.

Other figures are based on 2ps, and as such count as two casualties, just like this fellow. As you can see the bigger base means he can keep his spear compared to his 1p colleague, who had to be trimmed in order to fit.

I concede they look nicer than the rings. I wonder how long my patience with them will last.


  1. I'm a bit of a fan of coloured plastic counters, mostly because you can use them to mark all sorts of things aside from casualties. They do tend to stand out though :)

  2. I've considered counters, but they suffer from all the downsides of plastic rings (ie they're unsightly) and also the downsides of figues (ie they get separated from units).

    Of course this is from the guy who has big cardboard lables with "PINNED" "DISORDER" etc for use in most of his games!

  3. Actually, I've been thinking a lot about switching to small rings as casualty markers, which would allow my ongoing (25-30mm) multiple basing project to be even less fiddly. Stunning how quickly it speeds up games.

    Best Regards,


  4. I think they work really well, and as they don't get lost they reduce disputes and hunting around when units move. They're also very clear.

    If you don't like the white you can get clear ones which you can see but aren't too obvious.

  5. The pebbles would work better if they were coloured, say tan or rust, to differentiate them from the ones glued to your bases. I liked the pebbles. The best markers I saw were little castings of naval shell "sploshes" from, I think, either Ken Natt or Derek Hodge? They (the sploshes, not Messrs Natt or Hodge)were stabke enough to sit on a 30mm base and looked fantastic. Probably too pricey to have a lot though. I like the way that the rings stay on but dislike the aesthetics.

    Regards, Chris

    Regards, Chris

  6. I suppose I could paint the pebbles. Never thought of that. Of course they'd then look like painted pebbles which might damagae the verisimilitude of it all.

    1. Just drop them into an ink dip, then onto kitchen towel to dry perhaps?

  7. I'm afraid I'm a mini dice man myself. A small green mini dice is discrete and easy to use. Couldn't possible hang those rings on my carefully painted figures! Next thing I'd be putting my rules and play sheets on the table, then coffee mugs, then...

    Oh it's all too horrible to contemplate. But as always in our hobby, each to his own.

    BTW, best wishes in your new career.

    Cheers, Keith.

  8. As you say, each to his own. Hanging the rings on figures doesn't bother me as they're varnished with Ronseal, - it takes a fair bit if bashing to rub the paint off them.

    I've pointed out my reservations with the mini dice, - they get forgotten, they get knocked and actually look like litter on the table top.

    But you are right about palysheets etc. A table really needs a "dead zone" at the sides or ends for storing stuff.