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As the wargamers amongst us will know, we use various devices to mark formations, morale states & casualties.
Called "markers", they are often printed labels or dice but sometimes more imaginative & less distracting.
I've always aspired to more creative markers. I had a Napoleonic rule set that demanded cavalry, post charge, should be marked as "blown". If I had a suitable supply of buglers, I would have used them. "Blown"; get it?
With my new Colonial rules( 'The Men Who Would Be KINGS') I've definitely hit my straps.
Units, if shot at & shaken, become "pinned". To show this I've impaled a suitably landscaped disc with a small nail.
And units, whose commanders have been killed, need to be marked as "Leaderless". The Waterloo1815 Dervish set has a plethora of useless donkeys. These, painted & mounted on a washer, make a suitably wry marker.
Do you have an interesting markers?
I use HO scale sheep for "Shaken", pigs for "Disordered" and chickens for "Routing".
A fellow I know used brigade officers on different coloured horses to indicate their brigades' orders, e.g., a white horse for "Attack", a brown horse for "Defend" etc.
Another fellow kept track of the casualties on his 30YW units with standard bearers. The standards they carried had one through five devices on their flags to represent each hit. He also tracked ammunition with powder barrels in a cart. A particular roll would cause you to lose an ammunition marker and when you were out of markers you were low on ammunition.
Years ago I played in a Johnny Reb campaign in which each brigade needed an ammunition wagon. I've often considered using the HaT French wagons for this purpose.
I've gathered up all my dead horses from Airfix and other sets, painted them and mounted on poker chips. They are casualty markers for cavalry units. I've done the same thing with the various Airfix infantry casualties from their Waterloo series.
Very imaginative, to say nothing of humorous markers. I'm tempted to try a few myself.
In the modern era, i follow the old McCoy rules for supply in which a unit has a standard 2-1/2/3-ton truck with four removable blocks made to look like boxes. When it engages in combat, one block, numbered 1-4, is removed each turn of combat. When the truck is empty, it turns around and heads for the nearest supply dump for another load, then returns to repeat the process.
Although designed for Moderns, this system would be easy to extend back to Horse and Musket armies using horse-drawn wagons.
I have a set of little flags - yellow for disordered, red for broken/routed and I use little dice for marking casualties. I sometimes also use casualty figures to mark the location of destroyed units.
For a WW2 tactical game I play (Men Under Fire) it's important to know whether a tank commander is spotting outside the turret cupola or is "hull-down" -- so to speak.
Many milk cartons these days in the US come with a plastic cap, under which is a safety seal -- a ring that pulls off a slightly concave cap (that looks a little like a shallow British Helmet Mk I). For the most part, my tank models have the commander exposed. When I need to mark him "down" I loop one of these seals -- suitably painted -- over the figure.
I like the idea of farm animals for designating unit status. Chickens for routed and sheep for shaken I can see, but pigs are very orderly and methodical. Wonder what I could use for WW2 in the Western Desert -- jerboas, gazelles and camels?
For Command Decision and Johnny Reb, I use the milk carton caps themselves -- suitably painted and with the unit designation on top -- to cover my order cubes (they used to be order chits but I glued the six most common order chits onto 1/2 inch [1.5 cm] wooden cubes).