Jack Scruby's commentaries about planning and playing Colonial historical miniatures games were bedrock foundational for me. Some of this is synthesized below.
PLANNING COLONIAL GAMES
Determining the proper ratio of Natives to Imperials is not easy. I don't think there is a specific formula unless TSATF with its twenty plus years of experience has one. Still such a formula will depend on rules weapons and morale, the amount of firearms on both sides and scenario dynamics too. Interesting variables.
It is not as easy as a SYW game where we might simply ask. Jim, please bring 500 Prussian musketeers and 100 heavy cavalry and Randy please bring the same. In a Colonial game the native side usually will have fewer firearms and different morale dynamics. It is at this point we try to fathom how much of each type of combatant to bring onto the tabletop.
A mostly melee armed native force could outnumber Imperials by 1.5:1, 2:1, 2.5:1 or even - gulp - 3:1.
A mostly musket/rifle armed native force could outnumber Imperials by 1.25:1 or 1.5:1, or a little more.
The bottom line is: All we can do is ponder the above and guess. I don't think there is a bull's eye to hit the perfect ratio. I'm happy with that.
Players are usually, logically and hopefully (?) more nervous in Colonial games. This is a different and necessary form of fun game tension. It is unique and properly so. Indeed this is a singular difference offered by Colonial gaming. It needs to be there.
It boils down to players on both sides thinking the other Army is way too numerous or powerful. This happened in August 2011. Readers may want to revisit that game here: http://generalpettygree.blogspot.com/2011/08/chapter-53-2nd-battle-of-amla.html
For a couple of turns several players of both sides understandably thought the opposing force was too powerful or too numerous. As I listened, I politely said something like - carry on - no changes - hang in there - wait and see. As the scenario designer I silently thought - good!
Some will complain. Some will lobby for changes. Some on both sides genuinely believe they will be utterly defeated. Not usually though. I take the position they ought to be nervous this way. Typically I usually stick to my guns and don't change a thing and at the end players happily chat about beating long odds and what might have happened - on both sides - if only....
Lest readers think I have this figured out perfectly, no I do not but the above may prove helpful for some.
Another topic is how to command Imperial and native forces. It's trickier than in a horse and musket game. Plus the native force must be able to move great distances quickly.
"Colonel, they're com'n. Thousands of 'em."
"Aye. Stand to and load."
There's nowhere to go and nothing to do but stand your ground and enjoy this different and exiting type of historical miniatures game experience. Your remarks are entirely welcome below.