"Sound trumpets! Let our Bloody colours wave!
And either victory, or else a grave!"
Henry VI, Part 3 (Act 2, scene 2)
The idea behind these bases was to clearly reflect, on the wargames tabletop, the changed condition of battlefield units. Instead of viable formations, a player would be faced with terminally damaged units. Or, as Sir James Turner, a veteran of the Thirty Years War would put it - "shipwracked" battalions.