Friday, 29 July 2011

Memoirs of a Napoleonic gamer - part 31

Rules sets everywhere!
I've skipped ahead a bit in this saga - but it's just to show how absurd the Napoleonic wargame scene is just now. Maybe it applies to whole gaming scene.

Last week at the club we spoke about a new set of rules called March Attack. They looked quite good in the hard copy which a friend had. Essentially they looked to me very much like the Advanced Shako ideas before they were simplified into Shako 2. I thought I might like to try them. 

This friend also had a copy of the new Warhammer book Waterloo. This is a big glossy production, aimed at 28mm Napoleonics. Other than the eye-candy, I didn't look too much at the rules - but they seem just another typical set of 28mm rules.         

We also spoke about a new set of rules and figures coming out of Spain - Napoleon at War.  Another very glossy set (very nice indeed), and aimed at 15mm and very influenced by the Flames of War experience. You can buy the rules and boxed sets of miniatures with bases direct from Spain. And this week the friend showed up with the rules and a box of French infantry. The rules also look a bit FoW-ish. Nothing wrong with that at all - except it's yet another set of rules. The other (slight) problem with these rules is that they use a non-standard basing system, so players are just going to have to use their existing based collections or face a lot of rebasing. But then I think - old Napoleonic gamers are not the real target audience here - it's gamers new to the Napoleonic era who can get everything they need from one supplier.       

So what will I play in the coming weeks - I don't have a clue. I'd like to try them all, but I'm not likely to have the time or opportunity. I also want to continue playing the rules I already like, so much of this new stuff will fall by the wayside. And besides, at 20 - 30 quid a pop, I'm not going to buy these rules on eye-candy alone.  

Still - I'll be interested to watch this Napoleon at War and see how it fares in a busy marketplace.  

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

youtube links

I was prompted to this by links provided by Tradgarland to another blogger to Youtube stuff on the ACW.  Hopefully these links work. 

First up, the Romans.  Ermine Street Guard I think.  But watch for the final scene - pretty scary if this was coming towards you.

And now the final scene from the film Alatriste.  If you have an interest in the 30 years war era, see the film or read the books on Captain Alatriste.
Even without the subtitles the scene is still quite moving.  Near the end of the battle of Rocroi, the French have won and ask the Spanish to give up and march off the field with the banners and weapons, honour intact. 

Alatriste's reply is "This is a Spanish regiment". 

The simple statement speaks volumes, and the implication is the same as the Old Guard some 170 years later - the guard dies, it does not surrender.    In the next scene, the commander orders the veterans to the front and the new troops to the rear.   

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Memoirs of a Napoleonic gamer - part 1

This is the first part of what may well be a 30 part series  :)   ... only joking.  And some of this might get a bit jumbled as I try to remember what was when.    

Anyone remember these rules from the dawn of Napoleonic gaming.  

It was the time of 1:20 figure scale, 20 or 25mm figures in big battalions of 24 to 36 figures. Battles consisted of 2 or 3 battalion, 2 squadrons and a battery on each side.  If you couldn't afford metal figures you could do wonders with the Airfix.     

These are the WRG rules.     

And the rules by Charles Grant, based on his 18c rules published as The War Game. I remember the Napoeonic version being featured in Military modelling, with a chapter being published each month.  Lordy! ... that was a long drawn out year till I could read the entire set start to finish.  But eventually it was published in book.  Essentially it's the same set of rules with 54 figures battalions.  I could never put together enough figures for such big units and the book became inspirational (and aspirational) eye-candy.      


Sadly, I sold my copy of The War Game several years ago, but I kept the Napoleonic version.  (I also used to have the blue plastic Spencer Smith 18th miniatures, but sadly they were also sold. I now wish I had kept them).   

Then I got my hands on Bruce Quarrie's book.  Figure scale was 1:33, so units began to become slightly more manageable, but the rules themselves were too much for me.  

More to come on figures and rules ...

GNW work in progress

Apologies for lack of posts. Real life intervened. But some progress made to Danes for GNW. 

This picture shows the addition of a yellow undercoat for anything to be brass/bronze/gold and a light grey undercoat for anything to be steel.

Now added wood on muskets and halberd and buff on the belts.    

And now the gold for sword hilts and steel for barrels, blades and bayonets.  Also buff on the musket straps and a bit of white to touch up any wayward splashes.    

More to come. 

Saturday, 9 July 2011

GNW game in Perth

Some photos from the game on Thursday. Basic Impetus Baroque rules and army lists, with a few Danish allies on the Russian right flank. This is the opening Russian set up. The Danes are on the far right.    

The Swedish setup. The Swedish commander cunningly placed his strength on his right and the Danes faced a near empty field.  

The Swedes advance, taking some casualties and disorder on the way (those are the little red and yellow counters behind the units).   

This is the view from the Swedish right. Swedish and Russian cavalry are about to close again. 

The first time they clashed, no permanent casualties were caused and both units fell back per the retreat after melee rule because no-one actually 'won' the melee.  The Swedish player was kinda puzzled by this and a discussion ensued. I accepted it as 18th / 19th c. cavalry tactics of cavalry falling back to reform when there was no immediate success.

However, I took the question to the Impetus Yahoo group and Lorenzo said this was correct (i.e. both cavalry units falling back), but he now thought the fallback should only apply to mounted fighting infantry.  Seems better in the context of Impetus.   

Lorenzo also clarified the oblique and side moves. He suggested that a full move by mounted to the side or obliquely should now result in disorder, but that a half move will be OK.        

Above, the Swedish cavalry mass for the final attack. The infantry in the middle have taken casualties but are pressing forward. The permanent casualties means they have lost their impetus bonus. 

And below is the situation at game end. The Russian centre has collapsed completely. The Swedes took a lot of casualties but survived.   


And the game end view from the Swedish right.  The Swedish cavalry have also taken many losses but are still on the table. 

So victory to the Swedes. If there had been more Russian reserves in the centre to move against the weakened Swedish infantry things might have been different.

And finally - my completed Danes on the Rusian right flank spent all evening turning and eventually managing to destroy one Swedish infantry unit.  But, by the time they were able to move to the centre, the Russian infantry had collapsed.  


The lack of posts in the last week was because I put a bit of effort into finishing bases for the Danes before a game in Perth last Thursday. Here are the results of that effort. First up, The Queen's Regiment. 

Then Sjaellandske. 

The artillery 

The 1st Sjaellandske cavalry. 

The 2nd Sjaellandske cavalry. 

The 3rd Sjaellandske cavalry. 

And how it looks together. Only 7 infantry, 3 cavalry, generals and a couple of batallion guns to go.