It has been a very long time since I have played an historic wargaming (Flames of War) and a much longer time since I had my large collection of Napoleonic figures on the table. Dan recently asked me if we could give the latter a go and I was very pleased to oblige.
Above: Some of my 15mm terrain looking suspiciously like Spain.
There are a great number of Napoleonic rules sets to choose from, but with me being very rusty on the era, and Dan being a novice, our best bet would be to find a fast play set on the Internet.
I found a set by Jon Linney (Jon.linney.co.uk) and a few days before the game I gave a copy of them to Dan so that he could give them the once over. As with all rules there has to be a compromise between realism and playability. With fast play rules the latter has to come first so that they are easy to understand, the mechanics are basic and they allow the game to reach a result quickly.
However, with such small rules sets you do sometimes encounter situations which the rules don't cover or a mechanic you don't agree with. This gives you the chance to tinker and come up with something more to your liking.
So with this mind Dan and I began a very small practice scenario to see what was what and we came up with the following amendments:
- Elements in cover receive a cover save from small arms (not cannon fire). +6 in soft cover and +5 in hard cover.
- For initiative we employed the same system of alternating between Divisions (Battlegroups) as used in Drop Zone Commander.
- give a two inch move bonus to units on road.
Above: Pictures from the practice game
We tried to keep as many of the original rules as possible to ensure a quick game. Things which we particularly enjoyed were:
- Shooting happening before movement.
- Whoever lost initiative in the previous turn gained a +2 to their role in the subsequent turn.
- victory being award to the side who inflicts over 50% casualties to their opponent first.
Above: Pictures from our larger game. My cavalry tried, and failed to sweep around my left flank. The town on my right flank became the site of fierce, if rather confused fighting. Early casualties to my 'Randallstan' forces lead to the eventual victory by the forces of 'Cateshire'.
We both enjoyed the afternoon and will play again in the future, with perhaps some small changes; to create some special ability cards for Generals which they could use for their Divisions once per game and to look again at the fighting in built up areas (in our larger game this had lead to some difficulties in placing of troops, firing and melee).
The blog has been going since March, and so finally I have addressed the picture on the left of the title banner!