|A picture which sums up what I've missed|
I was 12 or 13 having grown up with Airfix plastic figures and was looking for something else "more grown up", I was in my local library when I discovered the books of Grant et al and was avidly reading everything I could find about this new pastime "wargaming". One day in the process of taking a book called The Napoleonic Wargame out; the librarian, Shaun asked me if I was a gamer, we exchanged numbers and the rest is history. We had a great group of people Steven, Sean, Shaun, Simon, Pete, Karl, Konrad, Dave and Dave, we had some cracking games nearly always Napoleonics; initially in 1/72nd scale and then 15mm, culminating in a massive Leipzig game (1:33 fig scale). We drifted apart after a few years as people went to University and moved away but I still have many fond memories of those times, recently through the extensive reach of the internet I have got back in touch with some of the old gang, who knows we might meet up again. Bruce Quarries' rules were our weapon of choice which we had to heavily modify to make them more playable, but they were our rules.
|This book has a lot to answer for !|
So that was it, my first love was over. My last game was about 16 years ago, a re fight of the Action on the Coa. Since that day my Napoleonics have sat in the display cabinets in my game room watching as new scales and period played out on the table in front of them. I haven't stop collecting and painting these figures, my collection has grown to in excess of 6,000 15mm figures. Over the years I have toyed with gaming with them again but always seemed to get sidetracked until last month when I decided enough was enough, dump the new fancy period and go back to my young love, but had she grown old and bitter over the years ?
|French troops cautiously monitor the Russian hordes|
So there is the background to the game, anyone who wasn't on the nostalgia trip can come back in the room.
All my figures are based and then have a textured movement tray in which they are placed, this was essential with our old computer rules when quick identification was required for inputs etc, hence the unit labels, not everyones cup of tea but that's why they are there if you are wondering.
The game is based on one I found on-line at Rafael Pardos "Wargaming with Napoleonic Miniatures" site HERE. The site has a great number of scenarios (all for the Lasalle game system) but there is plenty of detail to make the conversion to your set straight forward. The game on Rafael's site is designed as a solo scenario which I have changed to fit in with what I wanted. I choose the scenario as it had reasonably manageable forces which were fed into the game gradually, ideal when you've had a few years off the period.
|After breaking a unit of French Line the Russian Uhlans are charged by French Chasseurs|
"Blucher Army of Silesia has crossed the Elbe and is advancing towards the Mulde River to join up with Bernadotte. Seeing an opportunity to catch the allies out Napoleon has moved northwards with several Corps. Their rapid advance caused the hasty retreat of Bluchers forces, in the confusion Osterman-Sackens' Russians have become isolated and are forced to march west passing along the front of the French 1V Corps, we join the action as they attempt to bypass the French."
The game is played on a 8 x 6 table, the above map is broken down into 2 ft squares to help with the laying of terrain. All the symbols should be obvious, the black rectangles are walled enclosures.
C in C Betrand
Infantry Division (Morand)
1st Brigade (Belair) 4 btns of French Legere (all 24 figures, all Veteran)
2nd Brigade (Toussaint) 4 btns of French Line (all 24 figures all Line)
3rd Brigade (Hulot) 6 btns of French Line (all 24 figures, all Line)
1 x Foot Artillery Battery 8 pdrs (with Belair)
1 x Reserve Foot Battery 12 pdrs (with Hulot)
Cavalry Division (Roussel)
1st Light Cav Brigade (Dommanget) 1 x 16 Saxon Chevaux-leger, 2 x 16 Bavarian Chevaux-leger
2nd Light Cav Brigade (Lagrange) 1 x 16 Polish Uhlan, 2 x 16 French Chasseur a Cheval
1 x Horse Artillery Battery 6pdrs (with 1st Brigade)
To ease us into the first game all Cav is Line class and all officers are average. Some of the troops used are more to do with my collection than the historical orbats.
|Provisional Croatian Regt (from my 1812 collection)|
C in C Osten-Sacken
10th Infantry Division (Lieven)
1st Brigade (Agatin) 4 units of Jagers (all 20 figs all classed as Line)
2nd Brigade (Sass) 6 units of Infantry (all 20 figs all classed 2nd Line)
1 x Light Positional Battery 6pdrs
27th Infantry Division (Neverovsky)
1st Brigade (Stawicki) 4 units of Jagers (all 20 figs all classed as Line)
2nd Brigade (Alexejev) 6 units of Jagers (all 20 figs all classed 2nd Line)
1 x Positional Battery 12pdrs
Cavalry Division (Vassilshikov)
1st Brigade (Rasachoff) 1 x 24 Uhlan and 2 x 16 Hussar (Line)
2nd Brigade (Uschakov) 2 x 16 Dragoon (Line)
3rd Brigade (Karpov) 2 x 12 Cossacks
|The Grand Duchess Catherine Btn|
Both sides start with one brigade of Light Cavalry on table, for the French roll 1 d6, on a 1 or 2 entry point A, 3 or 4 entry point B, 5 entry point C and 6 roll again. For the Russians roll 1d6 on a 1,2 or 3 use the entry point D, 4, 5 or 6 use E.
On turn 1 randomly select one of the remaining units, French enter by Brigade, for the Russians once a Brigade is selected the remainder of the Division follows. Roll as above and determine the entry point.
The Brigade will enter the table in column on the road selected and must remain on the road for 1 turn. Guns are always at the rear of a Brigade column. Once the rear of the column has entered the table randomly select the next Brigade (unless you are Russian and the remainder of the Division is not on table).
I am a big fan of scenario randomness, so this game should never play the same way twice. The French have less troops but because they have smaller Brigades they should get on table quicker. The Russians in their larger Divisional columns should arrive slowly but in a big mass.
The French are trying to block the exit of the Russian Troops from the table, the Russians are trying to exit stage left (leave the table on the left edge).
If more than 60 % of Russian Troops exit it is a Russian Victory.
Between 40 and 60% exit a draw
Less than 40 % exit a French Victory
I have not put a turn limit on the game as we have a permanent set up and I find you can normally agree a victor between the people I game with without having to resort to points etc.
How did we get on
Well it was certainly nice to be back in the Napoleonic chair again, we had a whole Sunday and an evening session set aside for this game, however we didn't need the whole of the Sunday for the first game.
Things started relatively calmly with our French Light Cavalry entering on point B whilst the Russian Cavalry came in on point E, they raced along the northern road to the town and set up camp, whilst the French harried and charged them on and off in a indecisive battle.
|Saxon Light Cavalry|
|The Russian Line Collapses|
We all enjoyed our first foray in a while into Napoleonics so we reset and went again !
The rules seemed to work quite well, we were all familiar with the basics as I said above we are veterans of BGren and the 7 Years War version so there were no real surprises. The conversion of the tables seemed to work quite well, the Artillery seemed a bit light but that's something we can look at next time we play.
I think I will invest in the newer 2nd Edition of GdeB as looking at the on line play sheet for that version a lot of the things we questioned as we went along seem to have been solved in that version. So my old love wasn't that bad to me after all, with a busy schedule ahead it will slot nicely into our game rotation which seems to have us playing most things about twice a year.
Some game pics to finish off, Regards
|Russian Lt Cavalry Advancing in Game 2|
|Russian Infantry in subtle mode, Game 2|
|French Infantry, waiting.|
|Russian Infantry defending a village|
|Bavarian and Saxon Cavalry advance|