Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Big Battle Napoleonics - Really?

Who hasn't been tempted to play a large game of Napoleonics. You know; with lots of units, multiple Divisions, or even multiple Corps. So you set up the table, deploy your troops, and you're ready to go. 

Then it starts.

You have to place your units in formation - column or line, each perfectly lined up. Off you go and soon you're in contact. Charge tests are taken, small arms fire resolved, and it's to melee. Oh wait, I didn't fire my artillery. There, resolve the casualties, take a morale test. Now melee happens, casualties taken and the units either advance, run or stay for another round of melee. And you follow the same script for the next few hours.  What's started as a game feels more like a job.

A few hours later you call it a game. As you're putting away your figures you and your friends debate what would have happened if you had more time. A small part of you wonders why fighting a large battle is so much work and you never seem to get to a conclusion. Sound familiar? It happened to me.

After many years of this I realized that it doesn't have to be that way. My friend Bob and I decided we wanted a game that let us be the Commander in Chief, and not the regimental officer multiplied by 50. The problem was the rules. They were great, but not set up to handle the large number of units we wanted to field.  They concentrated on each battalion or regiment at a lower level than we wanted to play. Basically we were battalion commanders trying to play a Corp size game.

We realized these battalion level mechanics (individual formations, shooting, morale checks, charge checks, etc.) were outside the realm of the CinC's control. All he did was  deploy the troops, give orders, and commit the reserve. He sent the formations on their way - allowing his officers to do their jobs!

So we came up with Morale Napoleon. We played large games, multiple Corps, battles fought to a conclusion,and under two hours. The best thing was that after each game we felt that the game played well and that it felt right.

More to come.


  1. Looking forward to the AARs ;-)

  2. Looking forward to Morale Napoleon very much.
    But surely the general who couldn't resist micro-managing - albeit very successfully! - was 'Nosey' rather than 'Boney'?

  3. Looking forward to these.

    Hope they are available soon.

  4. Very much looking forward to this.

  5. I'd be even more interested in an ACW big battle game.

    1. The upside is Naps will set the table for ACW as it's easier.