Saturday, 24 September 2011

Dux Bellorum

I have kindly been allowed to see a draft of Dan Mersey's upcoming dark age rules that Osprey will be publishing. I am very impressed with what I have read and am looking forward to trying them out as soon as I have a couple of other projects put to bed.

Overall impression is a game in the same spirit as Impetus, but with a nicely thought out set of mechanisms to reflect the difficulties and character of warfare in post-roman Britain. As I had planned to re-work my armies for Impetus anyway, this should dovetail nicely and still allow those diorama bases. Measurements are in base widths which helps! I think I'll go for the Impetus standard of 120mm bases as these allow about 12 infantry or 4-5 cavalry.


Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Went to see this film on Thursday and can't recommend it highly enough. It might not appeal to action junkies but it gets 5 stars from me. The acting is superb and the whole film immerses you in the early 1970s. Really, really, really good.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Unit stats

Hi all, in answer to a query here is an idea for some of the stats I have been allocating to units in my napoleonic "squares" rules. Units are rated for skirmishing/fighting/morale

French infantry, typically these have:
1. reasonably good skirmishers (d10),
2. average to good fighting ability so an average quality small unit might get d6, an average quality, average sized unit would get d8 and an average quality large unit would get d10. If the unit was higher quality then I might up these by one dice type, but try to avoid d12 and instead split the unit into two smaller ones.
3. average to good morale: d8 or d10.

So, units of St Hilaire's experienced Division at Aspern-Essling tend to get d10, d10, d10 but much more "average" units in Tharreau's Division are more like d10, d8, d8

Conversely, Austrians are usually worse at skirmishing so an "average" unit of infantry would get d8, d8, d8. If a unit has Grenzers or Jagers attached then the skirmishing increases to d10.

I try to keep most units to d8s and d10s.
d6 skirmishing applies to infantry who did not routinely send out many skirmishers, even if they could do so in theory (Austrian grenadiers, 1806 prussians perhaps, 1809 saxons)
d12 skirmishing I'm not sure about but perhaps British brigades which include a substantial numer of riflemen

d6 combat for very raw or small units
d12 combat for very experienced AND large units

d6 morale for very poor units (Spanish, 1809 saxons, neapolitans?)
d12 morale for guard or very experienced units (Old guard, British guards, British penninsular veterans)

All this is of course very, very subjective. With four dice types and three categories there is plenty of wiggle room!

Cavalry are similar but have no skirmish die

Artillery only have a morale.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Slight error

Poo! I have realised that the battalion I finished off as the 52nd Foot should have been in stovepipe shakos, so this unit will need to have its facings re-painted and a "new" 52nd painted up.
Not a big problem but I'm gald I spotted it before basing the units up!

Painting again

Hurrah! Finally put brush to miniature again and finished off a British battalion (1/52nd foot) to make a start on Adam's brigade for Waterloo. Plan to finish the British inf then cavalry while waiting for Baccus to bring out the minor nations. In the meantime I can also look at French lancers and finishing off the 1809 Bavarians and Italians.

Next up, 71st Foot and more 95th rifles.

Progress will be limited as I still have a couple of writing projects to finish and lord knows what work might chuch at me. Still, I do have four years left to get Waterloo finished...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Well, the battlefiled was roughly Marengo
The Austrians had more-or-less I and IV Korps from Aspern-Essling plust two brigades of grenadiers in an ad-hoc reserve.
The French had various Divisions from II and IV Corps from Aspern Essling and a reserve of one Young Guard brigade and the Guard light cavalry.

There was some artillery too, a little more for the Austrians.

We played 7 turns with honours about even. Everyone seemed to pick-up the gist of the rules - just need to clarify how to attack over a bridge!

A good night at the club!


rules update

I have added some ideas about rallying units that I tried out in the game on Sunday. I have also added the date of the last update to the rules tab on the blog so I won't be making specific blog entries to announce every update!

If anyone out there does try the rules then let me know how you get on.

Tonight at the club I'm going to try a little battle based on Marengo but with some of the Aspern Essling OOB. Should work OK :-)

...and crikey, I have just checked the Picasa album linked to the blog and there are nearly 900 pictures in it!


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

One last photo of the Aspern-Essling game, courtesy of Tricks:

Here we see the French defenders of Essling:

Other games at Partizan

Lots of good games at the show. Here are a few:


Monday, 5 September 2011

Aspern-Essling postscript

So, did Napoleon escape?

After the show I reflected on how to actually decide the fate of the defeated French. This would depend on whether the bridges over the Danube had been rebuilt. I decided to take the hour of the defeat and try to roll this or below on 2d10 to allow the French engineers to have pulled things out of the bag.

The game effectively ended with the 11am turn, so Napoleon needed 11 or less to escape.

I rolled the dice tonight, scoring a total of 19! It looks as if Napoleon was captured by the Austrians, although knowing the Austrians they probably lost him or let him go...

This victory determination seems a useful way to make the scenario replayable. If the French can hold out until 8pm then they can guaruntee an escape.

A few mods made to the rules.


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Aspern-Essling at Partizan

Phew, what a hard day on the feet! I think the game went well and surprisingly I played it right to a rough conclusion (both days!).

Below is a shot of a unit, showing the one of the labels I printed off yesterday. Each brigade is identified by the corps and division to which it belongs. On the right is a reminder of the dice rolled for skirmishing, combat and morale. My dice are colour-coded (yellow d6, purple d8, blue d10 and black d12). The Austrian grenadiers below are not the best skirmishers but fight well and have excellent morale. These labels really did help today's game shift along. Next we have a shot taken a couple of turns in. Austrain VI and I Korps are heading for Aspern, II Korps is covering the centre while IV Korps is on a long looping march towards Essling. The reserve is taking up a support position. The french have infantry in Aspern and Essling, with cavalry covering the gap between the villages.

Time moves on and the troops engage around Aspern. IV Korps is tardy on its march and takes until nightfall to reach Essling:

A close up of the action around Aspern on day 1. The chirch changed hands a couple of times:

In the centre, the defence was very sparse but St Cyr's division of Massena'a IV Corps arrived to help out:

At the end of day 1 the Austrians had positioned themselves for a major assault but had yet to cause many casualties:

Overnight the French were reinforced by II Corps and the Imperial Guard. Part of their revised disposition in shown below:

The Guard threw themselves into the gap between Essling and the river, but took heavy losses when they engaged the Austrians. The white-coats forced their way into the village and could not be repelled.

The French admitted defeat as lunchtime drew close on day 2. The Austrian I Corps was forcing itself forward from Aspern and IV Korps had forced the Guard to recule. Ultimately there were just too many Austrians and too few French. Without sophisticated tactics the Austrians achieved victory, more or less by falling on top of the French!

Great game and the rules played really well. A few tweaks to make but nothign too drastic. I'll do these tomorrow.

I'll also put up some pics of other games at the show.


Saturday, 3 September 2011

All ready to go!

OK, then. I'm just about ready for the morning. The troops have been reorganised into an OOB resembling that of Aspern-Essling (somewhat different to the OOB for Wagram) and each base has had a little label printed off, laminated and attached which details which corps and division in belongs to and what dice it rolls for skirmishing, fighting and morale. Hopefully the time spent today will make tomorrow go all the more smoothly. I have also printed out a copy of the current draft of the rules and will no doubt make adjustments during the game tomorrow... I have already made a few tweaks on the rules page attached to the blog. This is very much a dynamic set of rules!

Right ho, just some last minute bits to organise and then try to get some sleep before a 6am start to get to Kelham and set up the tables before I get to set up my game.

If you are travelling down, have a safe journey.

Demo Poster

While I am waiting for my new unit-labels to run off the printer ready for laminating, I thought I'd put up an image of the poster I have put together for my demo game tomorrow. Not entirely necessary but posters in display holders always make a game look a little more "finished".


Friday, 2 September 2011

Demo Decision Reached

Aspern-Essling it will be!

Now, do I just do day 2, or should I take advantage of the 6 x 6 table and cover the approach marches of the Austrian columns on day 1 too? Do you know, I think I might just do that...

It'll be interesting to see if the rules allow the 24,000 or so French defenders on day 1 can hold off the 100,000 Austrians.

This means I need to get some new commander markers printed off and laminated - the Wagram ones will not do as some of the commanders differed between the two battles. I shall try hard to stay one step ahead of the Emperor and keep Lannes alive this time (and Lasalle, and St Hilaire, and St Sulpice...)

See you on Sunday