....And now for something not-so-completely different! I am a huge fan and owner of some of some of Richard Borg's Command and Colours series of games including Battle Cry (ACW) and Memoir '44 (WW2) and so when GMT Games decided to release a Napoleonic version as a follow up to their highly successful Ancients series (which is next on the shopping list!) the temptation was pretty much more than mortal man could reasonably endure. I purchased a copy and boy was I pleased to do so!
By way of an explanation I should point out that Napoleonics were my first gaming 'love' as I cut my wargaming teeth on them back in the early 1970's with great hordes of Airfix 20mm plastic figures (including many conversions) used, inevitably, for the 1815 campaign. Aside from the British I owned at one time an 1812 Russian army of Hinchcliffe metal figures but as time passed and other periods of history came and went my interest in gaming the era withered. Despite keeping a small quantity of books (primarily for 1815) and a brief flirtation with 15mm figures about 10years ago, I have not actively played the period for some time. I own a couple of very good boardgames covering both the 1815 campaign and the Battle of Waterloo and have been content to use them but I have missed the tactical side. My immediate problem is that I have absolutely no desire to paint armies for the period - in any scale - so my gaming hankerings have been few and far between. Not any more.
The game primarily covers the Peninsula (although I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of 1815 scenarios included) although does not include the Spanish - these have made the cut for the first expansion (ho hum....). The components are absolutely first class - even the box is reassuringly heavy - and the wooden blocks used to represent the units look splendid when the unit stickers have been applied. The components you can see in the picture above and everything oozes quality.
The game mechanics are the familiar C and C card based system but the Napoleonic 'feel' has been added by introducing a number of period specific features including:
- Infantry Squares
- Varying weights of cavalry
- Militia/Line/Elite and Guard infantry
- Horse and foot artillery
- Combined arms attacks
- Cavalry 'retire and reform'
As a frustrated Napoleonic gamer this set represents a wonderful opportunity for me to indulge in my long held passion for the period without a financial outlay the size of the national debt. I am sure that the other powers will follow in due course (I wonder if the Turks will feature at some point?) and so I will happily acquire these armies as and when released.
I am hoping to get the labels tackled over the weekend with a view to having my first game in a couple of weeks but one thing is certain: whilst it is a sad farewell to any ideas of acquiring and painting armies for this period (I do have a figure based soul after all!), as a substitute this game is a more than adequate replacement.