Saturday, 1 February 2014

Musing over the Napoleonic Wars....Part 1


A blast from the past - sadly missing from the collection at present - and the generator of a vast number of games and, ahem, frank exchanges of opinion....;-)


I first cut my wargaming teeth on a Charge and Airfix inspired 1815 Allied army. This was in the early 1970s and as my gaming became more sophisticated - meaning I had just discovered the Airfix Magazine Guide on the Napoleonic Wars by Bruce Quarrie - I gravitated towards a Russian army using a combination of Minifigs, Hinchcliffe, Warrior and a very nice unit of Tradition Russian grenadiers (and no, they were not the famous Pavlov regiment either!). I persevered with until the very early 1980s and then the enthusiasm for the period, amid multiple other distractions,withered on the vine so to speak.

Or had it?

I moved to London in early 1978 and joined a wargames club in which nobody fought Napoleonics - rather they used to but had moved on to other periods. The club environment quickly seduced me into other areas (naval and ancients primarily, with a dash of Sci Fi thrown in for good measure) and the Napoleonics were quietly put to one side and then discarded. The next time I raised forces for the period was around ten years or so ago and were based on the units from the board game: Waterloo. Despite some interesting games with the armies involved my interest never really got going to the same levels as it had been previously.

Or had it?

The Napoleonic Wars has, if I am completely honest, never really left me as a period of interest - it has just lain dormant, to come to the surface every so often, as the mood or inclination takes me. My collection of books on the 1815 campaign has never left me and even now just a flick through the pages is sufficient to inspire me. Again, if I am completely honest, the prospect of painting vast armies of figures has been rather off-putting for so so when a Command and Colours Napoleonic game came out I was delighted. However, for a number of reasons it has just not really worked out for me. I love the blocks but I am just not mad on card driven board games when played solo (as most of my games are) for much the same reasons as I am not keen on the other games in the series.

What to do then.

I have given a lot of thought as to how I could revisit my inner Napoleon in terms of the rules I will be using and it will come as no surprise to learn that something Command and Colours based will probably be the set of choice but with the inevitable number of changes and additions. Bob Cordery's Memoir of Battle or his Itchy and Scratchy set have a lot to offer but I will need to tweak them in order to cater for the earlier smooth bore era.

The blocks are ready - and I am not including the Command and Colours versions in this statement - and as ever I have a few ideas up my sleeves for what I want to game - it is just a case of sitting down and crystalising them!


10 comments:

Michael Mills said...

"joined a wargames club in which nobody fought Napoleonics"

Good Lord! Is that even legal?!?

Archduke Piccolo said...

You might try 'Snappy Nappy' which offers army level games with few figures (as I understand it).

Martin said...

Having been away for a while I've had a great time catching up on all your posts. Really interested in your Jutland series, so much so I've just ordered two Panzerschiffe WW1 fleets. Keep up the good work your posts are much appreciated....

David Crook said...

Hi Michael,

To be fair the club had played Napoleonics but had moved on when I joined so I guess it qualifies as legal!

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Archduke,

I have heard many good things about this set and so I would like to take a look at some point.

All the best,

DC

David Crook said...

Hi Martin,

That is very kind but I have been rather amiss on the post front for a while due to work. I have some more Jutland 'stuff' to play around with in due course and I would love to hear about how you get on with the Panzerschiffe models.

All the best,

DC

Red_Cardinal said...

I recommend "Napoleon's Battles" which allows you to fight brigade and higher level games, with relatively few figures.

David Crook said...

Hi Red Cardinal,

If memory serves correctly that set was originally published by Avalon Hill. You have just reminded me of them so many thanks for that!

All the best,

DC

Michael Peterson said...

I have much the same relationship to Napoleonics as you do, David. Some of the first figures I ever painted, old Minifigs, were Nappies. Hard to shake the bug.
I an going the other direction from you, doing the period with many figures in a small scale (6mm). I'm not sure about the rules I will use but Command and Conquer will definitely be in the running.
Looking forward to hearing how your plans work out.
M

David Crook said...

Hi Michael,

Napoleonics have been rather like an old friend over the years - no need to keep in regular contact but are always there when you need them! I have half a notion to get involved with some figures for this but for the moment (and certainly whilst I am experimenting)the blocks will reign supreme.

Command and Colours is a very significant design of rules and you will not go far wrong with them - and 6mm 'en masse' looks very effective so good luck with your efforts in that regard.

All the best,

DC