OK then, so here is how it goes. In various posts over recent months I have been droning on about tweaking this set of rules or that; I have experimented with several and have probably drafted many more besides. Initially I wanted to work on a smoothbore version of Bob Cordery's MOB or Itchy and Scratchy rules but then a couple of things came to light that have thrown the proverbial cat among the pigeons.
The first thing to derail my well-intentioned thought process was of course, Neil Thomas and his excellent book on 19th Century wargames from 1815 to 1880. I have raved about this book and every time I have opened it have been inspired in one way or another. I had planned (and indeed have done so) to devise a hex based variant and fully intended to test them this weekend BUT have come up with a rather better notion. The second thing (actually second and third if I am completely honest) was a couple of blog posts I happen to read. The first, from the good Kaptain Kobold, has already been mentioned in my most recent battle report but the second caught me completely by surprise and had me kicking myself for not thinking of something similar myself.
MS Foy over at Prometheus in Aspic posted a blog entry way back in December 2011 (the 15th to be exact) in which he discussed some ideas for a grand tactical version of Command and Colours Napoleonics. The intention was to fight large scale battles with reference to actual orders of battle. Essentially, a block represents a battalion of infantry, a regiment of cavalry or a battery of 6 to 8 guns. Furthermore, a hex could contain mixed formations e.g. 3 blocks of light infantry, a rifle blocks and perhaps a battery of artillery. the only restriction was that only infantry supported by artillery or cavalry supported by artillery could operate in a single hex.
This got me thinking and what really got my creative juices flowing was using this approach in conjunction with some of the ideas that Neil Thomas has in his book and then bolting the results on to Bob Cordery's MOB rules - derived as they are from Command and Colours but without the cards.
The Neil Thomas set has some great ideas for formations which would work well with the blocks and would add some rather nice tactical considerations. For example, columns move but lines do not. Also, units pivoting expend movement and fire at reduced effect. There are also rules for skirmishers.
Taking all this into consideration means that her is the potential for a rather neat set of rules that could easily cover the late Napoleonic Wars and with some period specific tweaks just about everything up to around 1880. The ability to be able to map units from historical orders of battle to blocks is a real bonus for me and I intend working on this over the next couple of weeks whilst I am away.