Tuesday, 26 November 2019
A Napoleonic Adventure
From the Command and Colours website - GG03 or in other words Epic Waterloo. Now replace those blocks with figures and you may well be on to something....Nah! It'll never catch on....
You know that feeling you occasionally get when you realise that what you thought all along was in fact correct? Well, that is exactly what I am currently experiencing in respect of the Napoleonic Wars. My history with the period is long and almost incidental and began originally way back in the 1970s with my Airfix 1815 set up and moved onwards via Hinchliffe, Tradition and Minifigs (my Russian army which I sold to Eric Knowles) – I would not be surprised if it is still lurking in one of the newly discovered boxes at Bill’s house – and then, much later, a large 15mm Hundred Days set up (all three armies) designed for a set of rules called Le Petit Empereur. I have enjoyed the Columbia Games game Napoleon which covers the 1815 campaign and indeed, the 15mm 1815 collection was amassed to use with this board game and of course more recently Command and Colours.
There was another army I raised during the late 1980s that I have not mentioned before. This was during a rather eventful phase of my life and so I had acquired the figures for an Allied division for 1811 for the Peninsula complete with Portuguese, stovepipe shako wearing British and bicorne wearing heavy dragoons. The figures were all Minifigs and at the time my library also included a full set of both Oman and of Napier. Unfortunately I had to dispose of pretty much all of my collection due to some dire personal circumstances and when I got back on my feet again the Peninsula itch was notable by its absence.
These days my interest in the period is still there – with such a rich gaming tapestry it would be difficult to erase completely – but the execution of the same would be very different from way back when.
There are gamers that have happily used Command and Colours Napoleonic with bases of figures representing individual blocks or even single figures representing the aforementioned blocks. The latter is the approach I have adopted with my ACW collection – 1 figure equals 1 block – and for me it works very nicely. For sure the ACW set up has been expanded slightly to what I call a ‘Charge! and a half’ standard as the organisation reflects that of the famous book of the same name. The figures are based individually which means there is a lot of rule flexibility but given the smallish size of forces used in this fashion moving umpteen figures is not too much of a hassle. Such forces would also work very well with the Portable Wargame or anything from the 'Rampant' stable.
I guess it is a perception thing but whilst I have no problem representing a unit with a handful of figures on a gridded playing surface I would be loathe to do the same on a ‘free’ table top. This was why I opted to model my units on the organisation used in Charge! for the ACW collection. A 16 figure infantry unit or an 8 figure cavalry unit looks presentable enough on the tabletop. Transporting this approach into the Napoleonic period would be straightforward but what figures to use would be another conundrum.
Last week, for an evening and a day, I had the pleasure of the company of MSFOY of Prometheus in Aspic fame. We have exchanged emails and the occasional telephone call over the years but had not met face to face - hardly surprising given the location of our respective residences! I have always admired the attention to detail that MSFOY applies to his armies and games and this is a skill I would most certainly struggle to emulate. Any man that fights Command and Colours games using armies of 20mm Higgins, Hinton Hunt and others on an 8ft by 5ft table featuring 7" hexes is always worthy of my respect and deepest admiration!
Aside from the dubious pleasure of meeting me and visiting the man cave there was some serious business undertaken of a Napoleonic variety and so I would suggest a quick visit to his blog would certainly be worth your time. For me it was an absolute pleasure to meet up at long last and to discuss gaming, ideas, battles fought and lost and the prospects of the UK following the election and Brexit.
MSFOY has some very interesting and soundly thought out ideas in respect of his take on Command and Colours Napoleonics and these are ideas that I would certainly consider for my own efforts in this direction.
An incidental but nevertheless significant bonus for me though was finally learning what a Hooptedoodle refers to...