Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Hobby Project: Napoleonic French Army. Part 1, The History Book on the Shelf


Just getting in the spirit there.
Following up the New Year Resolutions with the first of what's likely to be a sporadic log of progress on my Napoleonic Army.

Firstly though I'd thought I'd mention why I'm bothering with Napoleonics at all, the whos, the wheres and whys!
The main reason is - it looks pretty!
Massed ranks of infantry, cavalry and artillery batteries smashing each other apart all whilst wearing fancy uniforms and flying impressive banners.
Who wouldn't want that?!

Check this pic out as a random example plucked from the web.
Not that I'm planning on going THAT large with a force.

There's also a feeling that Napoleonics is "true wargaming". Difficult to quantify but over the many years I've been playing wargames I've been aware of Napoleonics and it appears to be one of the stalwarts of wargaming and possibly even lead to modern wargaming as we know it.
I've no real evidence to back this up of course, just my own perception!
I must add I have no real knowledge of this period of history, pretty much none. Not even watched that much Sharpe and I also have no desire to leave the Fantasy (Tolkien got me into this mess!) or Sci Fi behind.
Just another fun gaming avenue.

Is that the 2nd or 3rd regt Carabiniers, didn't think they had those silver buttons until after 1812?

I feel its at this point I should mention I'm not looking to represent specific historical regiments in the games I play so things like the correct colour of a regiments collar facing and the length of a jacket of a French lineman matters little to me, as long as it looks good on the table!
That would make a lot of Napoleonic gamers spit into their beards!
This may change the more I look into and read about the period though.
For example I had plans to create some French artillery from a box of British and just swap the heads, the uniform is near enough, surely?
However having read a bit more I know that not only is the uniform different the guns are also different in design.
Different enough for a casual onlooker to realise? No, but enough to bug ME now I know!

So Napoleonics decided upon but what rules to play?

This is a potential minefield!
So many rulesets.......
Internet research didn't help much either for as much as some people love one ruleset as many people hate it!
A few rulesets made it out ahead of the scrum namely, Blackpowder, Grand Armee, General De Brigade but I settled on a random one - Warhammer Waterloo from the now defunct Historical section of Games Workshop.

Reviews ranged from "I've read the rules and they look ok" to "I wouldn't touch it, its got Warhammer in the title" but no one actually seemed to have played a game!
About the time I (and Frazer) were looking Waterloo was on a half price sale. This seemed a great bargain and a good way into Napoleonics. We both bought in.
I'd already purchased Foundry's "Napoleon" (eh, whats the turn sequence? How many in what formation? How do I even move? Next....) and General De Brigade (hmmm, these seem ok, good in fact but I'm a little lost at some of ther historical references. I'll come back to these) but wanted something more "entry level".
The Warhammer familiarity might just help, as did the half price!

So the book turned up and I knew I'd made the right choice. All the elements I'd come to expect from a Napoleonic ruleset (Officers and command ranges, formations like march column, square etc) were there wrapped up and presented in Games Workshop fashion (clear diagrams, lovely pictures of models etc) and army lists to help me get my head around what I "should" be fielding.
Its got a load of scenarios, siege rules, history (fluff!!) and a comprehensive Waterloo campaign.
Plenty to be going on with.

Well I think that's enough of a grounding for now.
Next time I'll go over choices of models and the bugbear that is basing........


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