Thursday, 26 February 2015

Blücher

I recently visited arthur1815 and whilst I was there I had a chance to look at his copy of Sam Mustafa's latest rules, BLÜCHER. I must admit that I was very impressed by what I saw. The rules were very well laid out, the diagrams were clear, and there were plenty of illustrative examples. Furthermore there were very few photographs of figures in the book, and those that were included were there for a reason and not just eye-candy or to pad the book out. The book was also a hardback with a proper binding, and printed on very good quality paper. All-in-all it struck me as being a good quality and attractive product. Arthur1815 and I tried out the free, downloadable campaign maps (the SCHARNHORST MAP SYSTEM) and both felt that it both simple and worked very well indeed.

Some days later I had an exchange of emails with David Crook (who writes the A WARGAMING ODYSSEY blog) in which he extolled the virtues of BLÜCHER. He made the very valid point that as I was finally doing something with my collection of Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures, what I needed was a decent set of appropriate wargames rules. He advised my to buy BLÜCHER ... and he supported his advice by mentioning that they were the first Napoleonic wargames rules that he had read that treated the Ottoman Army with equal importance as the other armies of the period.

In the face of such overwhelming logic (well it was about as persuasive as it needed to be bearing in mind that I already like the look of the rules!!), I bought a copy ... and it arrived in today's post.


I haven't had much time to look though the rules as yet, but they certainly look as good as I remembered. I particularly like the idea that you don't actually need to base the figures you use on a particular size of base as long as the bases you do use are of a consistent width. The latter fact is important because all measurements are made in base-widths. (It struck me immediately that this should make the rules work well on a grid ... but I think that I need to read them thoroughly before going down that particular route!)

The situation with regard to my first real foray into Napoleonic wargaming is looking good. I have a book of rules that I think will meet all my needs, I have a collection of appropriate figures that I am gradually getting ready, and I have a simple campaign system that I can use. All that's left is for me to put some suitable martial music on the CD player ... and off I go!

22 comments:

  1. Not seen these rules , but have a copy of his ACW rules 'Longstreet' and found they give a good and different game , Tony

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  2. A.W. Kitchen (Tony),

    I was told by someone who owns both sets of rules that BLUCHER and LONGSTREET are very different, but that they share good production values.

    I can hardly wait to read through BLUCHER and get enough figures varnished and based so that I can try them out,

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Yes, Blucher is very different from Longstreet or Maurice. It's a very simple game but achieves what it sets out to do very well.

    The Scharnhorst system is excellent and, I suspect, will find applications elsewhere.

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  4. Kaptain Kobold,

    The rules do seem to be basically quite simple, but according to people who have played and reviewed the rules, they are easy to use and produce a good game.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. I haven't played any of Sam Mustapha's games, but he has an excellent reputation from what I have seen. Will look forward to seeing and hearing more from you on the rules as games eventuate!

    Cheers,
    Aaron

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  6. Nothing better than the rush of excitement accompanying a new period, new rules, and new figures, is there?

    Sam is an interesting fellow in many ways - I got to spend quite a bit of time with him, Bob Jones, and Jim Getz (and others) over several nights of drinks and one extremely memorable gourmet dinner at Historicon 2011.

    His rules are usually models of clarity, with excellent production values, and always contain some new ideas... the kind of set you want to read and own, and are glad you did, even if you never actually play them.

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  7. I recently had my first game (as I had read the rules I got to be umpire). We did the Danube scenario and so had 3 to 4 corps as side, some 22 to 24 bases and used figures based for two different rule systems by using some quick templates.

    It played really well and people are looking forward to the next game, particularly the campaign system.

    Only challenge is to mask the labels as they tend to dominate. You can see my AAR on my blog here: http://onesidedminiaturewargamingdiscourse.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/along-danube-first-play-of-blucher.html

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  8. Prufrock (Aaron),

    Like you I have never played any of Sam Mustafa's rules before, but I know him by reputation. Having seen - and now read - BLUCHER, it would appear to be well deserved. They are a model of clarity and I look forward to using them in due course.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Gonsalvo,

    I must admit that I never thought that I would get quite as enthusiastic as I have about Napoleonic wargaming ... but I am really enjoying sorting out, varnishing, and basing my collection, buying additional figures ... and acquiring a new set of rules to read and possibly use.

    Meeting and talking to other wargamers is always interesting, and some of the most informative and productive work that is down at COW (the Conference of Wargamers) takes place over the dinner table or sitting having a drink during one of the breaks. I only wish that we could get some more non-UK-based wargamers to attend!

    I know of Sam Mustafa's reputation as an innovative wargame designer, and the more I read of BLUCHER, the more I can see why he is regarded as such.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Sun of York,

    It sounds as if you enjoyed using these rules, and I will certainly look at your blog entry as soon as I can to get a better 'feel' for the way the rules worked.

    I will be interested to see how you used templates to overcome the use of figures that have been based up for other, different sets of wargame rules, and you comment about the labels also interested me as this was one area of concern that I had had.

    Thanks very much for the very useful feedback.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. Bob,
    I'm very pleased that seeing my copy of Blucher was helpful in your Napoleonic project. The fact that all measurements are in base widths should make it relatively easy to adapt the rules for a grid - personally, I think hexes may work best because of the freedom units have to pivot - and I'm looking into this myself, before deciding exactly how to base my own forces. I will probably adopt a smaller base size that that proposed in the book so I can use fewer figures and fit battles into a smaller space than 6' x 4'.
    I'll keep you posted.
    Regards,
    Arthur

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  12. Arthur1815,

    Having seen the book when I visited you, I must admit that I was very tempted to order a copy ... and when David Crook also extolled its virtues, I could resist no longer.

    You and I seem to be thinking along similar lines with regard to 'converting' the rules for use with hexes, and I am looking to use bases with a 50mm frontage.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  13. I bought the rules immediately they were released. My mates and I have played over a half dozen games, since they arrived in the mail.

    We are still learning the nuances of the rules, and correcting previous errors in reading, but they are very highly favored by a number of us.

    We've been using the 100 Days Campaign cards as only one of us has painted Napoleonic armies and those are not yet based.

    A great set of rules.

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  14. Justin Penworth,

    Yet another ringing endorsement of these rules! It sounds as if you and your wargaming colleagues have enjoyed using them, and I find that very encouraging.

    I suppose that I ought to consider buying the '100 Days' supplement, bearing in mind that I am varnishing and basing (and constantly expanding) my collection of Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale figures in time for the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  15. Hi Bob,

    Would the Blucher system be portable to an ECW context do you think? I'm after a campaign context for larger battles, without all the nausea of a true map moving process.

    Is it simply a movement system or does it incorporate real campaign considerations like supply and fortifications also?

    thanks
    Paul

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  16. Paul O'G (Paul),

    The SCHARNHORST CAMPAIGN SYSTEM (which is a free download from the HONOUR website) would be suitable for any Horse & Musket campaign. It is about moving your armies on a simple map, and as far as I can make out there are no supply rules.

    Give it a try; I think that it will suit your needs quite well.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  17. Paul O'G,

    Glad to have been of help.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  18. Just picked up my copy. Looking forward to comparing reactions with you. Ive been a SamM fan for quite a while now, so my hopes are high.

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  19. Michael Peterson,

    I have now read through the basic rules and found them to be very easy to follow. They also look simple to use and, unlike a lot of other rule books, I felt that I could start using them straight away.

    I will be interested in your reaction to them, especially as you appear to have used some of his previous rules.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  20. Well, I may have to take a look at 'Blucher' - especially given the comments appended here. It struck me as one of those wry wargaming coincidences that you are basing up a collection of Prussians and people are recommending a set of rules called 'Blucher' ...

    Phil

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  21. SoA Shows North (Phil),

    I don't think that you will be disappointed. As to the coincidence ... well I blame serendipitous synchronicity!

    All the best,

    Bob

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