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Sunday, 15 July 2018

Pushing some Napoleonic figures around on the tabletop

I had a spare hour yesterday, and spent it pushing some of the figures from Napoleonic collection around on the tabletop. I was experimenting with the use of two-base units, and was rather impressed by the way that they looked.

Infantry

Left to right: Infantry deployed into Line, Column, and Square.
Cavalry

Left to right: Cavalry deployed into Line and Column.
Artillery

Left to right: Artillery unlimbered and ready to fire and  limbered and ready to move. (N.B. The cannons have yet to be fixed to bases.)
This is all part of the process of developing my PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME. As yet I haven't begun to do more that try a few ideas out, but things seem to be coming together.

22 comments:

  1. I find the 2 base system looks good and works well.

    (not because I adopted it for my 54's but because that's why I adopted it.)

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    Replies
    1. Ross Mac,

      I must admit that your example did influence me a bit.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Off and on for years now I've been trying - and failing - to get my so called "big battle" Napoleonic rules anywhere near working properly. My basic infantry unit (battalion) is two bases of two figures each which deploy into line, column and square just as in your first photo. I am happy to see that you are taking a similar approach as it suggests I’m working along the correct lines– at least as regards formations. Of course, you may be choosing you six figures to represent a regiment or a brigade rather than my battalion (I really should go back and re-read your posts on the organisation of your Napoleonic figures!)

    However, I'm very much looking forward to seeing the Portable Napoleonic rules in the hope that they will finally solve at least some of my problems and provide new ideas for me to steal.

    I'm not really expecting you to help with my "big battle" ambitions as, even with a 200 to 1 figure scale, a really big battle would need a lot more figures than I imagine you would want to deploy, even if the game was “non portable”. Maybe I need to take note of the recent discussions on the Napoleonic Wargaming blog and move to brigades as my basic unit, given that I long ago gave up the idea of using the Charge or Charles Grant style large multifigure battalions and adopted something much more symbolic?

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    Replies
    1. Mike Hall,

      I think that two bases is the minimum number you can use to represent line, column, and square. I examined the possibility of using four bases, but although they looked better, a line would not fit in my Hexon II hexes.

      I did consider copying the four-base brigade as featured on the Napoleonic Wargaming blog, and although I may well go down that route, I want to experiment with two-base units formed into four-unit divisions first.

      My aim is to be able to stage corps-level battles on a 3’ x 4’ tabletop using about sixty to ninety figures per side. I think that would not be too large a number of figures for most wargamers to assemble.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Bob,

    The figures look attractive and two bases are easy to deploy, but using the two bases for a square results in the latter occupying a far larger area than it should in relation to the battalion. See recent discussion on this very issue on the TMP Napoleonic Discussion board [http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=484909].
    I'd suggest just using one single figure for a square would be more accurate - and allow an enemy cavalry unit to enter and pass through the same hex, which it would have been able to do to charge home or flow around/past the square.

    Best wishes,
    Arthur

    If, on the other hand, the unit is a regiment or brigade the two bases together could represent the whole area occupied by several squares with large intervals between them, but you would have to allow a cavalry attack to pass through that hex, albeit with a cost in disruption/losses from fire.

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    1. Arthur Harman (Arthur),

      If I was able to use 6-inch/15cm squares, I’d use four-base infantry units. That would allow me to form line (four abreast), column (either with a two or one-base frontage(, and square ... and still have room for cavalry to charge into the grid area. It is something that I have thought about, but is would require at least a 4’ x 4’ tabletop. This would certainly make sense if each side represented a brigade-sized formation made up of theee or more units.

      Pushing the figures around on the tabletop has certainly got me thinking, and I am tending towards using two-base units for most of my PNW rules for the reasons you outlined in your postscript.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Arthur raises a point that has exercised me on occasion over the years. Of course, the whole problem stems from the issue of depth - a 3-figure stand might represent, say, 300 men - three ranks of 100 men. The aspect ration of the footprint would be at least 10 times as wide as deep. But the stand is maybe double - at most treble - the stand's depth. There is no getting around this.

      The problem with Arthur Harman's solution is that a single figure looks like a straggler, and doesn't look like a square. Over time I have been inclined to place this one in the 'too bad' basket.

      When I nest look at my BB4ST ideas, I'll continue with my more informal approach to sub-Divisional (infantry) and sub-brigade (cavalry) aspects. I am still interested in retaining at least the visual appearance of minor tactics at Div level (including actual skirmish lines) rather than abstracting them as in, say, Age of Eagles.

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    3. Archduke Piccolo, I suggested one figure as the simplest, cheapest way to represent the much smaller area occupied by a square. Admittedly, it would not look wonderful, but then six figures don't look much like a battalion, either!
      One could, of course, create small vignettes of two figures in a clump to use when a square is needed, perhaps with a colour to symbolise the battalion command.
      Now I come to think of it, one could have a small, square battalion command stand, with colour bearer and officer, and place a base of infantry either side of it when in line, or both behind it when in column.
      I have separate single figures in shooting poses which I place in front of a unit to show it has deployed its skirmishers; they are kept off-table when not deployed.
      In the end, it's all personal choice how one portrays formations; the problem with squares has been that players have simply rearranged the battalion bases, which being too deep already, cannot fit within the space occupied by a square according to the groundscale.

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    4. Arthur Harman - Each to his own, for sure - in terms of what appeals, what seems problematic, and how we resolve the same. And you're right about the 6-figure battalions (or my 24-figure Divisions for that matter!). And yet, for the sake of 'moving and shaking' such things have a strong appeal.

      I have a feeling a posting in my own blog spot might be in order on this topic.
      Cheers,
      Ion

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    5. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

      I'm looking forward to reading that forthcoming blog entry.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Nice, simple, and effective; what more could a builder of armies ask?

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    Replies
    1. Jonathan Freitag,

      Nothing more, I would hope!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. Bob,

    As you know I am eagerly waiting for your PWG Napoleonic rules. Although I'm mainly a 54mm gamer these days (and will use 5 or 6 inch hexes with your rules) I've recently become aware of the advantages of 20mm plastic figures and may well dabble with hexon tiles like yourself.

    Very best wishes
    Anthony

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    Replies
    1. Anthony Morton (Anthony),

      It sounds as if we are luring you over to the dark side ... but I'm sure that you'll enjoy the experience!

      All the best,

      Bon

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  6. Bob, Looking forward to the book. Will you be able to add any rules/mechanics for the solo wargamer? Paul

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    1. Paul Leeson,

      I'm hoping that the existing solo rules in my other books will work with my PNW rules, but it may require some special ones to reflect the particular historical period.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. Bob's Portable Wargame rules work fine for solo play without the need for any additional rules.

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    1. Mike,

      I'm hoping that the PWN rules will not require any new solo rules, but I have an open mind about introducing some specific additional ones.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. For my Napoleonics I use the Irregular Miniatures 6mm infantry blocks which work rather well when representing battalions. They are more suited to a sudden death type of game though.

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    Replies
    1. Barry Carter,

      I must admit that if I hadn't begun collecting 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures, I may well have selected 6mm blocks as my basic playing pieces.

      All the best,

      Bob

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