Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A diversion

I have a list of things that I should be doing.

I should be play-testing the naval rules for my forthcoming COW session; I should be building some model Torpedo Boat Destroyers for that session; I should be putting my ideas for a hexed-based version of AIRFIX BATTLES down on paper; I should be trimming the laurel hedge at the end of the garden.

I am doing none of these things. Instead I am looking at a tabletop covered in Hexon II hexed terrain and playing a wargame with some of the figures from my collection of re-painted Del Prado Napoleonics.

The reason why is simple; I had the sudden urge to push some shiny toy soldiers about ... so I have.

I have even jotted down some very simple rules with which to do it:

  • Both side throw a D6 at the beginning of each turn. The side with the highest score moves first that turn.
  • During its part of a turn a side activates each of its units in turn, starting on the left and moving to the right.
  • Activated infantry can do one or more of the following: move, change formation, fire, or assault an enemy unit.
  • Activated cavalry can do one or more of the following: move, change formation, assault an enemy unit.
  • Activated artillery can move or fire.
  • Infantry in column can move up to two hexes.
  • Infantry in line can move one hex.
  • Infantry is square cannot move.
  • Cavalry in column can move up to three hexes.
  • Cavalry in line can move up to two hexes unless moving to assault an enemy unit, in which case they can move up to four hexes.
  • Artillery can move one hex but cannot fire during the same turn.
  • Units expend one hex of movement to change formation (i.e. from line to column, column to line, line or column to square, or square to column or line).
  • Infantry weapons have a range of 3 hexes; throw 6 x D6 if in line; 3 x D6 if in column or square.
  • Artillery has a range of 6 hexes; throw 4 x D6 per crew figure.
  • If target is in column or square: 1 casualty caused by 4, 5, or 6.
  • If target is in line or is artillery: 1 casualty caused by 5 or 6.
  • Targets in cover reduce D6 scores by one.
  • A unit assaulting another must do so by moving into an adjoining hex.
  • Both sides throw D6s to resolve an Assault.
  • Infantry throw 3 x D6.
  • Cavalry throw 4 x D6.
  • Artillery throw 2 x D6.
  • Casualties as per firing.
  • Both sides also total D6 scores; highest total wins the assault and pushed the opposing unit back one hex.
  • When a unit is reduced to 50% of its original strength (i.e. infantry have 3 casualties, cavalry have 2 casualties, and artillery has 1 casualty) it throws a D6.
  • If the score is 3, 4, 5, or 6, the unit is unaffected but must take a further morale test when it suffers another casualty; if the score is 1 or 2, the unit must fall back one hex at once and must continue to retreat for the rest of the battle.
  • A general can attempt to rally a retreating unit by being in the same or an adjoining hex.
  • The general throws a D6, and if the score is lower than the unit's current strength, the unit will rally and stop retreating.
  • Infantry units are destroyed when they have suffered 6 casualties.
  • Cavalry units are destroyed when they have suffered 4 casualties.
  • Artillery units are destroyed when they have suffered 2 casualties.
  • When a unit is destroyed it is immediately removed from the battlefield.


In the period after the end of the Napoleonic Wars a number of battles were fought between some of the smaller nations to settle boundary disputes. This is one such battle.

The Prussian-sponsored (and uniformed) Principality of Hexland had been allocated the formerly independent Archbishopric of Grosse-Schism under the Treaty of Vienna, but the Archbishop – a well-known cleric with interesting but controversial views about almost everything – objected, and called upon the neighbouring minor states for aid. As a result a small army was assembled on the road between Hexland and Grosse-Schism to 'persuade' the 'invaders' to depart empty-handed.

The Hexlanders were aware of the presence of the 'defenders' of Gross-Schism, and were fully prepared for battle when both sides 'bumped' into each other on the flat and almost empty Nerfburg Heath early in the morning. Both sides lined up facing each other, waiting for the other side to make the first move.

The field of battle showing the opening dispositions

The Hexlanders fielded (from top to bottom) the 1st Hexland Hussars, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Hexland Fusiliers, and the 1st Hexland Field Artillery, and they were led by ...

... General von Trumpf.

The forces that had come to the aid of the Archbishop of Grosse-Schism included (from top to bottom) the 1st Dutch Carabiniers, the Dutch-Belgian Infantry, the Brunswick Infantry, the Hannover Infantry, and the Guard Horse Artillery, and they were led by ...

... General von Klinkerhoff.

Turn 1
The Hexland infantry advanced in column towards the Grosse-Schism army, supported by the Hussars and the artillery.

They were met by a fusillade of musket fire from the the Brunswickers and Dutch-Belgians ... and thanks to some very accurate firing, the Guard Artillery destroyed the Hexland Artillery before it could open fire!

The advancing Hexland Hussars proved too tempting a target for the Carabiniers ...

... who charged them ...

... and forced them to fall back!

Turn 2
The Hexland infantry all moved from column into line and opened fire on the Grosse-Schism troops.

The Hussars now returned the 'compliment' they had received at the hands of the opposing cavalry, and shook themselves into line before charging the Carabiniers ...

... who they met on equal terms ...

... before destroying them!

Whilst the Dutch-Belgians quickly deployed into square to face off any threat from the Hexland Hussars ...

... the Brunswick infantry (which had deployed from column into line) fired at the Hexland infantry, and caused them to fall below 50% strength threshold.

The Guard Horse Artillery also fired at the nearest Hexland infantry unit ...

... and reduced them to 50% of their original strength.

At this point these two Hexland infantry units began to fall back, and despite the attempts by General von Trumpf to rally them, they began to retreat from the battlefield.

With more than half of his army destroyed or retreating, General von Trumpf had to admit defeat. The Archbishopric of Grosse-Schism was saved ... for the moment!

Although this battle lasted only two turns, a lot happened and it was a very enjoyable diversion. I suspect that the combat results are a bit too 'bloody' and may need to be changed in order to produce longer battles, but I think that the basic structure and mechanisms of these very simple rules work.

This was the first time that I have used my (not so) newly-varnished and based Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures on the tabletop ... and I am very pleased that I have finally got around to doing so! Thanks to Stuart Asquith and Tim Gow I have quite a few more to varnish and base, but once I have I can now foresee myself using the collection in a campaign or two ... or even more!


  1. Small number of units, hex-based measurements, simple rules; perfect for a quick diversion!

    1. Jonathan Freitag,

      It was ... and I am already thinking about changing the rules very slightly to included Riflemen.

      All the best,


  2. Hi Bob, This is brilliant and very inspiring. Hexes and shiny troops are spot on! You don't mention facing or LoS although I can make some assumptions based on the photos. These are things that are currently tripping me up with some of my projects. Well done!

    1. Old Trousers (Jay),

      I am very pleased that you enjoyed this blog entry.

      As they are only a simple set of rules that were written very quickly, I didn't include things like facing and lines-of-sight, but if I do make them into a 'proper' set of rules, I will do so.

      (Basically units must end facing the edge of a hex, and measurement is made through hex faces, not the corners. Units are also not allowed to fire at enemy units that are not in direct line-of-sight.)

      Good luck with your own projects.

      All the best,


  3. Nice looking system and beautiful figures...a very nice looking game!

    1. Phil,

      I'm glad that you enjoyed reading this battle report. I had a lot of fun setting up and fighting the battle, and it ticked lots of 'wargaming as an aesthetic experience' boxes for me.

      All the best,


  4. Great game and interesting rules I must try.

    1. Tradgardmastare,

      I am very pleased that you enjoyed my battle report and that you think the rules worth trying yourself.

      All the best,


  5. General von Trumpf's first name wouldn't be Donald, would it?

    Best [but violently shuddering as I say this] regards,


    1. Chris,

      I am afraid that von Trumpf's first name is currently unknown ...

      All the best,


  6. I can't think of a better use of time than to finally let these soldiers do what they were glossed to do and surely they did it well!
    As I read the rules summary I did raise a metaphorical eyebrow at the deadliness but they seem to have served well for a first action.

    1. Ross Mac,

      I totally agree; they needed to have their day of glory!

      The rules are fast and deadly, but I think that with a few minor changes they will serve me well in the future.

      All the best,


  7. Looks like a great (but not large) game of toy soldiers, in the best possible way of course. Fun!
    (chuckled over General von Trumpf)

    1. Fitz-Badger,

      It was great fun ... and although it was a bit -f self-indulgence, it was exactly what I needed. (It may be summer, but the weather of late has been cold, depressing, and miserable.)

      I somehow suspect that General von Trumpf (and his descendants) may well feature in future battles.

      All the best,


    2. Bob,
      Good to see your Napoleonic troops getting some action at last! I feel a similar urge to deploy some RISK figures on my Hexon terrain ... BUT I have two book reviews to complete for MWBG and 11+ papers to prepare for my weekend lessons, so must exercise some self-control! Now I'm retired from the classroom I still don't get as much time for wargaming as I had hoped, alas.

      But I'll definitely give your rules a try asap - thanks for publishing them.

      I look forward to reading further battle reports and seeing how the rules develop.

      Best wishes, Arthur

    3. Arthur1815 (Arthur),

      They have been sitting patiently in their storage boxes and deserved their day on the tabletop.

      The rules are very rough and ready, and do need some more work ... but not a lot more, and play-testing them will give me further opportunities to get my figures out of their boxes and on to the tabletop.

      You need to properly retire, and I hope that you can manage to do that soon. In the meantime, good luck with writing your reviews and your lesson plans.

      All the best,


  8. Very nice to see the Del-Prado Napoleonics in action - you have done a superb job of basing and gloss lacquering BOB- they look splendid. On the strenght of your photos Bob-I may be tempted to do my NEW Project in 25mm for the 1860s...decisions- decisions. Regards. KEV.

    1. Kev,

      Most of the figures needed a bit of work to repair minor damage to their original paintwork, and to avoid having to do such repairs in the future, I gave them all a coat of polyurethane varnish to protect them. As to the bases ... well they are made from thick MDF and painted with two coasts of matt grass green Humbrol enamel paint.

      Good luck with your 1860s project.

      All the best,