Blucher is a tabletop game of the great battles of the Napoleonic Wars. Command an entire army from the first reconnaissance of the enemy to the deployment of forces and husbanding of reserves to the bombardment and engagement, and the final commitment of elite shock forces that will shatter the enemy’s weary defenders.
Blucher can be played with miniature figurines and terrain or with “unit cards” on any flat surface. You may in fact use both in the same game, since the cards provide a wonderful “fog of war” that conceals your forces until they are close enough to the enemy to be identified and represented with miniature figurines.
It has been given a rating of 8.2 on BoardGameGeek from 50+ ratings.
Epic Fox Table Top has produced a series of videos that are great at explaining the mechanics of Blucher.
1. Part One
2. Part Two
3. Part Three
If you’re interested in getting into Blucher. I can’t suggest you start anywhere else but these excellent collection of videos.
I’ve decided to play Black Powder at 6mm. I’m only collecting a couple of small forces so that I can play against friends and family without them needing to collect army as well.
But how to go about this?
I’ve already decided that all the measurements will be carried out in centimetres rather than inches. So what about basing?
Here’s where you can meet issues. The general consensus between Napoleonic players of 6mm is to base your miniatures on 60mm or 40mm wide bases. This allows them to be used in other game systems as well. That’s great, if I decide to try out another ruleset then I can.
Looking at the Black Powder rulebook, there are three unit sizes; Small, Standard and Large. As there are three unit sizes the simplest method would be to have a number of bases relative to the size. So 3 bases for large, 2 for standard and 1 for small.
This should result in a smaller game with the ability to fit more units on the table. I will post it updated of the Miniatures of once I’ve painted and based them.
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The pre-order of Waterloo Epic Battles has reignited an urge to play this period.
However it can be daunting to approach this period. I want to put together a few thoughts on how to get into Napoleonic Wargames.
Your first thought before perhaps even considering the rules, is what scale do you want to play?
Napoleonics can be played at any scale with manufacturers producing miniatures at everything from 2mm to 54mm and beyond.
So to answer this, how do you imagine your battles to look? Do you want small skirmishes between groups of soldiers? Or would you like to recreate the battle of Waterloo in detail? If the former is your option then perhaps look at 28mm miniatures and up. If you’re inclined by the latter then perhaps try 15mm and smaller.
To give you an idea of how these different scales look on the tabletop I’ve included a gallery below to show games at each level.
Your next question is what type of game are you after? Would you like to play an accurate simulation of the battles at the time or would you like a game you can play in a couple of hours?
There are so many different Rulesets on the market for Napoleonic wargames you’re spoilt for choice. I’ve included a list of the most popular systems below.
Black Powder by Warlord Games (Rick Priestley & Jervis Johnson)
Black Powder is a game which can be played in a couple of hours and is designed really for Brigade or Division level games. What does that mean? Well a brigade is a small army of perhaps 3-5 units in total (up to 5,000 men roughly). A Division is perhaps two or three Brigades.
To give you more of an idea of what this means the Battle of Waterloo involved nearly 200,000 men across three armies. The French had five Corp (being 5+ Divisions each) and four reserve Corp.
Blucher by Sam Mastafa
Blucher is focused on giving you a game at the Corp level. In this each base represents a Brigade rather than a Battalion, meaning the amount of men that can be represented on the battlefield is much greater.
Blucher, again, is fast play rather than simulation meaning that you should be able to complete a game on an hour or so.
Polemos by Baccus (Chris Grice)
The Polemos series have rules for perhaps every era of historical Wargames. They have two sets of rules in the one book for Napoleonic. Marechal d’Empire focuses on gaming at Corp level or above enabling you to recreate the big battles of the age. General de Division gives you rules for fighting smaller encounters of Division level. The game is focused on using the Baccus 6mm miniatures as a basis.
Polemos has a fantastic army building system where the army you use is generated through dice rolls. Meaning that your armies may not be balanced, after all many battles in the Napoleonic age weren’t balanced themselves.
Sharp Practice by Too Fat Lardies
Aimed at giving you an experience of small skirmishes with heroes full of character much like the beloved TV series Sharpe from which it derives its name.
A game of Sharp Practice will take an hour or two to complete.
The benefit of Sharp Practice is that through using a relatively low model count you’re not going to be painting the same colour scheme and model for 100+ times.
There are again do many great companies out there. Here are a selection of the most popular.
Victrix do both 28mm and 54mm miniatures for Napoleonic wargames. With a pack of 16 54mm miniatures costing £25 and a pack of 56 28mm miniatures will set you back around £25-£30. A Brigade would cost roughly £100-£120 through Victrix.
Old Glory produce excellent 10mm and 15mm miniatures. With 100 10mm miniatures setting you back £15 and 30 15mm miniatures costing £16 (command is separate at £6). Meaning a Brigade at 15mm will cost around £80-£90 or at 10mm around £40-£50.