As with everything I would like this to be community driven, so if you see any typo’s or think paragraphs need rephrasing or moving then please let me know below. This is completely anonymous.
Every battle has a purpose. There are many ways to decide on objectives for a game. There’s the pre determined locations that games like Age Of Sigmar or 40k uses that ensured there distribution is fair and even. It there is the method where players take it in turn to place them randomly. Or there’s the narrative version where each army needs to perform a certain task or survive for a certain number of rounds.
However, I have another proposal. What about narrative objectives that make sense? For example, the invaders primary object in a battle may be to take and hold an ammunition dump. While also having a number of secondary objectives such as cutting a fuel supply line or destroying a communication centre. Plus, as our game will encompass all aspects of warfare such as space, land and aerial combat these objectives can be tied together in a campaign.
This links me nicely to my next topic which is deployment. There are a number of options here.
One I used in Clausewitz was for light infantry units to count as deployment markers which then took part in a mini game to decide the deployment zones before a game. Here’s an example video:
Or alternatively, we have specified table edges with a set distance from the edge.
Or, there is the option to have the defender set up where they feel appropriate given the objectives (this would be more for narrative based objectives), and the attacker would then ‘drop in’ or arrive in on or at certain points of the table that are a certain distance from the enemy.
Lastly, there’s the Argument of Kings option where units arrive on their table edge only after a certain turn. i.e. light units can arrive from turn one, regular infantry turn two, heavy infantry and light tanks turn 3 and so on.
Do you have any rules suggestions, or a topic you would like us to focus on next. Or perhaps you would like us to reword something in the main document. Anything you want, let us know below.
So the results of last weeks votes are as follows:
Now we’ve got most (if not all) of the basic information in place for our game we can start getting our hands dirty with some of the nitty gritty stuff. Firstly, should we have pre-made ready to go factions or should players have options to construct their own units for their own faction? This would make the game miniature agnostic but it would also require players to take the time to build a faction from the ground up, i.e. this is a leader unit it needs this particular weapon, with this armour and these special rules.
Of course we could always have a mixture of both pre-made and create your own. But what do you think?
This is about how the players determine who goes first. There are many options for this, but I’ve narrowed this down to two or three, but bear 🐻 in mind these can also have vary to some extent. For example, while AoS is a UgoIgo system it also implements the turn priority in terms of a dice roll before each turn.
I Go You Go
This is the first and possibly most common option used. Players use a mechanic to determine who goes first and then play is simply alternated between the players until the end of the game.
Players use coloured dice or chips to represent their individual units on the table e.g. one players units are represented by red dice while the others are blue, when a red dice is drawn the red player chooses a unit to activate. This system will be familiar to those who have played Warlord Games Bolt Action.
This could either be an army wide initiative rating or individual initiative ratings for units to decide what order they act in. For example, elite units may have a much higher initiative than conscripts meaning they’ll always act first.
One of my personal favourites is using bidding systems to determine who acts first. This can take various forms such as rolling a number of orders each side can take on two or three dice then giving up a number of those orders to try and claim the priority that turn.
So which is your favourite? Perhaps there’s one I’ve not even thought of, I’d that’s the case why not add a comment below?
Our latest votes are in and you’ve all voted that games should take up to two hours and that measurements should be carried out in inches.
Now we can start getting into some more detail of the game, such as the gaming area and the smallest element of the game.
Gaming Area Size
There are a few things we need to take into account here. The first is that we wold like the game to take up to two hours. Therefore, we have to consider this when we think about our gaming area, a smaller gaming area may result in either more detailed rules or a ruleset where it becomes difficult to kill units, this is because with a smaller gaming area there will be less units on the board and therefore you want those units to be in play for a longer period of time in order to have the opportunity to survive till the games end.
Likewise, if the table is too large then there will be many more units on the table and the rules will have to be adjusted to make them either easy to kill or make it so that there movement or range becomes a lot further than you would expect in order to make it across the gaming area.
I’ve therefore narrowed these options slightly to ensure that the rulesets don’t become too influenced by these affects.
Our next question is about the smallest element in the game, what should this represent. I’m using this to classify air and ground units only, as with the space combat element, we’re going to assume the elements are the individual ships themselves.
There are a number of options to go with here and these will have an affect on the way in which the overall ruleset is contructed. For example, should we go with a single base representing a squad of men, or should it represent an entire Regiment? Should it be an individual tank or should it be a squadron of tanks? If we choose a base representing a squad or a single tank then we have to write the rules to represent this, likewise if the elements represent a platoon, battalion or even a brigade. So the question here is what level do you want individual battles to take place at?
All the options below are based roughly off the modern military formations of the British Army;
I’ve added a page to the website called Wargame Rules. In there you will find any rules for scenarios or wargames that I write. At the moment its pretty empty apart from one item which is Clausewitz.
Clausewitz is the Napoleonic wargame I’ve been working on for a number of years now. This is still very much a work in progress but I’m pleased to say it’s at a stage now where I feel comfortable releasing it for public consumption.
What is Clausewitz?
Clausewitz is a Corp level game designed primarily for 6mm Napoleonic warfare. I always wanted a Napoleonic game which focused on the whole battle but where what the individual battalions actions were still important to the outcome. Therefore in Clausewitz although the basic unit is the Brigade, those brigades are made up of individual elements called Battalions or Squadrons. Think of this like individual models inside a squad in a game like 40k or AoS.
The key features of Clausewitz include:
A departure from the traditional IgoUgo turn sequence and instead relies upon chips drawn from a bag to represent a Generals actions in the turn (with each turn representing 10 minutes of battle).
The game is driven by your Generals, they must position themselves and activate the right units at the right time in order to win the day.
Objectives – There are six objectives and units can only claim an objective (and therefore score points) if a General has ordered them to do so.
Mini-Game – there is an optional fun mini pre-game to the main event in which your light troops determine the deployment zone in the upcoming battle.
Formations matter! Brigade formations and individual unit formations are presented in an intuitive fashion. The players must ensure that their units are in the right formations for the task at hand!
Alternatively there are two mods on Tabletop Simulator just for Clausewitz, the first being the test bed which is used to test the various rules as they are implemented or adjusted and the second being the Battle of Elchingen 1805, where the Austrians attempt to defend against the French advance.
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.
Solo Wargaming for your Favourite Games
I’m in the process of creating a series of Wargaming Aids which allow players to play their favourite games in a single player format against an AI controlled enemy army. To find out more on this click here.
For as little as £1 a month (the price of a chocolate bar) you can help support me in this endeavour and receive cool perks as a thank you, such as access to our Discord Server as well as downloadable copies of the gaming aids which you can print out and use at home.
Why not pop over to Patreon and sign up and help me in this project? Money raised will go towards making these as physical products.
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.
Jervis Johnson officially retired from Games Workshop in July. As such I thought it was a great time to cover his career as a games designer, from his first game to his last and the impact he’s had on the hobby.
If you don’t know who Jervis Johnson is then this will introduce you to a man who has created many of the great games you know and love today.
Jervis joined Games Workshop as a trade sales assistant in 1982. During this time he started writing rules for Games Workshops’ own games in his spare time (them being the seller for dungeons and dragons in Europe.and not producing their own game of Warhammer Fantasy until 1983). What would become the first edition of Blood Bowl was produced in 1986, followed closely by Rogue Trader (the 1st edition of Warhammer 40k) in 1988.
During his time Jervis has designed or has been involved in the design of over 93 games and add-ons. Both for Games Workshop and other companies.
Many other companies have taken inspiration from some of Jervis Johnson’s games. Whether you know it or not, your favourite game has probably been worked on or has used inspiration from one of Johnson’s game.
His retirement is well deserved, but the wargaming community is losing a true giant of the industry. Goodbye Jervis, and enjoy your retirement.
Why don’t you let us know in the comments below which of Jervis’ games was your favourite?
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The minis came very well packaged with plenty of padding around them.
Before even opening the bad you can tell that these miniatures are very detailed for their scale. Excellent miniatures has printed these off at an extremely high standard, you’re unable to see any of the usual print lines you can get from 3D prints.
The models come with the supports from printing still attached, but it’s simple work to remove these before washing and undercoating.
I’m very pleased with the order and I will be going back again once these are painted.