Thursday, March 12, 2015

Another Napoleon's Battles Practice Session

Last night I took Stephen N and Mark B through another game of Napoleon's Battles.  We used the OOB for Marengo (getting as much reuse out of the labels as possible).  It was a straight up fight (one which I would have loved to have set up using the new Blucher Scharnhorst system, but that will have to wait).  We were also joined by Oliver who took on Ott, the Austrian commander of their left wing.

This is Ott's command, three divisions with plenty of artillery.   Note revised movement trays and what I call, Large Print labels.  The movement trays are necessary to align Stephen's Empire based Austrians with the required Napoleon's Battles basing - something that I am testing out for the extra figures I will need for Waterloo.  Large Print, well, we ain't getting any younger.

That's just about the all the Austrians in view.  The terrain boards looked good and the terrain features (which just represented rough ground) went well.  I was also pleased that the basing on my French matched in.  The Austrian wagons are just for show.

The Austrian right rested on some rough ground.

Victor's Corps on the French left.  While the Austrians might have the artillery, the French had the commanders.  Note the old style labels.  Light blue was not a good choice.

The French centre with Lannes and Dessaix on the right with Murat and the cavalry in reserve.

The big picture.

An attempt at an arty photo - the morning sun raising above the battlefield.  The table was six feet wide by five deep.  The armies deployed within 2,400 yards of each other (1" represents 100 yards).  While this would mean it takes a few moves to get into action, it did allow for some on table maneuvering.

Ott made his way round the left of the rough ground.  The Austrian infantry do not march very fast.  The Austrian centre was fairly stationary due to Melas concentrating on his right where the French advanced in some force.

The French attack in the centre is repulsed.  Ott is slowly coming round. However...

The Austrian right has been destroyed.

In a desperate and totally unsporting move, the Austrian commander pushes the Grenz through the muddy fields to try and capture the up and coming French star, Napoleon himself.  But fail.

The Austrian players had some amazing bad luck.

I umpired as simply as I could, which meant no free rolls and no withdraw.  I am now having second thoughts about excluding those rules.  Free rolls add to the fun and can even out some bad luck (or enemy good luck) and withdraw (provided casualties are capped to no more than the rout number for the close combat phase in total) might better represent the different armies capabilities.

Everyone had fun (as far as I could tell) and I was certainly happy with the visual appeal (particularly compared with the game we had the previous month).

Next up, Marengo - Prelude to Waterloo.


  1. The new labels, movement trays, and the table, look excellent.

    A damn good game it was.

    The pro-Austrian reporting doesn't do justice to the cunning French though! :-)

  2. Poor luck for the Austrians... again?
    Not played these rules but looks a very interesting game indeed :)

    1. They are still learning.

      Napoleon's Battles are a comprehensive set of grand tactical rules. I've been using them for 25 years and still get a lot of enjoyment from them, even if I'm just umpiring. It is also nice to actually know set of rules reasonably well, means I can play the game rather than consult the rule book.