Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Napoleonics - scales and rules - update


In a recent post (link below in the resource section) I discussed a plan to concentrate on choosing one figure scale for Napoleonics, from the three different scales currently sitting in the lead / plastic mountain and also to settling on a single ‘go to’ set of rules.

I have been spending some time with two different scenarios, trying different rules and scales, often with the help of blank bases and a bit of imagination!

Last week, I set up my scenario ‘B’ using the Warlord Epic figures with the Valour and Fortitude rules (free on the Perry website) by Jervis Johnson (also co-author of Black Powder) and on Sunday, I replayed the same scenario with the Shadow of the Eagles rules by Keith Flint (also author of Honours of War).

For a brief (yes - honest) look at some conclusions re these two games, please use the ‘read more’ tab.


Scenario ‘B’


Scenario ‘B’ has a French force of two infantry brigades and a cavalry regiment of Cuirassiers. Each infantry brigade has a gun battery attached.

They face a Prussian force of two infantry brigades. 1st Brigade has an artillery battery (on the hill) and 2nd Brigade, with 6 units, has 2 Landwehr regiments in the mix.

Photo left - the Prussian commander on the hill uses his spy-glass to observe the approaching French assault.

The back story is that the French are in motion to attack the hill position, but their right hand brigade crashes into a Prussian brigade making their own probing attack.

An important dynamic is that the French cavalry unit is an independent formation (has its own leader) with orders to move around the enemy flank and unhinge the defences on the hill. The Prussians do not have cavalry and have not deployed their infantry to better protect that open part of their flank.

The scenario is intended to examine, command and control, cavalry Vs infantry, inferior units (Landwehr), casualty rates from approaching fire (as the French advance some distance towards the hill) and how that impacts on the final assault, plus counter-battery fire. 

This time, Warlord Games Epic scale figures grace the table.

Valour & Fortitude.

I have already played these rules a few times, so I am getting beyond the learning curve and appreciating some of the nuances.

Units are activated by brigade and there is a 1 in 6 chance of failed activation, which leaves the brigade just sitting there ….. it will of course happen when you most need that brigade! :-) though this is dampened down a bit by allowing the first brigade to always activate (i.e. no die roll) if it is within command range of the army commander - so do your important stuff first, this part of the battle is getting commander focus.

There have been some tweaks to the system and I am play testing some newer tweaks for the designer, so things are evolving and because of that the rules are still in my hands a fair bit.

The French cavalry did get behind the hill, causing the reserve Prussian regiment to go into square, while the French infantry assault the forward slopes.

I liked that the French cavalry ‘threat’ kept the infantry unit in square and also the square was dangerous enough to the cavalry to discourage a charge. 

Also accumulated losses at the unit level eventually become rout tests for individual units and routing units in turn eventually causes ‘Fortitude’ tests for the whole brigade, so that the brigade ‘structure’ and its integrity / cohesion matters here.

2nd French Brigade get assaulted by two Prussian columns, one regular, the other landwehr.



In this game, Prussian losses saw the brigade on the hill forced back off the hill when failing a brigade test, which felt natural and in keeping with what was going on around and it was good to see the brigade act in unison. 

This left the Prussian 2nd brigade out on a limb, so that they were compelled to likewise ‘choose’ to fall back and so the game ended in the French favour. 

The action flowed naturally with a good narrative, though I still spent a while flicking through the rules for answers and then going to the Q&A sheets for guidance. 

I know the author is trying to keep a slim set for conventions, but I would like to see more of the Q&A type stuff actually absorbed into the body of the rules and perhaps some extended examples of play added.

Shadow of the Eagles

Shadow of the Eagles is a fully fleshed out set and though meant as a simple set, there is enough here that a few games (as is the case with pretty much most rules) are needed to be properly up and running and fully appreciating design intention.

It has been a while since I have brought this to the table, so I was doing a lot of rule referencing. 

Play rolled out in exactly the same way as described above, with the cavalry moving around the Prussian flank

Note bottom right, the cavalry are flanking the Prussians, but the Prussian reserve regiment has anticipated the move and has already gone into square to protect the rear slope.

All units are the same size i.e. the same frontage, so you don’t have large or small units, which is different to many of the current systems I play, but it works! 

Units take hits. Once regular units (for example) reach 4 hits they are weakened and when they reach 7 hits they are routed and removed from play.

The brigade commander can move to a unit and attempt to remove a hit and a unit more than 9” from an enemy (6” in this scale) can also attempt to remove a hit (without a commander), but the initial 2 hits are permanent and always remain.

Weakened units cannot advance towards the enemy and have a fire / melee penalty, so a force can quickly lose its offensive capability through the accumulation of hits and units reaching ‘weakened’ status.

As the player, you find that by mid-point of play, you are trying to manage that accumulation of hits, one way or another. If it is your unit that is weakened then you are trying to recover it, if it is the enemy unit, you want to attack it and push it over the edge.

A lost unit is simply a lost unit and just counts towards the condition of the whole army - not the individual brigade, so complete unit losses do not directly impinge on the brigade, but units that stay in play while carrying a lot of casualties do, as the brigade, as an organisation, becomes increasingly impotent as more of units weaken. 

You become restricted to what you can do and the brigade commander gets distracted by trying to rally units back to better health (for which he has to join the unit), suddenly, he needs to be in several places at once!

Overall, a unit seems to have enough poke in them to do one thing, i.e. assault that hill or town or enemy line etc. Doing that will likely weaken them and you then need a combo of rallying them back to effectiveness (i.e. not being weakened) and having fresh units on hand to take over.



I stupidly attacked the square with the cavalry and it bounced off and took a total of 3 casualties. Units that lose a close combat retreat a number of inches equal to 2 x Average Dice (yes Average Dice - how superb!) and gain an extra casualty, so becoming ‘weakened’ is never too far away.

It does bring in the discipline to play of softening up the enemy before closing and generally needs an attacker to have a local advantage in numbers.

Some systems go for disorder to make their formations vulnerable, but here the slow slide of build up of hits essentially does that, as you can visually see those units that are close to either weakening or rout. 

There is grazing fire (artillery fire bouncing through a unit and then hitting the unit behind) which I like.

Units can give supporting fire in a charge situation, but outside of that, there isn’t an obvious role for ‘supporting’ units, especially rear supports, which seem common to a few other modern designs, but perhaps this is handled by the fact that once a weakened unit retires to recover from hits, the ‘support’ is then the fresh unit that takes on the burden of the fight and to an extent protects the recovering unit.

One aspect that I want to take a bit more time to think about is the way the system handles melee and multi unit contact in melee in relation to the way the attack dice are allocated - more on that after I do another reading of the rules, it just feels a little awkward at the moment.

Comparing.

V&F feels like it is suitable for the bigger game, with several brigades and multiple players at the table and as such, a good proportion of the system is working with the brigade as being a central command structure.

SotE works better for the smaller table and for gamers wanting around a division of three brigades (or less) per side. Here it is the status of the  unit and the army, rather than the brigade itself, that matters and a brigade is not suddenly going to disappear off the table, leaving too much of a deficit for a small game.

V&F for those familiar with Black Powder, feels like a slicker application of that system, which I like.

SotE has a whiff of old school charm about it, which I also like.

V&F movement is easily implemented, things can just move over there.

SotE has more involved movement i.e. you just can’t move things in an easy care-free way to get over there. Units pivot and wheel and this brings into play the advantages of new regime training (who find that easy) over old regime training (who don’t).

Both systems are self contained. V&F has downloadable army lists, with each add significantly to the base game engine. SotE has a full list of army lists, with restrictions and advantages listed, but no real extra rules, as the rules are already in the body of the book. I really appreciate that neither have followed the codex style of support books.

Both systems use hits without immediate saving rolls and both allow commanders to subsequently try to rally off excess hits.

I am now in the process of re-reading both rule sets fully and will no doubt pick up plenty of subtleties that I have missed. I will then run a new scenario, probably one involving buildings sitting on a crossroads to test out rules for built up areas.

28mm, 20mm and Warlord Epic (13.5mm) figures, but which one?

Epic.

The scale looks nice on the table as you get the impression of the scope of the battlefield and the hill feels a bit more like a hill than a bump. I like plastic and like 1 piece figures, though I prefer the aesthetic of the bigger figure and I am less keen on painting the smaller scale, though I am just in the process of trying out a faster painting method that abides a bit more with the three foot rule - so who knows!

I note Epic have just announced ECW armies for release in April … they might give me an alternative world for some later Piggy Longton adventures! I recently bought some excellent 10mm resin buildings from Battlescale for ECW in anticipation of this new release, so again - who knows!

Anyway, in coming to a close, I should add that scales are being looked at elsewhere as well, as I see the benefits of gaming WWII tactical at one scale lower than everything else I am doing, as the small footprint buildings are a better fit.




Above - this is a WWII scene with Victrix 12mm plastics. The bridge and building are both 10mm from Battlescale. I had these infantry sections on 30mm bases with 4 figures per base, but have now re-based to 40mm frontages with 6 figures per base, which I think looks a bit more ‘section’ like. I will stick with these if going with Epic.



Above - this is the same scene in 1/72 (20mm). The tanks are Plastic Soldier Company and the infantry (on 60mm bases) are AB (metal). The bridge is an Italeri 1/72 fast build kit and the resin building is from Lancer Games. In the first instance, I am thinking of the new Rapid Fire Reloaded for these for a first trial. I will stick with these if going for 28mm, but if choosing 20mm for Napoleonics, might have to consider going to 15mm (again!) for WWII, to get that 1 scale down effect for buildings.

Anyway, there we are. I have a few more games to run and will also be bringing in the Black Powder rules and my own rules for a dabble with this scenario. 

I am finding that all three scales have great strengths and you would win an easy argument by saying just keep all three, but that can’t happen and I doubt the audience that follows this blog would have a general consensus on a single scale.

Once all of this hullabaloo is done, I do wonder whether deciding on a scale will finally simply come down to a case of mind over heart or heart over mind! (Edit - see the Storm & Conquest link below).


Resource Section.

Initial post on this subject. Looking at scales, basing and the relationship between tactical and higher level games. LINK


https://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2023/01/choosing-napoleonic-pocket-armies-and.html



Can I draw your attention to this lovely post, that has a 28mm game of Valour & Fortune in full swing. LINK


https://stormandconquest.blogspot.com/2023/03/valour-and-fortitude-napoleonic-game.html


My sister webspace ‘COMMANDERS’ is being re-configured to showcase various figure and boardgame systems that I am enjoying and gives a flavour of where current projects are up to. Link.


https://commanders.simdif.com

44 comments:

  1. A very interesting read especially as you haven’t quite reached the answer yet although I feel a lean towards smaller may be showing 😁 I have both these sets of rules and both are enjoyable to play and give a good feel. My personal preference is towards V &F although as you say they’re not really focussed on smaller battles or tables! Maybe there’s another set out there? I have been tempted to look a bit closer at Battle Command the latest Piquet variant.

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  2. Hi Graham - still much to consider. At the weekend I bought the new plastic cavalry / skirmisher / zouave sprues for Epic ACW, but this morning I have just washed a box of Victrix Austrian line infantry and they are currently drying on the window ledge!

    As for rules - still out. At the weekend I handled the new napoleonic set with cards (forget what they are called) by Warren Kincade, together with it’s supplement. They are said to be excellent, but just couldn’t bite the bullet as I just have too much other stuff to be looking at, plus from a solo perspective the cards put me off and I am not generally keen on cards anyway, so I have kicked that one into the long grass.

    Gary at the Sergeant Steiner blog is presently enthusing on the new Piquet rules.

    Thank goodness that today I am distracted by the real world and putting up fence panels that don’t seem to fit the slots on the posts!

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    1. I was about to ask if you had looked in Soldiers of Napoleon... It has definitely a bit of a different approach...

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    2. I like the scope and the idea that the bigger battle is still going on around you and that some of that might influence your own battlefield, but I thought like it look like a lot of new system to learn and so decided it might be for the future, rather than now.

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  3. Great review of the two rulesets Norm. Always very difficult to choose between rules I think. Individual taste - that often changes over the decades - is very important.
    I prefer the smaller scales but the blog you liked to is very impressive. The number of figures and small space really give it a massed Napoleonic look.
    A difficult decision for a talented painter as yourself. As the larger figures would be much more satisfying. For me, a much easier decision πŸ˜‚

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    1. Hi Ben, if only I could be transported back to my youth and the restrain of pocket money …. with the single choice of Airfix :-)

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  4. Much for you to ponder Norm! I can see the attraction of V&F and not only because they are a free set of rules. They certainly tick the boxes for ease of play and big games, which I believe is there intended purpose. No surprise really given they are very similar to Black Powder. However I feel they lack something that is maybe reflected in the free and easy movement rules. But one could say that of many rulesets which IMHO rely upon the players 'playing the period' and all that.

    I like SotE and am possibly biased because they are written by my good friend Keith Flint. But for me the New Regime vs Old Regime helps to capture the period with a few, dare I say it, National Characteristics thrown into the mix.

    I should also point out that I am a very novice Nappies player, so am still coming to grips with the combined arms approach to games. I think this is where SotE may win out over V&F in the fact that you can pin the Infantry in square by the presence of Cavalry, then use Infantry and Artillery to attack the square, with the Cavalry waiting to administer the coup de grace. Also having Skirmishers out in front helps a lot, but again I'm still learning how best to use them.

    On you point re: multiple bases in melee, they is an errata document in the files section that might address any queries you have. IIRC when playing with Keith, we tend to attribute attack dice in the most sensible matter as befits the situation.

    A question of scale, well you well know my preferred option! I think a lot of this comes down to the fact that I play very, very few small scale actions nowadays. When I do using say Dan Mersey's rules, I find my basing system works perfectly well for that as well as for normal Brigade or Divisional level games. This means less painting, less storage and frankly less monies spent! However it does come at the cost of missing the visual look that larger figures and individual bases bring to the table.

    I'm a huge fan of one scale down for my buildings which allows for more of them in the same footprint, so gives a better visual look IMHO. However if playing say Chain of Command where occupying buildings is important, then I think you need to tick with the same scale as otherwise you will not be able to fit the figures and especially the bases in.

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    1. Hi Steve, much to ponder indeed. I think with Keith’s rules, his movement decisions and restrictions likely fall out of his design around his Honours of War rules and that he is applying just a small amount of loosening up as we move from one period to the next evolution of warfare.

      I will check out the errata, I know one of the examples of play has the wrong attack values.

      Agree all the way on buildings. My view is to select 1 scale for everything (except WWII tactical), then move down a scale for buildings and then do WWII in that dropped down scale, that way the buildings look right with WWII tactical and also offer a smaller footprint for everything else.

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  5. Quite a conundrum there Norm but you seem to be working your way through the options I am sure you will reach a satisfactory conclusion. I really like the sound of SotE, have looked at V&F but for a simple set for large battles there does appear to be a lot of faff being added. I really liked Keith's SYW set so if I was a Nappy player I would certainly be giving them a run out.

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    1. Hi Phil, the SotE is just a lovely volume to own and the designer credentials are good, following his Honours of War.

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  6. Very thoughtful look at how both Napoleonic rules sets work, the use of a game in both was the best part. Having a Cuirassier unit and charging with it is not a character flaw!
    Both sets appear to give a reasonably entertaining game. The division size game is a staple at my house and we rotate the toys through regularly. Probably I would lean to SotE simply from the lack of activation rolls, which I don't care for in my games.

    I do empathize with you search for the one best scale for you. Your approach is reflective to your own situation.
    Are you splitting your decision by period or is this all or nothing for both 19th and 20th centuries?
    I did decide for WW2 that all three...15mm, 20mm and 28mm will 'play in my garden' but it suits me and my temperament, something that doesn't transfer easily. The recent show of painting tables are storage areas shows some of my reasoning.
    Given you're also considering your basing approach I would recommend in the WW2 era the six on a stand in the smaller two scales. In the photos these just looked right. That is something that makes all the difference looking at the table.
    Odd that I have 6mm and 20mm in Cold War era, but those little guys are only in the last few years.

    Napoleonics are 28mm all the way. The only scale for the thirty odd years, fifty odd if you include the 25mm days of the 70's and 80's.

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    1. Hi, I would go with a single scale (i.e. 28’s) for everything and then do tactical WWII one scale down i.e. 20mm, that way I can stick to one scale terrain for everything (say 20mm in this instance) and it would just work.

      I have actually enjoyed all of the games that I have been playing re this ‘choosing a scale’ malarkey and did enjoy the look of the 20mm Napoleonics, so I might get them up again next.

      The original decision to do 4 figures on 30mm was for ‘O’ Group rules and it allowed a battalion to be built from a single Victrix pack … however 3 x 4 figs does not look like a platoon! Also I have kept weapon bases at 30mm, so the eye can easily distinguish weapon teams from rifle sections.

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  7. Thanks for that interesting look, Norm. Always worth bringing out the 'sweet spots' in terms of number of troops/units on the table, thanks.

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  8. Hi, I think this sort of thing touches us all in one way or another, but o varying degrees. I suppose a difference for me is that for napoleonics at least, I am not (yet!) heavily invested by way of painting, in any one scale.

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  9. Norm, I always enjoy your compare and contrast segments. Interesting and useful.

    You mention that you continue playtesting V&F incorporating the author's latest tweaks. I realize the rules are free but users really should not be pressed into the role of beta testers for a published ruleset. Are these tweaks design changes? While peculiar game situations may slip through testing rigors, much of this work should be done before publication. OK. Climbing down from my soap box...

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  10. Hi Jonathan, no, sorry my fault, I should have explained, the author is thinking about some changes and I have undertaken to be involved in that process.

    For free rules, I know the author is putting a tremendous amount of effort into them, ultimately to the benefit of us all. Downloading the latest army lists, compared to the initial lists, will give a sense of that.

    I imagine these rules are going to end up being increasingly important, as I think the intention is that they will eventually provide the engine for several periods that the Perry figure range covers.

    That aside, I am thinking my next game will be in 20mm with a replay of Shadow of the Eagles and then perhaps pair that with a playing of Black Powder.

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  11. It's going to be interesting to see what your eventual decision is, in regard to scale, Norm. Given the whole ethos of your blog, I would have expected the smaller the better, but you seem to be struggling a bit with that logic and I can understand why! The rules are a lot more subjective I think....I don't believe a particular rule set works better with one scale over another... Or perhaps I am wrong on that?

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  12. Hi Keith, the rules that I cycle through are scale agnostic, so its just a question of liking them or at least liking enough of them. Smaller does help the domestic setting and as you say … the wargaming in small spaces element of the blog :-).

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  13. This is the post we've been waiting for, Norm! Thank you and it must have been a lot of work to piece this together. For what it's worth, I think the Epic figures give a wonderful sense of mass and detail - the epic have my vote! (And if I didn't have so many 10mm Napoleonic figures, I'd go epic in a heartbeat!). Don't tell my wife but I pre ordered the ECW/TYW epic figure "push of pike" set from warlord .

    As for Napoleonic rules, im finding the simpler the better anymore. The Neil Thomas stable is perfect for my needs and some home brewed command and control restrictions make them almost perfect for a huge convention game ie Eylau.

    VF def have a Black Powder "lite" feel to them.



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    1. Hi Steve, I know we both enjoyed Sparker blog post recently with his ACW game.

      Enjoy your ECW set …. You MUST watch this re the painting and basing of pike LINK. https://youtu.be/eSiQz9HI6Qk

      Yep, simpler rules, in the background I am considering the ‘rules on index card’ system that irregular Miniatures did - each phase of the sequence of play has its own index card, rules on one side and examples on the other …. And that’s it!

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  14. Ok Ok, I’ll HELP you decide on the size of miniatures with the tried-and-true rapid fire question test that gets at the truth of all things. Answer as fast as you can without thinking…
    Long drive or long walk?
    Winter or summer?
    Bath or shower?
    Dogs or Babies?
    Calls or texts?
    Blonde or brunette?
    Candy or Popcorn?
    ACW or Naps? ACW. I answered that one for you.
    Music or Podcasts?
    Rock or Country?
    Fast or Slow?
    Fingers or toes?
    Epic or 28? ……. And there is your answer.


    Actually, Your last line about what wins out, head or heart, I think really applies. I think the heart wins. Especially in something like a hobby like this where it’ll take time and effort to get to the place you want it; it’s the heart that will provide the motivation because you’ll love it. We all know the phrase “my heart wasn’t in it.”

    Or whatever. πŸ˜€

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  15. Very helpful post Norm which I will come back to. Especially interesting as you have written down the general ‘noise’ which is in my head over gaming scales and rules not just for Napoleonics but many other periods as well. Unfortunately I came to the conclusion that one scale and one ruleset isn’t enough for some theatres, most notably WW2 and Napoleonics.

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    1. Hi Matt, I think these sort of posts do plug in to thinking of many gamers. We seem to naturally wonder about other scales and frequently doubt our basing systems etc. There are likely to be as many gamers who are bemused and have no such doubts about their toys.

      In some respects I am spared the multi scale dilemma because my boardgames can deal with the bigger battle situation, so I suppose I am naturally inclined towards the ‘small battle’ situation for figures.

      Getting towards a single terrain scale does however seem an important consideration for anyone with space limitations (me), partly brought on by all those boardgames :-)

      Today, I have carried on painting 4 Epic napoleonic sprues, while clipping 28mm plastics from their sprues, so the craziness is not under control yet :-)

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  16. Thanks; very useful discussion as I am trying to work out both scale and rules I want to use for Napoleonics.

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  17. Hi David, thanks for visiting. I will likely do a couple of more posts on the subject, so hopefully there will some interest for you. Just for your info as it is an influence in the question of ‘what to do’, my gaming area at max is 6’ x 3½’.

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    1. Great; thanks. That would be good. My gaming area is much the same size as yours in fact, which is helpful... :-)

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  18. Another interesting post so thanks for that. I haven't played either of those rulesets as I am pretty wedded to my own home-grown Napoleonic rules but I can empathise with your scale dilemma. I made a decision a few years back to only paint 20mm but I still get pulled in other directions although so far have not succumbed. I look forward to your further thoughts on the subject.

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  19. Hi, thanks for visiting. 20mm is pretty perfect in many ways and I wish that all those years ago when hard plastics became ‘a thing’, that they had gone down the 20mm rather than the 28mm route.

    The 20mm that I have in the stash for napoleonics are from Newline Design, though through my own error, I got the Austrians in Shako, rather than helmet, which I regret a bit.

    I think it is a nice thing to pursue your own rules - they are like an old friend that can always be relied upon and certainly helps avoid the constant ‘growing’ of the latest new thing to the collection.

    I do have a set of my own, that really needs me to just give some time to, to get them to something that I am happy with. They have become a bit bloated.

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  20. Thanks Norm, great post, it's really interesting to see this sort of thing, and one of the best aspects of blogging - as you can see from the number of responses. I suppose a rather crude approach to the question might be to say that if you prefer to command at 'brigade level' with larger forces as in Valour and Fortitude, then a smaller scale such as 'Epic' could be preferable, but if battalions are your thing and you prefer Keith Flint's rules, then 20mm or 28mm might suit you better. But of course, as Stew says, it's more of a 'heart vs head' thing... I'll be interested to see which way you decide to go!

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  21. Hi David, much to ponder, they all have their virtues, but I am still fairly wed to my favour of pocket armies, so whatever scale is chosen, I can’t see more than 10 infantry units per side being in play, so table actual space might be less of an influencing factor.

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  22. Really good summary of the two rules, Norm. I've played V&F once. It was a multi player game, 2 per side. It seemed like a good ruleset, but my brain kept going back to Black Powder. But I don't game often enough to say which is best. As for scales, I think 28mm is aesthetically pleasing, but harder to replicate big battles on average sized tables. Lot of the local gamers use 15mm for ACW and Napoleonics. I'm pretty much stuck with 28mm.

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  23. Hi Dean, lucky to be stuck with 28’s :-)

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  24. Hi Norm, very useful post as always. I can only say that it's great to see the Warlord boys putting out some free rules and supporting them online - a really nice project. I'd encourage anyone to at least download them and give them a try.

    For WW2, 12mm or 15mm would always be the scale for me!

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  25. Hi Keith, thanks for dropping by. There is certainly something for everyone in this hobby of ours, for such a niche hobby, we are product rich. I am enjoying your WWII WRG series of games.

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  26. Interesting post as always Norm, I'm wedded to 28mm but inclining to 20mm scenery now, sticking to one scale is helpful and boringly I've stuck to the Blackpowder family of games, partly because once you've learnt the basics they move along at a decent rate and give a good game, it's going to be interesting to see which way you go!
    Best Iain

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  27. Hi Iain, agree fully with the 20mm terrain approach. Interestingly, I have just assembled the 15mm Sarrissa La Haye Sainte farmhouse, which I think might actually pass (on my table) with 28mm - but looks too dominating for the Epic.

    Having just bought the new edition of Hail Caesar - yep, it makes perfect sense.

    I am edging towards a decision …. Or rather I am changing my mind less ofter :-)

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    1. The 15mm idea makes sense I have been wondering about that myself, I am about to embark on a Napoleonic terrain burst, for southern Germany/ Austria, but as I have accumulated various bits and pieces I'm just going to stick to a 300mm square for all built up areas, if I wasn't already well down the road I would be inclined to go 15/20mm for terrain, except bridges!
      Best Iain

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  28. I was planning to start 30YW in 28mm and have a swedish regiment and some winged Hussars to put together as initial starter units but I am quite tempted by the Epic TYW sprue that arrived with WI today.

    The footprint of a unit would be half the size of a 28mm unit, doubling the size of the table and it would be a LOT cheaper for the collection I am thinking about.

    But I sold off all my 15mm because I decided I wouldn't paint any as they were too small... I am going to try painting a unit up and see what I think about the size. I do like the figures in a strip and was always a fan of warmaster.

    I suppose one concern is that you are locked into Warlord and there fore reliant on them for extra troop types - though they have already announced TYW commanders.

    But will they do Poles and Ottomans as well...?

    Lots to think about.

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  29. Hi Mike, thanks for the shout about Wargames Illustrated, I will check that out today. Winged hussars in 28mm are just one of those stunning units that anyone can have in their collection, but everything that you say about the Epic is also true. I increasingly see it as a heart and mind thing.

    At the moment, I am enjoying the aesthetic of the 28’s, but I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the ‘building the figure’ baggage that comes with plastic and there are some advantages to the one piece Epic, as I prefer plastic.

    My own experience with Epic is that it holds a lot of detail, while fantastic, I also feel compelled to paint it all, so my painting has taken surprisingly longer than I would have thought - though the strip is handy for just going down the line and dab, dab dabbing with the paint brush.

    I will be interested in you thoughts after a test painting.

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  30. Norm

    I spent sometime this morning before breakfast putting 4 colours on an Epic strip of Musketeers and it soon became clear that it was simply too frustrating to paint. Trying to get the paint in the right place and between all the fiddly detail was too much work and I really wasn't enjoying it. I am never going to paint 100s of these strips.

    So, that answers the question - back to the 28mm plan, eventually! I still need to assemble some Swedish Infantry to see if I can build them with getting too frustrated but plastics is the cheapest way to go.

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  31. Thanks Mike, Having bought all of the Epic so far and realising just how many figures that puts into the queue, one can appreciate the need to move to a more impressionistic way to paint. I know some gamers have already resigned themselves to not worrying about it and instead just playing in raw plastic, as each side is done in their own colour ….. so blue and red for Waterloo :-)

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  32. You raise interesting questions & generate thoughtful discussions. We each have to go with our heart & the visuals that do it for us. I recommend taking a look at Sam Mustafa’s Blucher. It ticks all of the boxes for me. Kind of an amalgam of board & miniature game. I prefer his impetus dice mechanism to activation rolls. If my eyes & hands were a couple of decades younger I’d go with 6mil. Now you’ve got me thinking about this new ‘epic’ scale . . .

    Yes, I agree, pick a rules set that let’s you play what feels right & that you & your friends like, that’s you play a reasonably historical game in an evening. Have Fun. And stick with your chosen scale & rules.

    My first Napoleonic games were gigantic group effort Column, Line, Square games using mainly Airfix, MiniFigs & some Scrubys back in the 70s. Beautiful & epic. Sometimes 8’ X 20’ or 30’ tables. That lasted all day and always seemed to lead to heated arguments about 1” foot artillery prolongs, or National characteristics bonuses, or some such. I can’t remember if every battle actually got played to the end. Other than some great board games, those experiences put me off Napoleonic gaming until I found Blucher. Plus, if I squint my eyes I can just squeeze in multi-Corps actions on my 6’ X 3.5’ table using the card system. It’s a nice hybrid system. Playable. Subtle. Feels right. Done in an easy evening. Can even be played solo. Google before you decide on a single rule set, I think it’d suit your new scale well.
    ~ Tom T

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  33. Hi Tom, thanks for dropping by and for the recommendation, I have heard only good things about Blucher, so it is worth a look. It sounds like you sit across the figure and boardgame world, as I do, so I will do some research on the rules, I know there are a few YouTube vids knocking around of the game in action.

    It’s funny, literally minutes ago, I was reading an article in the latest (424) issue of Wargames illustrated and four wargame luminaries are in the pub, discussing significant moments in the hobby. One mentioned the Wargame Research Group rules and their growing complexity and detail - another reminded them that Grant and Featherstone had easier to play games and that WRG in effect set out to professionalise the hobby or at least make toy soldiers serious.

    that did strike a chord with me and obviously modern authors like Priestly and Mustafa went about things in a totally different way, designing top down instead of ground up.

    As I ponder my scale dilemma, I think that you are right that it will become a heart and visual thing.

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