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Subject: Looking for a "smallish" battalion level napoleonic rss

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Alfy Burger
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Hi everyone,

I'm looking for a battalion-level (or regimental) napoleonic, but with some caveats. I don't mind an extensive ruleset, although I'm also not necessarily looking for one, but I'd like something that accurately depicts the use of formations of the period.

But the main limit for me is the footprint of the game: I don't have a big table, and I can't leave my game set-up for long periods of time. As a result, I'm interested in smaller engagements, and I'm not necessarily looking for the more famous battles. The old Auerstaedt 1806 was great in that regard, but the later, much upgraded Vive l'Empereur series games use much larger maps. I like the way that series use rectangular counters to represent line and column formations, but I'm not sure that's something I can find in other games.

On a final note, I'd rather try to pursue a product that's in print. I'm not against buying second-hand, but as I purchase from the euro-zone, the second-hand market tends to be more limited.

There, I don't know if I'm realistic with my expectations, but I'm hoping you guys can come up with something. Thanks in advance!
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Eddy Sterckx
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Have you looked into the Jours de Gloire series of games by Frédéric Bey ?

Small footprint, most of them still easily obtainable over here, english rules available online, pretty cheap.

http://www.histoireetcollections.com/en/93-vaevictis
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Aaron Yoder
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ATO did a game called La Bataille de Vauchamps. Fits on one map. CAN be played on two (though it doesn't add all that much). Great intro to the La Bataille system as a whole, but more than that it's a really great game. In addition, Marshal Enterprises releases small battalion-scale games for the same system, as print-and-plays, which makes them necessarily smaller engagements.

Le Retour de l'Empereur, from Vive l'Empereur, has two two-map scenarios, but the other 2 are one-map affairs.
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Alfy Burger
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Like always, BGG comes through, and in a matter of minutes no less!!

It turns out the Jour de Gloire series is in great part available on the Vae Victis site, and at that price, it's a no brainer (and I'm ok with French). And thanks for the tip about La Bataille de Vauchamps, which happens to be available at one of my shops, and seems to be the perfect gateway to the La Bataille system.

Thanks a bunch guys!
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Jason Cawley
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True battalion with real formations, check out Ney vs Wellington.

It was an S&T magazine game largely based on the Wellington's Victory system. But the battle of Quartes Bras is a lot easier to fit on one map and play through in a reasonable amount of time at battalion scale than the full battle of Waterloo. Solid game.

Those also formed the basis of the Battleground Series games from Talonsoft, on the computer. Which can handle larger battles without taking up your whole table.

Up a level to regiment/brigade units there are more titles that play on one map, like Triumph and Glory, Borodino, Battles of Waterloo all from GMT. But they don't really depict the formations up at that scale, just generic infantry cavalry artillery, with at most rules for road columns. The line column square skirmisher stuff you get in the true battalion level games is missing, and I agree that is a lot of the real tactical interest in Napoleonic warfare and its combined arms "paper scissors rock" relationships.
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Paul Borchers
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If you do go the La Bataille route, or if you want to check things out before you spend money, the Marshal Enterprises guys have a couple of games that you can download and print. I don't know how long they'll take to play, but they're definitely small.

http://www.labataille.me/Recession_Series_Games.html

See also the Rules and Charts link. These rules are somewhat different from what was published in the ATO game.
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Roger Hobden
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The Vive l'Empereur ! wargames created by Didier Rouy have tons of 1-map scenarios that are very engaging, even in big games like La Bataille de Leipzig.

cool

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L. SCHMITT
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Vive l'Empereur ! seems to be the good choice according to the criteras ( no battle formations, except squares, in JdG ).
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Warren Bruhn
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JasonC wrote:

True battalion with real formations, check out Ney vs Wellington.

It was an S&T magazine game largely based on the Wellington's Victory system. But the battle of Quartes Bras is a lot easier to fit on one map and play through in a reasonable amount of time at battalion scale than the full battle of Waterloo. Solid game.


Totally agree. Ney vs. Wellington (1979), although long out of print, meets all the OP's other criteria. And it was a colorful and fun game.

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Karl Kreder
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I like:

Quatre Batailles en Espagne from Legion War Games

And:

Waterloo 1815: Fallen Eagles from Hexisim games.

I enjoy both and they have I think the scale and rules you mentioned, and the maps are reasonably sized
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Alfy Burger
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Thanks for the additional replies!

Quatre Batailles en Espagne would be my fist choice by far, but that's already a bit too big in term of size of maps. I'm still very much considering it, as for one thing, I really want Quatre Batailles en Allemagne to see the light of day.

As for Waterloo 1815: Fallen Eagles (and the upcoming Austerlitz 1805: Rising Eagles), I believe formations are not represented? I've seen a few complaints on French forums about these games not having much of a Napoleonic feel because of this choice?
 
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Enrico Viglino
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AlfyB wrote:
Thanks for the additional replies!

Quatre Batailles en Espagne would be my fist choice by far, but that's already a bit too big in term of size of maps. I'm still very much considering it, as for one thing, I really want Quatre Batailles en Allemagne to see the light of day.


While the maps are full-sized, it's because the hexes are big.

Doesn't help much if you have tablespace issues though.

It, and the rest of the Vive l'Empereur ! make for a nice compromise -
although you have to work a little to make any configuration other than
the basic game work perfectly.
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L. SCHMITT
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Quote:
I believe formations are not represented? I've seen a few complaints on French forums about these games not having much of a Napoleonic feel because of this choice?

No formations and no orientation. The game is really fun but fails to deliver the tactical feel ( you optimize locations and stacks to get maximum ratios rather than following any actual tactics ). Cavalry rules were changed for the next installment as they were particulary not convincing.
 
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Jason Cawley
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Re lack of formations and just making stacks to get odds ratios, that is the bane of older Napoleonic titles and of even most newer games with brigade scale counters. The result is WW2 tactics, not the Napoleonic era. The best entries at least have quality or morale ratings that matter enough that everything isn't about local odds ratios, but even in them those matter way too much.

Napoleonic battle wasn't about odds ratios especially local ones because everyone had packed frontages. The whole school of those later tactics derives from artillery firepower having already forced the men to spread out, making the degree of concentration the dominate issue for close or "shock" fighting. That just didn't apply when every brush featured shoulder to shoulder men two plus ranks deep with the same sort of muskets. It was simply not phyisically possible to bring more than the other guy to the same frontage, because both sides were pegged at the maximum that would fit.

Instead there were huge differences caused by order vs its absence - that packed front loses much of its max firepower unless the men are loading and presenting with drill ground precision - and outlasting the enemy, especially in a sheer courage sense, being willing to stand hell longer than the other guys. Then there was when the first shot was loosed - the closer the deadlier. So approaches became chicken played with loaded guns. Firing a whole rank was flinching - it let the enemy trot to point blank and fire at men with empty tubes, who generally would not stand to take such treatment.

Range, bravery, order all mattered, numbers did not, at the actual point of formed infantry clash.

Then there was skirmishing to fire. Which most of the games don't understand or get right. The idea is simply to compete in defense instead if offense. The fire was mostly unaimed beyond very short distances, practically speaking - an area effect haze of bullets. Therefore the greater the exposed target area, the more hits were received. This meant that thinning the front saved as many hits from the enemy as it lost in hits put on him through fewer men firing - as long as the firefight was at range.
The thinner either side was, the slower both bled, but the effect was symmetric. The thicker line did not win in the long run in such situations.

In fact, getting firepower by firing off more shots that mostly missed meant fouling the muskets sooner, running out of ammo, wearing down the flints, etc. And moral wear and tear on a larger body of men the while. The skirmish line was getting its greater firepower per man from shooting at a bigger target, resulting in fewer misses. It could rotate the men. It fired fewer ball and wore out the flints and fouled the muskets slower, across the whole formatiob supporting the skirmish line, than a packed front line of battle did. So thin beat thick in sustained fire combat at range - exactly the opposite of what games that make you seek out high odds ratios depict.

Thin for fire, thick for shock, ranks and reliefs to have fresh men in good order to face tired and disordered ones, outlasting tactics, coordination of all of the above with the other arms (cavalry beats skirmishers; guns are most effective against close firmed infantry prepared for shock, cavalry can't move formed good order infantry in square but is deadly to them in line or when disordered etc) - all leads to a truly interesting set of combined arms rekationships. Which is completely ignored if the best "tactic" is to stack 6-4s to the stacking limit on a narrow front, as though they were Guderian's panzers breaking through at Sedan...
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Roger Hobden
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Do they sell folding tables in the area where you live presently ? I believe you are based in Africa.
 
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Alfy Burger
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Yes I am. I wouldn't be able to find a proper folding table. Actually, just getting a perfectly flat surface is a bit of an issue. The best bet is a big desk I can get made, but then I have the issue of finding plexiglass or it's equivalent. I ordered a big pane and got it delivered back home, but it won't fit our biggest suitcase. Maybe a series of smaller panes...

But then there's the issue of dust and sand. It gets everywhere and I can leave a game on a table for more than three days, especially during the dry season.

Silly problems, I know.
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Jason Nier
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Warren Bruhn wrote:
JasonC wrote:

True battalion with real formations, check out Ney vs Wellington.

It was an S&T magazine game largely based on the Wellington's Victory system. But the battle of Quartes Bras is a lot easier to fit on one map and play through in a reasonable amount of time at battalion scale than the full battle of Waterloo. Solid game.


Totally agree. Ney vs. Wellington (1979), although long out of print, meets all the OP's other criteria. And it was a colorful and fun game.



Would third this recommendation. Interaction between infantry, cavalry, and artillery gives great Napoleonic flavor.
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