If you've read this blog long enough you know I have an unhealthy interest with Napoleonic rules that probably borders on obsession. Recently I've been shopping around for a good set of rules for a convention game of the Battle of Eylau as part of a long-running project I've been working on. With the easy-going style of game that "Fields of Honor" delivers on- would they be able to work well for a mass battle? Read on.
|Can an AWI game work for Napoleonics? With a little bit of elbow grease, duct tape, brute force, and ignorance, we can make anything fit here at Sound Officers Call!
I've played numerous games of AWI with FoH, both as part of Jon F's remote AWI games, as well as on my own table. You might recall that FoH was a serious contender for the old Germantown, 1777 game played 2 years ago for our Christmas MEGAGAME. (it lost out to Commands and Colors:Tricorne and some of you still haven't forgiven me yet for that) It is a simple set of rules that lends well to numerous players - I can say that from personal experience with Jon's games.
The problem is that FoH is *not* a Napoleonic rules set. but it could be. While the rules are set squarely in the AWI, a simple analysis of what is missing, along with bolting on some additional but simple rules, might propel them into the early 19th century and specifically the Napoleonic Wars.
I started on a quick list and then I started on some quick rules. Here are some of the items missing from FoH that I felt needed to be written in to do the period justice. While I'd like for my units to be "Regiments", they behave like Battalions.
Most of these ideas below can be existing modifiers to the game as it is - there are only a few new concepts:
The mounted arm in the AWI served its counter-insurgency and scouting role diligently, and it charged when it needed to. The Napoleonic period sees the combined might of the well-funded armies of Europe fighting to destroy every horse on the continent as fast as they could, so you know Cavalry is definitely going to be "a thing." Using the mounted arm properly is one step on the road to victory when playing a Napoleonic game. So you need differentiation in Cavalry size, mission, and abilities. For that I added:
- Heavy Cavalry (Cuirassier): Melee is +1 (B in FoH). I also allowed an additional +1 if charging lesser weight Cavalry, in addition to the other melee modifiers. The Cuirassier morale is a "B" as well.
- Battle Cavalry (Dragoons mostly): Melee is "0" or +1 (C or B in FOH). Same mod applies if charging a lesser weight Cav unit. Dragoon morale is "C" in the game I played.
- Light Cavalry (Hussars, etc): Melee is "0) or +1.
- All Cavalry receives another +1 if charging open order infantry. All Cavalry were 3 bases/strength points in my game.
Squares were a little tough. I gave close order infantry the potential to form square as the successful result of a morale check when being charged by Cavalry. If passed, they'd count as in hard cover against cavalry melee with a +2 modifier, (but would suffer a "dense target" modifier against artillery or infantry fire or infantry melee).
- Squares can be formed prior to a Cavalry unit charging home.
- Must pass a morale check to form square.
- Suffer a "dense target" modifier (+2) when shot at or melee'd by artillery or infantry.
Another tough choice that required some compromises. FoH is a tactical game, and so you'll be punished with a -2 modifier if you're caught in column in combat. But the use of assault columns to rapidly close on the enemy position was a time-honored tradition during the Napoleonic wars and so it must be represented.
- You form attack column like any other formation in FoH. Easy.
- Attack columns garner an extra hex or 4" of movement. Easy.
- Attack columns suffer the "dense target" +2 mod when shot at.
- Attack columns also enjoy a +1 morale modifier for being in attack column. I'm on the fence about this but it worked well for them in the game, since every gun or musket wants to fire at you when you're in attack column.
- Finally Attack columns get a +1 to melee for being in attack column with their rapid ability to form alternate formations.
I'm on the fence with some of these, but in my ongoing game (from Charles Grant's "Wargame Scenarios" stay tuned)
My Austrian units in the game played were 4 stand units or 4 strength points per unit. I played the French at 3 stands or 3 SPs. One observation so far is that their morale should be lower or they have a much bigger firepower advantage. Another thing I noticed is when properly supported, you're potentially rolling 8 (!!!) D10s in melee. So I "nerfed" the Austrian morale a bit to compensate, and also only allowed 2D10 in support. So a typical Austrian line unit of 4 stands/SPs looks like this:
- Austrian Line Infantry: C / C / D (or 0 / 0 / -1)
- Austrian Light Infantry: B / D / C
- Austrian Artillery: C / E / C medium guns
- The French look like this - C / C / C (or 0 / 0 / 0)
- French Light Infantry: B / C / B
- French Artillery: C / E / C medium guns
- Austrian Cuirassier: - / B / B and Heavy so +1 against lighter cav and open infantry
- Austrian Hussar: - / C / C
- French Dragoons: - / B / C
I am in the middle of a test game now and will post the results tomorrow. Suffice to say it has been a fun experiment.
Steve this all sounds great - but where the heck have you been? We've been worried!
Great question and sorry for my absence. Work has been extremely busy, home has been extremely busy, and life in general has not slowed down for some weeks. Not much of an excuse, but it's all I've got. If you were worried about my gaming, though, fear not. Yesterday I was at my buddy Bryan L's house for some excellent WWII "grand tactical" gaming - we played Kasserine Pass with Bryan's awesome rules.
|The Germans move their columns onto the table - note the reinforcements lower right. Groups of 4 vehicles were battalions or regimental sized units!
|Allied Air Cover making an appearance!
|Giving the Germans enough to chew on while the reinforcements got into position. Bryan's rules were a mix of "Axis and Allies" and the old SPI "Kasserine Pass" game. I try to never miss an opportunity to play in one of his games.
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