Posted by Martin on February 19, 2009
Salute 2009 is on Saturday 28th March and my advance booked train tickets for the journey up to London arrived in the post yesterday. As I think I said around this time last year, you can get some genuine VFM by booking train tickets in advance as long as you’re prepared to commit to travelling on specific trains. The other tip is that two singles are often cheaper than one return for these sorts of advance bookings.
This year, I won’t be travelling up to town alone. Kiwi “Von Peter” and his family have come to stay in the UK for about six months as a sort of family adventure and so I’ll be sharing my day trip with him and his son Simon. This’ll be a fascinating observational experience for me. Von Peter tells me they only have small wargames shows in New Zealand and this will be his first time at one of the UK’s biggest days. I’ll be watching closely to see if it lives up to Von Peter’s expectations.
I’m much more optimistic about this year’s Salute than I have been for several years – especially since the change of venue to ExCel. I’ve previously found the atmosphere at ExCel to be lacking and the need for good company to compensate for that. This year, good company aside, other factors promise to restore Salute’s excitement of yore. In particular, a run down of the display games for once offers plenty for Napoleonics fans to sink their teeth into.
The Perry Twins will have a stand again this year where I hope to inspect their Napoleonic plastics in detail for the first time. Moreover, they’ll also be putting on a Quatre Bras demo game. I think I’ll also take some time to look at the Victrix plastics for the first time too. Obviously, their range is of little direct interest to me at present, being mainly focussed on the Peninsular War but I do want to scope out the quality of their work for potential future reference.
By some sort of strange coincidence there are two 6mm scale 1809 display games – Aspern-Essling and Wagram. I’m not a fan of this scale but I will look to see if the claims for it as a way to capture the spectacle of large battles is justified. There’s a 28mm retreat from Moscow game that has the potential to be spectacular if done the right way. But, best of all, Barry Hilton will be leading the League of Augsburg on a raid South of the border to put on two (!) games: one demonstration and one participation (oi! I was in the queue first!). I’m hoping that at least one of these games will feature Barry’s new Republic to Empire ruleset so that I can get a good assessment of them in action.
Throw in all the usual opportunities to catch up on gossip, bump into people I haven’t seen for ages and oggle the entries in the painting competition and I think there’s the makings of a grand day out.
Posted in Forward Patrol | Tagged: Barry Hilton, League of Augsburg, Perry, Republic to Empire, Salute, Victrix | 14 Comments »
Posted by Martin on February 3, 2009
Just a quick post to say that Barry’s made a second teaser PDF available for free download. This one covers the thorny topic of scales: time, ground (horizontal) and vertical as well as figure ratios. Of course, the natural corollory of talking about scales is to talk about basing sizes and weapons ranges. And Barry doesn’t shirk from giving his fully thought out musings on these topics. There’s also some brief guidance on using the rules for figure scales other than 28mm.
I haven’t had time to do any more than skim through this document tonight but hopefully I’ll be able to read it in more detail and fully digest over the next few days. If I manage that, I’ll post a few more thoughtful observations here.
Posted in Forward Patrol, Rulesets | Tagged: Barry Hilton, Clarence Harrison, David Imrie, League of Augsburg, Republic to Empire | 12 Comments »
Posted by Martin on January 22, 2009
Barry Hilton and his co-conspiritors (who include the likes of Clarence Harrison and David Imrie) have been cooking up and playtesting a new Napoleonic ruleset for some considerable time. Various hints, discussions and photographs have appeared on Barry’s League of Augsburg site over recent months but now something we can actually get our teeth into has emerged.
Barry’s just released an extract from these Republic to Empire rules as a freely downloadable PDF file. It question covers the topic of “Creating your army” and provides an insight into unit types, sizes, grading and basing for the rules.
If you’re a stickler for detailed historical accuracy, then you’ll see some compromises and generalizatons but I suspect that these are pragmatic in the cause of creating an enjoyable and playable ruleset. We’ll only be able to judge that when the complete set is unveiled. The extract is divided into the following sub-sections:
- Historical organization of Napoleonic units: this provides a brief overview of infantry, cavalry and artillery with info about unit types and size. The emphasis is very much on battlefield reality rather than theoretical regulation strengths.
- Unit sizes in the game: without explicitly mentioning it, this section makes it clear that the nominal figure ratio of Republic to Empire is 1:20 and the tactical units are battalions, squadrons and batteries. There’s a lot of flexibility to unit sizes to reflect the reality of under-strength units. I particularly like the discussion of extremely under-strength units (say, battalions of 250 men) and their brittle nature if used as individual units. The rules provide the option of converging two weak battalions together as a regiment to operate as a single tactical unit. The pros and cons of this option are neatly summarized and, as an 1813/14 gamer, I like how this reflects the reality of the situation and how commanders faced with it made just these sorts of choices.
- Unit quality: the rules allow for four quality designations – Guards, Veteran, Drilled and Recruits and are strict about limiting the highest quality to only the very best. Some of you may be disappointed that your own favourites don’t make guard quality here. In addition, there’s an additional Elite rating that can be applied to the Veteran, Drilled and Recruits quality designations that offers a morale bonus but no other performance advantage. It’s designed to reflect when a unit has a high degree of self-confidence.
- Army sizes in the game: Gives an indication of the size of opposing forces that the rules are designed to cope with. It should come as no surprise that divisional actions come at the lower end while much larger encounters are possible and I know Barry and his friends have playtested the rules on scenarios for full-scale battles like Ligny.
- Basing your models: this section explains that the rules are designed to cope with a range of existing basing conventions but recommend 15mm per figure frontages for infantry and 20mm frontages for cavalry (for 28mm miniatures). Again, pragmatism reigns and slightly larger frontages are OK too. Detailed suggestions are covered for basing (formed) infantry, skirmishers, cavalry, artillery and field/general officers. The final version of the rules will include illustrative photographs of basing.
There is one potentially controversial area in which Barry has deviated from conventional wisdom. His basing scheme for artillery calls for more than just the guns of a battery to be taken into account for unit depth. In an attempt to reflect the reality of the train of each battery, the Republic to Empire rules designate an area behind each battery as a no-go area for other units. Now some may find this clutters up their tables but I think the idea has promise.
Overall, my initial impression is favourable, bordering on enthusiastic but I shall have to wait to see more of the game mechanics before reaching a conclusion. What this extract shows is that Republic to Empire is a big battalions ruleset after my own heart and that I’ll be able to use figures I base for General de Brigade for it too. The question that can’t be answered at this stage is what will Republic to Empire offer over General de Brigade?
Posted in Forward Patrol, Rulesets | Tagged: Barry Hilton, Clarence Harrison, David Imrie, League of Augsburg, Republic to Empire | 4 Comments »
Posted by Martin on August 7, 2008
As of tomorrow night, I’m off on my holidays for two weeks so don’t expect much action here. By way of compensation, I thought I’d give you a few things to chew over in my absence.
Firstly, I’ve picked up on some stuff going on over at TAG. They’ve already started on a Richard Ansell scuplted range of Napoleonic Austrians which look nice from the pictures I’ve seen (pity they weren’t at Salute in the Spring for me to see these figures in the flesh). Now it sounds as though work has begun on some 1809 Saxons to complement the Austrians. In digging around to find out more I discovered the TAG Forum (another fine example of me being unable to see what’s right under my nose). If you register for this and go into the Napoleonic forum there’s quite a few treats in store including several work-in-progress shots on the sculpting for both the Austrian and Saxon ranges.
Meanwhile, a muckle big beastie is stirring north of the border (see, being married to a Scot means I know how to speak the lingo). Messrs. Imrie and Hilton have teamed up again and they’re in the throes of a new Napoleonic project that promises to be of epic proportions. Some early painting photos have appeared on Steve Dean’s forums but David and Barry have set up a sort of blog to document their progress in the League of Augburg site. At a 1:5 figure ratio, the size of some of the units will drain the blood from your faces – David is in the middle of painting one French battalion of over a hundred figures. Needless to say, I’ll be following this closely. To think I’m having trouble finishing a 30-odd figure unit!
Lastly, I just wanted to pick up on a couple of comments/requests:
@Phil (and others): it’s Summer hols for Calpe too. When we’re all back to normal in September I’ll bring you an update about the infamous vulcanizer problems and the 1813 Saxons. If things work out, I might even have a special photo-story posting to share.
@Simon: I haven’t forgotten your request about jaeger pictures. It’s just that life’s been hectic in the run-up to the holiday. What I hope to do is take some new pictures with the new camera using the lamp shade light box idea I mentioned recently.
If you’re in bonnie Scotland over the next two weeks, look and for me and say hello. Also, I’ll be at Colours 2008 next month but probably on the Saturday rather than the Sunday this year due to a social engagement diary clash.
UPDATE (8 Aug 2008): I knew there was something else I meant to mention. The latest Foundry e-mail newsletter has announced that they’ll be having an open day in the Autumn. No actual date has been sent yet but they are look for volunteers to bring along their own armies of Foundry models and put on games upin Nottingham, especially if you have forces for Foundry’s 1644 English Civil War rules or Medieval Warfare rules. Not Napoleonic, I know, but it might make a fun outing.
Posted in Announcements, Forward Patrol | Tagged: Austria, Barry Hilton, David Imrie, Foundry, League of Augsburg, Saxony, TAG | 3 Comments »