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"Two periods, both alike in dignity" Topic

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Louisbourg Grenadiers04 Dec 2008 6:46 p.m. PST

Ah, the 18th Century and the Napoleonic period! Does anybody else have a hard time deciding between the two. I flop back and forth between the two in all aspects; Reading, movies, miniature collecting, etc.

One naturally leads into the other. Am in the process of reading 'Washingtons Crossing' and it's all 18th Century linear warfare and Redcoats, Rebels and Hessians and then I see on the web King & Country release Dutch Red Lancers.

When I check out the miniatures pages which forum do I click on first – 18th Century or Napoleonic.

On my book case I have Chandler's 'Campaigns', Graves 'Fix Bayonets' and Cordingly's 'Cochrane' are next too Fowler's 'Empires at War', Brumwel's 'Paths of Glory' and Duffy's 'The 45'. Plus more examples as above.

If they were women one would be the wife and one would be the mistress (lol) but which one is which?

Two periods, both alike in dignity.


Whatisitgood4atwork04 Dec 2008 6:52 p.m. PST

C18 would be the mistress. Seemingly prim and proper on the outside, but just scratch the surface and….

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2008 7:00 p.m. PST

Lace Wars have dignity. Napoleonics is an unseemly brawl.

But, to answer your question…
Both are mistresses. However, Lace Wars are the Victoria's Secret Christmas special, and Napoleonics are a seedy local promotion wrestling match, with a Women's TLC Lumberjack match, held at a truckstop Gentleman's Club.

aecurtis Fezian04 Dec 2008 8:04 p.m. PST

"Two periods, both alike in dignity."

A corpse on a battlefield from either century is notably devoid of dignity. A young man trying to hold his bowels in his gaping abdomen while crying for his mother lacks dignity in any era. Dead, bloated horses with their hooves in the air are singularly without dignity. Tired, starving, poxed camp followers have usually forgotten what dignity ever felt like.

The chocolate-box uniforms, flags, and fanfares are just a layer of cosmetics on the face of a raddled old tart. She has ever lured young men with her paint and fancy clothes, only to leave them suffering and dying and sick at heart for being so foolish.


nsolomon9904 Dec 2008 9:26 p.m. PST

My goodness, HEEEAVYYY stuff from you Allen …. true of course, but heavy stuff for a Forum on "playing with toy soldiers".

Cant argue with Louisbourg – have the same problem myself ONLY I dont see it as a problem but rather a wonderful blessing. My 2 favourite periods smack bang up against each other. Its wonderful to have choices, and such magnificent ones, so well served by books, figures, rules, etc. In this respect we truly live in a "golden age"!

raducci04 Dec 2008 10:18 p.m. PST

I prefer a "walk on the wild side". Napoleonics of course.
Lace Wars are a little too restrained for my liking.

malcolmmccallum04 Dec 2008 10:50 p.m. PST

One is Classical, the other Romantic.

Martin Rapier05 Dec 2008 2:04 a.m. PST

I prefer to read about Lace Wars than play them, too many sieges and not enough battles. My attempts to produce a Marlburian logistics game have so far failed dismally.

Whereas Napoleonics, more historical battles of all shapes and sizes than you can shake a stick at. Oh, the glory.

Jeremy Sutcliffe05 Dec 2008 2:16 a.m. PST

One takes the point about the horror of battle casualties – something to reflect on across all periods.

However there is a sense of gentlemanly resrve to the 18thC, perhaps because the French citizen armies changed everything from the smaller "professional" armies.

WKeyser05 Dec 2008 2:52 a.m. PST

That is an easy question do both. The first Napoleonics is the only real period to wargame, and the other is fine distraction from the epic of Napoleonics.

Of course just my humble and un-biased opinon.

Monstro05 Dec 2008 3:50 a.m. PST

I have a more reliable method of deciding these things.

Which set of period costume would I look the most fabulous wearing!
Theres just something about a powdered wig that the scruffy Naps cant match. ;)

NoLongerAMember05 Dec 2008 5:16 a.m. PST

true, mice don't live in the Napoleanic costume…

Prinz Geoffrey05 Dec 2008 5:49 a.m. PST

I was going to pursue napoleonics and bought some vistula legion figures when a former history professor of mine started to discuss the merrits of the "first world war" as he called the seven years war and all of the different theaters one could fight in. After reading about the sport of kings it was a done deal and I only have the nappy itch every once in a while when sharpe's rifles is on.

vtsaogames05 Dec 2008 6:22 a.m. PST

I game both – and the AWI too.

Louisbourg Grenadiers05 Dec 2008 6:36 a.m. PST

Really Allen, if you feel that strong perhaps you shouldn't be visiting the miniatures page. You don't have to lecture me about the horror of a battlefield and the after effects having seen it for myself.

The 18th Century/Napoleonic period is far enought removed from us that anything we read, collect or game will not hurt the people who lived and died through it.

Guthroth05 Dec 2008 6:43 a.m. PST

I could never see the point in the WSS/WAS/SYW period. Napoleonics and 19thC stuff was good, earlier H&M was BORING – until this year ……..

First I bought some WAS books, then came Might and Reason and a sizeable army of Brits and Allies vs French, but I didn't feel that M&R – a nice enough system for large battles though it is – was quite what I was looking for.

Then someone suggested Koenig Krieg ….. Ahhhhhh ….

The V2 of the rules is a nice system that rewards thought and planning, uses battalions of Foot and regiments of Horse and can handle the oddities of 2-gun detachments.

Twenty-five battalions and 5 regiments of 15mm lead later I am ready to play a first decent game next Friday.

After I started work on them, I found out the rules are on the verge of being republished in a new glossy format by some Aussies. The first set covers the WAS and SYW, and they promise matching expansions for WSS, AWI and revolutionary Wars (-1804).

I'll watch the series with interest.

Louisbourg Grenadiers05 Dec 2008 6:49 a.m. PST

Hello Guthroth, those Aussies have a good forum for the rules and support on their website.


Pictors Studio05 Dec 2008 6:52 a.m. PST

Odd, my only figures with their guts hanging out are from either the present day or the very far future. They are usually lumbering about going on about brains.

None of my WSS figs or Napoleonic figs are in the apparently popular "holding guts in and groaning for mother pose."

Although I do have some wonderful dead figs for both periods.

Jamesonsafari05 Dec 2008 7:22 a.m. PST

both are visually attractive uniform and painting wise. However the SYW had smaller more manageable armies. Napoleonics can be a black hole of lead once you get going; you always need one more division.

Guthroth05 Dec 2008 8:14 a.m. PST

I'm a member of the forum at where I think I've made an impacty with some 'ineteresting' posts.


Steelback05 Dec 2008 10:06 a.m. PST

You are in the wrong hobby old buddy,you should be writing
novels instead….Oh hold on a minute you,re the guy that
tried to tell me that it was an illusion,when I described
a Roman shield design that I had seen when I was in Rome.
I thought I knew the name and style of the post. (LOL)


138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP05 Dec 2008 10:24 a.m. PST

Actually I'm of the opinion that the period of the Second Hundred Years War from the War of the League of Augsburg" until the Cent Jours is one long war with minor variations and the one most worth of study.

anleiher05 Dec 2008 10:27 a.m. PST

Ease up on Allen gents. It's just the early holiday blahs kicking in. Give him a mug of coffee and warm fireplace. He'll be right as rain in no time.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP05 Dec 2008 11:00 a.m. PST

I started with Napoleonics about a year ago, and have now started on 7YW(mostly for the tricorne, damn those look cool)

I still havn't decided which uniforms I like the most 18c or Napoleonic,(except for the hat)

But as said over me, Both is the best option

aecurtis Fezian05 Dec 2008 11:46 a.m. PST

"It's just the early holiday blahs kicking in."

No, it was remembering last evening the young soldiers I saw over the course of… I guess about seventeen years, from the first one to the last, either mangled and dead, or mangled and dying. Never saw much dignity in it. Although the last one…

A young track commander, whose track had rolled and pinned him half in and half out of the hatch, effectively cut in two, but only alive because the weight of the vehicle kept him from bleeding out. As he talked with his colonel, who explained gently that there was nothing that could be done for him--yes, that young man kept his dignity.

That was not long after the last "war" but one. It's been a while, another sixteen years or so, I suppose. It's still pretty vivid in my memory. I think there are a couple of other TMPers who knew that trooper.

I game both periods; I play with toy soldiers, but I just don't forget that there's reality behind the "coolness" of war. I don't lecture anyone, just comment when something sounds a false note. If that offends, I can't really apologize.


18th Century Guy Supporting Member of TMP05 Dec 2008 11:52 a.m. PST

In my unbiased opinion Napoleonics are the unwashed heathens of wargaming. 18th Century is the only way to go. Of course, that is my totally unbiased opinion. (wink, wink, nod, nod)

Louisbourg Grenadiers05 Dec 2008 12:05 p.m. PST

Allen, I'll apologize for getting snappy.

My comment about "Two periods, both alike in dignity" was lifted from Shakespeare. I was not talking about war itself but gaming those periods.

The cost of war is only too real. Today three fellow Canadian Soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. I pray for them and their families.

donlowry05 Dec 2008 12:30 p.m. PST

>"Give him a mug of coffee and warm fireplace."<

And don't forget to spike the coffee. Maybe that will help him to overcome the impulse to wax poetic.

Of course war is hell. But playing with toy soldiers is fun.


Porthos05 Dec 2008 1:15 p.m. PST

Allen, sometimes this point creeps up in our discussions. But I feel it is principally wrong: what we do has nothing to do with war. We play movies. I can enthousiastically support Amnesty International, while at the same time kill my prisoners of war on the table. As Phil Barker said: there are no tin widows ! WAR is NOT cool, warGAMES are. War is just an ugly violence.

badger2205 Dec 2008 2:54 p.m. PST

As I dont know all that Allen has done, I dont know if he has seen more or less than me, most likely more. But I have to say that I to often see behind whats on the table. I particularly cringe when somebody sacrifices a full battalion of troops for a possible position gain, with the comment, "there goes a brave Rgt"

While most of us work hard to keep it all seperate, I dont believe we ever come all the way back. And it seems to get worse as you get older, like me.

kaaawa 9673005 Dec 2008 2:58 p.m. PST

Though far from the fields of conflict, I find 18C FIW & SYW )to be the best. Wish there was some new 15mm minis coming out….

Louisbourg Grenadiers05 Dec 2008 3:50 p.m. PST

Another aspect for the two periods for those of us on the North American side of the pond is they both had related conflicts. For the SYW we have the French and Indian War, and for the Napoleonic Wars we have the War of 1812.

Not to forget the AWI also.

KTravlos05 Dec 2008 5:05 p.m. PST

The most dignified periods are war-game periods:)

Dave Crowell05 Dec 2008 7:39 p.m. PST

I'm for loose files and Amrican scramble, so I can't say as my period is dignified.

AWI – America's first civil war.

abdul666lw06 Dec 2008 9:04 a.m. PST

At the age of 10 I started collecting info. and images of Napoleonic uniforms (Bucquoy…) – not that the was much other choice in France in the mid-"50! But at 15 I was already oversaturated with nitpickings about the actual pattern of the shako plate worn by the Nème de Ligne during the winter 1807-1808. I explored other eras, and at 20 had no longer any inclination toward soldiers in stingy clothes wearing flowerpots on their heads. 200% subjective of course, but for me the Lace Wars -the WAS even more than the SYW- saw the optimum of H&M military elegance.

Simple and elegant linear warfare
With the Revolutions (American and French) small professional armies are largely replaced with masses of volunteers and draftees – basically civilians in arms.
Meaning that formations previously known: infantry squares (Blenheim), screens of skirmishers and attack columns (the Plains of Abrahams) but rarely used became comon-merely because the infantry was no longer able hold its line, to remaian steady exchanching murdererous fire with 'the shop across the street' at 100 paces, to stop a cavalry charge by its fire. Troops type so far (normally) absent from a regular, pitched battle (light types, militia…) became commonplace, in units of their own and as subunits (voltigeurs..).
As Charles 'The War Game' Grant demonstrated, you can refight major battles of the mid-18th C. with only 3 troop types -infantry, cavalry, artillery- and 2 formations -linae and column. Ideal for simple rules yet very pleasant games, (and for attracting newcomers to the hobby).
Of course you CAN add later, at leisure, skirmish lines, columns, squares, 'morale & training classes', light troops, militia, 'irregular charging infantry' (Highlanders up to "45..) and even open the Pandora box of the dreaded 'national characteristics'. But it's entirely up to you. All are compulsory for 'Napoleonics'.

Ethics (?)
Allen is right, of course. But the Lace Wars were basically wars without hatred. The 'knightly' attitude, the taste for panache, affected by the officers reflected on the soldiery. Of course there was blood, suffering, mutilations… but, like to-day football / soccer players (but without the obscene incomes), soldiers were professionals doing their job, often to their best, often with pride and devotion to the Regiment. They killed, but were not indifferent to courage and 'good workmanship'. The 'enemy' was more an 'opponent', alliances changed (though France and Great Britain *always* managed to be at each other's throat) and 'transfers' (deserters, POW) were allowed so 'the enemy' could become an ally or a comrade-in-arms. Contemporary texts show that most at least sincerely tried to spare the civilians (except during sieges, of course, where 'embargo' and bombings had the same consequences as to-day).
With Revolutions and wars of independance (all *civil wars* at least at the start) at least one side fields bloodthirsty mobs maddened by fanaticism -just as with Wars of Religion, with the same consequences. At no time in Flanders during the WAS were whole villages massacred, babies bunrt in the bakers' owens, POW mass slaughtered… as during the French Revolution.
And this goes far further than ideology-crazed volunteers. As soon as you have an army based on *draft*, as soon as you tear numerous young men from their family, home and civilian life to send them to the bloodbath you *have to* -to keep them motivated and merely willing- mobilize them with hatred. And to keep this hatred burning by constant propganda de-humanizing the enemy, military and civilians alike. Recent wars largely devoided of political / ideological content, 'classical' wars between countries but involving draft armies: WWI, WWI in the Pacific… remind us of this unsavory reality.

Some among us take greater pleasure from the building of a fictitious country (its geography, history, economics, genealogy of the ruling line, current political situation and court schemes) and [or 'at least, / to start with'] an imaginary army, to design its uniforms and flags… than to search (in Osprey, generally..) for the historically accurate cuff pattern of this or that regiment. A few Napoleonic Imagi-Nations exist: but the Lace Wars are their niche 'par excellence'.

18th Century Guy Supporting Member of TMP06 Dec 2008 9:10 a.m. PST


Excellent comments and an excellent perspective.

Louisbourg Grenadiers07 Dec 2008 2:14 p.m. PST


Interesting point on ethics. I don't feel right about collecting or gaming anything like WWI, WWII, Vietnam/modern having family members and having known men that fought,lived and died through those times.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with gaming and enjoying those periods, its just not for me.

Something I don't agree with is kids these days and their video games. They have games out now being played by kids about Iraq and Afghanistan still while allied servicemen and women are fighting and dieing.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2008 2:31 p.m. PST

I don't see the diffrence between playing computer games about the Iraq war, and playing with model WW2 soldiers during WW2.
Kids(and adults) Will always play war even if the world never saw a real war again people would still play war.
I don't see the diffrence between playing a war thats 200 years old or a month old, people die in war, alwayas have.
I know soldiers that have been in Afhanistan, and come home and play war with BB guns, or play a computer game about the same war they just came from.

Louisbourg Grenadiers07 Dec 2008 2:35 p.m. PST

I can see your point there Gunfreak. Perhaps it is what each person is comfortable with.

KTravlos07 Dec 2008 10:53 p.m. PST

Any war-game is better than any war. One day we will dispense of war, and enjoy our war-games as they should be…the premier way to have fun. I have to say though, that I understand people who wish to avoid certain wars in war-games.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP08 Dec 2008 5:57 a.m. PST

I can see your point there Gunfreak. Perhaps it is what each person is comfortable with

Don't get me wrong, If I had a personal conection I probebly wouldn't play a game(digital or with figures) about it.

Sparker08 Dec 2008 6:37 a.m. PST

Much more tactical development during the Napoleonic wars, the evolution (introduction!?) of columnar impulse warfare over linear warfare ie second generation warfare. (Thats what they told me at Dartmouth anyway!)

donlowry08 Dec 2008 4:25 p.m. PST

>"even if the world never saw a real war again people would still play war…"<

Probably so. And, I must say, we already have enough wars in the history books to keep me plenty busy, so don't start any more on my account.

donlowry08 Dec 2008 4:29 p.m. PST

I live in a senior-citizens area, and there are still plenty of WWII vets around, and I must admit I would feel reluctant to invite one of them to join in a WWII game.

I recall hearing of a lady who was visiting a gaming convention (probably with her grandkids or some such) and saw kids playing a WWII boardgame that had counters with swatiskas on them. She became quite upset. Seems she was a holocaust survivor, or something like that. Gives you a different perspective.

abdul666lw09 Dec 2008 12:30 p.m. PST

I recall hearing of a lady who was visiting a gaming convention (probably with her grandkids or some such) and saw kids playing a WWII boardgame that had counters with swatiskas on them. She became quite upset. Seems she was a holocaust survivor, or something like that. Gives you a different perspective.
Fairly understandable – but leads to 'politically correct' decisions such as selling models of Luftwaffe aircrafts without the decals of tail swastikas. Swastikas are already forbidden in many WWII videogames, I read. Next time Mig models will have to be sold without red stars decals, CSA flags will be censored not to hurt the descendants of slaves… Any excess is silly, I think.

Fergal09 Dec 2008 1:23 p.m. PST

I would say that offending slaves with symbols of there oppression and offending the decedents of slaves are two separate things.

Fergal09 Dec 2008 1:23 p.m. PST

there should be their

donlowry09 Dec 2008 5:12 p.m. PST

Flying the Confederate flag over the courthouse is one thing, putting it on a unit of 15mm miniatures is something entirely different. Same goes for swastikas.

But I don't know if they were ever able to convince the lady that the game had nothing to do with Nazi ideology etc.

Louisbourg Grenadiers09 Dec 2008 5:46 p.m. PST

Well this discussion has certainly changed from the theme I had started but in a good way. Very interesting opinions on wargame ethics. It's too bad though that accurtis has hit the stifle button instead of taking part.

I just like to make clear to the readers of this thread that it had nothing to do with the glory/horror of war in these two periods. My intent was more toward the flavour of gaming/collecting these periods. I must choose my words better next time and not has Allen says sounding "a false note". I suppose you can't please everybody and your bound in this political correct to offend someone.


Private Matter09 Dec 2008 6:12 p.m. PST

Like most on this thread, I enjoy both periods but I'm especially fond of FIW skirmish so my lot is in with the 18th century. Diffently the naughty and fun mistress of the era.

As for the horrors of war, I always research the horrors that are specific to the periods I game to get a better understanding of the grunts on the ground. For me wargamming is more than just a game; its a study of history and the human condition at its best and worst simultaniously

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