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"Best Napoleonic Battles to Wargame" Topic

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2,403 hits since 30 Sep 2012
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Leadjunky Supporting Member of TMP30 Sep 2012 11:41 a.m. PST

This will most likely generate a a ton of differing opinions, but here we go. What are the best battles to produce a good game; keeps multiple players involved, interesting terrain, objectives, forces, etc. and a decent chance of some type of victory for each side? Thanks.

yoakley30 Sep 2012 11:47 a.m. PST

Well the one I've seen most refights of (excluding Waterloo) is Quatre Bras.

Diadochoi Inactive Member30 Sep 2012 12:24 p.m. PST

Aspern-Essling is interesting with various "what ifs"

MajorB30 Sep 2012 12:41 p.m. PST

Any of the battles of the Peninsular War.

Diadochoi Inactive Member30 Sep 2012 12:51 p.m. PST

Margard – any of the battles? Somosierra? Tudela?

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP30 Sep 2012 12:59 p.m. PST

I like Wagram and Aspern-Essling

dam0409 Inactive Member30 Sep 2012 1:26 p.m. PST

Battle of Eckmühl

JonFreitag30 Sep 2012 2:06 p.m. PST

Rivoli and Marengo.

JCBJCB30 Sep 2012 2:09 p.m. PST

Eylau, Sacile and Raab.

MajorB30 Sep 2012 2:18 p.m. PST

Margard – any of the battles? Somosierra? Tudela?

Oh alright, any of the battles of the Peninsular War involving the British Army.

Sparker Inactive Member30 Sep 2012 3:13 p.m. PST

Yes I'm going to throw my 2 cents in for Quatre Bras as well – quite a long, narrow battlefield, so easy to put on a table, and if you can get 4 tables in a cruciform shape for the crossroads you are laughing…

Need to do some prebattle admin though to get the Allied reinforcements arriving in dribs and drabs. Actually if you can disguise the battle as something else that helps, so that the French team keep expecting D'Erlon's Corps to pitch up….

Once played it that way, and the French commander kept demanding D'Erlon's Corps and getting various confusing excuses – lost his temper in the end so had to reveal all – still a great game….

Gonsalvo30 Sep 2012 5:10 p.m. PST

Eylau, Sacile, Raab and Wagram havce all worked very well on the tabletop for us. Marengo and Castiglione from the earlier era work well also.

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP30 Sep 2012 7:02 p.m. PST

Austerlitz is my favorite because you can break the battle down into three separate battles, neither of which are going to be a sure winner for the French.

Probably Waterloo is the most refought wargame scenario in the genre, with good reason. I hope to do Waterloo one day.

21eRegt30 Sep 2012 7:37 p.m. PST

Albuera and Talavera make good games. I've done both two or three times each with varying results every time.

Bandit Inactive Member30 Sep 2012 7:44 p.m. PST

Golymin is a great one so long as you use appropriate victory conditions. The French are horribly hobbled by the mud and both arrive and attack piecemeal but have a very aggressive goal: break the Russian line and cut the line of retreat.

The Russians actually have very moderate goals. Hold the defensive line and retire after nightfall.

While the Russians are outnumbered like 2:1, it is a hard fight for the French.

Eylau is an excellently balance battle, very exceptional from a wargaming standpoint.


The Bandit

Jim Selzer30 Sep 2012 7:50 p.m. PST

The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations,because everyone was there but the brits as usual

Fat Wally30 Sep 2012 11:43 p.m. PST

Hagelburg 1813 – Landwehr and Cossacks vs French
Eckmuhl 1809
Fuentes De Onoro 1811

…are amongst my favourites.

valleyboy30 Sep 2012 11:48 p.m. PST

One of the problems or barriers I find to a refight is managing to convert the actual field of battle into a reasonable tabletop represntation

I'm hopeless at looking at maps and then coming up with a reasonable tabletop plan

Anybody got any ideas?

TMPWargamerabbit01 Oct 2012 12:00 a.m. PST

My favorites are the battles which generally don't make the top 100 list.

Recent adventures in the last year: Sacile 1809, Novi 1799, Gaza 1799, Alcolea 1808, Voltri 1796, Ligny 1815, Warve 1815, Alexandra 1801, Raab 1809, Caldiero 1805, Elchingen 1805, Wittenberg 1813, La Rothiere 1814.

Sorry, last played QB and Waterloo about 10 years ago.

The interesting thing is the collection and playing group can handle all these different periods and nationalities….and then some.

Next scenario to be posted is Montenotte 1796 in a few days.

Wurzburg, Dego and Baylen in the planning stages for the year end games.


advocate01 Oct 2012 1:51 a.m. PST

Quatre Bras. Though ideally played as a hidden scenario…

Green Tiger01 Oct 2012 2:54 a.m. PST

Bytoor 42 – RHA rocket troop served with teh Swedish contingent

arthur181501 Oct 2012 7:29 a.m. PST

The battles of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane 1814 from the Anglo-American War of 1812 – which I regard as Napoleonic because of the weapons and tactics – with players commanding individual battalions or detachments of cavalry or artillery.

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP01 Oct 2012 8:58 a.m. PST

One of the problems or barriers I find to a refight is managing to convert the actual field of battle into a reasonable tabletop represntation

I'm hopeless at looking at maps and then coming up with a reasonable tabletop plan

Anybody got any ideas?

I think this one depends if you are doing a game for a show or a big one-off, or if you are just using it as the basis for an entertaining game. If you are just writing a scenario for a normal game night, you could try this:

1. Find a 'detailed enough' map of the battlefield.

2. Draw a rectangle or square the shape of your table around the area of the action on tracing paper (and according to the ground scale of your rules, if your rules specify such things).

3. Copy the map out on the tracing paper (this stage is optional but helpful)

4. Over the top of the traced map, use felt-tips to go over big features or features mentioned in the accounts of the battle. Add in things like walls and fences if they are mentioned in the account but not shown on the map. Be bold and ignore as much as you can. Simplify contour lines as much as possible. Ignore features your rules don't take account of.

5. The stuff you have highlighted is your terrain. Just use this to set-up the table, using the closest piece of actual terrain you have to that on your tracing paper.

That is what I do anyway and seems to work okay. Hope that helps.


TMPWargamerabbit01 Oct 2012 12:11 p.m. PST


Whirlwind has the basic thoughts on map to tabletop. Google has a terrain feature which gives the aerial view of the basic ground heights.

Here is a sample of my hand drawn maps: Ligny 1815 and Voltri 1796


Jim Selzer01 Oct 2012 10:25 p.m. PST

ok so every one was there

valleyboy02 Oct 2012 12:52 p.m. PST

thanks for the tips gents

Fredloan06 Oct 2012 5:48 a.m. PST

anything in the 1809 Campaign,

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member07 Oct 2012 11:32 p.m. PST

I do like Dennewitz from 1813. It's a very interesting encounter-battle, which starts out with an Italian Division and Morand's French division (with better-than-average French infantry), supported by French, Polish and Wuerttemberg light cavalry, engaged with Tauentzein's Prussian IV Corps, which consists almost entirely of Landwehr (bar a single Reserve Regt).

Ney then brings up Wuerttemberg, Bavarian and French divisions, but they are then taken to task by Bulow's Prussian III Corps, stiffened by Russian artillery and Swedish cavalry and horse artillery.

Ney then brings up more French, two Saxon divisions, a Polish brigade and French and Saxon cavalry divisions, but the Allies bring up Winzingerode's Russian Corps and the rest of Swedish Corps.

It's a very interesting, finely-balanced, cosmopolitan battle with a dazzling array of uniforms, a very wide variety of troop qualities, lots of scope for manouevre and surprise and never-ending options for the players. We've played it six times, with totally different results every time.

TelesticWarrior Inactive Member08 Oct 2012 6:26 a.m. PST

All of them.

Ok, if pushed I would say for me it's a toss up between Aspern, Borodino, Lutzen, and Waterloo (if done right).
Dennewitz was a good shout too Mark.

If were talking Revolutionary period I'd say Castiglione, Magnano, Marengo and Hohenlinden.

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member09 Oct 2012 3:00 a.m. PST

I forgot that Dennewitz also includes a British rocket troop. What's not to like?

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2012 2:34 p.m. PST

A lot depends on what you consider 'Napoleonic' Do you for instance cover the Revolutionary wars. If so, are you willing to use the later period figures for them.

If so there is plenty of scope.For myself I prefer the following from the 1799 Campaign:


If your looking at the later wars 3-7th Coalition,a lot depends on the scale of the action. Don't be affraid to look at other theaters.Italy in 09. if you are really adventurous try the Neapolitian War (Murat's campaign during the 100 Days).

shthar04 Nov 2012 5:47 a.m. PST

No love for Dresden?

The young Guard.

The Royal Gardens.

The river dividing the battle in half so you can ignore the austrians getting slaughtered.

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