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"Why Napoleonic over 18th century?" Topic

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1,100 hits since 18 May 2017
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Largoras18 May 2017 5:24 p.m. PST

So, I have decided to do 15mm miniatures in either the 1700s as a whole, because I like the diversity in diplomacy and how I can make any country fight any other country with my models, but I also want to do Napoleonic Wars, because I really love the uniforms and a few other things.

However, for the moment I really only want to delve into one range, so if anyone feels strongly about interests in NW please share them.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2017 5:42 p.m. PST

Obviously a matter or taste, and I've done both periods multiple times. I think the best case for the Napoleonic Wars is on the tabletop, and at a fairly low tactical level. Napoleonic infantry have maneuver columns and squares, and some of them are capable of both skirmishing and fighting in formation. Also smaller formations are more likely to maneuver independently, so you've got a wider range of historical brigade to division size battles, and the tactical range of the opposing forces is wider.

In the 18th Century, unless you depart for the colonies or hold a Jacobite uprising, however many diplomatic sides you have, you can make a case for fighting ut the battles Grant style with only two armies and perhaps a small "swing force" of allies or auxilliaries. Of course, you can be fussier, but you don't need to.

You pays your money…

Largoras18 May 2017 6:15 p.m. PST

Yeah, I was thinking of me and my friends just making alternate history scenarios and campaigns, such as Britain fighting the Russians and other countries do their own diplomacy etc etc, along with ofcourse historical battles and scenarios. Which, I think would be a lot of fun to do both alternate history and accurate history.

coopman Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2017 6:35 p.m. PST

You have the charisma of Napoleon himself. And the Napoleonic era is one of the greatest periods of balance between the three arms of infantry, cavalry and artillery. Smoothbore musketry is not powerful enough to guarantee the stoppage of a determined cavalry charge. Only in square are the infantry relatively safe from cavalry. And you have such a large variety of colorful uniforms, but this is also true of the armies of the 1700's. I have AWI armies in 28mm and Napoleonics in 15mm. 28mm F&IW figures are waiting to be painted up. Pick one era to do first and then do the other one after that.

John Miller Inactive Member18 May 2017 6:44 p.m. PST

Well I played 18th Century until the mid 1980s and enjoyed it. What got me interested in Napoleonics was the great assortment of beautiful uniforms and, what appeared to me at least, the intense interaction between the three combat arms. Of course the 18th century has its" own appeal, more stately perhaps, more of a gentleman's affair maybe. Napoleonics seems more of a barroom brawl while still maintaining a great air of romance, at least for me. John Miller

steamingdave4719 May 2017 12:05 a.m. PST

I play WSS, SYW and Napoleonics.
Tactics get more fluid over that 100 year period and I think playing a Napoleonic game is more challenging, although I really enjoy all three. Nothing much to choose re variety of uniforms, although parade uniforms in Napoleonic era did take on a degree of extrvagance which makes painting a real challenge.
As for "romance"; I have just finished reading "Nine Years War: The British Army in Flanders" and am now reading " The Spanish Ulcer". Nothing romantic about either the earlier or later period, just misery, brutality and death for most of the participants.

Green Tiger19 May 2017 1:08 a.m. PST

I like them both – Napoleonic is more accessible – there are more books and figure ranges but I personally think the 18th century is more interesting.

Personal logo Cardinal Hawkwood Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2017 2:59 a.m. PST

why indeed?, one could ask.

Altefritz19 May 2017 4:53 a.m. PST

Yes, why?

Perris070719 May 2017 5:32 a.m. PST

Shakoes kick butt over tricornes.

Marc at work19 May 2017 5:50 a.m. PST

More happening on the table top – 18th century wars tend to be long lines shooting each other – a gross simplification, but close to the truth in reality to pass muster for this discussion.

Naps tends to have more going on – columns, squares, cavalry types, skirmishers, different artillery deployments – just MORE really.

I do both.

Mind you, if you and your mates want to do more "Imagi" based, then the 18th century is "traditional" – my tricornes are Imagi-nations.

21eRegt Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2017 7:19 a.m. PST

I game horse and musket from 1750ish to post ACW, but if I could only do one it would be Napoleonics. I suppose the main draw is the personalities across the board. Very few stoic figures hiding under powdered wigs. As others have noted the action is more dynamic in general with broad maneuvering and both strategic and tactical traps.

OTOH, you can't beat the era of the Lace Wars for Imagi-nation use. More of our memorable games of late have fallen into that category. So I love it all, but the Napoleonic Wars win out in the end.

GurKhan19 May 2017 7:41 a.m. PST

Well, if you do want to do both, but to start with only one, why not do it in chronological order? Start with the C18th and do Nappies later, thus experiencing tactical progression and innovation on the tabletop?

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2017 7:50 a.m. PST

If it has to be an "either/or" choice because you only have the funds for one period, or the patience to paint one army or set of armies, you can play both periods with the same troops. If you like Phil Barker's rules, you can use the same set.

There is nothing to stop you playing Blenheim with Napoleonic troops. There is nothing to stop you playing Quatre Bras with C18 troops. It will look just fine.

Ligny, for example: link


The rules in Charge! have much more of a Napoleonic feel than a War of the Austrian Succession feel, despite the troops used: link

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member19 May 2017 12:20 p.m. PST

Oh, I'd rather wear a tricorne all day than a shako.

Buckeye AKA Darryl19 May 2017 12:30 p.m. PST

Probably the option of more countries to choose from, more personalities we know more about, far more battles (seemingly) during the Nappie era, and more options for colorful uniforms?

14Bore19 May 2017 2:54 p.m. PST

I really could have gone whole hog on the 7yw instead of Napoleoic. But thats the way the cookies crumbled.

laretenue19 May 2017 3:17 p.m. PST

Do both: Bonaparte's Italian campaign. Small armies and lopsided tactics.

John Miller Inactive Member19 May 2017 4:43 p.m. PST

steamingdave47: There is some reason, or reasons, why grown men are playing at war with little toy soldiers. It would seem there is some attraction in this for all of us, or we wouldn't be here. Call it whatever you like, I call it romance. John Miller

nsolomon9919 May 2017 9:21 p.m. PST

I love both periods, have armies for and game both periods … but I'll now introduce a new consideration into the decision making process other than the worthwhile factors outlined above.

Sets of rules – there is a much wider availability of rules sets for the Napoleonic period and it is therefore much easier to find a set of rules that meets your needs. I wish it were otherwise but its not! I'd say do BOTH periods but since you're asking about where to start I'd say you have more rules choices with Napoleonics.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2017 9:24 p.m. PST

Please post this question to the SYW board too. I would like too see what they think.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2017 9:32 p.m. PST

I have never found a set of Napoleonic rules I like. Nothing is perfect and I get that. But no set of rules checks off half of the boxes on my list.

14Bore20 May 2017 4:13 a.m. PST

I even find the uniforms of the 7yw more interesting, have a few of my Russian grenadiers with mitres

nsolomon9920 May 2017 5:53 a.m. PST

Rallynow, then why not write your own? You can put emphasis on those elements you feel are most important and capture the feel and flavor of the period in a way that matches the pictures in your own mind.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2017 2:20 p.m. PST

The balance of Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery during the Napoleonic wars. Artillery was on the rise and Cavalry would soon be on the decline, yet still in balance compared to the previous decades and the decades to come.

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP22 May 2017 9:47 a.m. PST

I'm interested in the period 1685-1870. I don't see it as an either/or question.

Overall I play more Napoleonic than 18thC since I', not a fan of the rules that my gaming group uses for 18thC.

Each period has it's appeal though.

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