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©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0108 Feb 2018 9:31 p.m. PST

"How would you have fared as one Napoleon's marshals, or in command of a division of redoutable British redcoats under Wellington? Grand Battery offers you the chance to find out. This book includes all the rules you need to play miniature wargames set in the Napoleonic Wars, plus plenty of useful background information you need to get started.

There is a concise historical overview of the events and battles of the period, as well as sections on the weapons and tactics of the various armies. The buyer's guide gives an up-to-date survey of the wealth of ranges of miniatures available and advice on which are compatible with which. Organizational tables give a breakdown of typical formations for all the major combatants and most of the minor ones (any one for a Wurttemburg infantry division?), allowing you to structure your collection and also to organize hypothetical games quickly with 'off the peg' orders of battle. Three historical scenarios are also included, each with their own specific orders of battle, maps, objectives and victory conditions…"

picture


Main page
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Amicalement
Armand

redbanner414509 Feb 2018 5:53 a.m. PST

None of the reviews tell what a unit is in the game. Battalion? regiment? brigade? That's the first thing I want to know about a rule set.

4th Cuirassier09 Feb 2018 10:03 a.m. PST

There are reviews on Amazon too. Available on Kindle for under a fiver.
link

The reviewers there are underwhelmed.

"Each regiment is divided into five stands…" Generally stands are rarely mentioned in the primary literature…the book may explain but I am not clear how six, eight or nine French companies fit into 5 stands..or 7 Portuguese companies…or even four Prussian or Russian…

Tango0109 Feb 2018 10:13 a.m. PST

Thanks!.

Amicalement
Armand

evilgong09 Feb 2018 1:18 p.m. PST

Some of the reviews on Amazon are highly caustic, in a strange way I enjoyed reading them.

ernieR09 Feb 2018 2:33 p.m. PST

5 stands per regiment ? so not compatible with LaSalle or any other rule set i've heard of .

no thanks !

Cacadore s09 Feb 2018 6:07 p.m. PST

Why should you need one stand per company? Four is enough to form square. And is there anything to prevent you using more company stands?

4th Cuirassier10 Feb 2018 2:01 a.m. PST

French battalions comprised in total six, eight or nine grenadier, voltigeur and fusilier companies, each uniformed differently. If rules purport to depict battalion-level units, I don't see how you represent the unit correctly either visually or organisationally on five "stands", or why five is a better number than four, which was the basis of Prussian, Russian, and briefly Austrian organisation. What about a unit of five stands would tell you it's a company, a battalion, a brigade, a division, or indeed a whole corps?

It's noticeable that writers of the day didn't refer to battalions manoeuvring in stands. Nor indeed did they mention stands much at all. I may be misremembering, but I don't recall Mercer at Waterloo relating how his battery was attacked by successive stands of cavalry. The soldiers of the era all seemed to think the company substructure to a battalion was quite important, which is probably why it persists to this day.

It's possible that the rule writers have it right and the Napoleonic commanders had it wrong. Perhaps all the time, their four-, six-, seven-, eight-, nine- and ten-company battalions were in fact manoeuvring in five subdivisions and the commanders of the day were just too dumb to see it. Had they done so, no doubt they'd have seen the light and adopted a five-stand organisation. Hougoumont would have been defended by the light stands of the Foot Guards for example.

The likelier explanation, from the Amazon comments, is that the writers ripped off a set of ACW rules and that's where the five stands idea originates.

grahambeyrout10 Feb 2018 4:15 a.m. PST

To me, there are a number of significant features about the rules I feel I can deduce without reading them
a) They were published in 2011, yet I do not recall any previous reference to them in any website, blog, or rules discussion. I have spent the last 6 months researching rules for my new 10mm Napoleonic army. How come these rules did not register on my consciousness? I am not usually so ill-informed.
b) The authors are professional writers who seem to have churned out a wide range of books on a multitude of topics – mostly aviation. (Their "Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Norfolk" particularly takes my fancy) Make what you will of this. This does not automatically dam the rules (think HG Wells), but I do wonder what motive inspired the authors to write them
c) Whereas the publishers are still asking £19.99 GBP + postage, elsewhere it is being unloaded new for £7.00 GBP including postage (Amazon UK)

All is enough for me to suspect the rules will be of little use to me. Certainly I am not tempted to buy them..

Sparta10 Feb 2018 4:39 a.m. PST

Rpresenting companies as stands is not necessarily more historic. If you simply want stand as a reflection of unit strength I see no problem with a number of stands as long as thy are able to represent different formations. A bataalion could be anywere from 300-1000 mand strength.

If anything, if you want bases elated to historical regulations, you can use 4 bases for 4-8 peleton formation, which is anthing except french line 1808-15, which is a 6 peleton or 3 division system, which van use 3 bases.

Cacadore s10 Feb 2018 4:26 p.m. PST

4th Cuirassier
''It's noticeable that writers of the day didn't refer to battalions manoeuvring in stands. Nor indeed did they mention stands much at all. I may be misremembering, but I don't recall Mercer at Waterloo relating how his battery was attacked by successive stands of cavalry."

Isn't that because, unless they're drunk, soldiers don't need a square of card stuck to their feet to help them keep vertical?

What do you think?

4th Cuirassier10 Feb 2018 4:44 p.m. PST

I think it's more likely that stands are not mentioned because a stand is not in fact a tactical unit of any era.

Why a device to stop miniatures falling over should form the basis of unit organisation is quite baffling, if you think about it. It's as though guns were judged to be ineffective because miniature guns can't actually fire.

Marc at work11 Feb 2018 4:13 a.m. PST

LoL

grahambeyrout11 Feb 2018 6:13 a.m. PST

We really need a new thread here, relating to the question of basing. The subject is worth exploring.
I agree however that 5 bases to a battalion seems a very strange choice, when given the company structure of most European armies of the period

Sparta12 Feb 2018 2:31 a.m. PST

It is an interesting discussion all by itself. Does a stand of minis need to have anything to do with the tactical subdivisions or it is mainly a way of pushing figures around. In the eighties you had individual minis on separate stands, with ther most populat scales being 1:20 or 1:60. Now many rules have either batallion stand or a number of stand for each unit.

To me the most important is a reasonable groundscale to base size that makes the unit represent the correct width of terrain when in line and then being able to represent the bases as columns/square in some way, since the witdh of a column would be less of a tactical issue. Therefore number of bases according to strength of unit makes more sense to me fro at tactical representation perspective??

4th Cuirassier12 Feb 2018 3:40 a.m. PST

@ Sparta

Indeed. The odd thing about the five "stands" alluded to is that a five-way subdivision doesn't represent accurately how any battalion-size formation operated or manoeuvred. If there is no attempt to reflect sub-units of organisation or manoeuvre the "stands" have no foundation in anything at all and are then just arbitrary. At this point you could glue any old figures to the stands and they won't be any more wrong. You could use ACW figures and tell yourself you've got an ACW game going on. From reading the reviews that's what these rules were written for.

Basing is a trade-off between how figures look, how they portray units and how they portray manoeuvre. In pretty much every scale they are too deep but beyond that all basing conventions introduce error and inaccuracy and it's a matter of taste which inaccuracies you overlook and which bother you enough that you have to fix them.

Personally I think the battalion subdivisions into centre and flank companies were there for a reason and you lose something if you ignore them or abstract them away. Apart from anything else they tell you what size of unit you're looking at and they give you some painting variation while you're painting hundreds of the little bleeders. If you go for the grand tactics level where sux figures are a brigade or whatever, you have to abstract away things like columns, lines and squares, at which point your Napoleonic battle isn't going to look any different to an ACw, SYW, FIW etc battle. And as you can only fit so many figures onto a given playing space you are bathtubbing just the same. It's just that rather than bathtubbing the battle so that ten battalions are an army you're bathtubbing the units so that ten figures are a division. Horses for courses, but five stands are definitely puzzling.

arthur181512 Feb 2018 4:31 a.m. PST

I realised long ago that there is no way one can arrange the number of stands of wargame figures that comprises a battalion into a square without the latter formation occupying a far greater area than it should. The solution is to have some separate bases of the appropriate area according to the groundscale of one's rules that can replace the battalion's stands when necessary.

Sparta12 Feb 2018 5:06 a.m. PST

@ 4th cuirass

I agree to your points, and I am firmly entrenched in the multibase battalion camp – as you say each to his own about the level of abstraction that let you suspend disbelief when looking at your table :-)

I have discussed the merits of multibase battalions with Glen Pearce several times, and I guess it is just a matter of taste, similar to whether you need individual company bases.

It is interesting how firm our opinions are on the flank company issues when we are still unsure of when voltigeurs were detached as skirmishers and whether the french sometimes detached the third rank (as per Neys instruction)

4th Cuirassier12 Feb 2018 5:47 a.m. PST

@ Sparta

I'm happy to rethink how units should be used tactically, as new thinking emerges from time to time, but the constant is that there were differently uniformed subdivisions of the battalion, so I like to see those on the table. Function need not slavishly follow form, however, and to an extent the elite companies seem to have been morale management devices.

@ Arthur: Yes, square does really require a replacement unit to depict a battalion so formed. A 600-man British battalion would have been 200 yards or so wide in line, but in square it would have been maybe 25 yards wide on each face. There seems no way to reflect both of these footprints using the same figures. In fact you've just given me an idea for how to use spare kneeling Airfix figures, so thanks…

Decebalus13 Feb 2018 8:04 a.m. PST

Your argument, that a stand in wargaming as part of an unit has to represent something, is absolutely pointless. If a unit is a bataillon, than its frontage has to be equivalent to the frontage of a typical bataillon (the depth can never be correct in miniature wargaming). But how you get that, doesnt matter at all.

In Black Powder and General de Armee you can depict bataillons as small, normal and large. Most players will do that by using 3, 4 or 5 stands. But a large bataillon has obviously not more companies than a small one. Here the stands show something like the strength, but no subdivision of the bataillon.

Glenn Pearce13 Feb 2018 11:06 a.m. PST

@4th Cuirassier

"Personally I think the battalion subdivisions into centre and flank companies were there for a reason and you lose something if you ignore them or abstract them away. Apart from anything else they tell you what size of unit you're looking at and they give you some painting variation while you're painting hundreds of the little bleeders."

Why can't you show the different companies, size of a unit and the various uniforms on one base? Some people that use single base battalions do this.

"If you go for the grand tactics level where sux figures are a brigade or whatever, you have to abstract away things like columns, lines and squares, at which point your Napoleonic battle isn't going to look any different to an ACw, SYW, FIW etc battle. And as you can only fit so many figures onto a given playing space you are bathtubbing just the same. It's just that rather than bathtubbing the battle so that ten battalions are an army you're bathtubbing the units so that ten figures are a division. Horses for courses, but five stands are definitely puzzling."

I thought all horse & musket battles looked pretty much the same, except for the uniforms. Why do you think the Napoleonic battles should look different? Other then perhaps the occasional square I don't see anything else that looks different. I know some people in 6mm that have a few square bases that they simply plop down when they need them. Everything else looks the same to me.

@Sparta

"I have discussed the merits of multibase battalions with Glen Pearce several times, and I guess it is just a matter of taste, similar to whether you need individual company bases."

Yes, that's my view, exactly. It's simply a matter of taste. There is no right or wrong way. Some are simply more efficient than others.

@Decebalus

"Your argument, that a stand in wargaming as part of an unit has to represent something, is absolutely pointless."

Music to my ears/eyes/brain!

Best regards,

Glenn

evilgong13 Feb 2018 2:16 p.m. PST

This might be going off on a tangent, but there are printed charts saying that at x paces you can see the difference between cavalry and infantry, at x paces you can see individual men and so on.

At what distance could the enemy determine individual units?

Did contemporary generals care much about these things?

I'm yet to find any contemporary source that describes a commander adjusting tactics on battle day that reflected consideration of enemy unit size. Sure you might find a general reflecting that the enemy infantry line extended from the river to beyond the village and potentially outflanks my line – so I need to respond.

Most nations seemed to have amalgamated battalions that fell below a certain strength (300 ish?) – in effect putting limit that below which they couldn't do the job of a battalion.

You could build a case that unit size is not that relevant, which is a round-about way of saying that if contemporary commanders didn't care much about unit size, why should we worry about unit internal structure.

Regards

David F Brown

David Brown14 Feb 2018 3:38 a.m. PST

DB,

Well said! re:

In fact I've never come across any source where a commander comments on the size of an individual battalion or "unit" impacting upon the tactics or potential tactical outcome.

I think we wargamers are far more interested in opposing individual unit strengths and therefore potential increased fighting capacity than perhaps any Napoleonic commander.

E.G. I've never come across any comments such as "the enemy battalion had well over 800 men so I declined to attack it." Or "The enemy battery had eight guns, while ours only had six, thus I declined to engage."

DB

Sparta14 Feb 2018 4:44 a.m. PST

Valid point by Evilgoing. The units were the building block of the battle line. Once deployed i battle line the enemy would look at it as a continuous line for most purposes. But it is an real conundrum to actually decide how much weight of number should matter as opposed to quality, morale and situation in a given combat. Napoleon said 1:10 :-)

matthewgreen Supporting Member of TMP14 Feb 2018 7:18 a.m. PST

I've been this debate about numbers v. battalions with a great deal of scepticism. The wisdom seems to be emerging is that there is little difference in battle performance between a battalion of 500 men and one of 900, say. I have the feeling that this is being greatly overdone. In some respects it is no doubt true. In others it looks close to nonsense.

When describing troop strengths in despatches officers usually talk about thousands. For example Ney in his morning despatch in front of Quatre Bras "the enemy have about three thousand infantry". It doesn't bother him how many battalions they have been organised into.

Or to take a completely different example. One of the battles I have studied in detail is Vitoria. One of the interesting things about this battle is that after the French had sent cadres from Spain to help Napoleon rebuilt his main army, the number of battalions was drastically reduced. Most regiments consisted of a single, large battalion (often well over 1,000 men). Most French brigades consist of just two battalions, some three and the German brigade 5. As a wargame this plays pretty accurately between units of both sides of brigade strength of approximately equal combat capability. The fact that some brigades had many more battalions than others makes no difference. It is not mentioned by anybody who was there as a factor in how the battle unfolded.

The further up the the command scale you go, the more officers think of strength 1,000s of men and the less in battalions.

So, for a divisional game there might be some merit in the battalions argument. For a corps game it gets weaker. For an army game its nonsense.

4th Cuirassier14 Feb 2018 8:38 a.m. PST

So an army of 40 200-man battalions would be as effective tactically as an army of ten 800-man battalions?

Murvihill14 Feb 2018 9:23 a.m. PST

"So an army of 40 200-man battalions would be as effective tactically as an army of ten 800-man battalions?"
I think the argument you are rendering ad absurdum is that an army of 10 200-man battalions is as effective tactically as an army of 10 800-man battalions. Knowing wargamers, if you say a battalion is 300-800 men most will max out the number of battalions in their army by making all battalions 300 men. Perhaps the most cogent argument for strength affecting combat ability in wargames.

4th Cuirassier14 Feb 2018 12:20 p.m. PST

If battalion size didn't matter why was it laid down? If battalion composition didn't matter why did most nations' battalions have elite companies?

It's possible that Napoleon was mistaken in maintaining these sub-divisions, and that had he only been as enlightened as wargamers 200 years later he'd have seen the error of his ways. It's possible, but is it likely?

Glenn Pearce14 Feb 2018 12:52 p.m. PST

"I'm yet to find any contemporary source that describes a commander adjusting tactics on battle day that reflected consideration of enemy unit size. Sure you might find a general reflecting that the enemy infantry line extended from the river to beyond the village and potentially outflanks my line so I need to respond."

Excellent point David F. Brown.

It's somewhat relative to what I've been advocating for years. The defenders plan was generally to simply defend and maintain his "line of battle". The attackers was generally to destroy the defenders LOB.

Traditional Napoleonic CLS players have completely turned this upside down by claiming that the ability of an individual battalion to use it's company structure to change formation is the essence of Napoleonic warfare. A sort of the tail wagging the dog situation. This logic has produced a rock/paper/scissors style of game that is about as far as you can get from actual Napoleonic tactics.

As far as I can tell Napoleonic battles were mainly all about masses of troops in relative formations vs similar masses of troops who were in similar or generally static formations at the point of impact. A single battalion in a different formation meant very little if anything. There was no constant big square dance going on with everybody changing into various formations.

The true essence was in the ability to deliver a crushing blow with an overwhelming attack or with a series of pre-planned attacks. A timeless strategy that had almost nothing to do with a single battalion and its formation.

Bill N14 Feb 2018 3:00 p.m. PST

Our wargames involve a number of compromises with historical reality to allow for playability. Stands are not historically correct, but neither are turns, turn phases, dice, cards and other things we use.

As for things like unit size and formation, doesn't this depend in part on the type of actions you are simulating? A battalion or regimental commander might stretch out his forces to hold an entire position or he might compact them and concentrate on holding strong points. He might or might not adopt a square if confronted with cavalry. He might refuse a flank to deal. He might rotate out groups of skirmishers who slowly whittle away his opponent's forces. He might launch an attack in 2 or 3 ranks or might adopt a deeper formation. All of these things would make a difference to the troops involved and possibly affect the outcome of a battle, and they certainly could make for an interesting Napoleonic wargame in themselves. If you wanted to be Napoleon at Austerlitz though the cost of doing all those details might detract from what the players might consider the more important aspects of the game.

John Edmundson14 Feb 2018 3:07 p.m. PST

It's interesting that a quote from the review stating that "Each regiment is divided into five stands…" morphed rapidly into a discussion of the absurdity (or not) of a 5 stand Battalion. I haven't seen these rules but if 5 stands is a REGIMENT, it strikes me that this is a rule set that does not attempt to represent the internal structure of a BATTALION. (Caps for emphasis, not for shouting :-)).

I think the enduring existence of the company as a useful subunit in various militaries has little to do with its utility in a wargame but rather to do with an observed ability of people to manage themselves. It appears too in a business context, with companies (in business) often breaking their organisations down into structures that can maintain a high degree of interpersonal functioning. An example of this is the Mondragon Cooperative movement in Spain. As it grew, it found its business units were getting unwieldy and it was harder to ensure a group where everyone even knew everyone else. They made a decision to subdivide their work units when they got to about 200, roughly the upper limit of a military company size. Admittedly, as a worker owned cooperative, they had issues of democracy, participation in decision making etc, to think about but I think the point still stands.

So the issue for us as wargamers of representing a battalion's internal (company) structure or not is simply the issue of tactical vs grand tactical game. That will always be about personal taste and the needs of the players.

Strictly, to represent a battalion's main formations, you only need 2 bases:

< = Line <> = square << = Column, <_< = column of march
<

Cheers,
John

evilgong14 Feb 2018 4:12 p.m. PST

hi there

Murvihil said

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Knowing wargamers, if you say a battalion is 300-800 men most will max out the number of battalions in their army by making all battalions 300 men. Perhaps the most cogent argument for strength affecting combat ability in wargames.
>>>>>>>>>>>

I reckon that's partly because our 'standard' wargame rules of 12-16 units reward putting everything into the shop-front ie the battle-line, and give significant rewards to having one + more unit than the other guy and using that extra unit(s) to smash into the flanks of the outnumbered.

Many rules struggle with quality vs quantity balance.

David F Brown

evilgong14 Feb 2018 4:28 p.m. PST

Hiya

4th Cuirassier said.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

If battalion composition didn't matter why did most nations' battalions have elite companies?

It's possible that Napoleon was mistaken in maintaining these sub-divisions, and that had he only been as enlightened as wargamers 200 years later he'd have seen the error of his ways. It's possible, but is it likely?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Part of the answer to that would be why a nation / army that sometimes split off grenadiers into composite units and sometimes didn't made such a choice.

Another part of the answer is that companies were often detached to do things outside of the scope set-piece major battles (although often enough within them too).

One possibility is that forming an elite company prompts the members of it to think 'I'm an elite soldier, I can do the scary things that are about to happen' and rank men to think 'if I do brave things I'll get promotion to the elite company'.

(I guess the awarding of and wearing medals on the battlefield had a similar role).

Don't underestimate the power of esteem and status as motivators.

David F Brown

John Edmundson15 Feb 2018 1:07 a.m. PST

David F Brown:
"I reckon that's partly because our 'standard' wargame rules of 12-16 units reward putting everything into the shop-front ie the battle-line, and give significant rewards to having one + more unit than the other guy and using that extra unit(s) to smash into the flanks of the outnumbered."

I remember in WRG 5th Ed Ancients, the hunt was on for armies with enough Reg B MI, LTS, Sh (Hoplites basically) because a unit of 16 was cheap enough and resilient enough to survive while the extra unit took out a flank. Having that one extra unit was absolutely critical – it was a kind of arms race.

Cheers,
John

Lets party with Cossacks Supporting Member of TMP15 Feb 2018 1:23 a.m. PST

Don't underestimate the power of esteem and status as motivators.

evilgong I liked that observation. It ties in nicely with Napoleon's apparent recognition with why men fought for ribbons or medals, as my hazy recollection of a David Chandler quote of Le petite Corporal might reveal. It seemed an age where fatalism, honour and elan were all more prominent than perhaps today, and motivations energised accordingly.

matthewgreen Supporting Member of TMP15 Feb 2018 3:52 a.m. PST

Glenn I mainly agree, but I think it does depend on your point of view.

I remember reading one memoir from a French infantry officer in which he suggests that officers obsessed about drill and formation changes – apart from duelling, drink and women, that was all they talked about. I guess there was not much else to do when not fighting and marching but to practice drill. And I think a lot the wargamers' interest in formations comes from the plethora of accounts from British infantrymen and junior officers, who similarly obsessed about this. Indeed they got the story going that it British lines vs French colummns is wot won the war. And squares were a big part of the drama of Waterloo.

But as you go further up the chain of command, the less this matters. Wargames should reflect this. I game featuring a handful of battalions per side will need to reflect formation changes and drill to get the flavour of it. But if you are commanding whole divisions and brigades into action then its much more about the application of resources (fresh men, ammunition, etc) and impetus.

Marc at work15 Feb 2018 5:07 a.m. PST

As a player and an umpire, I LIKE to see players have the challenge of when to change from column to line. Yes, as a compromise I accept that as the brigade/divisional commander they shouldn't be concerned with that, but as PLAYERS it makes for a fun game.

The opposite for me is the single base games – where then it is about how to get the most bases into action. Real commanders in my favourite period did not have helicopters. But the single base approach heads that way IN MY VIEW.

Have fun

Marc

Glenn Pearce15 Feb 2018 7:21 a.m. PST

Hello matthewgreen!

Thanks for your comments. I think we mainly agree on most things. So let's see if I can push you into full agreement.

My position is not in any way intended to undermine the importance of drill and formation changes. It's actually to stress its importance. The problem with most CLS rules is they have created a system that allows the players to abuse the actual dynamics that were historically in play. Almost everything in a rule system is a compromise, ground scale, figure scale, basing, buildings, movement and the big one time. A simple example is a trained unit can change into square in less than two minutes. I think some could do it in ninety seconds. Regardless, once in place it is generally out of scale. All the CLS rules that I ever played didn't have this simple exercise right. So if your CLS rules can't reflect ninety second turns or less you will never get the dynamics in balance.

"And the squares were a big part of the drama of Waterloo"

I'm not suggesting that drama be removed. There is just no point in wasting time every turn encouraging every unit to change formation. I think there is better value to be gained by spending your time trying to actually beat the other side, rather than play rock, paper, scissors all day.

"But as you go further up the chain of command, the less this matters. Wargames should reflect this. I game featuring a handful of battalions per side will need to reflect formation changes and drill to get the flavour of it. But if you are commanding whole divisions and brigades into action then its much more about the application of resources (fresh men, ammunition, etc) and impetus."

Okay, were very close here. I even agree with the "handful of battalions", except since most CLS games have the wrong dynamics in place your going to end up with the wrong flavour as well.

Best regards,

Glenn

Bill N15 Feb 2018 8:51 a.m. PST

I think there is better value to be gained by spending your time trying to actually beat the other side, rather than play rock, paper, scissors all day.

If you had said "for me" Glenn then I would agree. Different people are going to want different things from their games. You may not want a set of rules which forces you to worry about what formation your troops are in or how many casualties they have taken. Others do. There is nothing wrong with that.

Glenn Pearce15 Feb 2018 10:10 a.m. PST

Hello Bill N!

Well I did start with "I", that's me. If you read further up you should see "It's simply a matter of taste. There is no right or wrong way. Some are simply more efficient than others." That's me as well.

Best regards,

Glenn

Glenn Pearce15 Feb 2018 10:40 a.m. PST

Hello Marc at work!

I would never suggest that anybody stop doing what they enjoy about this hobby. It's very important to do what you like. So what I'm about to say is simply for conversation.

The problem is that most CLS rules have put an artificial spin on the Napoleonic period that was not really there. Real unit commanders did not have to go through a mental exercise of "what formation should I be in and what formation is everybody else in or could be in within sight or even close by", every five minutes/turn. So you are looking at a rule system challenge not a real one.

Once deployed real unit commanders on a battlefield spent most of their time in one formation. Only changing formation upon receipt of orders from above or in the face of a genuine threat. In either case that was generally done well in advance of contact with the enemy. Yes some did in close quarters with the enemy, but that was generally due to other circumstances. Not just a players whim. So this artificial spin to constantly be on your toes to change formation has created a false dynamic that was simply not present on Napoleonic battlefields. You see it as fun so that's fine. No point in playing a game if you are going to take the fun out of it.

I think we all agree that nobody was in helicopters, but if they are then it's the same for both CLS and single base games. I also think both CLS and single base games are trying to get the most bases into action. The only real difference is that CLS games generally have a lot more bases. So CLS games drag out longer if for no other reason than the number of moving parts.

So one major difference in a single base game is they do play faster than a comparable multi-base game. They also change the focus of the players to the senior commanders vs every commander in the game.

The bottom line here is simply play what you enjoy and don't waste any time playing games that you don't enjoy. Life is too short.

Best regards,

Glenn

Marc at work15 Feb 2018 11:30 a.m. PST

Thanks for that Glenn. I disagree, but that is what makes it a dynamic hobby. We all accept compromises and, for me, the single base approach doesn't give me the game I want. Unfortunately I disagree with your basic premise about what makes a Nap game (and I imagine all periods have their own way to make us happy). But I always enjoy seeing your arguments (and I use that word in its purest sense rather than in angry disagreement)

All the best

Marc

matthewgreen Supporting Member of TMP15 Feb 2018 12:06 p.m. PST

I sort of agree Glenn. I have tried to create rules for "battalion level" games that reflect the various drill options available. I gave up in the end. The footprint problem for squares and close columns was only one of the issues (I contemplated removing bases, etc). Detaching the third rank (important to the Prussian system and option for others) was another headache. I could go on.

I have migrated back to much higher level games…

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