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"Napoleonics Losing Popularity?" Topic

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21 Dec 2018 5:15 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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2,499 hits since 13 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian14 May 2018 7:08 p.m. PST

Several of our readers have posted their observations that Napoleonic miniature wargaming is in decline. Do you agree?

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2018 7:13 p.m. PST

Depends where you live and availability toimpulse buy. No.

Bill Rosser Inactive Member14 May 2018 7:15 p.m. PST


Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2018 7:57 p.m. PST

In comparation with what?….

Imho of course not….


Cacique Caribe Inactive Member14 May 2018 8:00 p.m. PST

LOL. I always forget that some people still like to play Napoleonics.

PS. Is it all mostly about the pretty uniforms? :)




Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2018 8:34 p.m. PST

Playing Nappies Friday.

nsolomon9914 May 2018 8:55 p.m. PST

My impression is that its the fastest growing sector of the market – the sheer number of new figure ranges released and new rules sets suggests so.

wrgmr114 May 2018 9:01 p.m. PST


ancientsgamer14 May 2018 9:02 p.m. PST

From small skirmish to huge battle rules, something for everyone. Many coming back to it and others discovering it.

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2018 9:03 p.m. PST

I'm not so sure, it is perhaps more splintered than say ancients or maybe WWII, the other two traditionally ‘big' periods.

David F Brown

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2018 9:40 p.m. PST

Possibly other periods are catching up, making Napoleonics less noticeable?

Brownand15 May 2018 12:04 a.m. PST

Not perse but a shift from big games in 28mm/15mm to skirmishing (thanks to Sharp rules etc), smaller scales (10mm and smaller) and big battles rules (so smaller units) is visible imho.

langobard Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 12:18 a.m. PST

Not as far as I can see, but then I just bought 8 packs of the new Perry Chasseur a Cheval so they may be obscuring my view…

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 12:40 a.m. PST

The recent lament I think centred more on the failure of early Napoleonic figures to thrive, when compared to anything from 1812 on and especially that Sunday in June.

Bicorned infantry do not seem to do half as well as their successors in Shakos and shorter talied coats. The Egyptian campaign seems a notable exception though!


14Bore15 May 2018 12:59 a.m. PST

I am in my own little Napoleonic world so wouldn't know, I hope not as interest brings more products.

JimSelzer Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 1:05 a.m. PST

no because GW fans boys have to grow up at sometime and since the "GAMES_WORKSHOP" hobby requires painting officially Napoleonics is a good landing spot and its one period where every army can realistically fight each other like 40k or fantasy

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 1:10 a.m. PST

Dumbesilleh !

Dynaman878915 May 2018 2:45 a.m. PST

Yes, since everything but SciFi and Fantasy is in decline, at least compared to the rise of those two.

von Winterfeldt15 May 2018 2:52 a.m. PST

not for me

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 3:34 a.m. PST


TodCreasey Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 3:55 a.m. PST

Just about to start a campaign with 8 other guys so I think not.

marshalGreg15 May 2018 3:56 a.m. PST

After leaving and coming back to the hobby after some 10 years break this is the observations….
In the Eastern US/Historicon/Coldwars/Local game events:
Most of the ones playing are older (baby boomers).
Many of the younger are the children of the older.
In a game it is ~2 to 1 older to younger (convention or local).
I have lost 3 players, who I played with over the years at Historicon, who have past away from poor health/ age. I have only met 2 new ones ( and are younger). David E of ESR, being one of them. He seems to have a younger following starting. I hope it continues to grow.
Prior to the break , I could put on a game every month or so, in NC area, and have min 4 players and not always the same 4.
Now, until a friend moved from midwest, I had just above zero. That being once a year, a game may have as many as 4 players ( 2 of which do not usually play or have Napoleonics) or typically it would be zero.
Doing the math and review for the observations, it appears so, in some countries/regions.
I hope I am incorrect!
It is good to know other parts of the world, it is on an growth trend.


Marc at work15 May 2018 5:50 a.m. PST

Not for me, and that is all that matters (to me).

Is TMP on the decline though? Definitely less subjects that interest me these days…

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 5:53 a.m. PST

Napoleonic is still fairly popular, but the balkanization of the hobby may make it appear less so. It's just that there are so many new products, periods, games, etc., that the interest of most gamers are being spread very thin.

Yellow Admiral15 May 2018 6:03 a.m. PST

In my area, there seem to be a lot of Napoleonics armies in closets, almost none on tables. No two players seem to like the same set of rules. Napoleonics games that come out at local club meetings and conventions are usually under-attended. Sometimes a "new" game (not played by the club before) will draw in a couple grognards who haven't played any Napoleonics "in a long time" (definition varies, but usually means "multiple years"). Few rule sets get played more than once, except a couple that get played every year or two (or three).

- Ix

RudyNelson15 May 2018 6:07 a.m. PST

In different areas of the country, it is cyclic for all genres. In some places Bolt Action and SAGA are not being played but in other areas they are being played a lot.
For Napoleonics you can see the cycle if you review all the way back to the late 1960s. Even the scale of interest may change with time.

It is also the case with ACW. A cycle of interest.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP15 May 2018 6:28 a.m. PST

@ Cacique Caribe

Thanks a lot! I thought my new Battle of Puebla Mexicans were done, but now I need a Danny Trejo command figure … with a machete!

OK … back to the era in question …


Fredloan15 May 2018 9:31 a.m. PST

I only have Nappies,

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 10:03 a.m. PST

No! Another myth, like the one about the graying war gamers…it gets repeated every decade or so.

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 10:22 a.m. PST

Well somebody somewhere is buying all this lot….


Tin hat15 May 2018 10:23 a.m. PST

Not over here it's not! Still just as popular as ever.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 10:42 a.m. PST

I don't think so. There are certainly a lot more Napoleonic skirmish type games being played than in the past.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 10:56 a.m. PST

Jim, I beg to differ. GW fanboys don't have to grow up, and often choose not to.

Napoleonics. Not so easy to find a game as it was 40+ years ago around here. But then it's not easy around here these days to find any sort of game which isn't Battlefront, GW or Star Wars.

Personal logo svsavory Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2018 11:20 a.m. PST

In my area I'm sure there are still many gamers playing Napoleonics in their homes, but I don't see many such games in the local shops. At a recent one-day mini-con at a local church, I was pleasantly surprised to see a 15mm Napoleonics game, so much so that I commented on it at the time. But around here one tends to see more of the current popular sci-fi/fantasy systems being played.

Ney Ney15 May 2018 1:18 p.m. PST

I don't see many games played round my way but then again companies keep making the figures so I guess they are selling.

coopman15 May 2018 2:44 p.m. PST

I don't see the massive all day big battle affairs that used to be so common. People just don't have the time for that, or just don't want to get involved in a day long slugfest anymore, it seems to me.

wrgmr115 May 2018 8:10 p.m. PST

coop man – our group has done many big battles.
28mm battalion level, with thousands of figures.
Wagram, Borodino, Austerlitz, Eylau, Ligny, Waterloo, Dennewitz, Lutzen and Bautzen. We have talked about Leipzig.

Bookwizard Inactive Member15 May 2018 10:30 p.m. PST

No. I would bet that there are far more Wargamers (and thus, Napoleonic Wargamers) now than in the pre-internet days. Now you can find and buy all kinds of Napoleonic figures, no matter where you live. Why are the Perry brothers and Front Rank continually putting out new Napoleonic figures? They seem pretty market savvy. Rules sets are continually published. I would have to say it is on the upswing.

steamingdave47 Inactive Member16 May 2018 7:17 a.m. PST

At our club Napoleonics is played probably once or twice a month, with 5 or 6 players in a game. Only thing that comes close is various incarnations of WW2. I have just put together my third 15mm army, to add to four 6mm and two 10mm, so still popular as far as I am concerned.
I think the rules issue is a factor, there are probably 8 or 9 fairly good rule sets for Napoleonics and not all are compatible in terms of bases etc. Joining a new club meant building a new army to fit in with their preferred rule set, whereas my Ancient/ Medieval armies are equally suited to playing FoG, Hail Caesar, ADLG and Sword and Spear, as well as the venerable DBA/ DBM sets.

Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2018 9:58 p.m. PST


377CSG Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2018 4:21 a.m. PST


Sho Boki18 May 2018 5:11 a.m. PST

Losing popularity to what?
To prenapoleonics, revolutionary wars?

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2018 7:51 a.m. PST

Not a chance!

I Drink Your Milkshake18 May 2018 10:01 a.m. PST

Editor can you track hits/pings to the different boards?

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP18 May 2018 1:07 p.m. PST

Not from where I stand.

forwardmarchstudios18 May 2018 1:33 p.m. PST

For what its worth, I'm 36 and I'm the youngest Napoleonics player I've ever met, and I've been playing Napoleonics since I was 23, so . . . I may actually be the youngest Napoleonics player in North America. That said, my model range is intended to solve this problem. We'll see . . .

Of course that doesn't mean that it isn't popular, or is losing popularity. However, I think most historical wargames have lost the interest of the younger generation. When I look at the older, basically Baby Boomer generation of gamers, its pretty easy to see that they all started gaming when they were young, and stayed with it, or else dropped out mid-life then returned to it in retirement. I think distractions from technology, plus a more competitive job market, worse living conditions, etc, have combined to preclude younger gamers from entering or staying in the hobby. Board games are much more popular among my age cohort that any sort of model wargame. I think because boardgames require less longterm dedication maybe, and because they can be picked up and dropped more easily than model wargames. I think that social media and technology has rendered people alienated from others as a baseline condition of modern life, beyond what it ever was before, so that the further alienation of painting model soldiers for hours on end, as a longterm proposition, is less appealing as a hobby today that it was prior. Plus, younger people no longer have stable lives; you move from place to place for jobs, and live in apartments. When you're living like that you can't have an entire dedicated hobby room or basement, and you don't want to be dealing with spray painting and flocking stuff. It takes an awful lot of equipment for the traditional form of wargaming, and it takes an effort to lug it around from one place to the next.

Brownand19 May 2018 2:32 a.m. PST

Maybe the disappearance of historical games can be influenced by the education=
Yougsters bareley know Napoleon or even the outcome of WW2

ElGrego19 May 2018 5:27 p.m. PST

I have not played Napoleonics, excepting naval, for 15 years or more.

My first order of 28mm Napoleonic figures will be here on Monday.

Things change…

Gazzola20 May 2018 4:13 a.m. PST

I think there will always be a hard core of Napoleonic enthusiasts, who continue to play mainly that period, while others may have a tendency of going into other historical periods now and again. A change is good as a rest and all that. Likewise, those whose favourite period is not Napoleonic, may well dip into the Napoleonic period for a while and then move back to their own favourite gaming period. And no doubt some players may not even have a favourite period or just like playing all the periods. I think it has always been that way and I can't see any reason why it may change.

John Tyson20 May 2018 8:14 a.m. PST

What is on the selves of the brick & mortar retail gaming stores?

Here is what I observe:
Today, I no longer see any Napoleonic wargaming products for sale. In fact, I don't see historical figures or products from any period for sale with the possible exception of few 'Flames of War' products. The vast majority of the products for sale are for fantasy gaming. So from what I see in the stores, yes, Napoleonic wargaming has declined from when I started in the early 1980's to today.

Thanks for listening.

God bless,
John T.

My favorite area of wargaming is 15mm Napoleonic

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