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"Talk to me about Sam Mustapha's 'Blucher'" Topic

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14 May 2020 12:17 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Last Hussar14 May 2020 11:25 a.m. PST

I've been looking at Blucher. I already have Fields of Glory and that is very similar level – a unit is 1200-2000 (small) or 2000-3000 troops (Large). Is it worth it?

How far is a BW in scale?

Is a base 'a brigade' or does it make allowances for different numbers? At Aspern- Essling French brigade Frirnon (IV Corps, 4 Div) contained only 2 Leger, and was 1365 men (2 bns), while the Austrian Brigades "Wacquant" and "Henneberg" (I Korps, 1 div) both contained 2 Regiments, each of over 3300 men, each of 3 bns, plus 8 guns in the Bde. Even if you took the IR only it is still twice as big as the French one. The BATTALIONs are almost the size of the French Regiment!

I'm not overly worried about combat mechanics – I'm always happy to 'black box' – I don't care how you get there as long as it doesn't take ages and the result feels right.

How is movement/orders handled? Are the units too free-wheeling?

Whirlwind14 May 2020 12:17 p.m. PST

This may be of interest: YouTube link

DeRuyter14 May 2020 1:01 p.m. PST

Blucher allows for full large battles to be reasonably played out, so IMO it is a higher level than FOGN. FOGN is more centered on Corps sized battles. I have done Waterloo using Blucher in a club game night.

Frankly you can get answers to your questions on Sam's Honor website.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2020 2:05 p.m. PST

Well thought but too many lazy short cuts. For napy warfare totally dropping the Division as a formation is zero. No difference between 18p5 cialisés and French, plus your 1815 Prussians can freely gather all their Landwehr from one corps on one side of it…

tabletopwargamer14 May 2020 3:23 p.m. PST

Why is dropping the division lazy?

So shako is lazy for dropping the brigade?

Rules are lazy if they make the base unit a battalion and ignore companies?

Mike Petro14 May 2020 3:25 p.m. PST

I prefer multi base brigades over single base brigades. AOE or NB over Blucher for example. So that was a little off putting for me.

I also didn't like the Commanders being represented as "Heroes" essentially. Reminded me of some fantasy game and nothing historical. Some cool mechanics and features, but they just didn't pull my trigger.

My two cents.

Last Hussar14 May 2020 5:46 p.m. PST

That was an interesting video thanks. However it didn't answer my main sticking point, and I couldn't see it on Sam's site either:

Namely what is nagging at me is how to account for the wildly different sizes of 'Brigade'. I saw one wargame group seem to have gone "Which ever formation is 2-3000 men""Ish"

So in my example they have made the French Brigade 1 brigade, where as the Austrians they've basically used the regiments, listing two units both called "Henneberg/1 Bde". Which is fine, but each of the Austrian units is still has over twice as many men as the French one.

For fictional battles this doesn't matter, but when trying to convert Historical lists what do the rules say? FoG sometimes needs a fudge here and there but I've been able to use the Small/Large units to pretty much replicate the actual OOB, if not always sticking to the attachment limits in the 1st ed lists.

If you want to be the Army commander but fight at Brigade level, you need to drop either Divisions or Corps generals- I think I'd be 70/30 drop Division.

The hidden command dice are interesting – its pretty simple to write a spread sheet (and I assume app) to track it for you- you'd need a Macro in excel to fix the random number.

Further thought – use 'figure bases' to represent the Morale of the unit, rather than mark it off – just remove the base as it takes hits, keeping them on the Movement tray that represents actual footprint.

Garth in the Park14 May 2020 6:06 p.m. PST

A lot of games used to require general figures at every level of command, and then had rules for things like "integrity" of the component units, so that battalions from the same brigade (or brigades from the same division, or whatever) had to stay within X inches of each other, and so on. It was a lot to keep track of and rarely worth the effort, IMO. When you got units mixed in with the enemy after a few advances and retreats, pretty much everybody was in violation of those rules and there were all sorts of penalties to apply. Just a whole lot of stuff to keep track of. And then you get those OBs where one side has got a brigade with only two battalions and another brigade with seven battalions, or a division that only has one brigade present, and so on.

At some point you have to just assume that your little miniature officers are sorting this out, so you can get on with the moving and shooty-fighty stuff. I prefer games that let me focus on that.

Mike Petro14 May 2020 6:12 p.m. PST

I agree to drop division leaders. Corps and brigade commanders are all that is relevant.

Also, a question. What is wrong with 2-3k ish? Its a flexible ballpark, that is not too far out of bounds.

Another question. Blucher is not the most "accurate" on attention to details (troop strengths etc.) why not just find another rule set if that is the detail you are after?

BTW, i like the movement. Pivot, then move in a straight path. No obliques.

Last Hussar14 May 2020 6:56 p.m. PST

Its not so much attention to detail, but more it would bug me if I've got two game units equal strength based purely on a designation, not reflecting the actual relative strengths. Your not refiguring a historical battle if you have that.

Attalus I14 May 2020 8:25 p.m. PST

In Blucher, an infantry brigade is about 2-3000 troops. Historical brigades that are 25% over/under 2-3000 troops are considered over or under strength, and receive a plus or minus 1 universal modifier. The Blucher rules also suggest changing the scale to smaller (1200-2000 inf brigades), or larger (3000 – 5000) to avoid ending up with a lot of over/under strength units when designing historical scenarios. The scaling is very flexible. Cavalry & artillery would also scale up or down to match the infantry.

If you want to see examples of historical scenarios for Blucher, go to the link below that has 19 historical Blucher scenarios:


Fuck Off Knob15 May 2020 4:45 a.m. PST

The game is completely scalable. Play however you like.

Last Hussar15 May 2020 11:57 a.m. PST

Attalus – Thanks. That answers what I need to know; hence the fact I have seen scenarios with a brigade split into two table units in that very link (I found it yesterday, as it happens). Because I am using Aspern-Essling as my base for FoG build it was interesting to look at the differences.

Memento Mori15 May 2020 12:42 p.m. PST

At our club Blucher was used to fight battalion level engagements for the War of 1812. It's just a matter of scaling.

Last Hussar15 May 2020 1:50 p.m. PST

I'm always wary of these claims. Company<>Battalion<>Regiment<>Brigade

Attalus I15 May 2020 3:18 p.m. PST

Last Hussar – yes, Blucher also suggests adjusting the number of table units as another option for scaling historical battles.

Last Hussar16 May 2020 10:37 a.m. PST

Well, I've bought the damn things now. Just don't have a way to print them out!

Last Hussar16 May 2020 12:47 p.m. PST

Have read about 40 pages.

I can see what he is doing. They aren't 'Brigades' in the way we might traditionally think about them – its more of an accounting unit to assign 2-3000 men to. Divisions are in the game, but just not what you might expect with 'Brigades' 'regiments' etc. In the same way that the 'Brigade' in F&F is a collection of 200 man accounting units, that makes no distinction to individual battalions, ditto Regiments in FoG – "That Unit has 6 bases representing 2738 men. Technically 2 1/2 bases are 1 Bn, 2 bases are 2 bn and 1 1/2 is 3 bn"

You are effectively moving the Division, with 'Brigades' as the individual bases-cum-strength points.

Has anyone ever done a house rule to ensure sub Corps cohesion – ie you can only give corps commands to units of the same division?

Mike Petro16 May 2020 3:45 p.m. PST

I think it's more a numbers game like you stated. 1st corps has 18000 bayonets, so I will make six 3k man units. Call them brigades, regiments, sausages- it's still 3k bayonets.

Last Hussar16 May 2020 5:13 p.m. PST

Yes – Its about which units you group into those 6x3000, so you get the special abilities to sit right, along with the names; not important on a created OOB, but if you are doing historical, much of the point. Especially if some units arrived half way through.

As there appear to be more units in Blucher than FoG, think I might end up ordering more movement trays! My men are on 40x20s, so 4 to a unit seems good, though tempting to aim eventually for a massive game 1 base = 1 unit (so BW =40mm!)

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