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"How many units is Black Powder played with in 28mm?" Topic

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TheMapleLeafForever24 Jan 2021 10:52 p.m. PST


I am thinking of starting a Napoleonic British army and whilst I am mainly a collector (for now anyway), I enjoy collecting towards a playable army list in a popular rule set like Black Powder.

Anyway, I want to ask, how many units is Black Powder usually played with in 28mm? How many units per side would constitute a typical "large" battle? Do people usually play with points?

Personal logo Unlucky General Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2021 1:56 a.m. PST


Well I can tell you how I play with my mates. I play Peninsular British (mostly) against the French and we field most times a supported division – so 9-12 battalions of infantry, a couple of batteries of artillery, a brigade of cavalry (2-4 regiments) per side. We can play a game through in six hours without eating, chatting or side-tracking ourselves so we take 8.

I'm sure Black Powder would just as effectively handle a corps or a supported brigade action – depending on your time-frame.

We don't use points but there wouldn't be a great deal between our armies is my guess. I hope this helps.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2021 10:00 a.m. PST

We just did a four player SYW game with each side having about 7 – 8 infantry units, three batteries and 4 – 6 cavalry regiments, so the two sides had 15 – 16 infantry units, 10 or so cavalry regiments and six batteries

Played well – we did use points from the Sport of Kings supplement

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2021 12:11 p.m. PST

As many units as you want.

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2021 12:59 p.m. PST

We do ACW with BP Glory Hallelujah. Big battles 2 brigades per player so 6 to 10 units plus arty. We've had upwards of 50-60 units. It's a lot to handle.

Lazyworker Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2021 9:14 p.m. PST

How big is your gaming table and how much time do you want to spend?

I've ran demo games with both sides using 2x standard foot units, 1 small cavalry unit and a cannon. Even played a couple of games at conventions after hours with some friends.

Then there were club games with 4 guys to a side filling up a 16' wide table. Not sure about how many units to a command. Black Powder scales up very well. In my opinion it's a very good ruleset for a gaming club.

I suggest you make some paper templates for how much space your standard size infantry unit takes up to get an idea for how many units you feel like takes up a nice amount of space. Don't forget to allow ample room to maneuver.

Jabba Miles26 Jan 2021 1:43 a.m. PST

As people have said how big do you want to go, we've played the Battle of Talavera using BP so several Divisions each side. Most club night games though are considerably smaller, around a division or less per side. It mostly comes down to space.

Our armies are based for a different rule set (Shako) so a standard infantry battalion only has 18 figures, this allows either more manoeuvre room or more units in the same space, plus you get more units for your money from plastic box sets etc.

I have a few scenarios and after action reports on my blog at they include army lists that you can download.

TheMapleLeafForever26 Jan 2021 11:45 a.m. PST

Thanks everybody for your input.

I would eventually like to do battles with around 25 units a side at 28mm, so I think Black Powder is the perfect ruleset. Can battles of this size usually be done in maybe 4-5 hours?

I'm not a big fan of fighting battles smaller than that for Napoleonics. For smaller engagements, I prefer playing things like Bolt Action. But that's just me.

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