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"ESR's "Master of the World: 1812 in Russia"" Topic

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590 hits since 21 Oct 2021
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
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rsutton22 Oct 2021 4:16 p.m. PST

Another great GWSH game using our 20mm armies
It was a testimony to yet more that we had forgotten, and so had to re-learn in using the rules.

Mem69122 Oct 2021 4:16 p.m. PST

Just received The Wargame Company's "Master of the World: 1812 in Russia."

I haven't played ESR, but on the recommendation of a friend, I picked up the book as a reference. Thus, I am unable to comment on the different series of ESR. (This book is the second campaign guide in their Series 3, but the front matter has explanations of how to use it with Series 2.)

Front Matter:

The book is 'stand alone'. If I knew nothing of the era, the first ten pages gives a sufficient overview of the events from Tilsit to the invasion of Russia. I feel this is well written, the author neither talks down to the reader, nor talks at such I high level that I cannot follow him.

The maps and the graphics are superb. Something I found interesting was the use of language. The maps label the countries in the local languages: English, French, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Turkish,…. (I am a geography and language nerd and I liked this.)


There are fifteen scenarios from Mir (July 9-10) through Borodino (September 7). The maps are very detailed and the orders-of-battle are thorough. The scenarios are rated from Beginner Difficulty to Expert Difficulty. Also, the required size of the table and number of players are listed. Mir is a two player game, whilst Borodino is 12+. The sizes of the tables are presented based on the ground scale used: From 50yds/inch to 200yds/inch. I like this feature--my gaming table size if fixed, I can then choose a ground scale to allow me to fit the battle on my gaming table.

The presentation of the scenarios is very well done. Each scenario has four sections:
1. A map with an inset orients the reader to the location of the battle.
2. An overview describing why the battle was to be fought, with a game map.
3. The French briefing with initial placement, victory conditions, game map and order-of-battle.
4. The Russian briefing with initial placement, victory conditions, game map and order-of-battle.
(I really liked the repetition of the game maps--I didn't have to flip pages as I would read the specifics about troop placement. This was a very nice feature.)

As stated above, I haven't played ESR, but most of my Napoleonic wargaming is recreating historic battles--this book makes that much easier: Background, maps and terrain, orders-of-battle, victory conditions all very effectively presented.

Uniform Guides:

Impressive! 300+ units (2000+ illustrations) presented in a very useful manner for painting. I am certain there are cranky old grognards who can find fault in some of the depictions, but for me, I will trust the illustrator and have fun painting some outrageously colorful units.

The author and illustrator were again having fun with languages. The illustrations are labelled in their native language: French, Polish, Italian, German, and Russian. A fun touch.

I am enjoying the book. I would have bought it for the scenarios alone, or the uniform guide alone. Based on the quality, quantity, and detail, I will keep getting ESR's Campaign Guides as fast as they are released.

Matt Johnson

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP23 Oct 2021 4:02 a.m. PST

Look for the one on 1812 Russia operations on the southern front…..VG….but I don't see it anymore on the site.

Mem69123 Oct 2021 5:44 a.m. PST


"Master of the World: 1812 in Russia" has a couple of scenarios on the Southern Front: Kobryn (July 27), Saxons v. Russians; Gorodechno (August 12), Austrian/Saxons v. Russians.

I would guess that the 1812 Russian operations on the southern front was a 'series 2' book. I think the company will re-issuing their 'series 2' books with an update to 'series 3'. They may also be combining previous books. The campaign guide I have only goes until Borodino (September 7). I expect they will eventually release a campaign guide for the Retreat. This is pure conjecture on my part, I just stumbled upon ESR a few months ago.

Hopefully David Ensteness (the author) or Rebecca Ensteness (the illustrator) will comment on the next title planned.

From their website (, it looks like this "Master of the World: 1812 in Russia" has replaced two previous campaign guides: "Master of the World: 1812-1 in Russia" and "Didn't Dare Do Anything: 1812-2 in Russia".


Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP23 Oct 2021 8:56 a.m. PST

Yes, you are right.

Have you seen this, btw:


Based on this article


Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP23 Oct 2021 12:39 p.m. PST

The rules themselves are great in my opinion. They allow a player to command a corps, but the maneuver element for infantry is only a battalion and the game can be played in about five or six hours. They have a truly Napoleonic flavor or feel and definitely a Napoleonic look.

I have considered rules that could do the above to be the "holy grail" of Napoleonic wargaming. I had been searching for such rules since the 60s.


Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP23 Oct 2021 12:47 p.m. PST

Thanks for that review and recommendation. I am always on the lookout for interesting Napoleonic rules. Currently I use General d'Armee and General de Brigade

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP23 Oct 2021 3:18 p.m. PST

i too noted the use of the various languages through out the book. I suggested a simple translation glossary included in the explanatory section of the book.

While it may be that most users might know what a "Pulk" or "Polk" is and in what language, I bet a lot would not know what a "Ar'yergardnaya Korpus" was. And it might not be immediately and intuitively obvious what "4. Pehotnyi Korpus and 11. Pehotnaya Diviziya" are or "Legkaya Kavaleriyskaya".

I think it it adds a nice touch, as long as you make it easy for a user to understand what they are reading.

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 5:13 a.m. PST

I should also add to my comments on the rules that there are some different concepts than most rules have. What has surprised me pleasantly is that two of the group that game at my house have learned by playing a few games enough to go through a turn without ever having read the rules. That is not to say they don't make a mistake every so often, but they can still get through a turn on their own.

Also, the author has a forum and answers questions very quickly.


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