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"beginner question regarding formations in 6mm" Topic

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GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2022 6:10 p.m. PST

Hi so i am starting out still and looking at gaming with the Elan Deluxe rules but my question really is how best does one represent formation changes if they are stands are representing battalions – or is such a thing just not possible?

i have currently just paper 6mm scale armies i am making (still waiting to build up and paint real minis) i bought the Grand Manouevre Paper Strength armies (i hope i uploaded the pictures right)
and they look like they could be good with with stand representing a company or may even just companies divded into four parts, but then iw ould need hundreds of these to make sizable forces so battalions might work better

GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2022 6:13 p.m. PST

these are the paper armies i am making, what they look like – crude but satisfactory for me at the present. I refined some of the cavalry figure details in photoshop

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2022 6:28 p.m. PST

You typically don't. The unit is assumed to be in the formation that it needs to be in. If the rules call for formations, I imagine some type of marker would be used. At this level of play you are not concerned about modeling the light troops that may get thrown out to screen the parent battalion. What do the rules say?

GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2022 6:46 p.m. PST

well the rules do specify light troops and skirmishing screens (of course these rule are for 10-15/28 mm though they say they are flexible for any scale as the player prefers (i guess all rules like to say this)
there is a whole section on skirmishers being deployed and the paper armies i got have both the stands of skirmishers in screen and skirmishers in a closed formations

there is no mention in the rules about voltiguers and line grenadiers specifically – so i assume them to just be generallyl subsumed in teh line infantry ratings

regarding the ratings- these in the rules are used to specify what units are able to do somewhat and from class 3-6 these units are able to deploy partially skirmishers which are represented by half bases and are up to a small distance ahead fo the command stand

- is thise kind of thing ever represented in a battalion level game, if using rules that have these rules what does on do? i mean i can make paper skirmisher stands if need be

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2022 7:13 p.m. PST

I am not familiar with the rules. Is a battalion made up of a single stand, or is it made up of multiple stands. I was under the impression that it was an element based game in which a stand was a battalion.

If a battalion is composed of multiple stands, the rules should explain how the stands are arranged for various formations, and how to represent skirmishers.

GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2022 7:53 p.m. PST

well it establishes that 1 man equals 50 men approximately and about 4 figures per stand is its basing guide though it repeatebdly says plays can agree to use different scales and basing and that one doesnt need to rebased for these rules

and there are army lists included for various campaigns though these are listed at battalion level with generally a battalion being listed as 12-15 figures, which one would spread across 3-4 stands i guess
it seems clear the rules cater for a stands representing companies generally, and i could do this with teh paper armies, but i guess i would like to be able to do a large battle (at leas the size of Lieberwolkwitz) in 6mm.

the rules indicate one playing up to a corps sized game – perhaps i cant represent all of Liebertwolkwitz but just a part, or need to figure out some pared back version of it

Martin Rapier26 Mar 2022 12:09 a.m. PST

That is the same scale as the old WRG rules, so typically each battalion was made up of three to four stands (skirmishers in pairs) arranged into lines, columns or whatever. We rarely managed to play with more than a reinforced division though.

If you want to do Borodino, Leipzig etc you are better off with much larger basic units (brigades, divisions) which probably means a different set of rules.

GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2022 4:22 a.m. PST

i think you are right – i mean i have th emeans to do the 6mm with these rules and using the paper miniature pieces, but clearly not ones that could do a historical battle in its full size unless one had a really crapload of figures.

I was thinking i could go larger with the rules than just regiment or brigade at most as they also have a campaign component which i assume would mean the possibility of some larger battles – but perhaps it would be more like the kind of representation at most of what the pc game Napoleon Total War or Imperial Glory did, rather than Histwar Les Grognards

what rules do you recommend which are at the battalion level or higher?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2022 4:52 a.m. PST

As I understand it, the options for commercial rules with a brigade or a multiple-battalion regiment as the maneuvering unit are Volley & Bayonet, Grand Armee, Napoleon's Battles, Blucher and (arguably) Phil Barker's Horse, Foot and Guns. All of them have followings, and should handle the largest battles of the period. But which is right for you will depend on personal preferences--how you feel about bookkeeping, for instance, or activation rolls. My advise would be to either tell us more about what you want the rules to be like, check out reviews of each of these or both.

Guys, have I missed a serious contender?

GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2022 5:30 a.m. PST

well i think i would like something which could allow one to play the battle of Liebertwolkwitz or Hanau or Moeckern (1813 is my favorite year regarding battles – that and 1812) which though would be at a scale that is not so much at the nitty gritty tactical level

what about General D'Armee or Polemos Napoleonics.

I think though i might actually stick with Elan Deluxe as i have been reading it most and perhaps i will do it right and just go with using stands to each represent companies as then i can actually do a battalion with voltiguers and line grenadiers on the flanks and a command unit at the fore

of course it would rule out attempt the full recreation of Liebertwolkwitz – as there were like 32 battalions or something just under Victors command if i recall right

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2022 5:57 a.m. PST

DBN would work as well.

You can always use two different sets of rules -- one for small actions, and one for large actions.

When you are the general of an army, you don't care that the 5th Line deployed a company of skirmishers -- you are concerned about how the division it is assigned to is doing.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2022 12:43 p.m. PST

There is of course the ancient and honorable tradition of "bathtubbing" a battle--placing a battalion on the table in lieu of a brigade or some such. If you work it right, you have to make the same decisions as your historical counterpart, but keep in mind that the warped ground scale can be a problem for historical recreation--as in your troops come under fire from positions which, historically, were well out of range.

Agree with 79thPA in theory about using the same troops with two different scales of rules, but it can be tricky in practice, perhaps especially in Napoleonics. Shako claims to do so. I should have mentioned that earlier.

I thought DBN became Horse, Foot and Guns? Or did Phil Barker slip a rule set past me?

Glenn Pearce26 Mar 2022 1:18 p.m. PST

Hello GeorgBuchner!

You might want to have a look at the Polemos rules that I wrote for Baccus 6mm called "Ruse de Guerre". Although designed for the wars in North America from 1754 to 1815, we also use it for all our Horse & Musket wars, including Napoleonic European Wars, etc.

It has a unique sliding scale that lets you increase the size of your battles as the size of your collection grows. So you start with small actions and gradually work your way up to Waterloo, Borodino, etc.

Like all Polemos rules it's designed around the 60mm x 30mm base for infantry, cavalry, limbers and wagons. The 30mm x 30mm for commanders and artillery. Couldn't be simpler, only two bases for your entire collection.

You are, however, able to call a base anything you want it to be, company, half battalion, battalion, brigade, etc. There are also light infantry bases (60x30), so skirmishers can be deployed.

There are no unit formation changes as that's automatically handled at a level below the players. For big battles individual company bases is a logistical nightmare. Brigades or groups can change formation which is a critical feature in Horse & Musket warfare.

You can see some of these games played just by looking at this board 6mm Napoleonics . You can also obtain a PDF of the rules from the Wargame Vault for about $11 USD US. I'm also here or on the Baccus Forum to answer any questions you might have.

Best regards,


Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Mar 2022 2:07 p.m. PST


Take a look at Et Sans Resultat. They have a sampler of the rules online. Stands are battalions so no need to worry about formations. But stands move in division sized forces. The orders system is simple and feels right.

I found the combat a tad cumbersome, bot otherwise I really liked them for this scale of a game. Easy to teach to noobs as well, I found.

GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2022 6:46 p.m. PST

thanks for the replies again, i- i have that new edition of ESR now on order so i look forward to trying it

One of the other reasoins i thought Elan Deluxe might be workable is because its command and control rules revolve around the quality of the General de Division and or General de Brigade, and also it has a campaign system and rules for grand tactical movement to bring forces into tactical range quicker.

I didnt know what that term Bathtubbing had meant until now- i came across it briefly elsewhere but thought it was literally someone playing in a bathtub. I think i would be happy to just do that – no reason against it even if its not historically correct, as i want to just still have some fun and freedom wiht it all all the same.

I think now i have an general wargaming question regarding playing historical scenarios and forgive me i am sure this is discussed elsewhere but exactly how one finds an older conversation on something general would probably require hours trawling through forums and groups all over the internet (a reason why i prefer books sometimes on the subject instead) – do people, say just as solo or 2 players tend to try and play version of a whole battle be it modified in some way, or is the tendency instead to do just parts of battles or perhaps just a fictional points based battle, and in particular what do people do when it is rules that are for smaller scale action?

the rules Lasalle seem popular but they are not for large scale battles, so how do they work for doing historical battles?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2022 7:28 p.m. PST

Good question, and many different good answers will no doubt appear.
I started out playing points-based fictional battles, with bathtubbed versions of historical battles for the big four times a year "formal" games. Nothing wrong with either. But what I (mostly) do now is two things: either historical battles of a size appropriate to table, rules and forces or what are known as "canned" scenarios. These are not points-based, but commonly have a set order of battle, and are presumed balanced by the creator. The best-known are in books and magazine series by Charles S. Grant or in Thomas' One Hour Wargames.

Examples: My regular opponent's eye troubles limit him to a 3'x3' table. This gaming season, We've fought American Civil War battles with 10mm castings 2x2 on 20mm stands--each stand representing 100 infantry, so we've been fighting division-size historical engagements, usually small battles like Brawner's Farm or Kernstown. Last season, the troops were 24 5mm infantry on a 2" frontage representing about 1,000 infantry and we fought Napoleonic Peninsular battles like Talavera. A few years back we used 1/72 individually mounted castings, 16 to a battalion and used battles from Charles S. Grant's "Scenarios for Wargames"--fictional, pointless but balanced.

Historical battles of course require research, but given the information readily translate into scenarios. The catch with the Grant (or other) canned scenarios is adapting them to your board size and shape and the number of turns you expect to play. But no system is without drawbacks.

Let's see what other people come up with.

GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2022 7:41 p.m. PST

i think board size is a factor i have overlooked and probably wrongly so – probably only 3' x 4' at most for now, but smaller would be better so prbably not doing the Battle of Dresden anytime soon, though in future i will hopefully do something with another more experience person who likely has a larger space

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2022 3:57 a.m. PST

Don't despair, Georg. If three or four 2mm units on a 30mm square stand represent a brigade with a 300 yard frontage, a 3'x4' board would (just) cover Dresden. You'd lose tactical detail, but as several people have pointed out, a commander of multiple corps shouldn't be concerned with battalion formations or the skirmish line.
(My 5mm Napoleonics, at 2" frontage=300 yards, would need almost 8 feet for Dresden--which is one reason why I also have 2mm.)

GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2022 5:07 a.m. PST

thanks for that great insight – it gives me hope! :)

Martin Rapier27 Mar 2022 10:21 a.m. PST

For historical battles, you've got three options really.

1. Use a set of rules aimed at whole battles eg I've done Waterloo twice using Horse Foot and Guns and Leipzig Lite. Both have a huge ground scale, so they were on a 2'x2' and 80cm x 80cm table respectively.

2. Simply scale up your battalions, so when I first did Waterloo in 1985, it was using WRG, a 1:50 set. We just updated the figure scale to 1:200, so each 'battalion' stood in for a brigade. Some of the ranges were a bit goofy, but it worked, although it still took all weekend to play.

3. Just play segments of the battle using your battalion scale rules. I don't generally do this as I'm a big battle sort of guy, but some people do.

GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2022 4:11 p.m. PST

those are all good suggestions – i will really have to look at this HFG ruleset – i have never heard of Leipzig Lite – is that a ruleset or you just mean you did a lite version of Leipzig?

I have found another good set of rules which might be just what i want on Wargamevault- Morale Napoleon! – its basic infantry unit is the battalion with a stand with 4 figures on it representing a battalion

there is actually a nother ruleset i have which i bought years ago before i actually seriously was going to try and to some actual wargaming – Legacy of Glory, – i never actually pulled it out to read the rules but i did so yesterday and it is actually also designed with teh basic unit as a Battalion however it seems incredibly complex and i am not sure if its a game that can played solo or if it needs like a team of people per side. the folks who hate it really hate it and those who like it found it the best rules ever – intriguing but hard to figure out how it works and one of those rules that love the use of Acronyms (its like hte Battlecruiser 3000AD of napoleonic rules)

even though it seems to be all about moving divisions it has sections on tactical formations that i would think would not be something such an upper level game would deal with so its confusing somewhat – perhaps the lower level things happen automatically but still get represented

after now perusing a few different rules (still many i havent seen) why oh why do so many often state that one doesnt need to rebase figure for the rules if one has armies already made based on other systems , but then proceed to explain how many figures are on a stand and how the figures should be arranged and rearranged on stands, and and how the commander units should look etc

GeorgBuchner Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2022 3:34 p.m. PST

looking at the Leipzig 1813 osprey book i have I think it will be very helpful for me to just make smaller scale versions of battles, – its OOBs are excellent for working out what i want to take a selection of for whatever battle in 1813 is of my interest and workable with any rules i think

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2022 10:52 a.m. PST

Leipzig breaks up well. Try doing Lindenau, southwest of Leipzig. It's a one day flank encounter that is pretty distinct from the rest of the fight. Just google for the scenario, it's in a couple of places, I believe.

I am currently painting up some separate 2mm armies to do big battles in small spaces. Table size determines much of what you can do, but you do have scale choices.I can field two Nap armies in 2mm for under $50. USD

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2022 12:29 p.m. PST

"Why oh why do so many often state that one doesn't need to rebase figure for the rules if one has armies already made based on other systems, but then proceed to explain how many figures are on a stand and how the figures should be arranged and rearranged on stands, and and how the commander units should look etc.?"

Georg, if you ever find the answer to that one, don't just post it here: write an article for one of the glossies. I'd certainly buy it. The critical bit seems to be not "works with any basing" which all too often just means "you must keep a roster for each unit"--but "assumes basing frontage of X inches/millimeters." In that case, all you have to do is adjust distances proportionately to adjust to your own basing. But the deeper philosophical question I can't answer.

Stoppage29 Mar 2022 2:14 p.m. PST

This book might be useful:

History of Wargaming Project – Paddy GRIFFITH – Napoleonic Wargaming For Fun

Apparently Kindle edition is AUD11.99 on am-OZ-on.

There is a lot of rules information on TMP:

To direct Google to return TMP results – just prefix "" before whatever-you-are-searching-for.

Georg Buechner29 Mar 2022 2:16 p.m. PST

Lol, this is all I guess as much my fault as I although I have spent decades playing PC wargames like those from John Tiller and Matrix games etc and before that being a big Warhammer40k gamer in the 90s, I wrongly assumed I wouldn't be so out of my depth, but coming against all the terms and variations of rules and compounded by the lack of clarity some rulesets have, I have jumped in the deep end without
learning to swim

I just got the 3rd edition ESR rules yesterday and am mixed about them – they claim in this edition to be for the newcomers also but as someone in that category they don't really give any clear explanations and what is worse is that the rules themselves don't provide all the actually play ESR – I have to wait until the army stat cards are released and also all the commander stay cards
I don't think the ESR third edition rules themselves even make clear to me if formations vary depending on the nation – there is just one diagram of a an infantry division formation and thats it, so I am not sure how cavalry and artillery is arranged in ESR in this edition at least

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