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"Choosing a 19th century period to start?" Topic

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Personal logo Field Marshal Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2023 11:39 p.m. PST

Greetings, up at my local club we mainly play 28mm Napoleonics with enough models to play multi corps sized battles.
I have often thought about pulling the trigger on another 19th century. I just love the period. Not looking for colonial games, we do that a little already. I have narrowed it down to a couple of conflicts that interest me. Anglo Sikh wars, Carlist Wars, Crimea and Franco Prussian . Any suggestions? I'm open the rethinking and another conflict.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine13 Sep 2023 11:54 p.m. PST

Wouldn't the Anglo-sikh war be colonial 😉

To me at least the Anglo-sikh, Crimean and Carlist wars are all very similar to the Napoleonic wars, in tactics and outlook, just with different outfits. The Franco Prussian war at least has interesting new problems with more modern rifles, artillery and even the odd machine gun (well really the Mitrailleuse was a volley gun)

Thinking of wars a little more exotic the French in Mexico or the War of the Triple Alliance in South America are both colourful and a little different.

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2023 11:57 p.m. PST

Franco-Prussian offers the most big historical battles – about 20 corps-sized and up, as against just 5 or 6 for the Crimea. (9 scenarios in the BBB rulebook, another 8 freely available on )

The Crimea did surprise me by producing some really good games, there just aren't many battles to fight.

Sikh Wars are less terrain-heavy than FPW, so easier to set up. Not so many battles, but if you go 6mm and don't have to worry so much about uniform distinctions, you can stretch back to cover the Second Maratha War and forward to the Mutiny and again have 15 or so decent-sized historical battles. See BBBI:

FPW, India and Crimea are all great in terms of the asymmetry of the armies, which always makes for tactically interesting games.

Carlist Wars: not so interesting – similar forces on both sides and only one seriously large battle?

Travellera14 Sep 2023 1:53 a.m. PST

The Garibaldi wars have a lot of interesting aspects. Although you do not want colonial wars, the 2nd Boer War is more similar to a conventional European war

timurilank14 Sep 2023 4:05 a.m. PST

Perhaps something with an alternative twist?

Battle of Dorking 1871, the Prussian invasion of Britain.
Wiki: link

The book at Project Gutenberg:

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2023 4:34 a.m. PST

Another reason for going FPW: if you get Austrians as well as French and Prussians – and if you're not too fussy about minor uniform changes – you can get good use out of all three armies, fighting Austrians v French in Italy in 1859 and v Prussians in 1866. Red-trousered French can serve in the Crimea as well; get some Danes and you have another opponent for the Austrians and Prussians there too.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2023 6:01 a.m. PST

Chris makes a very good suggestion. Our club does FPW in 25/28mm but if I was to do it over, I'd go for a smaller size, maybe even 6mm.


korsun0 Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2023 6:06 a.m. PST

South American wars of liberation, war of the triple alliance or the Pacific war between Chile, Bolivia and Peru?

Prince Alberts Revenge14 Sep 2023 7:01 a.m. PST

The 19th century offers alot of interesting and niche options. This period and those niches are some of my preferred gaming genres.

I have Carlist War figures in 15mm, the conflict features smaller armies with colorful and exotic uniforms. It's fairly close to the Napoleonic wars but there are things that set it apart.

Schleswig Holstein War features colorful armies from small Germanic states and the colorful Danes. Pickelhaub, shakos and forage caps.

Sikh Wars are exotic with the native contingents involved, the battles are interesting and you have to figure out a way to incorporate the nature of Khalsa generals (who often had motives counter to their superiors).

Mexican America War is one of my favorites, small plucky American armies waging war against colorful and anachronistic Mexican armies.

I am finishing off the Crimean War in 10mm, not alot of conventional battles but lots of overcoats for Russians (and British).

War of the Triple Alliance seems like the ACW of South America with ill-equipped Paraguayans fighting tooth and nail against the alliance of Brazil, Argentina and Uraguay.

The Italian Risorgimento has Garibaldini, downtrodden and demoralized Neapolitans, Papal armies, French, Austrians and Sardinians.

1879 War of the Pacific offers exotic locations, interesting mixes of uniforms and weapons and different tactical approaches.

The you have the ears of German Unification.

So many great options!

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2023 7:43 a.m. PST

In addition to the ACW of South America there is the actual ACW

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2023 8:56 a.m. PST

There were some wars in eastern Europe as well. The Greek War of Independence has colorful "uniforms," interesting characters, and a big naval battle you can use your Napoleonic ships for (Navarino). Personally, I've been thinking about the Greek War of Independence as a skirmish game, though there were larger battles.

The Russians fought the Turks in 1877-78 and the Turks fought the Greeks in 1897. Both had colorful uniforms still, as well as irregulars in colorful outfits.


Personal logo Field Marshal Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2023 9:22 a.m. PST

So many great ideas…..making my choice harder!

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2023 9:26 a.m. PST

What do you want from your games and your armies, Field Marshal? What are the criteria for your choice?

Personal logo Nashville Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2023 12:00 p.m. PST


Franco Prussian


Choices choices choices

jurgenation Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2023 2:41 p.m. PST


Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2023 11:05 p.m. PST


Martin Rapier14 Sep 2023 11:28 p.m. PST

My first outing to the late nineteenth century was for the Six Weeks War of 1866. It was easy enough to add the French later for the FPW as well, and having both Austrians and French meant they do for 1859 as well. Tbh, I find the FPW a little dull compared to the other periods, but I can't really articulate why. The asymmetry of 1866 and the romance of the Italian Wars of Independence are more engaging perhaps?

Personal logo Field Marshal Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2023 12:59 a.m. PST

@Nashville Ihink you helped me there. The Crimean war looks the goods. The plus would be that Russians will be easy to paint with all the great coats.

rvandusen Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2023 5:22 a.m. PST

2nd Empire French and Prussian/German armies are a good place to start in my opinion. With these two forces your group can then expand to 1859/1866 Austrian and Italian forces. The uniforms worn between 1859 and 1870 wre only slightly different for the most part.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2023 5:46 a.m. PST

And at the smaller figures sizes (15mm or less), the uniform differences will tend to disappear. Smaller figure sizes wil lalso allow either small battles on smalle boards or larger battles on larger boards.


GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Sep 2023 6:38 a.m. PST

The Crimean War, for all its name, isn't just happening in the Crimean Peninsula.

If you take the Russian incursions into the Danube Principalities and the Caucasus you have a lot of actual battles to add to the few in which the British fought and a huge range of 'what if' situations too.

I've just done a couple of trial scenarios for battles in the Principalities with Austrians involved as well as Turks & Russians. I'm using Irregular 6mm for my armies and BBB for rules.

John the Red15 Sep 2023 9:08 a.m. PST

1879 War of the Pacific has it all

Very colourful uniforms, easily converted from French, Prussian or ACW figures.

late nintheen century technology

battles small enough to recreate en masse

some good books to try out

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2023 3:22 a.m. PST

Much as I love an obscure Latin American war (and I have had some good games out of them), there aren't enough significant battles for me to be able to justify painting up armies specially for them. Obviously we all want some yellow-jacketed Bolivian cuirassiers, but are they worth it for one action?

Crimea is a better choice. Tony is right that as well as the six major battles, there are some additional smallish actions on the Danube and Caucasus fronts, and of course there are always what-ifs (Tony, I'd like to see your scenarios in action).

Furthermore, most of the Crimean armies can be used elsewhere too:
- Russians against Hungarians in 1849
- French and Sardinians against Austrians in 1859
- Sardinians against Austrians in 1866
- French against Prussians (headgear permitting) in 1870

What scale are you going for, Field Marshal?

Personal logo Field Marshal Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2023 9:37 a.m. PST

28mm . I'm afraid I'm hopelessly addicted to the scale. I like the idea of 1859 being also doable with the French and Sardinians. If baccus did Crimea I would have tempted to do 6mm. Eureka' s 18mm look nice but I get all aquiver when I think of the guards brigade in 28mm

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2023 1:49 a.m. PST

That's sort of a pity. I don't think there's any problem with using Baccus for 6mm. They have enough C19 ranges that you should be able to proxy everything you need. And smaller scales make it easier to fight the Alma in a way that is more interesting than just the dull frontal assault we see too often …

Alternatively, 10mm is a good compromise between mass effect and being large enough for the figures to be attractive individually.

But if you love 28mm that much, do what you love!

Personal logo Nashville Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2023 9:14 a.m. PST

Well then -- it is settled… there are your guns


Personal logo Nashville Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2023 5:57 p.m. PST

and some painting

FilsduPoitou18 Sep 2023 4:15 p.m. PST

Have you thought about the Russo Turkish War of 1877?
-Variety of environment types (mountain passes, fields, sieges).
-Both sides have substantial victories unlike APW and FPW
-Uniforms are still colorful
-More than two countries with distinct looking uniforms (Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, etc)

ChrisBBB2 Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2023 6:15 p.m. PST

Well, RTW could be another place for the Field Marshal to use his Turkish army after it's finished fighting the Crimean War!

RTW certainly has lots of gaming potential. And it has gunboats and Gorlov guns!

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