Sunday, 28 September 2014

Play test Scenario 1 Defend a prepared position with units on different base sizes

For my first play test I used a French 1500 point NAW based army playing against an Austrian 1500 point Lasalle based army.
The French Infantry Division consisted of:
3  Infantry Brigades each consisting of 1 Line Infantry, 1 Light Infantry and 1 Conscript Infantry Battalion
1 Grand Battery , 1 Heavy Artillery, 1 Medium Foot artillery
1 Light Cavalry Brigade, 2 Chasseurs regiment.
The Austrian Infantry División consisted of:
2 Infantry Brigade each of 5 Line Infantry.
1 Light foot artillery Battery
1 Light Cavalry Brigade, of 1 Hussar regiment and a Chevaux leger Regt.
After my failure to get the reserves on in the tournament in Barcelona, I decided to for the moment make my armies from organic and support forces. Even though the forces are more expensive, you are more or less depending on the scenario guaranteed to have all your forces on the table in turn one. 
Intial setup the Austrians are defending the right flank objectives , the French attacking with two Infantry brigada.
I played this game solo over a duration of a week, playing the Austrian or French phases of a turn in one sessión and then leaving the table for a day so I could come back to play the opponents phase of the turn from the opponents view.

The French cavalry are deployed in the centre to exploit the Austrian Infantry open flanks.

The Grand battery begins to bombard the Austrian Infantry who are defending the Left flank objective.

The French cavalry charge the Austrian Infantry flank and because the infantry fail to form square they are destroyed with the help of the breakthrough charge riding down the remnants of the battalion.

       The other French cavalry unit manage to charge the flank of the Austrian Infantry in the enclosed field, also destroying the infantry unit in the breakthrough charge. The lesson for this is I should have had my Austrian cavalry just behind the flank of the infantry to be ready to counterattack any potential attack.

In the Austrian turn, I move the cavalry to protect the flank of the remaining infantry battalions of the Austrian forcé

The right flank Austrian Infantry brigade readys itself for the French Infantry attack

In the French turn two, the French columns attempt to charge the Austrian line but both fail their Elan test and fall back to begin a firefight.

Both French battalions lose their  fire fight and fall back in disarray and the French attack breaks down.


Both cavalry forces charge each other and each side loses a unit , making them take a forcé morale test, which they both fail, with no side now having cavalry support the battle will be decided by the infantry.

The French Infantry rally and advance in mass column to attempt to take the objective.

On the Austrian right flank the French assault goes in and succeeds in in destroying one Austrian unit and making the other retreat through the enclosed field

On the Austrian Left flank, the first two assaults by the French battalions was respulsed but the the final third attack with the support of Grand Battery is successful, and destroys the third Austrian battalion, meaning the Austrian Infantry Brigade have to take a forcé morale test and fail and rout leaving the first objective in the French hands.

    On the Austrian Right flank, an attack by a French Infantry battalion in line on the Austrian infantry battalion in the enclosed field is a success and having now been forcéd to take the Force Morale test they also fail and rout off the battlefield. This means the Franch attackers are victorious in Turn 3 of the Attackers phase.


The main reason to play this game was to see if you can play with different bases systems and use smoke markers instead of base removal without to much confusión. In my opinión there is no problem, the only time it may be a little confusing is when a unit is in attack column if you place the first smoke marker on the back bases and then it recieves a second casaulty put it on the front bases. This will remind you to that a base is missing on the placing of the second marker when counting for firing.

I have used the smoke (cotton wool) as markers before in games. It is inexspensive (free if you nick it of your mrs) , It looks good, In Napoleonic times you couldn't have a battle without a lot of smoke. Unlike other type of markers, due to them being placed on the bases they move when a unit move.

Even though I played this game over a few days, if I played it  in one session I would expect it to take about 2 hours.

I played the Grand battery special rule because I have found them pretty deadly when I have played against them (A bit like flamethrowers in Bolt action). However due to my terrible dice throwing in this game they were helpful but not decisive. The Grand Battery rule will be looked at in depth in a future article.



Sunday, 21 September 2014

Napoleon at War Variations Part 1 Base Sizes

The guys at Napoleón at War when publishing their rules decided on a unique dimensions for their base sizes. This may be no problem for players who are new to the period, but it means many players who already have their Napoleonic armies based, will not even attempt to play the game, due to not wanting to rebase their figures even if they like how the game works.

Due to this being a major stumbling block for attracting new players here is my solution:

The main comercial rules competition for this level of playing, where we are presenting individual battalions, regiments and batteries that I have come across is Lasalle and FOG N, these rules use the same basic basing system and so most people I know, have hundreds or even thousands of figures based for these rule systems.

If both players are using armies based for Lasalle or FOG N there is no problem, just go to the section below about how to deal with casualties etc.

Also remember in Napoleonic wars no two units were ever the same size and so if its just a friendly and with the agreement of both players they could play using different base systems. Just visit the section below about how to deal with casualties

If a NAW based army player is playing against a player based for Lasalle or FOG N follow the procedure below to play an equal game in a competitive enviroment.


In NAW Infantry units are comprised of 6 bases 26mm wide and 32mm deep.

In Lasalle and FOG N normal sized infantry units are comprised of 4 bases 40mm wide and 30mm deep.

The footprints of each full strength formation are as follows

                               NAW                                                Lasalle and Fog
Line                 156mm wide by 32mm deep     160mm wide by 30mm deep
Attack column  78mm wide by 64mm deep       80mm wide by 60mm deep
March column  26mm wide by 192mm deep     40mm wide by 120mm deep
Square               78mm wide by 64mm deep       70mm wide by 70mm deep

Left hand side Lasalle based battalion, right side NAW based battalion 

As you can see by the photo and the dimensions above, the actual size of the formations are basically the same with only a few milimeters  difference. The only formation that is different is March column formation with the NAW column being deeper.

In my experience the march column is used less frequently in NAW than Lasalle due to the formation moving the same rate as an attack column unless on road and armies initially deploying further up the table, than in Lasalle. Therefore my solution to represent a March Column with Lasalle bases would be place them in line (usually they would be on a road) but alternate the facing of the bases to represent that they are in march column and not actually in line see illustration below. This gives the march column of 30mm wide and 156mm depth, still 36mm short in depth but I feel not enough to make a great difference.

 If the unit has at least one skirmish base this could be placed at the back of the formation to make up the short fall.

Top, NAW based battalion in March Column, below Lasalle based battalion in proposed formation for march column.


In NAW Cavalry units are comprised of 4 bases 45mm wide and 40mm deep.

In Lasalle and FOG N normal sized cavalry units are comprised of 4 bases 40mm wide and 30mm deep.

The footprints of each full strength formation are as follows

                                                             NAW                                                Lasalle and Fog
Line (ordre mince)                    180mm wide 40mm deep             160mm wide by 30mm deep
Attack column (ordre profound) 90mm wide by 80mm deep        80mm wide by 40mm deep
March column                             45mm wide by 160mm deep      40mm wide by 20mm deep  

Left hand side Lasalle based cavalry, right side NAW based cavalry 
The foot prints of the unit fornations are a little bit different between the two rules sets. My solution would be, due to the Lasalle bases being smaller it is posible to place the existing base onto a NAW sized base fixing it temporarily with Bluetac.


In NAW Artillery units are comprised of bases 45mm wide and 40mm deep.

In Lasalle and FOG N Artillery units are comprised of bases 40mm wide by 40mm deep.

Again not much difference but with the Lasalle base being Little smaller frontage it may make a diffrence to the firing zone when a battery is placed in line, so they may be put on a NAW sized base like the cavalry.


Limber                              NAW                                          Lasalle
Foot Artillery         35mm wide by 120mm deep          40mm wide by 80mm deep 
Horse Artillery       35mm wide by 159mm deep          40mm wide by 80 mm deep

Limbers again are basically markers, but due to combat and target considerations my solution is to add one artillery base to the back of Lasalle sized limber base if it is Foot artillery making it the same length and 2 artillery bases if it is Horse Artillery.

Top NAW Horse Artillery limber base, Bottom one Lasalle limber and two Artillery bases.
Top NAW Foot Artillery limber base, Bottom Lasalle Artillery  and  limber bases.

Top NAW Horse Artillery limber base, Bottom two Lasalle Artillery limber bases.


Skirmishers are basically a marker so the dimensión is unimportant the normal size Lasalle 20mm x 15mm is aceptable (NAW skirmisher base is 30mm by 15mm).


NAW                                            Lasalle
Sub commanders          26mm wide by 32mm deep           20mm wide by 30mm

Left Lasalle Sub-Commander base, Right NAW Sub-Commader base

Commander                  45mm wide by 40mm deep           40mm by 40mm                                    

Left Lasalle Commander base, Right NAW Commader base

Again these can be placed on NAW sized bases with bluetac as a temporary solution.

Dealing with Casualties etc

One of the main problems with using other size infantry bases is the removing bases as casualties. One of NAWs main game mechanism is that when you lose a base it is removed.The idea for this  there is there are less markers cluttering up the table.

This however  can créate problems in mantainng the correct formation for the unit and when bases are missing for that particular turn,  having to remember that the bases that have been removed are still accounted for, when firing and charging in the same phase or turn.

 Also many players spend alot of time and money on their figures, so they would like to see them on the table as long as posible.

Therefore my solution when using other bases, is this;

Use markers to note any base losses, personally I use a piece of cottonwool as a marker (see photo). It is cheap, aesthetic (looks like smoke) can be placed on a base so will be moved when the base is moved. Also it is also useful to note placing the second smoke marker on a unit in attack column that notes that it can only fire 2D6 or 4D6.

For infantry units if they recieve four smoke markers the unit is lost. For cavalry or artillery units, if there more smoke markers than half the bases in the unit then the unit is lost.

Smoke marker signifies that the unit has lost one base.


Two smoke markers signify that the unit has lost two bases.

If a NAW based army is playing against another rule based army , I suggest both players use smoke markers to avoid confusión.

At the moment I am test playing a NAW based French army agains a Lasalle based Army, will let you know the results next week.

Im sure knowing how Wargamers love collecting figures, that when they decide to collect a new army, after trying out these excellent rules. They will base it permanently for NAW ( I am half way through painting my NAW Prussian army)

Thanks Phil

Napoleon at War rules variation section


I have been playing Napoleón at War for over 12 months, I have played in two tournaments and quite a few friendly games to be pretty familiar with the rules without looking too much at the rulebook, even if I havn't completely mastered of how not to lose.
In the next few weeks and months, I am hoping to put together a series of articles on how to play Napoleón at War,and also a few solutions for the stumbling blocks of why more people are not playing these excellent rules.

Some of these percieved problems I have heard commented from dissatisfied players are listed below:

Having to rebases (unique base size).
Musketery is to powerful .
Grand Battery special rule is too powerful and not historical.
Overstrength should be represented with extra bases to be taken in consideration when firing and combat
Bricole movement is too flexible.
There should be a Discipline Test for the defender initially when facing a charge .
Reorganisation move should be for the defenders to move out of the ZOC of the attackers not the other way round.

 The first article will be about people not wanting to rebase to see the article click here

Monday, 15 September 2014

Napoleon at war Tournament at Montmelo, Barcelona 13th Sept 2014

"I say Picton how many of these damn peajes do we have to march through"

A few weeks ago I was invited to a Tournament of NAW in Barcelona, this came with impeccable timing because  my youngest daughter was starting university there, so we could kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

The event was the second NAW tournament in a year and had changed venue to a Little town, North of Barcelona called Montmelo and was hosted by the kind fellows from the Ludus Historiae. The venue came with its own free parking and was bigger than the hall we used before in Gava. Unfortunately due to it being a Bank holiday weekend in Barcelona, there were quite a few players that could not make it . In the end there was six of us , three French armies, two British and one Austrian

This time I wanted to play British but not wanting to defend all the time. I decided to go with a Heavy Cavalry Brigade with all my other forces being in reserves.

                                       My 1500 points Heavy Cavalry Division consisted of;
                                      1 Heavy Cavalry Brigade of 3 British Heavy Dragoon Regiments
                                      1 British Infantry Brigade of 3 line Battalions and 1 Light Battalion
                                      1 British Guard Brigade of 2 Guard Battalions
                                      1 Brunswick Infantry Brigade of 3 line Battalions
                                      1 Brunswick Hussar Regiment
                                      1 Brunswick Horse Artillery
               The list was a bit of a gamble due to having only one forcé starting on the table at the beginning of the games. But with my terrible dice throwing I was sure I would get the reserves on quite quickly. Also it was the only British list which you can attack with.

The first game was against Eloi's French Infantry Division and was the scenario, "Attack on a prepared position" from the rule book.

 On turn one, one of my cavalry regiments charged a infantry in line. Eloi decided to stand and fire, I succesfully rode down both of his skirmishers and his regiment fired. He managed to get one hit and you guessed it , I rolled a one and lost a base, I then failed my unfavourable Elan test and so fell back. If I was able to charge into combat I probably would have eliminated two infantry battalions and exhausted one of his forces straight away. Instead my cavalry limped away.

My Infantry brigade arrived on the table on turn 3 and I directed them straight ahead to try and capture his objective in the enclosed field. With my cavalry protecting their left flank from the French Dragoons.

My two forward infantry regiments formed line and advance to attack, unfortunately they lost their firefights and fell back behind their supports.

With the French centre and left flank being kept busy with my Brunswick reinforcements, on turn 5 my two Infantry support battalions charge the French and rout them. Also my cavalry finally charge the French dragoons after a stand off and rout them off the field. Afterwards they wheel and threaten the flank of the French Infantry.

My cavalry charge the surrounded French infantry in the enclosed field capturing the objective. Unfortunately with time running out. I lose due to needing 1 more VP point to win.
There was quite a few lessons learnt from this loss, one was independent cavalry regiments are very weak. I lost my Brunswick Hussars in the final turn. It was either being blasted by the French Artillery, or charge some French Hussars. I chose to charge and lost with the unit being eliminated.

After the first game we left the venue to go for lunch. It was then I remembered that when my Heavy cavalry went into Close combat they have an advantage (2D6) for being brave and with both opposing cavalry brigades being Battle cavalry they would cancel each other out. If I had remembered that during the game I would have charged earlier on and avoided the stand off. After a lovely meal with good company we returned back to the venue.

My second game was the third scenario in the book, Rearguard. I was playing against Jose Luis and his French Light Cavalry División, as we both had Agressiveness of 3 we had a dice off to see who was the attacker, unfortunately I lost and was the defender. With only only my Heavy cavalry Brigade on the table I placed two regiments far up the board to keep the French away from the Objectives and kept one regiment in reserve. Unfortunately the Jose Luis could deploy where he wanted and deployed his Grand Battery in front of my cavalry.

Luckily both my forward regiments just about manage to survive the artillery onslaught. There was no way I would be able to charge the cavalry, the only option would be to retreat out of the fire zone and attempt to rally.

A French light brigade  advanced around my left flank and captured the first objective, so I advanced my reserve regiment to contest the objective. I made a mistake of trying to rally my other two regiments instead completely moving out of the fire zone of the Grand battery and lost them  to the Grand Battery. With the special rule of not being able to roll for reserves until turn three I had no chance of surviving and lost in turn two.

With plenty of time on my hands, I helped Bob and Julian,  newcomers to the rules with their game.


My last game was against Bob's French Infantry División. The scenario was flank attack, I was the attacker so decided to use my cavalry to clear his left flank for my reinforcements to come on. Bob decided that keeping his infantry in line and firing was a good option, however my Cavalry finally lived up to their reputation and began riding down the french infantry for the fun of it and quickly destroyed two of his brigades. Bob,  a little war weary from a whole day playing a new set of rules conceded defeat, and I won without my reinforcements appearing, a total reversal of my second battle. 


Jose luis was the winner with his French Light Cavalry División


I came fourth and won some Man at war French Imperial Guard Infantry, just actually  was on my shopping list to buy next, so I was very pleased 
Players and umpireat the end of the tournament. 
I really enjoyed this tournament and of course the excellent company . I definitely will be there in Febuary for the next tournament to attempt to reclaim the title for Alicante. I also learnt a few lessons;
1) Have your forces as organic and support, they may cost more but will start on the table on turn 1.
2) If you do decide to choose a forcé that is reserve, make it cavalry so it can move quicker into the action.
3) With equal points it's alot harder to attack than to defend.
4) Dont take one unit independent forces, when they are eliminated you lose a victory point.
5) Check what forces the other player has before deploying, so you don't have any surprises like facing Grand batteries.
6)  Make sure you take dice that have fives and sixes on them. Im sure mine didn't.
On a little side note, there was a few small issues that came up from the players that were experienced with playing Napoleonics but were new to playing the NAW rules. I know from experience you can't please all the people all of the time and everybody has their own opinión of how a Napoleonic battlefield should feel. However to attract more players to this great set of rules I have a view ideas that I will be writing in different articles on my blog in the next few weeks in the section on NAW rule variations. Will keep you posted

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Band of Brothers "Day of Days" Part one 6th June 1944

A few months ago me and my friend Steuart, decided that we would do a series of scenarios based on the great tv series "Band of Brothers." Due to my having the figures already in 15mm before I discovered the rules "Bot action", we used them and kept the measurement for shooting and movement the same as 28mm. 
Steuart played the U.S playing the 1st Platoon of Easy company using the historic strength and organisation of the Platoon rather than a point system. I played the German forces that were spread out over the battlefield but were entirely unknown to the the U.S player and were not activated until discovered by the paratroopers, also there were a few surprises thrown in as well.
The U.S mission is to lead his Platoon from the landing zone and secure the village of Saint Come-du-Mont and to blow up the highway bridge over the river Douvre. The Intelligence Corp had informed them that there were a few German squads of mixed abilities in the área and also a pillbox that due to being well camouflaged they have failed to locate. The Platoon would be transported by 2 Dakota C47s, The Jump would be at night at around 02.00 a.m, also they must  careful there would be other platoons landing in the área so they would have to watchout for friendly fire.

U.S force consists of as follows

Platoon HQ 1 officer with SMG, 1 NCO with SMG , 4 Pvts with rifles.

Mortar Squad 60mm Mortar 6 Pvts with Rifles

1st Rifle Squad  1 Sgt with SMG, 8 Pvts with Rifles, 2 Pvt with LMG, 1 Cpl with SMG

attached 2 Pvts with Bazooka. Squad also include antitank grenades

2nd Rifle Squad  1 Sgt with SMG, 8 Pvts with Rifles, 2 Pvt with LMG, 1 Cpl with SMG

attached 2 Pvts with Bazooka. Squad also include antitank grenades

3rd Rifle Squad  1 Sgt with SMG, 8 Pvts with Rifles, 2 Pvt with LMG, 1 Cpl with SMG

attached 2 Pvts with Bazooka. Squad also include antitank grenades

Attached from Company HQ  4 Pvts with 2 LMG.

The topography of the terrain, with the photos that air recon have been provided below

The German Force misión to  hold and secure the village of Saint Come-du-Mont and to defend the Highway bridge over the river Douvre.
German Forces consists as follows
Ostruppen Squad of 6 Pvt with rifles and NCO with SMG,
Regular Heer Squad 6 pvt with rifles, 2 pvt with LMG and NCO with SMG in a lorry.
Fallschirmjager Squad 7 pvts with SMG, 2 Pvts with LMG and officer with SMG.
2 MMG teams
SDKFZ 222 Light Armoured car.
SDKFZ 251/1 Half Track "Hanomag"
Panzer IV.
With it being a night drop we used the Bolt action night fighting rules for spotting enemy units before being able to fire.

The mechanic we used to simulate the parachute drop was the old method of dropping tissue paper over the drop zone, each piece of paper had a number on it to correspond to the actual figures. We used two boxes to simulate the two different Dakotas.

The first Dakota "flew" over and most of the paratroopers landed in the correct zone. If the paper landed in rough terrain or the road, then Steuart had to throw 1D6, if the score was 1 then the paratrooper was injured badly and removed from the game. If a paper landed in wáter or marsh then a 1D6 was thrown and if a 1 or 2 was thrown the paratrooper was removed fron the game. If the paper fell off the table a 1D6 was throw each new turn and they would be allowed to enter if the result was the same or less than the current turn number.

The Paratroopers from the first drop succesfully land with only a couple of troopers going astray. 

The second Dakota flys over the landing zone.

This landing is more spread out with a couple landing further north of the table and one unlucky paratrooper drowning in the marsh área.

Because Bolt Action uses dice to give activation to groups of soldiers. I introduced a Regroup phase where the dispersed paratroopers would move to their NCOs. This meant when any U.S Squad was activated it could only move or fire etc with the troops within 1 inch of the NCO. 

On the batlefield there was 12 black plastic squares all labelled underneath with either a German forcé or other things that could be triggered into action by spotting moving paratroopers or paratroopers being able to spot them. The first things discovered was a herd of cows and a lorry full of supplies. During the regrouping phase a squad of Obstruppen spotted some running Paratroopers and came out of the house they were billeted in. They killed a couple of Paratroopers only then to be fired on by a LMG that had landed very close to the house. 

A Bazooka team advancing on the left flank came across a medium machine gun nest over the stream, but due the the darkness was unable to do any damage.

The 3rd Infantry Squad grouped together and began a flanking operation on the right, being careful to use the hill for cover.

On the left flank the advance is being held up by the stubborn German MMG

With the Obstruppen squad getting doublé pins they are soon routed and the U,S units begin to move up the road in the centre, lead by the platoon HQ squad.

A German arnoured car is spotted on the road on the right flank by a LMG squad who are the first U.S unit to be eliminated.

As a Bazooka team makes a dash between áreas of cover it is spotted by a MMG team in the Pillbox and eliminated 

The 3rd Squad carry on with their flank move and Steuart declares an advance and fire move on a black square ahead and in the open. We work out the firing and the target figures are placed and fire back. Next Steuart then uses a whole squad to fire on the target, this he does with devastating affect with only two surivors. It is now I ask him to look closely at the figures that I had placed before. They are a lost squad from another división commanded by their own Company Commander Dick Winters who had landed off the table . luckily Winters has survived the friendly fire, but not he is not very impressed with his own  troops,

The Platoon HQ advance over the hill to spot a truck with a German regular infantry squad just disembarking. The Hq squad gets cut down and retreats with only the Platoon officer surviving.

The 2nd Parachute Squad advances over the hill and blows up he truck and eliminates the German squad.  

A bazooka and mortar tean both take on the armoured car. The bazooka team hits causes massive damage. But their luck runs out when Steuart throw a 1 and a 3 on the damage table. Only panicking and setting the armoured car on fire.

The remnants of the HQ Squad run towards the objective, only to see a German Fallscirmjager Squad on the other side of the river,, racing to defend the bridge

 All 3 Rifle Squads mostly in one piecet, rendevouz near the hill to prepare an assault on the bridge.

The German armoured car's crew pass their morale test and put the fire out. they then fire their light cannon and MMG at the bazooka tean killing them instantly. They next set their sights on the mortar crew.

Steuart's fear of tanks is realised when from the village a Hanomag and a Panzer IV roll out to start shooting up the 1st Rifle squad.

A Bazooka team that has crept around the back of the pill box and now entered the town prepares to fire point blank into the flank of the Panzer. Steuart needs 3+ to hit, The Bazooka operator must have been nervous because he rolls a 2 and misses.

The HQ officer charges  heroically to the bridge. Because he has a SMG he throw 2D6 and does extremley well, getting a 5 and a 6 killing two German  Paratroopers. All the German paratroopers apart from the LMG have SMGs which I need one 5 or 6 to kill the officer with 10 dice or I lose the combat and the game. I managed to get about 3 hits and the U.S Officer is cut down and the game, set and match point for Steuart  was gone. 

Seeing the heroic deeds of their officer, the rifle squads charge forward, but the 1st squad is pinned by the tank.


Whilst one squad shoots and weakens the Germans guarding the bridge, the other squad crosses and assaults.

   The Germans sell their lives dearly, but lose the combat due to the tenacity and overwhelming numbers of the U.S Paratroopers.

The paratroopers quickly set the charges on the bridge ready to blow it up, missión accomplished.

Finally due to me forgetting to move the tank out of the way because I was too busy trying to stop the Bridge assault. The bazooka team get a second chance and finally knock out the tank.
This was a great game with plenty of cinematic moments. It had been a few months since my last game of Bolt Action and Steuarts only second game, but we managed to finish the game in the alloted time. The rules for nightfighting were fun and didn't really slow down gameplay. We might have not actually got all the rules right but as it was a scenario and not a points or tournament game, it didn't seem to matter. Next Game will be Brecourt Manor, I just have to get my hands on some 105mm artillery.