Following my last post, I re-read the rules, About Bonaparte, and compared my experience with what the rules state and the reality of the game. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the scenario was taken from One Hour Wargames with the troops selected from the mechanism described in that book (a D6). Each side had six units with the Americans having a more balanced tactical force of 3 infantry units, 2 artillery, and a unit of light dragoons. The British on the other hand ended up with 4 infantry units, 1 artillery, and 1 skirmisher unit. Typical of a Napoleonic battle? Not by a long shot, but certainly plausible for a War of 1812 scenario. As is typical with many of the scenarios in OHW, units arrived on different turns and different locations.
The mechanics of the rules were not out of the ordinary, save for the use of special dice, Movement and ranges were given in centimetres although those who are less than enamored with the metric system will find conversions to more familiar inches right alongside. Ranges did seem a bit short, although movement distances just seemed to work. The rules about support need to be read at least twice as well as the rules for "contact" (melee). The effects of "Flag" dice with their effects (and exceptions!) definitely require a read or two.
Command and control was a bit confusing at first. A number of dice needed to be thrown to activate the unit or group. That number varied depending on whether the general was present, his aides, and unassigned officers in his entourage. But after a turn or two, it becomes almost intuitive. The game went along as reported in my previous installment with only a few hitches and I think the rules are something I will definitely use.
My biggest complaint is the section on national differences. Throwing a Flag against a unit during fire or melee result (normally) in compulsory moves. For example, let say you roll four dice for fire and assume the roll ends up 1-Blank, 1-C, 1-I, and 1-F. If the target is regular infantry, the result would be one figure (I), and a 20 cm withdrawal facing the enemy. The Blank and the C(avalry) would not count. All well and good, all pretty straight forward. Unless the target is British! According to the rules, British after 1809 are considered veterans (ignore the first flag), an Officer figure must be in place with each British unit (ignore the second flag). If they were "supported", they could ignore even the third flag (if it were thrown). Most any other unit would retreat 40 cm, backs toward the enemy on the second flag! If a third flag were thrown, the unit would rout off the board.
My point is British infantry are incredibly difficult to force back, let alone rout. If they happened to be elite (British Guards), they would be forced to practically die to a man! The national characteristics definitely need to be adjusted, especially those units assigned to North America in 1812-13. 1814, however, would be another story!