Der Resin Kavalier

Friday, April 16, 2021

On to Spain, Part 2

 In my last post, I showed you some of the Bourbon Spanish forces that will be used in my current campaign. The rules are titled About Bonaparte by Dirk Donvil. However, I noted in the previous post's opening that it has been my experience that no set of rules survives first contact with gamer. Let me state though that I like the mechanics of the rules and the results (so far) seem to be consistent with many other sets that are used for this period. Most of the changes I've incorporated are primarily aesthetic. So let's take a look.

I don't like square bases! I have been gaming with toy soldiers most of my life, and in an organized way (i.e. using written rules) for more than sixty years. From my earliest excursions, bases have been mostly rectangular. Dirk's rules use a 55mm x 55mm base for 2 infantry figures, which also allows for some creative landscaping. Four bases constitute a unit ( 8 figures). The rules allow for different basing, so mine are 3in x 1.5in, with three figures (12 per unit). It takes up more room, but I think it looks better. Light Infantry are mounted on the same size base but with two figures. Likewise, instead of splitting a base or removing a figure for casualties (and skirmishing), I just use a plastic ring to indicate it. 

The cavalry in AB are on individual bases 55mm x 110mm, and since I hate rebasing, I've let that alone. Artillery on the other hands is supposed to be on a 110mm x 110mm base with 3-5 gunners. I've left the gun un-based and the gunners on 1.25" fender washers. I think it looks good, and appears to have no significant impact on the rules play. Below are some photos of the French.

Artillery on the march!

French Line and Chasseurs à Cheval

In these photos, you can see the general deployment of  the troops.  

French Lights skirmishing

A Swiss Battalion in French Service

Monday, April 5, 2021

On to Spain! The Campaign Season Begins!

 It has been said by many much wiser than I, that no plan survives the first contact with the enemy. I think the same could be said for wargame rules. It's been my experience that gamers almost without exception  tinker with rules and rule sets after the first game or even reading. I am no different!

Although it's been several months since my last post on this blog, I haven't been idly puttering away. On the contrary, I've been painting, mounting, and playing with my 54's. Of course, most of the time it has been solo play as the pandemic continues (although it seems to be abating here in New England). In a recent video conference with members of my club, the consensus was that maybe by the end of April, when all of our members should be vaccinated, we just might be able to get together for a game. But getting back to my point...

I have been play testing Dirk Donvil's About Bonaparte rules for large 54mm Napoleonic battles. While I like the mechanics and play, there were (are) some things I have changed based on comments both from Dirk, my friend Ross, and of course my own observations. Likewise, I have been reading Neil Thomas' Napoleonic Wargaming and have adopted several of his ideas. 

So what's new? Well, I'll go into more detail in an upcoming post (I actually have several all lined up for final editing!) but the most obvious change is the basing. Now, I have been been brought up on rectangular bases for Napoleonics since, well, since Napoleon was a corporal. About Bonaparte uses a 55mm x 55mm base for infantry, 55mm x 110mm for cavalry, and 110mm x 110mm for artillery. My Anglo-American Armies for the War of 1812 were based that way in my early test games previously posted. Even using half bases for skirmisher, it just didn't look right to me. So I opted for 3" x 1.5" base for infantry. I didn't change the cavalry, and ignored basing for the artillery altogether. I just think it looks better, an doesn't seem to impact the game at all. I also ignored or modified the national characteristics for the various armies given in the rule book.  The actual mechanics of the rules were pretty much retained (subject to further play test, of course). 

We'll finish up today with some photos of my Spanish forces. I've already written about the modifications I made to come up with the infantry. The artillery and dragoons started as Armies in Plastic American Revolution artillerists and cavalry. Careful trimming of the tricorns, along with a plume, give a pretty good facsimile of those Spanish troops.