A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Testing Day - some gratuitous photos

After Goya and his Austrians had gone home on Saturday, it occurred to me that I should keep the boards out, and set up some soldiers for some rule testing.

The particular things I'm testing at the moment are the continuing prototype of my "brigade activation" tweak, which enables groups of units to be ordered at one go, and the use of bodies of converged light infantry/voltigeurs as Commands & Colors-style light infantry (i.e. a representation of skirmish-order troops in a grand tactical game format).

I set up a couple of armies - far too many soldiers for the table (I had intended to add the table extension, but the extra folding support table turned out to be unavailable) - but it looked so good that I took some pictures. There's no battle narrative, or anything - the playing I did subsequently was just a series of situations to see how the rules work.

When I was in Bath recently I was asked how many Napoleonic soldiers I have and - of course - I have no idea at all. This is probably explained by my lack of focus rather than any suggestion that the number is very large. On Saturday, the conversation briefly turned to how big a battle I could stage, given the space and a big enough table - again, I had to admit that I didn't know, though I do know that I have 60-odd French battalions, if you include the Confederation chaps, the Italians, King Joseph's Spaniards and all that. It got me thinking - it might be worthwhile to set something up sometime - even if it just proves it can't be done, it might be fun finding out! It would require some joinery work and a lot of painting, and I'd have to borrow one of the farm's sheds - hmmm....

So - no story line here - no excuse for the self-indulgent pictures. Ian mentioned that he rarely saw my Brits these days, so there are some here. This set up (on the standard size, 13 x 9 hex C&C table) involves 2 divisions of French, attacking one-division-plus-an-extra-brigade of Brits. I think I have 6 French infantry divisions in total, so that gives some idea of the potential scale of a bigger, wider battle. I'll think about it. If you like this sort of thing, you can play spot-the-figure-manufacturer - nothing very exotic, I think.

The testing? - oh yes - still some more work needed - especially for the skirmishers...

French attacking from the right - 1st and 2nd Divisions of the Armée
de Portugal, circa May 1812

Here are some Brits - Wheatley's Brigade of 1st Division

...and some welcome European immigrants - Von Löwe's KGL brigade, with
Colin Halkett's German Light Brigade beyond...

...and two enormous battalions of Foot Guards on the left, with the heavy
cavalry - yes - that is the Scots Greys on the end, casually dropped in from Ireland for
the day

Some of the converged skirmish units - here are some companies of the 5/60th Rifles in a village

...and the opposition - combined voltigeurs of Barbot's brigade of the French 2nd Division

The stream in the foreground was last seen some 160 years earlier, near Sunderland!

Mostly Garrisons and Les Higgins, I think - note the coloured cubes to denote the brigade structure

These are just different views of the same situation - note the plastic kitchen
utensil - a spatula - an invaluable device for handling troops on sabots; by
the way, following Brexit the sabots will be officially termed "clogs" - one
advantage is that my pal Grammaticus can probably pronounce this


  1. Now that looks very impressive!

  2. Tony - what a fantastic display! Wonderful to see the Brits and in particular those lovely Hinton Hunt highlanders.

    I look forward to the event in the farm shed...

  3. Superb. Absolutely superb. Can't wait to see revised rules.

  4. I do like the way everything sort of "fits" with everything else. The end looks as good as all the bits individually but more so.

  5. Thank you gentlemen - it is good to remind myself every now and then that I really like toy soldiers.

    Ross - about everything fitting; there are inspired and gifted people who get things right first time, or acquire skills at a precocious rate. On the other hand, there are plodding people like me who are thorough, but slow learners, who eventually stick with something long enough to sort out the stupid mistakes they made earlier. The visual side of my wargames has definitely improved, but it is the result of my having lost patience with the numerous travesties which preceded it.