Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy

Thursday, February 25, 2016

My Experiences so far with Horse & Musket Era Wargaming

Well, it has been just over six months now since branching out in to Napoleonic wargaming. Like I have said before, Napoleonic history is nothing new to me, but wargaming it is. I have learned many things about the tactics and doctrines, dress and motivations of the armies - especially the 1812 era French and Russians. It has been a great learning experience to be sure. However, I have also learned something about myself; my hobby interests. For one, I have discovered that this period/era has tickled my imagination like no other to date. I am not quite sure why this is really. Perhaps it has something to do with all the recorded drama I have at my fingertips - all the great historical references and such. Not that the other periods I am interested in are devoid of such. For some reason this era has caught my imagination like no other. Secondly, it has made me consider periods outside Napoleonics but still within the historical horse & musket era - the American War of Independence (AWI) for one. The AWI is an era that has always been part of my life, having grown up in a colonial home, being saturated with the Bi-centennial celebrations of 1976, and being directly involved with Colonial reenactment through fairs and such - my mom was very active in such events. I collected tons of little  toy soldiers of the AWI as well, and oh boy did I fight some awesome battles! All in all, this whole Napoleonic project has really opened me up to a whole new set of experiences within the hobby of wargaming. In fact, I have already began working on my next big project - yes, the American War of Independence! I recently started a new blog called Flint & Feather Wargaming, which will cover my journey through the early wars in America during the 18- early 19th century. But I won't get too deep in to that project here as this blog is all about the European conflicts of the horse & musket period.

Russians advance.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

March Attack and Other Bits

Over the past couple of weeks I not only managed to finish off a four stand unit of irregular Cossacks but also had a great time playing a setoff rules called March Attack, by Crusader Publishing. This battle was pretty big and used most of my collection so far. Played on my standard 6' x 4' table using the mixed ground Cigar Box mat I really enjoy.

Saxon and French columns assault the Russian defenders.
My Russian Cossacks as well as some other minis I finished off recently :)

The rules worked out really well with divisions moving under various orders to capture objectives, defend objectives and otherwise lend support to each other. One aspect of the rules is that it allows for large battles at the battalion level - in other words your basic unit on the tabletop are battalions. The rules have an almost perfect balance between large scale grand tactics, and small scale battalion tactics - there are unit formations like column, line, and square that can be adopted.

Bloody fighting at a farm defended by the Russians. The small red dice are used to track current CV levels - the
combat value of units.

 All in all I really enjoyed the battle. It played very quickly and I caught on to the rules after only a couple of turns in. Granted, the rules seem confusing and look cumbersome but really they are not. The concepts are actually very easy to grasp and the rules are indeed well explained and written. Take note however, these rules may not be to every ones taste. There is no point system or army lists, and the rules do make use of written orders for divisions - which I really like and use with all my SOLO games anyway. They do force you to plan ahead and come up with a plan something I feel is critical in SOLO gaming.

The Russian defenders are reinforced!

I will be playing these rules again for sure. I do have to admit however, I am more of a fan of the gritty tactical level with BIG unit sizes - March Attack units are only two stands in size! SO no, these are not likely to become my go to set of rules at the moment. Yes, the quest continues. However, I must admit that I really am enjoying the Black Powder rules at the moment. Very fun and has some nice details.

The fighting was brutal but the French and Saxons managed to break the defenders after a long fight.

French under Davout assault the heights defended by a division of Russian grenadiers.

Russian and French columns about to collide.

Units in March Attack are two stands in size, allowing you to represent column, square, or line formations.