Friday, December 30, 2011

Napoleonics - Big Borodino and Club game

This has been a week for Napoleonics.

On Wednesday a few of us from the Edinburgh club were invited to take part in a refight of Borodino, laid on by the Leuchars Wargames Club. Leuchars is about 50 miles north of Edinburgh, close to the university town of St. Andrews.

The players at Leuchars grand Borodino game
I'd already lent my Russian army for the game plus a good force of French and allies. For domestic reasons - my wife is from Moscow - naturally when the two dozen players chose sides, I opted to join the Russian team. I was given VIII Corps to command, and also given the role of Bagration, commanding the Russian 2nd Army of the West. This army held the Russian centre, with its defences concentrated on the 3 Bagration fleches.

The 32 foot long table used green baize mats and minimal terrain apart from an excellent Grand Redoubt and the Bagration fleches. However, it was positively groaning under the weight of the lead. The rules we used were General de Brigade (2nd edition), slightly modified to encourage faster play in large-scale battles. I had only read these briefly before the game but the Leuchars club produced an expanded 7 page QRS which worked well.

Fleche A - ineffective canister fire at charging cavalry....

It was a good massive game. My dice rolling for command was good but for combat and morale it was truly appalling. Both batteries defending the fleches rolled double 1s and ran low on ammo in the first 2 turns and the first 3 infantry battalions I tested to stand to cavalry charges all retreated or routed!!! My poor dice rolling infected the commanders of the reserves who came on either side of VIII corps and they both faired badly.

A fuller desription of the battle with more photos is on Angus Konstams Edinburgh Wargames site.

On Thursday at the SESWC we threw together a 7 player Black Powder Napoleonic game based on the troops that everyone had brought along. It became a Peninsular War action with an Anglo-Portuguese-Spanish force defending a line of hills and the villages and enclosures in front of them. The attackers were a division of French supported by a division of Bavarians.

French and Swiss charge Rifles holding walled enclosure
I commanded the Bavarian centre which was to break thru the Portugese holding the gap between the hills. This did not quite happen as the French commanders on my left blundered 3 times in the first 3 moves and repeatedly retired. The Bavarian right were held up by the appalling command rolls for their supporting cavalry and hardly got into action. My 2 brigades were stopped by heavy musketry fire from the Portuguese supported by the British and Spanish and the low point was when a Bavarian column broke against a Spanish Irish line. I was not making any progress and the French on the left after taking a walled enclosure were stopped by effective British musketry. A good game for a club night - especially as it was a quick improvised scenario.

Irish Spanish battalion breaks charging Bavarian column...

Bavarian Chasseurs suffer heavy casualties from allied musketry
We used 66% scale for movement and ranges. The British and French commanders were rated 8 while the Spanish and Bavarians were rated at 7. The French infantry were Reliable in attack colums and the British had First Fire. The Spanish line infantry were poor shots (-1 on shooting) and were reduced to 5 hand to hand dice.


  1. Nice looking boards and I'm envious that you had a chance to play Borodino which is my favourite engagement of the Nap period!


  2. Both Games look Excellent anyway of gettinng a copy of the quickplay charts for General de brigade Game

    in regards to the black Powder - game who had the wing command with the bloody bad blunder dice rolls - looks my luck "leaked" over into your game 5000 miles away - LOL

    Andy comes over Thursday for a game of Black powder ATPD - so you reduced the spanish to five dice for melee and a -1 for shooting even the Irish Spanish?

    Hope to come back to Scotland someday - are there more pics of both games on the club website?
    Cheers and Happy new year - DAVID (IDAHO)

    PS it was birthday yesterday - Happy Hippo day