Saturday, February 4, 2012


In this weeks game at the SESWC we were trying out a new set of rules, Warfare in the Age of Napoleon written by Tod Kershner, whose previous rules are Warfare in the Age of Reason. They are a slim softback - the rules are only 26 pages with a further 6 pages with troop ratings for 1815 and 2 scenarios - which makes a pleasant change from many other recent sets of Napoleonic rules.

Dave Imrie supplied the Russians and Dougie Trail supplied the French. You can see from the photos that they both have excellently painted collections. I helped Dave with the Russians and Angus Konstam supported Dougie.

Dave Imrie's impessive Russian Grenadiers
The loose premise behind the game was that during the Grand Armees approach to Smolensk, Neverovskys 27th (Grenadier) Division was operating on the south bank of the River Dniepr, and it clashed with elements of Neys III Corps somewhere near the town of Krasnyi. As Dave's Russian troops were all grenadiers, we based it around that clash in August 1812. The Russians started with one brigade which I commanded deployed astride a crossroads. The French (with two infantry brigades and two cavalry ones) had to seize the road junction and drive the Russians back. The rest of the Russians under Dave - a second infantry brigade, a regiment of cuirassiers and another two gun batteries would also march onto the table after the battle got underway.

French Hussars sweep forward on left flank
The Russian secret weapon was a position battery of 12-pounders. In these rules large gun batteries are particularly effective, and sure enough when the leading French brigade appeared the battery set to work shredding its front units. Both sides reinforced the fight, the French sending a brigade of light cavalry backed by horse artillery off on their left flank, while the Russians fed more infantry into the growing fight, deploying them on their own left flank. As soon as the cavalry got into position they launched a charge. Dougie had no sooner finishing telling everyone how his brown-coated 2nd Hussars had never lost a combat when they were forced to retire in disorder, having come off worst in a clash with my battalion of Russian grenadiers. It was all luck - my paltry 3 dice scored more hits than Dougie’s 14 dice. His other hussars were a little more successful, and soon another Russian battalion were pinned in square, as the French horse artillery deployed and began pounding away at them from effective range.
Infantry lines slug it out.....
The Russians, of course, were made of stern stuff, and after re-deploying into line the battalion who thwarted the 2nd Hussars advanced towards the guns, and began firing at them in an attempt to drive the gunners off. This unusual exchange continued for the next few turns, as both sides took casualties, but refused to give ground. Meanwhile, over on the French right the French infantry had deployed from column into line, and soon a brisk musketry exchange had developed, with both sides pounding away at each other at close range. The rules rather discourage charging in using attack columns, so the French relied on their superior firepower instead. Having outflanked the Russian heavy guns they blasted away at it. That spurred Dave to launch his second brigade of grenadiers in a counter-attack, and they charged home in column. The result was discouraging, as despite outnumbering the French battalion in front of him by two to one, his units were forced to retire in disorder. Lesson learned. Line good - column bad.

2nd Hussars charge home on Russian line - who won!
Elsewhere the Russians were holding their ground, despite the heavy casualties they were taking, and the profusion of French units. As a last resort Dougie brought on his dragoon brigade, but it was still deploying for a charge when the time came to pack the toys away.
The game was fast-paced, even though we kept on stopping to check the rules as only 2 of the 4 players had read them briefly beforehand. We agreed that we will play WAON again once we have studied these promising rules more and taken into account the clarifications which are in the Army Supplement.

Russian Cuirassiers - heavy heavy cavlry - advance in support
One of the strange things about WAON is the inverted nature of firing and morale. Normally, a high score is good, but here the aim is to score low - a 1 or a 2 is ideal on a D6. While this turned out to be a very sensible and well thought out system, it took a little getting used to. It suited me with my usual low dice scoring!


  1. Super report and surprisingly a fantastic table given the painters you mentioned!


  2. How does it compare to Black Powder and Lasalle - Good to see a group willing to test new rules on an almost weekly basis!! Tel everyone I said hello and I appreciate all your help on the Black Powder rules!

  3. Very good report and photos.