Monday, 19 December 2011


It was the final meeting of the Tyneside club on Saturday, and as is now tradition we put on a big participation game for as many club members as wanted to play. This year we went for a refight of Waterloo in 6mm using Grande Armee.

Michael and Dave supplied the French, with Dave being Napoleon and Michael Ney. Stu provided the Prussians but graciously allowed Paddy to be Blucher. And as I supplied the Anglo-Dutch army I had the distinction of playing Wellington. In total twelve players took part in the game making it a good collective festive bash.

I won't go through the history of the battle as there are plenty of sources out there who will do the battle a much greater service than I ever could so will instead reflect on the game itself.

Let's start with the most important thing, the game was a cracking good laugh - helped no doubt by the generous amounts of port being consumed. Thankfully the Prussians arrived early so there were plenty of commands for everyone to get involved and thanks to some superb dice throwing by Kieran as Picton the British line withheld the first French assaults to make a good game of it.

In short, the early arrival of the Prussians meant the French moved the Cavalry Corps across to meet this threat reducing the pressure on the British line which although buckling under the force of the Old Guard managed to hold with the commitment of the British reserves.

When fighting it next time I'd shrink the table slightly. We used the map from the scenario in the Grande Armee rulebook which works to 12" squares but forgot to adjust it for the small 6cm bases we use. The result was that the British had to spread out further to cover the same distance and both La Haye Sainte and Hougoumount were to far from the line. It also meant the Prussians had further to march when entering the field to reach the battle.

This game has re-enthused me for Grande Armee. It really showed what the system can do, allowing full Corps to be engaged, withdrawn, rallied, and reengaged within the time available. Sadly I got too caught up in the battle to remember to take photos as it progressed but thankfully Andy was one of the twelve and better photos can be found on his blog.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Imperial Ambitions

I have three weeks over Christmas and plan to spend a lot of the time painted a 28mm Early Imperial Roman Army for the Impetus Tournament circuit next year - that is when I can escape family commitments. For inspiration I have just finished reading Anthony Everitt's biography of Augustus and I'm moving onto Frank McLynn's bio of Marcus Aurelius.

I decided on the army following a few games of Hail Caesar (HC). I didn't want to replicate the Marian Roman army I have in 15mm in another scale, and the rules for line relief in Republican Roman armies in Impetus put me off that option. Thankfully these rules have been improved in Extra Impetus 4 but I have already invested in Imperial Recruits.

You will have noticed that I plan to use the army in two different rule sets. While Impetus will remain my primary ancient ruleset I have enjoyed the alternative of HC and hope to find time for both. The problem this brings is basing. HC, and other rulesets, require some individual basing of figures where Impetus relies on unit bases. I have therefore went with basing units for HC and creating unit stands to place them on for Impetus.

The army composition is still to be finalised. I am split between taking more infantry or more cavalry. There is a requirement to have at least four units of Legionaries/Auxiliaries and I also want at least two units of medium cavalry and one light. The decision is between an additional two units of Legionaries/Auxiliaries or an additional two cavalry units.

In the long run I plan to paint up enough figures to deploy either army but I need to make a decision for preparing the army for the York tournament on 5th February. At present I think I will stick with the tradition of the Roman army at the time being an infantry army and go with the extra Legionaries/Auxiliaries.

For the Legionaries/Auxiliaries I am splitting the units 50:50 between heavy (FP) Legionaries and light (FL) Auxiliaries. This split gives the option of deploying in two battle lines and allowing as FP and FL can interpenetrate.

All of the figures are Warlord Games. I have found their plastics a lot easier to assemble than Wargames Factory but their metal miniatures tend to need a lot of tidying up. The models to look great with the main frustration being that the Legionnaires are clearly smaller than the Auxiliaries.

So far I have painted one unit of Legionaries and one of Auxiliaries. For the Legionaries I am basing six figures on a 6cm x 4cm base. Two bases together will form on Impetus unit and three a unit for HC. Having three bases for HC will allow the unit to change between column, line and wedge formations easily. The Auxiliaries are based individually with seven  being magnetised to a 12cm x 6cm base for Impetus. The single basing allows them to be deployed either formed or in various degrees of skirmish for HC.