Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life; currently concentrating on a re-fight of the entire English Civil War, but with numerous discursions into battles from many different periods. The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Monday, 13 February 2017

"Bickering Across A Stream" - A small action using Paddy Griffith's Napoleonic Skirmish rules

I hadn't managed to get my 28mm Napoleonics to the table since painting them up last year.  The figures are the rather beautiful Perry plastic Napoleonics: I have the French, British and Austrian infantry boxed sets.  I settled on trying out a small game of the skirmish game in Paddy Griffith's Napoleonic Wargaming for Fun.

The Forces:
Both the British and the French forces consisted of a patrol of five infantrymen, all "B" class.

The Scenario:
Each patrol is advancing towards each other, unaware that they are about to encounter opposition.  Each side wishes to secure the stream.  The basic solitaire command mechanism was for each side to roll a D6 each turn, to indicate aggression levels, with a -1 for each seriously wounded or killed friendly soldier and +1 for each seriously wounded or killed enemy soldier.  If a side rolls a modified "0", all surviving troops will run away.

The Battle:
A five-man French patrol advancing from the bottom approach a similar British patrol advancing from the top.

Blanc, van der Vaart, Napoli, Dubois and Dupont advancing...

Hopkins, White, Lawlor, Robson and Brown on the far side of the stream

First contact! Blanc, van der Vaart and Napoli seek cover behind the top of the hill, but Blanc trips.  Dubois and Dupont are hit by the fire of Robson and White respectively: Dubois is injured and Dupont is killed a mere second after his own musket misfired.

A better view of the British firing line.  Hopkins on the left also misfired.

And the view from the British side.

The French, in spite of their losses, move aggressively forward and begin to cross the stream.

Meanwhile the British run behind the hill to reload.  Lawlor trips and falls.  He tries to get up but is grazed by a musket ball fired by Napoli.

The French charge, but Blanc and Napoli stumble when crossing the river and Van der Vaart ends up charging alone! 

Lawlor and Van der Vaart slug it out, hand-to-hand

Lawlor gets very lucky: Van der Vaart missed his point-blank range shot and then got bayoneted by Lawlor, despite the latter's injury.  Van der Vaart surrendered.  Meanwhile Brown has finshed off the already wounded Dubois with a fine piece of shooting.

The remaining French pair decide to break off the action.
 Game Notes: A good fun game that rattled along very quickly.  The set-up was designed to give familiarity to the rules rather than to give a particularly engrossing tactical challenge, but it worked admirably on that score.  The table at 2'x2' would normally be rather too small for these rules, but I wanted a quick action.
Troops are rated A-G depending on how skilful and motivated they are.  When personnel are injured, they drop ratings to reflect their reduced performance.  This neatly deals with wounds, so that Imperial Guardsmen with a minor wound are likely to remain pretty effective, whilst Portuguese militiamen will be pretty useless.
The command and control of personnel is done by written orders - essentially a single word like "move", "fire", "reload" or "get up" next to a name on the roster.  So, for Brown, the written orders went Walk-Hold-Run-Fire-Reload etc. The game is based on simultaneous movement. That worked alright, although this leaves a certain amount of interpretation up to the player(s): at what point in a move is a moving target shot at, for example.  However, the overall process is pretty quick and intuitive and didn't feel too intrusive into the game.  The mechanisms were very intuitive and the calibration of effects felt about right, although perhaps giving a running man a 20% chance of tripping over seems excessive!  But, on the other hand, if we reckon that it includes the effects of cognitive blink and confusion and so on, perhaps it works out alright.  There are various factors to modify chances to hit and so on, but they are all pretty basic and don't slow down the gsame appreciably.  The game uses D10 for all its rolls, which allows for quite a range of results but still allows plaers to understand quickly the probabilities of actions being successful (or not).
The rules do what they say they will do: provide a fun Napoleonic wargame with a minimum of fuss.  On this initial playthrough, recommended.
The figures used were from Perry Miniatures (my painting does not do these beauties justice!).


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you very much. I'm hoping to get in a couple more plays of this in the not too distant future.

  2. I have the book but never tried out the skirmish rules. Thanks for the report.

    1. You are welcome. I was in the same boat, so I have decided to at least try out some of the games inside.

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