Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). 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.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Re-fighting the Peninsular War

I’d like to undertake a solo re-fight of the entire Peninsular War – does anyone have any advice?

Re-fighting the entire Peninsular War was the first project I thought about undertaking when I got back in to wargaming in 2007 and in a way it has been the guiding principle for these last five years.  Figures, rules and terrain have all been experimented with on the way.  The initial use of 1/72 plastics with the Bruce Quarrie rules has given way to 6mm Baccus figures using the Polemos Napoleonic Rules.  While the terrain I use is nothing to write home about, I’ve achieved a standard that I don’t feel any urgent need to improve upon radically and at least as importantly, I’ve found the ways to make the terrain work with the figures and the rules.

However, the actual campaign mechanics remain a problem.   I’m not sure that five years or so of experimenting have led me closer to a solution I’m really happy with.  Various methods I have tried have included:

The Bruce Quarrie campaign rules:  comprehensive,  but difficult to get the appropriate mapping with enough ‘definition’ of Spain in 1808 without doing an awful lot of work; time-consuming; good siege-rules; very different in philosophy to the Polemos rules I’ll be using for the tactical battles.

The Polemos campaign rules: simple, require some home mapmaking but nothing too strenuous, but really designed for smaller duration campaigns; will work fine with the tactical rules; siege rules lack detail and ‘feel’; need to effectively write my own rules for the  more ‘strategic’ aspects of the campaign, so supply, reinforcement etc.  Henry Hyde’s campaign rules and George Gush’s campaign rules have similar virtues and flaws.  Henry Hyde’s rules perhaps being more comprehensive, but requiring a little more work.

The board game ‘Tomb for an Empire’; excellent mechanisms for conducting the strategic aspects of the campaign, not too difficult to fit in with the tactical rules; lots of good set-up detail.  However, the game effectively abstracts the ‘operational’ aspects of campaigning: so little possibility of some of the varied battles that are part of the appeal of campaigning: the rear guards, the convoys etc.

I’m also unsure whether the campaign should be solo, or I should try PBEM.  The tactical battles will have to be solo affairs.  Although not exclusively a solo wargamer, neither am I regular face-to-face player.

Any thoughts would be gratefully received.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, saw your post on TMP. I wonder if you might be interested in taking part in our online/web based campaign. It's set in the Peninsular and we're a few players short. It might give you some ideas for your own, and help us out. Plus it'll give you chance to get some figures out on table I'm sure at some point. Feel free to have a look at my blog to get an idea of what I'm talking about, and contact me at gavinparnaby at

    Apologies if you aren't interested.