Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic Absolute Emperor… Again

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    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    I wrote up my thoughts on my first play through of the Bumville 2 scenario in the Absolute Emperor  rules book in the original thread about the rules (see Norm’s Absolute Emperor post – here).

    Since then, as promised, I have played another game, this time the Bumville 3 scenario, which uses more units and probably gives a better feel of what the game can offer.

    I have a full write up at my Corrigenda Wiki (you’ll have to scroll down to the ‘Absolute Emperor Again’ heading).

    The scenario starts off with the French occupying a ridge overlooking the town which is being defended by the allies:

    The game proceeded a lot more smoothly now I had found the whereabouts of the hidden elements (to hit scores etc) which had eluded me on my first play through.

    Half way though the 8 turn game:

    The British defenders held on (quite easily in the end) to the town and this was a very enjoyable game.

    I think  the rules have a great potential to deliver what they it set out to do – ie a large battle game in a reasonable time and space.

    I still have reservations about the layout of the rules,  but I think once you have worked your way through those issues and made your own notes and reference sheet about where everything is and how they interact, there will be few real problems. There will be a lot of abstraction and this may make them too divorced from the usual rock, paper, scissors of Napoleonic foot, horse, artillery for some people, but I think you will be able to shoot through a satisfyingly large battle in a reasonable time frame. I played the Bumville 3 scenario through solo in under two hours, taking notes and photos and mumbling to myself about what I thought of the game. Familiarity and less muttering would speed this up considerably.

    I got my set for c£9.00 on Amazon and for that price it is certainly worth having  look. I’m probably going to keep playing Volley and Bayonet as my main set for large battles in this period, but I can see using Absolute Emperor as well, probably for delivering quick results in campaign games where most of the action is map manoeuvre and diplomacy.

    [Looking at the photos it strikes me again that there are a lot of markers! I might switch some of these to rosters. If nothing else in a big battle I will run out of tiddlywinks very quickly!]

    Avatar photoSteve Johnson

    Thanks for the update Guy. I think I’ll still pass on these, using BPII or SotE for ‘smaller’ games and BBB for ‘bigger’ ones, as they work for me. Saying that I’m still tempted by General d’Armee!

    Avatar photoNorm S

    Thanks for the mention and for revisiting the game with updated thoughts. Interested to see how some problems actually had solutions …. But in a different part of the book and it does seem that familiarity will bring the better game. Also that you stepped back and looked at some things from the authors point of view, I imagine it needs some repeated play before it will surrender all of it’s secrets, but it seems that in places you were getting the right result regardless of how the system got you there. I like the idea of an army on hold while it carries out its opening bombardment, would it fair to say that at this scale, a French opening bombardment should be doing something and that bad dice alone shouldn’t interfere to degree that it did?

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    Thanks, Steve and Norm.

    Norm, I think the bombardment should have probably lasted longer. There were 15 turns available and as the game ended more or less in 8 I think another couple of turns at least would have been  judicious.

    One target was in the town so I would not expect massive damage but I was surprised at the lack of damage to the Portuguese. Two die, only one has effect but you are looking for 5+. It was at extreme range (the game only counts short – canister, and long – roundshot so that is my rationalisation rather than rule effect).

    My continuing concerns over whether I played through the mechanisms correctly have not been helped by finding bits of the processes in odd places, but I’ll live with it for the moment and I feel that the battle played out in a not unlikely manner. Two infantry and two cavalry divisions storming a position held by four infantry and a cavalry division should be difficult.

    Steve, it has been a long time since I stepped down to a divisional game level and having read some of your reports and having enjoyed Keith’s Honours of War rules I think Shadow of the Eagles will definitely be getting a look in.

    Thanks both for your thoughts.


    Avatar photoNorm S

    Guy, I have just pulled the book down to read again 🙂

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    Looking at the scenario again – the French artillery is a Grand Battery and should therefore hit on 4s, counting the three highest dice of six at effective (roundshot) range. This is my fault for reading the list of units in the scenario which says 3x artillery batteries and not the explanatory intro where they are explicitly called a Grand Battery. This would have done more damage in the bombardment.

    I can’t blame the author as he says this clearly in the artillery formation section on p.12 and in the Artillery shooting basics on p.22. I just didn’t twig it was a Grand Battery from the list of units. Doh!

    Never mind – working out an Orbat for Fuentes de Onoro – only a small battle at this scale but should be interesting to see how many bits I can stuff up in another run through!

    Avatar photovtsaogames

    Glad you share your insight with us. Thank you.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    ‘Insight’ What a polite term for my blunderings about in someone’s rules!

    But, thank you.



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