Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic First Game of Napoleonics with Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames

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  • #42903
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    So lately I’ve also had a bit of paralysis by analysis, some frustration by the sheer size of the lead mountain, the veritable pile of projects started but in various stages of abandonment. This started me peering in and around the stack of unfinished business and giving serious consideration to selling off some stuff, both miniatures and rules. As I started building a pile of unused rulebooks, I came across my copy of Neil Thomas’ One Hour Wargames (OHW). I threw it on the pile, took another look, then picked it back up and began thumbing through it.

    After reading some reviews and then some battle reports online, I’d picked up OHW probably six months ago now. I was very interested in the concept of playing fast, ferocious battles on a small-ish table that was quick to set up and take down. If you’re reading this you’re probably aware I’m a big fan of campaigns; I can’t even remember the last time I played a ‘stand alone’ game. The problem with campaigns is they’re a lot of work administratively (I love filling out tables of organization with various characters and following their exploits, but it takes a lot of time to make and then keep up), and a campaign, by definition, has quite a few battles, which each take a long time to set up, play, take down, write up, post to the internet, and conduct the admin records. So I was very happy to have the rules and I very much looked forward to playing some games with OHW, fantasizing about Napoleonics, the American Revolution, and the American Civil War, in particular.

    But I don’t know what happened. The rule book got set aside and I kept chugging away with other games. But picking up the book from the ‘rules to sell’ pile, I gave it another look, then began pouring through various batreps on the internet, particularly Steven Whitesell’s “Sound Officer’s Call” blog, and this motivated me to give the rules another look and to actually get them on the table. Now, I’m a constant tinkerer, for better or worse never playing a set of rules as written. And these were no different: I like them, but I wanted a bit more randomization in the activation process, and I wanted a bit more period flavor for Napoleonics. So I sketched some changes out (the changes are at the bottom of this post), set out the forces and the table, grabbed the boy, and we got down to the business of liberating Europe from Bonaparte/fighting to keep the Revolution alive.

    And so General Dadie and General Nickolls led their troops onto the field of battle. The setting is somewhere in Europe, with me commanding the French and the boy commanding the British-led Allies in a fictional campaign in maybe 1813 or so. I say 1813 or so because I want to be able to bring some Bavarians, Saxons, Italians, and Poles onto the field of battle, and he can bring some Dutch, Prussians, Austrians, and Russians, if we see fit. Our first game was purely French vs British; maybe it will stay that way, maybe not. That’s the beauty of fictional campaigns ๐Ÿ˜‰


    The opposing forces, with Brits on bottom and French on top. The figures are 10mm plastic figures from the boardgame ‘Risk,’ some of which were painted up by me, but the vast majority came from ‘Gunner’ of Le Petite Armee. The command stands represent the Commanding General and his staff, while ‘regular’ stands represent brigades of infantry and cavalry, and artillery grand batteries. As usual, when you play at this level of abstraction it causes some… inconsistencies. But nothing the boy and I can’t get past, and hopefully you can too. The OHW rules are abstract enough to not make a declaration of what each unit represents, I simply chose brigade-level stands as it made sense to me and fit what I wanted to do. But in the OHW rules there are units of skirmishers, for example, which would be equivalent to Rifles, Jaegers, Grenzers, Light Infantry, Legere, etc…, and it’s kinda weird to have whole brigades of these running around the table as formed units. But we’re doing it, and it works ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Also, I use some high profile units in the game, such as the French “Old Guard,” but it’s simply for fun and identification of the units, they have no special power in the rules, they are simply treated as any other infantry brigade.

    In any case, the forces are as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

    French commander, General Dadie, the Old Guard (infantry), the 1st Ligne (infantry), the 2nd Ligne (infantry), the 1st Legere (skirmishers), the Young Guard (skirmishers), and a (grand) battery of Horse Artillery (again, forgive the abstraction, but I wanted to differentiate Foot and Horse artillery).

    British commander, General Nickolls, the British Foot Guards (infantry), the 1st Brigade of Foot (infantry), the Highlander Brigade, the Rifle Brigade (95th and 60th brigaded together?) (skirmishers), the Union Brigade (Scots Greys and Blues) (cavalry), and a Dragoon Brigade (cavalry).

    *Yes, I know I’m using regimental-style names for most of the brigades, but please cut me some slack, I don’t feel like using names of commanders I haven’t written up yet.

    I put the type of unit in parentheses as OHW break down units into four distinct categories: infantry, skirmishers, artillery, and cavalry, and I wanted you to know how each unit was designated (i.e., my designating the Young Guard as skirmishers rather than infantry). Force composition is pretty cool and simple in OHW, you just consult a chart, roll a single D6, and it tells you how many of each unit type you get for the upcoming battle. Additionally, there is a battery of 30 different scenarios in the book, which you can also simply roll up with a D6 to decide which you’re going to use. As this was our first go round we went with the very straight forward scenario one, which is a simple ‘line up and go whack the other guy’ type of fight.


    The boy General makes his move: he moved his General to support the British Foot Guards (bottom center), keeping me from forming square, while he pushed both brigades of cavalry into the center (center right), threatening the 2nd Ligne (center top), the Legere (center left), and my grand battery atop the hill (top center), all at once. Furthermore, it made clear my mistake in moving my reserve (the Old Guard, far left) away from the hill to reinforce the right flank prematurely…

    To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
    http://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2016/06/first-game-of-napoleonics-with-neil.html

    Wow, what a @#$% fight!!! Yes, the rules are simple, but they were quick (that was our very first game and took about an hour and a half, with me having to looks stuff up and explain it to a six year-old) and super tense. We really had a great time and look forward to playing it again; as a matter of fact, the table is set, ready to go, and we’ll look to head upstairs either today or tomorrow to have another go.

    I hope you guys like this batrep as much as we enjoyed playing it.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #42932
    kyotebluekyoteblue
    Participant

    Oh Noes !!!! I’ll read the whole AAR when I get back from defending Fulda Gap this afternoon….

    #42950
    kyotebluekyoteblue
    Participant

    It seemed like I was reading War and Peace…that was a long long AAR…Glad the Boy won one !!!!!!

    #42992
    Just Jack
    Participant

    You don’t seem to be doing very well in your defense of the Fulda Gap.ย  Of course, the boy kicked my butt, but he’ll get his.

    War and Peace, eh?ย  I put all those pics in there so you don’t cry about multi-syllabic words and the overall word count!

    V/R,
    Jack

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