Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic Miniature Very Big Battles

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    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    Has anyone tried using big-battle Napoleonic Rules (e.g. Grande Armee, Volley & Bayonet, Polemos MdE etc.) using quite small bases so even very big battles fit on a normal dinign room table?  I was thinking maybe a 1″ or 3cm squared bases for a brigade, rathern than the 3″ or 6cm squared bases suggested by the above rules.

    If so, did it work both, mechanically and visually?


    Avatar photoBandit


    There is a game called Orders to Eagles that I’ve played at Little Wars outside Chicago, IL, USA which is similar to the scale you’re speaking of playing. O2E is *very* simplistic in many regards, battalions are 1″ square bases and have three statuses: good order, disorder, destroyed [removed]. It is an initiative based IGOUGO system which is also not my thing but it is a decently functional game.

    To answer your main question about ground scale and how it looks, that depends a bit on the presentation and on your perspective. Once you get up to 1″ = 150 yards or greater most people seem to tend towards a simplistic presentation where only major terrain features are shown and they are done so using very distinct physical elements. This can influence your perspective of game play at this scale a lot. The real question for the player at this scale is if they are comfortable looking at the tabletop as a map rather than focusing on sticking their head down close to peer into the units and see the drama of individual actions. That is also perhaps the biggest difference between 15mm to 28mm players vs say 6mm to 10mm players. If you can accept the perspective that you are essentially playing on a live map then you can embrace the role of corps or army commander rather than getting hung up in small scale tactical decisions.

    The Napoleonic project I am developing can be played at any ground scale above 1″ = 75 yards and some of my external play testers plan to run games at ground scales of 1″ = 100 yards, 1″ = 150 yards, etc… with 6mm or 10mm figures. It is notably more detailed than O2E but not heavy like one might think of say Empire. This project focuses primarily on command & control with very little tactical nuance.

    One downside of many rules when playing as you describe is measuring weapon ranges – when musket range becomes a portion of an inch or several millimeters it becomes difficult and impractical to measure on the tabletop. Thus, I would tell you the most successful at these large ground scales conflate all non-ranged-artillery combat together and resolve it at contact. This allows radically increased ground scale without a lot of disputable and fiddly measuring. It is also consistent with the necessary abstraction brought by this scale of game.

    That help any?

    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    It does, thank you.

    Avatar photoJeff Glasco

    I have played Volley & Bayonet and an American Civil War version of Fast Play Grande Armee with smaller bases. I started with 1.25″ square bases (see here for how they looked: http://jdglasco.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/the-volley-bayoneta-house-divided-campaign-project/). Once I played a game with the figures, I realized that the bases were too small for my tastes, so I’ve been slowly rebasing them to 1.5″ square bases with 8-10 infantry and 4-6 cavalry; all Adler 6mm figures (really 8mm by my measurements). I have also used 15mm figures on 2″ bases, again for the American Civil War (see http://jdglasco.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/volley-bayonet-basing-for-acw/ and http://jdglasco.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/october-game-1st-bull-run-with-volley-bayonet/). Overall the smaller bases are a bit spartan in terms of figures, but they do work. I have to provide all of the figures for the ACW games, so the need for lots of bases and not so much painting time on my part makes the smaller bases with fewer figures work.


    Avatar photoPeeler

    If you want small bases & fewer figures, have a look at Dbn, they may suit you.

    (And no, I’m not on commission 🙂

    Avatar photoCardinal Biggles

    One of the popular basing options for Volley and bayonet is half size (1.5″) or more commonly two thirds size (2″) basing for a brigade. With half scale you can do gettysburg on a kitchen table, and in 2″ basing Borodino fits nicely on a 6×4. same basing works with the excellent grande Armee rules too. I use Adlers for this level of game on 2″ bases audit looks great.






















    Avatar photoSparker

    Anyone interested in large scale – ‘Grand Tactical’ games might want to wait until Sam Mustafa releases ‘Blucher’ early next year. I can’t say too much as I am involved in the play testing process, but its open source that it is pitched at the 1 unit=1 Brigade level and unit base sizes would ideally be around 75mm x 75mm:


    'Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they shall need to be well 'ard'
    Matthew 5:9

    Avatar photoExtraCrispy

    For very large battles I do indeed use “Pocket Scale” as I call it, I convert from inches to centimeters so a stand is 30x30mm. Even st that scale, Leipzig needs a table 8×9. But Smaller battles get quite reasonable in size.

    Avatar photoExtraCrispy

    And oh by the way, here is a snap of a solo play test of my Bitter Angels (the ACW version of Grande Armee) done this way. This is a battlebox that allows me to leave it set up and slide under a couch when not in use. It is effectively a 4×7′ table converted to cenitmeters. The stands are 30x30mm. I do need to paint the edges of the box one of these days.



    Avatar photoWhirlwind

    Thank you very much for the helpful replies.  ExtraCripsy, your picture shows something which would very much suit what I’m after.

    Thanks again


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