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Most good sets of reasonably historic rules don’t allow the gamer to move everything all the time or make it a good idea to have large parts of your army unengaged, etc – certainly the ones my group play don’t.
Personally this kind of thing is one of my benchmarks for deciding if a set looks good, i.e. looks historical. Far too many rules think that it is OK to have rules for different weapons of a period but have no idea what warfare in the period was actually like.
- This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by Hwiccee.
Nice report. Our group have had similar experiences playing Ramillies. We have done a historical re-fight of the twice – we had more units than you but we use smaller scale figures. In any case I ran the games and the French won both times.
The first time we did as you did – i.e. no one had much prior knowledge of the details of the battle. The historical units were placed where they started the battle and the players then started playing. The result of this was that the French stood on the defensive while the Confederates launched a general assault all along their line. But this meant that the attacks arrived piecemeal and none of them was strong enough to guarantee success. It must also be said that the French cleverly exploited the disjointed Confederate attack. This led to a spectacular collapse of the Confederate morale across the whole front.
The second game was the same set up but of course now the players knew the battle and many had also read up on it – this game was a few months after the first. The decisive factor in this battle was the greater team work between the French players compared to the Confederates. The Confederates had decided to try to replicate the historical tactics used – feint on the right and then thrust through the middle. The problem was that despite this the Confederates still didn’t co-operate well together. The player in the middle who should have held back a little before the left was secure or the switch of forces to that area had at least got close. Instead an immediate full assault was launched. This had some success at first but soon got bogged down and so each set of reinforcements had to go straight into battle to try to stabilise the situation. So the Confederates were funnelled into a ‘killing zone’ piecemeal as they arrived. A situation not helped by the different approaches of the 2 sides. The original commands and units that each player had got mixed up and spread around during the battle. The Confederates kept control of the units they had at the start despite them later in the battle often being in various parts of the battlefield. In contrast the French were happy to swap units between players so that an individual player commanded a logical group of units.
The players wanted to use the same teams in the 2nd battle as the 1st but next time I would insist on different teams. Possibly the French taking over the Confederate army. But that will have to wait as next it is Oudernaarde 🙂
If you are interested in doing large battles you could try the ‘Twilight of the Sun King’ rules from the Pike and Shot society – http://pikeandshotsociety.org/sales.htm. But hang on a while as a new version/supplement is coming soon.
We use 1 or 2 (depending on the size of the real battle) Polemos bases per brigade (roughly 4 battalions). So you have with the armies you list about 72 battalions a side – Blenheim was 84 ‘French’ vs. 66 ‘British’ – but you will probably be short of cavalry.
Marlborough, Soldier and Diplomat by Karawanseny is a good book featuring articles on various subjects by academic experts, often not Anglo’s. But it is very much an academic work and probably only for those with a serious interest in the war.
The Pike and Shot society has many useful publications but I would recommend this – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Marlborough-Goes-War-Campaign-Blenheim/dp/1902768183/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1426084301&sr=8-2&keywords=marlborough+goes+to+war. See also – http://pikeandshotsociety.org/sales.htm
On the Spanish campaign there is this on the action packed 1710 campaign – http://www.wfgamers.org.uk/resources/C18/MarlSpain.htm. Also coming soon on the more general Peninsula war – http://www.helion.co.uk/published-by-helion/century-of-the-soldier/books-in-series/marlborough-s-other-army-the-british-army-and-the-campaigns-of-the-first-peninsula-war-1702-1712.html
Unfortunately many of the other works mentioned are also basically Frederick fan boy works.
Gosh! I’m assuming you haven’t actually read Showalter’s work?
Yes I have read Showalter but it was some time ago now, when it first came out. Unfortunately I also don’t have it to hand at the moment. I had not really intended to include it in the ‘fan boy’ category, although some would – see below. My main point about this book is it is not a book about the SYW but a book about Frederick. As I remember things it doesn’t really cover the war away from him, including a lot of what happens with the war in the East but which doesn’t feature him.
If Dennis is a ‘fanboy’ than I hate to think what a critical writer would have to say about Frederick the Great! He did win some battles after all, no?
Ah well I guess you haven’t read the Szabo book I mentioned or indeed many others on this subject from the non English speaking world. For various reasons the English speaking world works generally are the most pro Frederick, works in other languages, including German, are generally a lot more negative about him.
Szabo doesn’t help his case with his obvious dislike of Frederick personally but his work is similar to many in non English languages. Szabo’s view could be summarise as Prussia survived the SYW, rather than won it. Prussia did this despite what Frederick did, rather than because of what he did. Szabo is by no means the most critical, at least about Frederick’s military ability, as some other works. So overall Showalter is probably pro Frederick when you look at the complete set of views, but he is one of the most negative from the English speaking world.
Before I move on I should say that Szabo’s work is good mainly because it links all the various theatres of the war together. It doesn’t just talk about Frederick but also what the other Prussian armies are doing. It links his campaigns in with the British/French campaigns and the relatively obscure campaigns in the east – the Recih army and Swedes being good examples.
However I can of course understand why the Ospreys, written as they were by a serving officer with operational experience, would be lost on armchair experts, he does tend to emphasise the challenges of operational decision making, with all the burdens of national command responsibilities, with only an uncertain view over the ‘other side of the hill’and without the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.
Hardly the stuff of true military history -what!
I am afraid I am not really certain which of the various writers on this era published by Osprey you are talking about and so I will just talk in general terms. Indeed I am not sure I have actually seen all of the Ospreys on this period. I think such a work as you describe is exactly what everyone should be reading and not just ‘armchair experts’. But there is I think no chance that any Osprey will ever do this. Ospreys are usually 50 to 100 small pages with many pictures and other illustrations. It is almost certainly not possible to do what you suggest in their format and I have never seen any that even remotely come near to this.
Such a work as you suggest would be good in another format but there is absolutely no reason why a serving officer with operational experience would be any better than any one else at doing this. There are not many writers, serving officers or others, who have much experience of the burdens of national command. They could have some useful insights and skills from their experiences but they are also are likely to have others that do not and to lack other required skills.
The main problem with works in English is not the things you mention but that they often don’t realise that there are two (or more) sides to the hill. Works in English are dominated by the self-seeking words of Frederick himself and ‘fan boy’ works using mainly English language sources. The situation is getting better but far too many still use mainly English sources – Ospreys are generally terrible for this. The bibliography of good works on this era you should see that the vast majority of sources are not in English.
Thanks Tempest – a very useful reply and link
I would echo what has been said about Duffy – his stuff is the well worth the expense. But I would recommend you leave his books until later. His works concentrate on the Eastern theatre (Austria/Prussia/Russia) and doesn’t really cover the Western theatre (Britain and allies/France). Duffy does cover all aspects of these campaigns in a balanced way, rather than others (Frederick fan boy works) which just repeat old ideas.
Unfortunately many of the other works mentioned are also basically Frederick fan boy works. I would add to the list given – http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Seven-Years-War-Europe/dp/0582292727/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top. This is a good account of the whole European war and connects the various theatres well. It is very negative concerning Frederick which many readers don’t like, but is a useful other view point to balance against the ‘fan boy’ point of view. I would recommend it as a good overview, although I would be cautious about agreeing with some of the view on Frederick (but then the same is true for me for the ‘fan boy’ works).
The other book I have heard of as being good, but I haven’t actually read, is this book – http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Global-Seven-Years-1754-1763/dp/0582092396/ref=pd_sim_b_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=19AH2GJ1E2XZND9KRWJ1. This focuses on the Britain/France war and covers the worldwide conflict.
Me too but I am not sure how they are different to previous versions. Does anyone know?
Yes we use similar low key order rules. Basically you need to issue an order to move somewhere drastically different or do something drastically different to what you have been doing.
We also say you can stop when you reach on obvious line – a fence, edge of a wood, etc.
William: The rules are here – http://www.wfgamers.org.uk/resources/callan/lfas.htm
Nick: We regularly play them with basically no modifications. We have a few house rules to do with set up and arm composition but nothing much. What mods do you use?14/10/2014 at 14:50 in reply to: New ACW/19th century rules – Feuer und Furia Francese #10627
I have updated the Gravelotte/St. Privat scenario to our new rules (http://www.wfgamers.org.uk/FUFF.htm). See The Battle of Gravelotte / St Privat: 18th August 1870 – http://www.wfgamers.org.uk/resources/C19/gravstp.htm, more will follow when time allows.
- This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by Hwiccee.
Thanks again for the reply. I think the key point is I need to do is sit down and work out what I want to do. I think that at the moment that is likely to be do this period but just substitute WSS/GNW figues. By the way some really nice figures and photos in your album. My figures are unfortunately not as nice as yours but my photography skills are minimal.
On your specific points. I really was mainly interested in how the war fights when being close to history. I am not really interested in balanced games as such – very few real battles are truly balanced. The problem is that usually the bias is spread to both sides at different times. So while you might have the bad end of history’s deal in one game you have the possibility of a better situation in another historical battle. In short in my experience players don’t mind doing the ;can I better than X’ idea sometimes but they still want sometimes to ‘win’. The problem is I don’t think the Allies have much of a chance in any of the battles, although obviously this varies from battle to battle. In the WSS/GNW for example both sides benefit/suffer from a good/bad situation.
In short I am not sure it is worth, for me, investing the time in getting the figures – but then again the Pendraken figures are so nice……..
Hi Phil and thanks for the reply,
I can see what you are getting at but my worry is more basic. I am re-reading Childs book at the moment and I have just read about Fleurus so I will talk about that. Clearly, as you point out, you would have to consider deployment and special rules for the battle but as I see the problem is simpler. According to Childs Fleurus was 40,000 French against 30,000 ‘Allies’, a substantial advantage. The course of the battle and indeed the war clearly points to the French being better, on average, than the allies and incidents like the entire Allied cavalry wing fleeing reinforce this. So even without the poor Allied commander and superior French commander & the things that flow from that it is difficult to see how they can hope to succeed.
The French wouldn’t really need to do much to win. Obviously doing something ‘clever’ would potentially give a better victory. But as the Allies are outnumbered and outclassed without a strong position or say superior leadership to counter balance things it is difficult to see what they can do.
This brings me to rules. We are basically OK with rules and have what we think are some good rules that reflect the era. That is kind of why I am a little worried about the battles – Fleurus would be very tough for the allies to win even without some restrictions they maybe should have. We do a lot of battles with smaller scale figures in an afternoon and usually historic re-fight. So far this year we have done Blenheim and Ramilles & have some more WSS (and GNW) battles in the pipelines. But we would also like to try going earlier.
I am afraid I can’t stand Black Powder and similar rules but I am sure they that is just me. The rules we use, we use 2 sets, have a base with 10 to 15 infantry on as from 1 or 2 to 4 battalions. If possible we use 1 base per battalion in 1 set but that is not always possible and for larger battles we use 1 base for 2 to 4 battalions in another set. Also it depends a little on how many players we will have.
For this kind of era we use 10mm figures and the new Pendraken LOA range is THE major factor in wanting to do this war (although I also want to do the war against the Ottomans). We already have large WSS and GNW armies in 10mm and so when this truly superb range came out it was a natural choice. At the moment I have kind of put the Flanders war on hold. I will try some test games with any old figures before I dive into that theatre I think. But I already have Ottomans and Poles in 10mm so I going for Imperialists, Saxon, Bavarians, etc, to fight these. If the test game for LOA works out I will expand these into armies for that war.
What are your plans?07/09/2014 at 18:57 in reply to: New ACW/19th century rules – Feuer und Furia Francese #7473
The rules will generally be fine with 28mm but with some reservations. They work in bases and everything is tied into the size of base you use. For example a standard infantry move is 12 times the base width you use. You choose the base size based on what size figures you are using, how many you want to a base, etc.
My main reservation in 28mm would be you will need a big table to play but other than that the rules will be fine in 28mm.
OK Jeff. Please ask if you have any questions.
Jeff: I added you to the Yahoo group shortly after you applied. You then left a few minutes after that. I have sent you an invitation.
The rules are for smaller battles – say 5 to 10 regiments per player.
We play 1859 as well as 1866 & 1870-71 but not as much as these other wars. 1859 is an interesting war but it is short and limited, even when compared with 66 and 70-71. We normally re-fight historic battles and there are a lot more of these in 66 & 70-71 than in this war. While both the other wars are greater in scope – you have not only the fighting in Bohemia in 66 but also in Italy and Germany. In 1870/71 you also have the Republican phase battles.
We have played this period a lot using the Fire and Fury variant rules – http://www.wfgamers.org.uk/
Currently we are playtesting a follow up to these. They are not really a 2nd edition of the F&F variants but a set influenced by F&F for large battles. Hopefully these will be more generally available soon.
On a slightly different point I have to agree with the idea that the games/rules need to be structured to the period. One of the strengths, I feel, of the original F&F rules is the victory conditions. These can be used to allow ‘victory’ even when victory in the traditional sense is not possible. For example in a ‘typical’ FPW game were say a French Corps takes on a growing number of Prussian/German Corps. More and more enemy corps would arrive over time and so the French can’t win. Plus the Prussians can just stand off with their superior artillery and shell the French to pieces. But by giving the French player points for each turn they holding key positions or even just survive they can still get some kind of (moral?) victory.
Similarly rules are needed for the limitations the armies put on themselves – like the mitrailleuse example. You often can’t just do a straight forward fight but you have to have a proper scenario/set up, even for a ‘pick up’ game.
<span style=”color: #585858;”>There is I suspect some circular logic causing you problems there. </span>
Possible but I think it is just a poor use of language on my part. I have no idea if ‘historicity’ is a word (interestingly the spell checker likes it!) but this is a use full idea.
I used the term <span style=”color: #585858;”>“Reasonably historical rules” </span>but what I meant is what might be called ‘high historicity rules’. ‘Reasonably historical’ in my sense meant close to history, I have doubts about how close that actually is.
So hopefully got the vocab right I would guess low/medium historicity rules like Beneath the Lily Banner would make the large battles playable, although I am less sure about whether they would be practical. But I want to do ‘high historicity’ battles for this war/era.
For say the WSS this is fine. While an individual WSS battle might be tough for one side or the other, that’s the way that things go sometimes, on other occasions things are more balanced or pro the other side. But for this war it doesn’t seem to be this way.
This conversation has been useful and thanks for it. I think it has given me some ideas to work on.
I was more talking about the fighting on the continent but I would guess it would be similar in Ireland but the other way round. The Williamite army was considerably stronger, up to 50%, than the Jacobites and mainly well equipped, experienced troops. The Jacobite cavalry was quite good but few in number. While most of the infantry were untrained and poorly equipped. Probably not as one sided as the continent but I would have guessed large battles would not be so good with reasonably historical rules. Which battles did you do and how did they go?
The game in the pictures looks great – hopefully something like my ‘skirmishes’ will be :), although I suspect I will never manage anything so nice 🙁
I can see how small games like this might be good in the war. I am not sure what they have done here but you can choose to do sections of a battle where the sides were more evenly matched, either generally or under the circumstances of the engagement. But as mentioned I am wondering if when you do full historical battles, which look to be fairly one sided, if it is worth doing with reasonably historical rules. Neerwinden is a fairly good example the allied army has a good position but is heavily outnumbered by better troops under better commanders. If doing the full battle I am finding it difficult to see more than one outcome.
Our group has some rules for the ECW – http://www.wfgamers.org.uk/WWAE.htm
They are inspired by Forlorn Hope but a lot more playable.21/08/2014 at 09:52 in reply to: What Rules Do You Currently Use For the 18th Century? #5254
I use a variety depending on the type of game I want.
For GNW I use the Polemos rules for large battles. A modified set of ECW rules for smaller actions. I have also been tweaking the Twilight of the Sun King rules for this war.
For WSS it is the same modified ECW rules for smaller actions and Twilight of the Sun King rules for large battles. I also have tried a variant of the SYW rules below for this period with some success.
For WAS/SYW it is the forthcoming Polemos rules generally. But I also use the old The Wargame/Charge rules on occasion.
I don’t play so much AWI nowadays but I still play Loose Files and American Scramble from time to time.04/08/2014 at 01:02 in reply to: Which bit of the 18th century attracts you most, and why? #3103
Personally I think the era has many of the best things of other periods, often to a greater extent than them, and also extra ‘pull’. For example the armies are more colourful than say a period like Napoleonics know for it’s colour. While there are many interesting and less well known battles, wars, armies, nations. This last probably is the reason for the popularity of imaginations set in this era – there were plenty of real similar nations around at this time. The period is also one of major developments in war from the earlier practices to the relatively modern practices of Napoleons time – it is a key period in the development of warfare.
For me though this led to a diminishing interest in imaginations, reality is just a lot more interesting than anything you can make up. I did it in the past and kind of like the idea of trying again some time but I foolish sold my Spencer Smith armies some time ago. It is a similar story for me with AWI – I have played it but not greatly. What I just love is the historical battles in the first half or so of the century.
Originally I was most interested in the SYW but then the search for the roots of warfare in this war led me to the GNW, which in turn led me to Marlborough’s wars. So in recent times my battles have been mainly in the early part of the century but I still love the SYW era as well. I suspect I will be revisiting the SYW era again in the future, or at least the WAS – a much under gamed war in my view. I also have started to dabble in Ottoman wars of this era, there are just so many possibilities.
I agree with Henry generally but if you take 18th century out and you already have Napoleonic and ACW out then what is left? Isn’t this de facto the 18th century forum.
Maybe it might be better to put some dates in, not just here but elsewhere. Have this forum for say 1700 to 1785. Napoleonic is everything 1785 to 1840 (???) and ACW is everything from 1840 (or whatever you choose) to 1900. So change the names to, for example, Napoleonics (1785-1840).
Following on from my suggestion for the ‘Black Powder’ forum and for the same reason – see that forum. Can I suggest ‘Pike and Shot’ or ‘Renaissance’ as the title for this forum?
Yes maybe – Horse and Musket?
Perhaps you should change the title of this section. I assumed this was about the Black Powder rules and so ignored it at first, I don’t like the Black Powder. I like this era and so took the trouble to find this section but perhaps another name might be better – one that is not a wargame set of rules.