Sunday, 6 December 2020

Getting more figures on the table


Campaign map with four corps per side


When I designed the campaign I wanted to be able to use all of our figures and scenery more or less in sequence.   I also wanted to play multi corps games.   And I wanted to achieve all of this without buying and painting new figures.


I had a reasonable collection of 28mm Napoleonic figures.   They were painted in 32 figure infantry units, 8 figure cavalry units and 1 gun with four crew.   Each allied nation has armies of 128 infantry, 16 cavalry and 4 guns and crew.   The French had many more in the same proportion.

Four French corps

This was converted into corps of 32 infantry, 4 cavalry and 1 gun with 4 crew.

There were four such corps for each allied army and 13 French corps.


Each army would have four such corps, giving 128 infantry, 16 cavalry and 4 guns with 16 gunners


My wargames table is 6x6 foot, using 2x2 foot scenic boards.   One corps could comfortably fit on each scenic board.   So a whole army could deploy on the table with three corps in line and one in reserve (see map above)


The aim was that campaigns would start with a series of one corps per side battles, they would then concentrate for two corps per side and the campaign would be decided by a final battle of three or four corps per side.  In theory this seemed like an ideal selection of wargames of different sizes.


However in fact most campaigns are decided by five or six battles.    The first three are usually one corps per side, then two or three.   I don’t think we have ever fought a campaign game with the full four corps per side.


This was largely because of the way the campaign took on a life of its own.   When a corps is defeated they have to retreat directly away from the winner.   By the fourth battle corps would often be spread all over the place.    Having to halt to resupply at least every four moves also added to the difficulty of concentration.   And, of course, the winner would not usually allow the loser the luxury of recovering and redeploying as and where he pleased.


The result was a lot of smaller battles.   They can be interesting, but they are limited and usually do not last for very long.  In a word, they can be a little boring.

Four Prussian corps

For many years I have struggled to make the battles larger.   It can be done by moving each corps on the map to result in larger battles.  But to do so I would have to ignore the resupply and combat rules, and that would destroy the ability of the map campaign to “have a life of its own”


So for the past few months I have been pondering how to increase the size of each army from four corps to six corps.   But to do so within the confines of the groups of model soldiers already available.







  1. Maybe you could increase the limits from one corps per square to two or more, but have an increased (and automatic) attrition penalty for doing so - would that work?

    All the best

  2. Hi JWH

    Thanks for the comment

    It would be possible to fit more than one corps in one scenic square on the table. But they would be very crowded. However it would create more problems on the map movement.

    The concept of one corps per map square, and wargames scenic square, is very important to the whole campaign concept. It allows for easy map movement, and sparks a battle when two corps want to enter the same map square. It also ensures that when they transfer to the wargames table there is more than long range artillery fire between the two corps.

    What I want to do is find an easy way of creating larger battles/wargames without upsetting the balance of the campaign.

    As I found when I introduced the new military region system it results in much more work than I had anticipated. In fact I had to redo all of the campaign maps, from Europe down to campaign phase maps.

    I am hoping to avoid a lot of extra work with this change!

    best regards


  3. Paul, are your stacking limits too rigid? If you use supply/attrition rules, then players will be encouraged to march apart and to concentrate for battle.
    This needs to be done carefully (and with reasonable rates of replenishment/troops returning to the colours). I have a board game of the 1813 campaign called 'Struggle of Nations'. It focusses a lot on supply and attrition. You can get lost in that and forget to fight the campaign!
    I'll be interested to read how you resolve this to your and Jan's satisfaction.
    Regards, James

  4. Hi James

    You could very well be right
    I know most board, and many online, games rely on stacking.

    My campaign is designed to produce interesting wargames. The campaign is very much in support of the wargame, not the other way around. Most board games are not designed to be fought as wargames.

    It is essential to have a simple method of transferring the map movement to the wargames table, and back again. It is also important to maintain the one square space on both the map and the table.

    I may be wrong, but I suspect that stacking would result in more uneven battles, and therefore wargames. It would be difficult to transfer two corps in one square from the map to the table. It would be impossible to fit three corps in one table square. But even more important it would result in a very one sided wargame.

    I am not saying that I am right and you are wrong. The whole campaign has developed from a very personal and single minded determination to provide the type of wargames that Jan and I like to play. And also to keep the whole thing as simple as possible. So we have had to accept quite a few compromises.

    When we ran the campaign as PBEM I did have this very problem raised a couple of times, so I have considered it in the past.

    I appreciate your suggestion, and will be interested to know what you think of my eventual solution.

    best regards



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