Sunday 25 June 2023

Wargame Rules Review – Fourth Wargame

Start of wargame

Another open battlefield, but with woods on both Russian flanks

This type of terrain gives an advantage to the defenders

Especially in this game, when the Russians have less cavalry than the French

Russians are deployed in the middle of the table

French will arrive at the bottom at the start of move 1

Both armies start the game with medium casualties

This means brittle morale for both sides


The Russian CinC has taken command of both cavalry brigades

However they are both Cossack and one has 10% casualties

He had kept them in reserve in the centre


The Russian artillery are superior to the French

They have two 12 pounder batteries, which add plus one when firing

None start with casualties

End of wargame


French have three cavalry brigades to Russian two brigades

They are also better quality.

However they have only one 12 pounder artillery battery

Two of the three batteries start with 10% casualties


As the French advance they come within range of the Russian guns

However the Russian gunners roll very low dice, and fail to inflict any casualties

The French artillery open fire, but the infantry and cavalry remain out of range.


The Russian infantry withdraw to the second line of woods, to avoid artillery fire

This allows the infantry to advance on both flanks

However they must weaken the Russian artillery before the centre can advance


The Russian cavalry advance to support the centre

The French artillery on the right cause 10% damage to the Russian gunners

They fail morale and are shaken

Worse still the Russian cavalry are less than 4” behind, and also lose casualties

They fail their morale and rout.


The French cavalry advance in the centre, the Russians fail to inflict casualties

The cavalry charge and the gunners seek safety with the nearby infantry


All three Russian artillery and cavalry are all now out of action

This allows the French infantry in the centre to advance

The Russians start to withdraw towards the town, leaving their artillery behind



This game has highlighted the increased importance of the dice roll

The Russians rolled low for both artillery fire and morale tests

Morale was already low due to previous battle casualties

Five French brigades, and six Russian, started the game with 10% casualties

This meant a minus 1 on each combat or morale throw.


The Russians should have won this game.

They had more infantry

They had better artillery

They had a strong defensive position


The French had more, and better, cavalry

But they also had battle casualties and hence brittle morale

So they did not dare to risk the Russian artillery in the centre

The flank attacks would almost certainly take too long

Particularly as the Russian infantry withdrew rather than risk a fight


The game was decided by a particularly good French dice throw (a six)

And two particularly poor Russian throws (a one and a two)


It could just as easily have gone the other way, and the French lost


This is the result I was looking for when I changed the rules

Neither side made any tactical errors

Without the dice the game would almost certainly have ended in a draw

Sunday 18 June 2023

Wargame Rules Review – Third Wargame

Start of wargame

Much more open battlefield, though both sides have obstacles and strong points

This type of terrain is not much of an advantage to either side

Russians are on the right, French on the left.

Both armies start the game without casualties


All three French corps have orders to advance, but the main attack will be in the centre

The French CinC starts the game without any brigades under command

But he is well placed centre rear to take control, or add support, as required.


The Russian flanks are secure, but the centre is thinly spread

The CinC has not taken brigades from the flanks to strengthen the centre

End of wargame

The heaviest fighting has been in the north, and both sides have suffered heavy casualties

At nightfall the French have taken the village and routed 2nd Russian corps


Fighting still continues at nightfall; however the French have the advantage


The Russians have counter attacked in the south, but the fighting is undecided

They still hold the woods, but the French hold the fortified farm


At the end of 12 moves the French have lost 5 infantry, 5 cavalry and 5 gunners

They also have four brigades in rout

The Russians have lost 15 infantry, 5 cavalry and 1 gunner

They have eight brigades in rout

The Russians are still fighting, and they still hold the town

So they can claim a victory

But it is hard to see how they can continue to hold once the French have regrouped


This was a much faster flowing wargame, and we are both enjoying the new rules


The Russian artillery are better than the French (plus 1) and battered the French gunners

They require 5 or 6 for a hit, and managed to rout all three French corps artillery

They have the advantage that they fire first, as the French advance and unlimber

And they managed to throw very good dice at this critical time

The French gunners managed to throw particularly poor dice, which did not help


Cavalry melee are similar to our previous rules.

Unless they roll a one or a six, both sides suffer 10% casualties

Brigades are shaken or routed quite easily, but they also rally more often


Infantry combat are much more interesting

They can skirmish, volley fire or melee

We both check carefully how good each brigade is at each type of combat

The Russians are poor at skirmish, but average at volley or melee

The French are much better at skirmish, and tend to hold back to use this advantage

An infantry brigade can move a maximum of 6” each move

Skirmish range is 4” and volley range 2”

They can advance half a move and skirmish or volley, providing they are in range


The advantage lay with the Russians for most of this game

However in the last three moves it moved to the French

This was enough to break the Russians in the north

But not in the centre or south, where they continued to fight at nightfall


After three games we are both finding how best to use the new rules

We draw a poker chip to decide the sequence of movement for each corps

And whilst learning the rules we both discuss options for the corps moving

This helps us both to consider how best to use each corps

It also helps us both to learn the new rules


For the first time it felt like a proper wargame, rather than a rule learning process.

Sunday 11 June 2023

Wargame Rules Review – Second Wargame

Start of wargame

A completely different type of battlefield for the second game

The Russians are on the right, the French on the left

The Russians occupy a line of hill in front of the town of Kulmbach


The French guns can fire at any troops on the hills, providing they are within long range (12”)

However if the Russians are not lining the edge the French gunners require 5 or 6 with 1D6


The Russian CinC has taken command of infantry, cavalry and artillery from 5th corps

The French CinC does not have any brigades under command at the start of the game

End of wargame

The French have taken the northern hill and north half of pass

The Russians still hold south half of pass and have routed the French in the south

Blue stars indicate French brigades in rout, Green are Russian brigades in rout


The cavalry on both sides have taken a hammering

Only one French brigade (in the centre) and one Russian (at the bottom) remain

This is because the rules make it easy for cavalry to continue melee for two or three rounds

They usually continue until one sides has 30% casualties, which is an automatic rout


Brigades rout easier in these rules, but they also rally easier

So a retreating corps can often rally brigades and turn to fight again

To rally requires 3-6 with 1D6

A routed brigade with two casualties is minus 4

Having a commander and a formed brigade within 4” adds 2


The artillery did not play a significant role in this game

At long range (5-12”) they require 4-6 to hit cavalry, and 3-6 to hit infantry)

In this game they rolled a lot of low dice


I am particularly pleased with infantry v infantry combat

An infantry column can move up to 8”

If they wish to skirmish or volley fire it takes half a move

Skirmish range is 4”, musket volley range is 2”

An attacking infantry column must decide whether to skirmish, volley fire or melee

It will usually depend on their ability at each type of combat

Infantry brigades are A, B or C for skirmish, volley fire or morale (melee)

An A brigade gets plus 1, a C gets minus 1

A light infantry brigade would be B for morale, C for volley fire and A for skirmish]

They are most likely to skirmish and would need 3-6 for a hit.


Both games have been slower than usual as we have to learn the rules as we play

We usually only manage one move in half an hour, previously it would have been two moves.


Despite this we have been very pleased with the new rules

It may well be our age, but we find it much harder to remember new rules than we did 15 years ago!

Sunday 4 June 2023

Wargame Rules Review – First Wargame

Start of wargame


The only way to really test the rules is to play a full length wargame.


The two armies started off 18” apart; this was well out of maximum artillery range which is 12”.


Counter artillery fire should have been ineffective, as the firer needs a roll of 6 on 1D6.   12 pounder guns add plus 1, 6 pounder guns minus 1.   Two of the three Russian guns are 12 pdr, so they had a considerable advantage.   They put it to good use by causing 3 casualties to the French gunners.   This allowed the Russian guns to dominate the game.

In the north the Russian gunners prevented a frontal attack by the Polish corps.  Instead they had to concentrate on the farm, and failed to take it by nightfall

In the centre the French cavalry won the opening melee and allowed their infantry to take the woods and break the Russian centre.   We tested skirmish, musket and infantry melee rules, all worked well.   All gave a much faster and cleaner out come.

In the south the Vistula lancers lost their melee, but their artillery drove off the Russian cuirassiers.   The artillery was ineffective on the woods, and the fighting was mostly infantry skirmish and melee.  Again the rules worked well.

By the end of move 8 the Russians had lost 12 infantry and 4 cavalry, and five brigades were in rout.   The French had lost 2 infantry, 2 cavalry and 3 artillery casualties and had one brigade in rout.

With four moves still to go the French had clearly won the battle.   The Russians still held their right flank and the town.   But they had lost their centre and left flank.

It is still early days, but I am very pleased with this first game using the new rules.   They are much easier to remember, having only 1D2 instead of 2D6.   This does give extreme results with 1 or 6, but that is what I wanted to achieve.

It is also easier to rally shaken or routed brigades.   This is a good thing, because it allows the losing side to rally a second defensive line.   But in this particular game the Russian casualties were so much greater than the French that the winner was obvious.

Brigades defending farms or woods tended to do better than with my previous rules.   This was largely because it was so much easier to rally them when casualties were received.  It was also because Jan used her three elite grenadier brigades to hold the farm and both woods.   I only took them because I had taken care to position my best skirmish brigades to lead the attack.   In both wooded sections this worked.   However both elite defenders and most effective skirmishers took casualties.   So it will be interesting to see how both perform in the next game.   Both will retain at least 10% casualties, which will reduce the elite grenadiers to trained troops.  And the A class skirmish brigades will be reduced to B class.  

End of wargame 

The Russians hold at the top, but are in retreat in the centre and bottom


White stars indicate where fighting has taken place during the last two moves.  

Green stars indicate Russian brigades in rout

Blue stars indicate French brigades in rout