Garage Wars

HOGS (Historically Oriented Gaming Society) put on a game of 15mm Napoleonics, using the venerable (yet spry) Napoleon’s Battles rules-set, with a scenario based on the Battle of Friedland in 1807. We had eight players around the table, including a couple of complete newbies, a few mostly-newbies (like myself), and a few crusty old veterans. Ok, they weren’t actually crusty, to my knowledge. But you never know!



I commanded the French army’s cavalry reserve, who were arrayed along the army’s left flank, and led by the less-than-spectacular Grouchy (that’s not a fake name!). Fortunately, I also commanded a heavy cavalry division under Nansouty, who was a very capable leader through most of the game.

Moment of Glory

Moment of Glory

I’m fairly exhausted from playing, so I will keep this short, but I do think it’s necessary to post about my one moment of glory, when Nansouty and his heavy cavalry popped up from a reverse slope position behind a ridge to strike a couple of Russian light cavalry brigades smack in the nose. One brigade was made up of Cossacks, and of course they evaded my heavies, but I did manage to eliminate the other brigade and escape largely intact.

We didn’t progress the scenario very far (I think we stopped at 10:00 in the morning, game time), due to the amount of rules explanation that I and the other new players needed, but much fun was had, nonetheless. I’ll try to do a real After Action Report when we finish the scenario, but it may not be practical, because this is an enormous battle with a LOT going on!

In any case, I must say thanks to Grady and the rest of the HOGS for hosting the game, and putting up with a gaggle of new players. It is very appreciated!

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  • Paul Wisken  On 11/17/2013 at 1:36 am

    Time – the bane of the war gamer!
    I found Napoleon’s Battles a clever, but time-consuming rule set. They put my wife off wargaming ( good thing or bad thing – discuss)
    Look forward to further resorts

  • arkiegamer  On 11/17/2013 at 5:56 am

    Hello, Paul.

    My girlfriend will have nothing to do with wargaming, beyond the occasional snarky comment about me playing with my dolls, so I’m not sure I can enter into any sort of discourse about the pros and cons of wives actually playing the games!

    It’s still early days for me with Napoleon’s Battles, but I think you have a point about the rules being time consuming. I’d say the rules set’s primary feature is its excellent modelling of command and control friction, but that prime feature can reduce the movement phases to a crawl, as the players try to coordinate their generals’ command radii. And that doesn’t take into account sticklers on the other side challenging whether or not units are in command, which can lead to arguing, the other bane of the war gamer!

    Thanks for commenting

  • tinpotrevolutionary  On 11/17/2013 at 5:57 am

    That’s a very impressive battlefield I must say! What size table did you play on? Very nice pictures too, you get a real Grande-manoeuvre feel! A friend of mine has a very impressive collection of 15mm Napoleonic’s but has a tendency to fill his table up with models, negating the ability to manoeuvre very much at all!?

    • arkiegamer  On 11/17/2013 at 6:07 am

      It was a thing of beauty to behold! The playing surface was 5’x9,’ spread out over a number of those ubiquitous brown collapsible 6′ tables.Grady, the host, has something like 7,000 15mm Napoleonic figures, and they are painted to a fairly high standard. Pageantry is probably the best word to describe it.

      The ground of this battlefield is really interesting to play on. There are some serious chokepoints, which complicated the Russian advance, but then those chokepoints would open up into large fields with plenty of room to maneuver.

      We French-types have huge numbers of troops coming in later in the game, but very little on the table at the present time. We have to hold on to the approaches so that the reinforcements can arrive, and have been trading territory for time, while trying to minimize our losses. One starts to get a sense of what they mean by the ‘tempo of war’ in a scenario like this.

      The real-world command and control issues are pretty interesting, as well. The Russian players totally exploited the chink between our left and right flanks, and if we don’t do something quick to redress the situation, they’re going to defeat us in detail. One might criticize our overall commander for failing to address this issue beforehand, but I’m a loyal soldier, and never would. I’d talk about our brilliant plans to remedy the problems we’re facing, but someone on the other side might read this. :)

  • tinpotrevolutionary  On 11/17/2013 at 7:23 am

    nyeht, please be detailing your plans in full please comradeski. ;)

  • Frank Arey  On 11/17/2013 at 6:43 pm

    Folks, Tim is being too modest. His cavalry charge was brilliant, and bought a lot of time for the French VIII corps to occupy a town and ridge in preparation for the Russian onslaught. It was about the only shining moment the French enjoyed yesterday!

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