Posts tagged ‘debrief’

Tuesday 12th March, 2013 – Debrief


Another enjoyable night at the club………


‘Napoléon’ is a classic boardgame of the Hundred Days Campaign. It was first published by Gamma 2 Games in 1974 and the second edition was published by Avalon Hill under license in 1977. The version that we played on Tuesday was a third edition, revised and published by Columbia Games in 1992. For the 200th anniversary of Waterloo, Columbia Games are printing a fourth edition that will be published in June.

The game is played with wooden blocks that have combat strengths displayed on the edges facing the player. These are moved on a board that is a stylised map of NE France and Belgium with a network of major and minor roads that have block limitations. When blocks contest a town or village on the road network, play is transferred to a battle board. The object is to defeat each national army by eliminating 50% of their blocks by battle or in the case of the French, by seizing supply bases: Ghent and Brussels for the Anglo-Allied and Liege for the Prussians.

On Tuesday the historical deployment option was used. The Emperor decided upon a variant of the historical plan, sending out a flying column to threaten Ghent to divert Wellington from the centre, while advancing in the centre with his main army up the Brussels axis. In the opening moves, the Anglo-Allied forces retreated before the French vanguard. However, the Prussians concentrated quickly and made a pre-emptive strike at Chalerois. Blucher had out-humbugged the humbugger!

The Prussians concentrated their cavalry on the left wing and set up a grand battery in the centre. They were vastly superior in cavalry and it may have been to the French long-term advantage to retreat to Quatre Bras and take retreat attrition losses, but he hoped that his reinforcements would compensate for the initial losses that were bound to result from the all-out Prussian attack. Without his cavalry, Napoleon’s tactical options were limited and Blucher pressed his attack relentlessly. Eventually, the French morale on the right wing crumbled. The Emperor was defeated!

Technically, the issue was still in doubt because more than 50% of the French blocks remained on the map but the odds were against a recovery and Napoleon conceded the victory to the allies. Marshal Vörwarts had won the laurels (and some historians would say about time too).

Wellington (Mike): We've Humbugged the Humbugger!"

Wellington (Mike): We’ve Humbugged the Humbugger!”

French apply pressure on the British & Allies on the road to Ghent.

French apply pressure on the British & Allies at Nivelles just south of Waterloo.

Blucher overwhelms the French forces....

Blucher overwhelms the French forces at Charleroi….

STRATEGIC LESSON: If you split your objectives or make a false attack, be prepared to make retreats as well as advances. If you’re unsure of victory…..RETREAT!

TACTICAL LESSON: In an army group ensure that you have a balanced mix of the combat arms to cater for the unexpected.

GAME VERDICT: You don’t have to be a Napoleonic buff to enjoy this game. Each deployment results in an entirely different situation with more variables than a game of chess. Although the special board makes battles abstract, it does capture the “feel” of Napoleonic tactics, better arguably and certainly faster than some miniature rules do. There are interesting optional rules of Command Control and Corps Integrity that we have not explored yet. There are no rules for the Imperial Guard in this edition although these blocks are specially depicted, but in the coming 4th edition Guard in all armies have increased firepower (F2 instead of F1). All in all, ’Napoléon’ is a splendid campaign game that can be played in an evening that packs a lot of excitement into a box.


Hope to see you all soon.


Tuesday 5th March, 2013 – Debrief


Another enjoyable night at the club………

Table 1: After Action Report by Alistair

This week the Pike and Shotte table dabbled with the early Renaissance period in a very loose recreation of the early fighting on the Flodden battlefield of 1513. In reality the play was another rules run through, introducing LARGE UNITS. MEDIUM as well as LIGHT ARTILLERY and SKIRMISHERS.


The English vanguard comprised an arquebus unit of twelve mercenaries, two archer units of eight and 16 billmen from Admiral Howard’s fleet, 20 levy archers, a large unit of Border Horse, twelve doughty demi-lances and light artillery. The Scots had three large 36 man pike blocks, a 24 man warband of “highlanders” and medium artillery.


The Scots tried to emulate the echelon attack theory, but their command was not equal to the task on this occasion. The highlanders charged in admirable fashion but having blown a gasket getting there, were frustrated by the evading tactics of the arquebusiers. In the centre the Huntly’s attack stalled, while on the right, Home’s pike block was devestated by Howard’s bowmen. Meanwhile, the English cavalry were not idle and carried out a two-pronged attack on the artillery. Although the artillery could be powerful in defence, it was isolated and failed to stop a swarm of Border horse. Its destruction also signalled the flight of Home’s pike, ending the game with an English victory.


How do you beat an echelon attack?
Play the same track backwards.

Table 2: After Action Report by Ross

This week saw Roger begin his campaign on the high seas with his motley crew.

We decided to run the “capture the Governors daughter” scenario as a starter for 10. Roger picked his crew and set about his dastardly attack on the Governors mansion. After making good headway and killing off some of the outlying guards he became unstuck by his inability to hit the side of a barn from 10 paces. This coupled with a rather unbelievably staunch defence by the sergeant of the guard saw the captain and the remainder of his crew scurrying back to his pirate hideout.


Although he didn’t quite manage to carry off the Governors daughter he did manage to make a few doubloons and save the majority of his crew in the post game “what happened to my crew rolls”. His band of treacherous thieves will sail the seas again!


Hope to see you all soon.