Field of Glory Napoleonics, De Bellis Napoleonicis (v2.1) & Australian Wargames Research Group

12 February 2017

I forgot to mention that within our gaming group there is another Nap ruleset that’s establishing itself through one of our regulars. Grand Battles is fairly new and heavily being promoted locally. Devised by one of the people at Siege Works Studios, a Brisbane-based company, it seems to be another “new release” crowding an already crowded gaming market. Gamers are no doubt becoming more selective in what they want from games. And publishers of rules are doing their best to entice gamers to their system.

The guy who is heavily promoting the rules within our group has been asked to revise the Spanish section given it’s his area of expertise.


11 February 2017

Had a enjoyable day beside the seaside. Played over at Bryce’s home at Margate. My game with Angus of FoGN was memorable for a couple of highlights:

  • Lacking match practice, this game took quite a while to register for both of us. By the time it did, it was time to pack up and head wearily home. We do plan to make these games a regular occurrence though.
  • Because of the long day, it only confirmed my decision to run a 650 point list for the upcoming event. But we plan to make some modifications to those recommended lists in Triumph of Nations and Emperors and Eagles that we feel are inaccurate.
  • The scoring system needs to be more reflective of how close a match actually was. Ever read a historical account of a battle you’ve never heard of only to discover the outcome never tells the full story. We’ll sort something out over the time.

There were other games played today: Star Wars X Wing and Rapid Fire II. Cheers.


10 February 2017

In two minds with this ruleset (FoGN). In the past I have invested a lot of time into FoGN that has left me extremely frustrated by the time delay in publishing FoGN 2, the long-awaited upgrade. I even went as far as shedding myself of further involvement. However, once I had my gripe, I decided to give it just one more go although I really don’t see that involvement lasting all that long given my tendency to flit from project to project. Like a dandelion drifting on the warm air currents as a butterfly. 🙂

Tomorrow, however, I have a game of 800 points with a relatively new fan to FoGN. Having last played this in October 2015, I reckon I will struggle as much as my opponent because I have forgotten so much. So I expect I will spend a lot of time just figuring out how to play the game again which might lead to a frustratingly long day. Games of FoGN generally run into the three hour mark which is ludicrous when you consider you could have several games of X Wing in the same time. And there’s always a feeling of relief once a game of FoGN is over (so it looks that way to me at least); it can be likened to watching test cricket on tv without any beer or snacks. 🙂

Anyway, I’m running one of my favourite “minor” players from that period – my Bavarians.

1st-div

One of the weak points about running a Bavarian list is their cavalry and lack of any elites. They don’t have the shock value of the French Cuirassiers. Plus there just isn’t enough of them. I’ve therefore gone for the maximum four divisional type formations: 2 infantry, 1 cavalry and 1 mixed.

2nd-div

Large infantry units are handy for absorbing fire and then adding a bit of “oomph” in their engagements when they do finally make contact. The cavalry attachment is handy for shooting and assaults. The brigade commander in the mixed division allows for independent action outside of the divisional commander’s command radius.

The Bavarians historically were 2nd-class compared to the major players and some of the other lesser powers, such as Saxony whose cavalry was very good for a while. Of course, the French are the yardstick when it comes to comparing quality and performance; the Bavarians were useful allies but not entrusted with important missions. Mind you, they were long-time allies until 1813 when they finally and reluctantly joined the rest of Europe against Napoleon. By that time, too, they were a veteran force — still not first-class like their French, Russian or Prussian counterparts. And they somehow managed to survive the war without being punished too harshly for siding with the Corsican adventurer for a good number of years.

3rd-div

My opponent is running a Swedish-Finnish list which I’ve never heard of or encountered before. I do so love how some gamers are willing to embrace the lesser states of the period. After playing French or Russians so many times, it’s fairly safe to assume how my Bavarians will generally fare against these powerhouses of the period.

4th-div

I do have other lists either completed or in varying stages of completion. In no particular order, I have an 1809 Austro-Hungarian (originally for a proposed but never actioned Danube campaign), an 1805 Russian (Austerlitz period), and more than enough for two complete 1812 Russian corps lists (with one being all-Guards). On the workbench, I have started on an 1809  French (possibly Davout’s Corps), an 1810 British/Spanish/Portugese list (not yet fashioned on a personality yet) and an 1812 Neapolitan/Italian Corps.

All 20mm plastic.

It may be that the word Corps is misleading and should really be called Division. It’s fortunate that I do have enough minis to create these Corps based on their nationality alone if need be, but I am also happy to just form single divisions from favourite periods.

I haven’t delved too deeply into the mire that is the current FoGN core rule set while the two subsequent period volumes Triumph of Nations and Emperors and Eagles are simply recommended listing for individual nations at certain times.

The basic main gripe I have with the FoGN rulebook is that it feels like some patchwork of jumbled afterthoughts. You’re constantly flipping from one section to another and then another just for clarification on one issue! There is no coherent logical sequence that makes reading simple yet easy. There are elements throughout that can easily lead to varying individual interpretations. In plain, the design of the book leaves a lot to be desired.

FoGN 2 is supposed to fix this. And it’s meant to “fine-tune” some of the more technical elements within the rules themselves so that it results in a more enjoyable game.

I have said it often and that opinion still hasn’t changed that FoGN is one of the better corps-level games on the market. FoGN is also very well suited to tournament-level gaming. The only problem might be they need to somehow revamp the scoring to reflect the quality of the match.

In the last tournament I played, I came close to defeating my opponent (who eventually went on to win the event) but because the scoring doesn’t take into account “the closeness of the game”, I ended up losing 0-25 (a game is scored out of 25 – lots of tables and numbers). Yet, the loss wasn’t a tabling in normal sense of the term; I just ran out of time and manpower to achieve my goal by game’s end. Even he admitted it was a close game. Yet the score said it all: it might look like I was given a hiding yet it wasn’t. I never felt demoralised as I might normally feel when being table-smacked (as when I used to play Warhammer Fantasy).

It may have to do with the fact I connect more with Napoleonics than I do with Fantasy because I have a long familiarity with the former period than the latter universe. Anyway, if they fix up the scoring system to make it less severe than it currently is, that’ll be one less complaint to deal with.

If FoGN is to division/corps level gaming as AWRG is to brigade/division, then DBN (De Bellis Napoleonicis) is the next level up being corps/army level friendly. Whereas FoGN requires a lot of time, money, minis, involvement, DBN is your version of a beer-and-pretzel night but with that sense of satisfaction in knowing once again you’ve saved the known world from that tyrant Napoleonic. Or, if you’re a Francophile, you’ve advanced the glory of L’Empereur to the greater masses of ignoramuses and incompetents. FoGN can be quite intense and serious most times, but DBN is strictly fun yet engaging without leaving you feeling like you should be somewhere else right at that particular moment.

The main reason, so I’m speculating, for this is that with DBN you only require a few models. If you’re like me, I actually painted the bases of my “army list” in a distinctive colour, such as my British/Highlander army which have a light blue base; my Austro-Hungarian list is yellow (of course), my Russians are purple and my French bases are red (nice contrast to their predominantly French blue uniforms).

I do so like DBN but rarely get to play it these days. If a game becomes overly complicated in its gaming mechanism, or the rules are so overpowering as to make the experience a fairly trying one, then it’s not really a game. I keep thinking how all the great sports are so easy to learn. Chess is perhaps the best example of how a game should be. The moves are simple to learn. But what you do after that is up to you. Somehow, I just can’t seem to see that with FoGN, or most Nap games to be honest. Hence why I like DBN out of the three rules I play in the period. Maybe it’s because it’s akin to how abstract a level chess is but which something like FoGN is not.

I won’t say much on AWRG other than to say it’s offers better options for resolving issues raised that FoGN tends to ignore or fails to fix, such as pretty much everything! But AWRG is such a localised content that its wider appeal is limited. It seems a case of some local lads taking the initiative and making their own improvements to an already existing system that work without too much fuss or interference both internally and without.

With FoGN, because the market is much wider (i.e. global) that initiative seems hindered and delayed. Even the two lads currently headlining the improvements to FoGN 2 (Richard from Melbourne and Brett from Auckland) seem caught up in the machinations of the powers-that-be that control the fate of FoGN from a business perspective. The lengthy delays in getting the green light to actually make the long-anticipated improvements has only added to seeming frustration felt by many. But everything seems to finally moving along nicely, and we can only pray that FoGN 2 will finally see light of day some time soon in mid-2017.

AWRG is a game that initially excited me but little has come of it since the guy who tutored me is no longer a part of my immediate gaming circle. Interest waned quickly and I moved on to other systems.

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Author: b20f08

I enjoy solo wargaming and writing. The first caters to the boy that never grew up; the latter satisfies a deep desire to communicate. Cheers.

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