An Encounter Battle

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An Encounter Battle

Post by grompix » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:39 pm

A small Napoleonic game held at our club last Saturday using ‘General d’Armee’ rules as a kind of familiarisation and practice run for two of our members.

The game was deliberately chosen to be more or less evenly matched; consisting of three infantry brigades and two cavalry brigades (one light and one heavy) per side with a couple of batteries of medium calibre foot artillery in support.

We frequently try to avoid the pitfall of lining up two sides on opposite table edges (even with simple games) as this always gives a pretty monotonous gaming experience no matter what rule system is used. Of course, choosing or designing a scenario is invariably a better option but is not always possible due to time or other constraints. The following ‘modus operandi’ (or variations of it) is a staple favourite of mine for the quick setup of ‘rank and file’ type games: -

Two opposing forces are chosen (put together or assimilated from collections, lists, points or whatever).
These are then organised into brigade-sized formations.
The table is set up to the mutual satisfaction of the two players and army table-edges (usually opposite) are selected.
Before the game starts, a die is rolled by each side; the winning roll starts first.
Each side rolls two D6 for each of their brigades in turn, indicating where on their table edge the brigade will enter. If the resulting score is 7 or less then the brigade concerned makes one move onto the table; anything higher than that and they fail to arrive for the beginning of the battle and must be placed into reserve.
This continues until every brigade has been diced for (or deliberately left in reserve) for each player.

Then the game starts proper. You can immediately see that this approach gives varying degrees of uncertainty to the battle as nearly always some forces are going to be ‘in reserve’ . And on particularly ‘exciting’ games one side could find themselves with most of their forces having to fight their way onto the table with a small ‘advance guard’ trying to hold back the rising tide of the enemy. In ‘General d’Armee’ it means diverting the limited pool of ADCs to try and get reserve forces into action while making sure everything functions as it should on the battlefield – a juggling operation which guarantees no chance of boredom!

It might be thought that this approach would give one side such an advantage (sometimes apparently overwhelming) that the game will be over in double-quick time. But what tends to happen is the player with the most numerous forces launches into an attack or two, perhaps wins some local advantage but often leaves himself open to opposing reserves. And of course he will likely have reserves of his own…

One side rolling unsuccessfully for all of his brigades during setup and starting the game with everything in reserve has never happened in our games (but it nearly did on this occasion - oops!). If this does occur then I suggest one brigade is chosen (or randomly selected) and allowed to enter the table at the players choice of entry point as normal - then he is likely to have a fight on his hands!

Here then are photographs and a (kind of) AAR of our last ‘General d‘Armee’ fracas: -

…and more pics here: -
Chris ;)

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Re: An Encounter Battle

Post by Nick » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:48 pm

Wow. Just Wow. I read the words and then I saw the pictures and my jaw hit the floor. What an inspiring game. Dave Brown will be running a game of Grand D'Armee at Salute next weekend. Join us in the Lardzone.

But I bet it won't look as nice as this one!


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Re: An Encounter Battle

Post by bvera » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:34 pm

Can I ask
1/ what table size did you use?
2/ What size (in models) did the battalions have?
I'm fighting to convince my club pals to move to 28mm but to no avail
...and visit my blog!

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Re: An Encounter Battle

Post by grompix » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:30 pm

Many thanks for your appreciation gents - very glad you liked the game.
The table size was a tad smaller than our usual Saturday games at 6ft x 10ft. We use 2ft square modular terrain boards.
The battalion sizes are based to fit in with Dave Brown's 'General de Brigade' rules so are basically 1-20 figure to men ratio. I use about 30/32(ish) figures for most battalions and 4, 6 or 8 figures per cavalry squadron. Artillery are each gun model representing a pair of guns.
But don't let those numbers put you off. GdA can look just as good with fewer figs as the rules point out.
I wish I could be at Salute this year but sadly not. Looking forward to reports and photos of the event though.
Chris ;)

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Re: An Encounter Battle

Post by IanKH » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:09 pm

Lovely looking game and I like your annotation on the pics to tell the story.
I like your BUA's. They look much nicer & practical than individual buildings. I'll have to build a couple for my own games.

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Re: An Encounter Battle

Post by carlopagano » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:01 am

Absolutely brilliant Chris. You and the lads always put on a sensational looking game and once again this is no exception. Looking ve your figures and especially liked the French chap sans hat with the mutton chops yelling orders. Is he a Victrix figure and if so which code.



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Re: An Encounter Battle

Post by DCRBrown » Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:54 am

Re: But I bet it won't look as nice as this one!

I heard that Skinner!! :o :shock: :lol:

Though I suspect you may be right! That heavy cavalry looks superb!


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Re: An Encounter Battle

Post by grompix » Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:01 pm

Thanks again chaps, really chuffed with all the positive responses.
Carlo, the hatless gent is indeed from the Victrix French Infantry 1807-1812 box. He's one of the many optional heads in the kit and I stuck him on an officers body in this unit (I think I've used another of the same head on a dragoon figure too somewhere).
DB, Hope everything goes well at Salute (which I'm sure it will) and your display tempts even more people into the 'General d'Armee' fold (or should I say Corps?).
Chris ;)

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