Thursday, October 17, 2013

Let's play Black Powder Napoleonics

This week my youngest son and I played a Black Powder game. It was a Napoleonic scenario, set in Russia 1812. We named it the The Battle of Staminovska.

We did not have all that much experience with the game system, but were confident that the rules wouldn't cause too much problems. In order to play our game we used the basic Black Powder rules, the advanced rules that you can find in both Albion Triumphant supplements and even a few house rules. Because of the smaller size of our table we adjusted all ranges to 50% except the Command range (remained at 12"). Our goals were primary to have a nice game and secundary to learn and test the Black Powder system.
Fortunately we could also use roster sheets from Army Builders' latest BP additions.

The battle started with the French advancing on both Staminovska and the nearby birch wood. The Russians prepared for defense, with the bulk of their troops also focusing on the birch wood and a small part in the village. The French army possessed more infantry and cavalry but the Russians had more (and better) guns, including two light Licornes. In 1812 the Russian artillery incorporated special smoothbore Field Howitzers called Licornes (or Unicorns). Licornes had a longer barrel and a much flatter trajectory than common smoothbore Field Howitzers. Therefore they had a somewhat longer range and were more accurate.We applied a special house rule for the use of those fine artillery pieces.

It was in the second turn that both parties really clashed. Fierce fighting took place in and around the birch wood and some French light infantry troops managed to occupy the village border. Both army commanders send their heavy cavalry in the space between Staminovska village and the birch wood. A clash between two line dragoon regiments followed.

In the end the Russian cavalrymen won the engagement, but with heavy losses (2 down on stamina and the unit being disordered / red dice showing amount of casualties and black dice indicating disorder). The French were far from beaten and so the fight went on.

We split our game in two parts. The first was done during the afternoon and the second late in the evening (all pictures are taken during the first part). Not much changed in the second part and we both decided to call it a draw (we did not want Russian winter to surprise us).

It was around midnight when we ended our Napoleonic Black Powder battle. Afterwards we held a short evaluation of the game. We did not apply all rules as they were intended. One cannot expect too much of a first tester. However the overall feeling was very good indeed and it tasted for more, much more (we drank a tasty Belgian beer as well). Black Powder now surely is on our play list!


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