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Mes excuses, M. Napoleon

December 14, 2004 9:00 PM - Posted by Alan - Category: Game report

On Friday evening, Graham Number 2 (as I call him, he being the second gamer to arrive in Brussels with this name - Graham Number 1 being my dbm partner and recently married to the fiercely non-wargaming Lynn), invited me over for a little game of ‘Grande Armee’.

This is a fast play Napoleonics game, apparently owing something to Volley and Bayonet, although this is not a system I know.

We played it with my 6mm figs, using a 30x30 mm base (approx 24 infantry or 8 cav) to represent a regiment. So with about 3 or 4 regiments per division, we each had about 12-16 infantry units, a cavalry unit plus about 5-6 artillery units. Each unit has strength points, between 3 and 7, which determine the number of dice to roll in combat (a 5-6 normally scoring a hit) and the number of casualties it takes before routing. A nice simple system. The interesting bit is in the command points. Each turn you roll a die to see how many command points you receive. There is a matrix and depending on the type of army (French system is better than the pre-corps system) and your leadership rating (Nappy is magnifique, mon General a ete null…) you get CPs. These are used to command your sub generals. The thing is that each turn can have up to 6 sub turns and as long as you have CPs left you can order your troops for a second, third, etc time. A die roll per phase determines the end of the turn, and it progresively becomes more likely that the turn will end.

What happened in the game? Our correspondent on the scene, M. Claude Sur L’Horizon, reports:

‘Mon dieu, why you ask zees question? Les imbeciles sur le French droit attaque ze flat footy Autrichien gauche. Quel massacre! Nobody told ze French General Grandjean (Petitcon I call heem) zat ze strength points of ze French are very petits, no more zan 4 et ceux des ennemies sont very very much. Bouf! Ze droit is lost.

Sur le gauche? Aie, aie, aie. Ze Bleue Big Battery, I think you say in anglais, is mooved forward and is stop-ped and does not fire ze guns. Oh la la, ze French try ze attaque in ze centre and encore c’est la honte…’

I think I had better stop him there. You get the picture. One interesting point was that, in this 4 turn game (games limited to 3-6 turns), the first three turns ended after just one impulse. This meant that the French could not use their superior command and control to their advantage unti the last turn, and then it was a bit late. But the last turn showed what was possible, as the French centre started to knock the Austrians about a bit.

Summary - excellent game, simple rules, elegant, no messing about. I like it a lot and for an evening’s bloodfest, it’s perfect.

Comments on this entry

Sounds like a great game and a great system (there seem to be some echos from Blitzkrieg Commander in a number of the systems) — yet another ruleset to buy. At least I already have some toys for it (6mm Bavarians, only used in anger once so far :) ).

December 14, 2004 11:17 PM - Posted by Robartes

I have GA as well and am very impressed by it. It really has very little in common with V&B other than the scale and basing conventions. It is, IMO, a much more elegant system. As to any similarities to WM, I think GA is a little smoother in game play and I really like the CP idea for command and control as opposed to the WM die roll mechanism. However, I actually like all three systems! Overall, I think GA is one of the best written and presented rules sets I’ve ever seen.


December 16, 2004 1:38 PM - Posted by David Black


do you mean WarMaster by WM? If so, what mechanisms are similar between the two sets (and Blitzkrieg Commander, for that matter)?

December 16, 2004 5:04 PM - Posted by Robartes

Bart, Sorry, I meant to say WM/BC instead of WM, but used WM as BC is derived from WM. I think GA seems much slicker/faster than either V&B or WM/BC. The CP mechanism is a very good tool for distinguishing differences between national command systems. David

December 18, 2004 4:01 PM - Posted by David Black

Oh, OK, Tx!




December 18, 2004 4:16 PM - Posted by Robartes

I agree with Alan. This is an excellent set of rules for an evenings game. I am torn between playing this is 6, 15, or 28mm. I did feel that things got remarkably cramped at cm instead of 25mm scale, its just a matter of perception of manoevre and plan. I intend to make some sabot bases for future games in order to experiment.

As the Austrian commander I got lucky, with the turns being nice and short. Even so the plan went awry as I was forced to support a Divisional commander who went out of control and attacked. At this point the unspent command pips came in handy to allow me to reinforce success, at least temporarily. Maybe I should paint some Russians.

Regards Graham Who will be back gaming after the move!

December 20, 2004 10:51 AM - Posted by Graham K