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Napoleonic Kings of War

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Author Topic: Napoleonic Kings of War  (Read 11227 times)
Nathaniel
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« on: December 16, 2011, 02:17:06 am »

I've always been partial to 1/72 plastic Napoleonic figures but have never really liked the various rules sets that have been out there.  I have Lasalle, Grande Armee, Black Powder and others and it seems to me that I want the same "less is more" approach to miniature gaming for my historicals as I do for my fantasy stuff.

What I'm thinking of doing is trying to represent the same scope of battle that Grande Armee does but with the KoW rules as a basis.

A single unit would represent an entire brigade.  Each inch on the table top would represent roughly 100 yards.  There would be no changing formations of miniatures from squares to lines and collumns because that is way, way below the scope of command that the player would be at.   Shooting would be toned down dramatically as musket ranges would be just a few inches on the table top.  Mustket fire and skirmishers would largely be abstracted into close combat.

Artillery would likely only have a range of between 8 and 16 inches.  Regular brigades may have some minor artillery abilities to represent attached weapons for those forces that didn't form batteries with all their guns.

Thoughts on the idea?
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 06:01:37 am by Nathaniel » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2011, 06:01:00 am »

The troop/regiment/horde thing isn't really going to work as a brigade at this scale could jam itself into an inch wide marching column on the table or expand into a foot long firing line.  Some brigades could have four battalions while others could have double that.

Looking at some orders of battle, it looks like the smaller battles might have 15 or so brigades per side and the largest upwards of 50.  If I did a battalion/regiment/brigade breakdown of troop/regiment/horde, I'd have to either require tons and tons of miniatures to play even the smallest of the battles or let go of the grand tactical scope and play a smaller portion of a battle like all the battalion level games out there.

I think the thing to do is to let each base be a brigade (or partial brigade) and have them with an appropriate nerve level.  I think I'm also going to put 4-8 figures on a 50mm square base and make the ground scale a heavily abstracted and not absolute 1 inch = 200 yards.  This means I'll be looking at getting about 200 figures painted for both sides of a smaller battle with about 15-20 50mm squares per side.

I think a Napoleonic Kings of War might end up looking a lot like a simplified version of Black Powder that doesn't require a 10 foot by 6 foot table.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 05:33:13 pm by Nathaniel » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2011, 11:08:15 pm »

So this project is a go.  I've had a bunch of miniatures in a box for a while, not motivated enough to paint them because of a lack of possible rules to use them with.  Now they're on the painting table with 12 of them primed and partially painted to test appropriate painting techniques before I tackle the rest.  And they'll stay on the painting table until I get my hands on that Elf Warhost I want.

As for list design, I think i'm going to keep is super simple.  Light cav, heavy cav, light batteries, heavy batteries, horse artillery, a few different grades of infantry.  Then I'll probably handle national flavour with army wide special rules like "Thin Red Line" to cover the British using a 2 man deep line for shooting instead of 3 men deep or "Grand Battery" for how the Russians organized their cannons.

I'm not 100% sure how to handle skirmishers except to just hand wave them and roll them into the fighting.  Grande Armee simply assigns each brigade a skirmish stat and then uses that as part of a combat modifier.  I need to do more research about how far skirmishers ranged from their brigades.
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2011, 03:36:42 am »

So I've been doing some more reading on period tactics and realized that at this scope and for this era. the flank and rear attack bonuses don't make sense.  The late 18th century saw the ending of the "turn the flank to win" approach to battle.  Training soldiers to take different formations very rapidly became the norm.

So double dice for flanking will only happen when you charge a unit that is already charged by another unit and the 2nd unit starts its turn completely in the flank or rear of the target.

I'm also going to allow artillery to shoot into melee with infantry units that have been charged only by cavalry.  At the scope of one brigade per base, the batteries would have no trouble shooting at the formed up infantry battalions like how Clausewitz described.

Artillery is also going to get a very short range breath weapon attack for grape shot.  I'll also probably use something closer to the last edition's rules for artillery rather than rolling to hit and damage before rolling blast.
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2011, 04:39:40 am »

The Kings of War contained turns (your opponent doesn't do anything until you're completely done) doesn't work for Napoleonics at the Brigade level.  It just doesn't make any sense at all given skirmishing and musketry.  The method of warfare is just too different from an ancients/medieval approach that forms the basis for Kings of War.

It's starting to look like the end result of this might not look anything like Kings of War.  Much like how Blitzkrieg Commander doesn't look like Warmaster even though that's its heritage.

I made some counters and ran through some testing of Kings of War with reduced ranges and taking choices from a subset of Kings of War "Kingdoms of Men" and it sort of works.  I'm rereading some of my Napoleonic references and it looks like such a game might work for English Civil War, but isn't really suitable for the Napoleonic era without some changes.  It's just too linear/medieval based.

So I'm going to cobble and hammer and test and see what sort of Frankenstein's Monster I come up with.  The end result might be so different from Kings of War that I probably shouldn't call it a historical variant of the game.
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2011, 03:40:33 pm »

I've done a lot more work on this and have basically reached the point that I can no longer call the game a historical "Kings of War."

It still sort of has nerve, but I renamed that strength as I decided that it would work well to have attacks = nerve and combined them.  You don't ever check nerve/strength to see if something routs.  It routs when strength is reduced to 0 (though there is a chance of forcing the brigade back if you hit enough).

The basing system is completely different with nothing in common with the troop/regiment/horde system of Kings of War.

I heavily meshed the turn sequences so a player's activity is not at all confined to their own turn.

I got rid of rolling against defense after you hit.  Now it's just "6s to hit" with no 2nd roll (if someone is better or if there are modifiers, they just roll more dice).

There's actually a command/control system so you don't just get to move everything however you want every turn.

It's still relatively fast.  The 6s to hit thing really speeds things up.  In two of the playtests I played with a friend, including teaching time we fought a 30,000+ soldiers per side battle in about two hours.  So one of the largest battles of the era (Borodino) with 125,000+ per side would likely take about 7 or so hours.  Borodino is something players of Napoleonics get glassy eyed about, so it's not a real good measurement. 

So this project doesn't really belong here anymore.  It's changed too much from the original.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 06:26:45 am by Nathaniel » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2011, 03:47:35 pm »

Hey there, I've only just spotted this (but then, I've only just joined).

Been reading through it and came to the conclusion just before reading your last post that you were going to be better off writing basically a new system from scratch but with a Kings of War feel and inspiration. Which it seems you've done in the end.

I'd be interested in reading what you've got if you have it written up into a document. If I ever play it, I'd probably use 2mm figures instead though. I have too much to paint as it is and 2mm gets done quickly!
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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2011, 07:21:18 pm »

I'm still editing the document (it's entirely point form with no real explanatory text right now).  When I get it to he point where someone could read it and play without me being there to explain, I'll definitely share it.

2mm would be really cool.  I used to do 6mm historicals a lot, but I just kept finidng myself drifting back to 1/72 plastics.  They have a pleasing charm and most have very realistic proportions.  Probably why I like mantic elves so much!
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2012, 05:43:12 pm »

You inspire me man! I had wanted to take a crack at writing up some Nap-era rules for KoW, but it was simply too daunting a prospect for me! Kudos, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Thanks
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