Sunday, July 29, 2012

Charge! or How to Play Wargames

I was introduced to miniatures at some point during my first year of High School in Dartmouth, NS. Halifax-Dartmouth had a very active wargaming community and I think that it was for two major reasons. It is both a university and a military centre. I started playing with Avalon Hill and SPI boardgames in September 1972 and within the year was playing minatures regularly at the Sunday meetings of the Halifax-Dartmouth Wargaming League, at the Dalhousie University SUB, sponsored by Dal Con Sim.

We would play with massive Airfix Napoleonic armies, that were owned and painted by the older members of our group. The rules we played with were Charge!, or How to Play Wargames by Brigadier Peter Young, D.S.O., M.C. and Lieutenant Colonel James.P. Lawford, M.C. It was a great introduction to the hobby. In the 40 years since, it has been a regret that I never really caught the Napoleonic bug. I always felt that I would never be able to do justice an army. The paint job required was just too daunting for me to attempt.

Two Battalions Form Double Square
About 8 years ago I purchased a Russian Napoleonic Army (unpainted) on eBay. The majority of the figures were by Fantassin Miniatures, and the rest by Old Glory 15mm. Next was the decision about which rule set to use. I played a number of games using Napoleon's Battles and I was also attracted to The Age of Eagles by Colonel Wilbur E. Gray, due to my familiarity with the Fire and Fury Civil War Rules

In the end I was seduced by the apparent simplicity of both the Napoleon Rule Set by Matthew Fletcher, and Black Powder by Meissers Priestly and Johnson. What caught my eye, with both of these rule sets was the use of the 40mm square infantry base. Both volumes are handsomely illustrated with photos of four 25/28mm figures mounted on the infantry stands. This is what I want, but with 15mm figures.

I like the effect of 3 lines deep on a base

The first figures I painted were a pack of Old Glory 15mm Russian Line Infantry in Greatcoat. A pack of 100 figures was enough to provide me with 10 stands of nine figures each. I still have to produce two command stand in order to field my first two battalions.