Thursday 4 July 2019

Post of Honour - Napoleonic

I have a project that I've been spending quite a lot of time on recently -  developing a set of rules for the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1792-1815) based on my Post of Honour - Seven Years War rules.

The idea of Post of Honour was to write a genuinely simple set of horse and musket rules that still gave a real historical flavour. Starting with the SYW seemed logical as I had built up a good knowledge of that conflict. Then, never having properly wargamed in the Napoleonic period, and given the huge popularity of those wars amongst wargamers, I decided it might be a fun challenge to learn about the period and see if a version of Post of Honour could be created to cover them.

I have indeed learnt a lot and have enjoyed a great deal of interesting reading, including reading through established rule sets. One thing I became more and more aware of was that the popular sets were all significantly more complex than I preferred, so in developing a simple set maybe I was doing something worthwhile - assuming of course that others might think along the same lines as me. 

To give some well-known examples, I have looked at Black Powder, General de Brigade and most recently Over the Hills. All of these are successful sets, but I was looking to produce something at least an order of magnitude simpler than any of them. It was checking out Over the Hills which eventually inspired me to share my project in this particular post.

My Paradox
In my more reflective moments, I will usually maintain that you shouldn't make up your mind about a set of rules until you've played a few games with them. But on the other hand, my personal experience is increasingly telling me that I know whether I'm going to be interested in a set of rules after one quick read through. Indeed, I have often rejected a set of rules by about page 5 and just skimmed the rest.

This was my experience with Over The Hills. Well, 'rejected' is too strong a term. The rules are obviously created by people who know and love the period. They are sensibly structured - a basic game, extensive optional rules to add to the basic game, and a good selection of historical background and army examples. The book is also well laid out. My only real criticism is the extent of the grammatical and punctuation errors, which are very common but usually don't stand in the way of making sense of the text.

I got my copy cheap from Caliver Books as a second edition is on the way This is in itself a tribute to this publication - certainly, all the online reviews I have seen are positive. My conclusion that I would never play the rules was based on one simple assessment - level of complexity. Which brings me back to where I started.

Post of Honour - Napoleonic

I finally feel it's time to get these rules of mine out there and see what people think. At the moment, there are only the basic rules plus some notes. I intend to produce a historical periodisation which will point out the variations in tactics and army quality of the various nations which occurred as the period  unfolded.

So, how to 'get the rules out there'? When Honours of War was being playtested, I successfully used Yahoo Groups to gather comments, suggestions and criticisms. It would appear from online feedback that Yahoo Groups has since gone rather downhill, and tends to be full of glitches and issues. I discovered this straight away when I found I was unable to load a photo for the group cover. Therefore, I have gone for a Google Group. The format of the latter is not quite so well suited to my purpose, but it is free and very easy to set up. If anyone has other suggestions for a playtesting forum, I am all ears.

So, Napoleonic fans, please visit;

Post of Honour - Napoleonic (Google Group)

Membership of the group is subject to approval (keeps out the riff-raff and spammers) so you will need to click the 'Apply To Join Group' button. A short message from you would be much appreciated. Let me know of any problems.

Maybe we can get something started here.

UPDATE - 30th APRIL 2020
This post seems to getting a number of hits recently. Of course, one can never be sure of the real reason, but any Napoleonic wargamers interested in rules should proceed to my 'io' group (very similar to a Yahoo Group) at the link below. The rules are now called Shadow of the Eagles, and besides downloading the rules for free, you can join the discussion group. You have to register to join.

Shadow of the Eagles discussion group

Hope to see you there.