The two Napoleonic rule sets we play regularly are Blucher for Corps, and Lasalle for Division level games. I have most recently bought Absolute Emperor for really big battles. I prefer a historical scenario where possible. As you will see, I keep coming back to games set in 1809 or 1813.
Scenarios for Absolute Emperor
The following notes and QRS are for the players taking part in our 23 January Leipzig fight. They include some house rules.
After reading some positive reviews, I picked up Osprey’s new Napoleonic rules, Absolute Emperor by Boyd Bruce. I plan to use these for the big battles where even Blücher groans under the weight of units. The basic manoeuvre element is a division and the mechanics are straightforward. Like some other Osprey rules I’ve read, the rules could have been better edited and some information is hard to track down. But for a tenner, I I’m not going to quibble. The book includes the author’s explanations behind his design decisions and he concludes by encouraging players to adapt and amend the rules as they see fit. That’s a refreshing position to encounter! He is also active on the AE Facebook page, answering questions promptly and generally encouraging players to get involved.
The Battle of Leipzig: Wachau, 16 October 1813: Napoleon’s last chance of victory
This scenario covers the French attempt to break the Coalition centre south of Leipzig on the afternoon of 16 October 1813. It is a big game, suitable for two or three players a side.
The Battle of Leipzig: Markkleeberg, 16 October 1813: Prussians and Russians versus French and Poles
I have converted the following scenario from Lasalle 1 to the newly released Lasalle 2. It was the subject of our first face to face game after lockdown and we greatly enjoyed it. It is reported in my blog post here. Lasalle 2 is very different from the original and/but it plays very well. After our game I tweaked the scenario a little bit, by removing the sudden death victory conditions. In our play through, the Allied player chose to go for the sudden death route to victory and completely ignored the village. This gave a great game but it didn’t feel much like the actual engagement, where Markkleeberg was the focus of much of the battle.
The Danube Valley, 21 April 1809: “Bristling with guns”. St Hilaire assaults a hilltop position
This scenario concerns a part of the combat between Davout and Rosenberg on the day before the battle of Eckmühl. The whole combat is covered in the Laichling scenario for Blücher, attached below, while this game focuses on St Hilaire and Deroi’s attacks on the hilltop position that anchored the Austrian left wing.
Our group has played some great games using Honour Games' Blucher rules. Like so many sets by Sam Mustafa, they are deceptively simple: even small rules elements can have an important effect on play.
I produced the attached prompt sheet to help our new players get into the rules as quickly as possible. The notes on it are not immediately visible in the quick reference sheets in the rulebook. When we play with 15mm figures we use 80mm-wide units and a 1BW to 3" playing scale. With 6mm figures we use 60mm-wide units and 1BW is 2”.
This scenario is relatively small for Blucher and plays out in two to three hours. The challenge for the Prussians is to keep up the pressure on the French left. The French should try to keep reserves to hand to regain lost real estate before the Prussians dig in. The French player should not take risks with his resources: however tempting, he is better advised to keep his reserves in check rather than go looking for trouble in the Prussian lines. Aggressive cavalry commanders should beware!
This is a scenario for Blücher using the small scale in the rule book. I wrote two blog posts about it, one on planning the scenario and one battle report. Small numbers of high quality French Guards take on greater numbers of Russians and Prussians. A chance to get stuck in with the Old Guard for once.
This is the order of battle and reinforcement schedule we used for our Blücher refight of Waterloo, described In my blog posts on planning and playing the game. The starting point for the Unit strengths are Sam Mustafa's 100 Days cards. I did not produce my own map at the time, so don't have one to share I'm afraid. I based the measurements (at 1BW to 300 yards) on the Waterloo Companion by Adkin.p