Whilst my rule set for BB4ST remain mostly in my head or scratched out on bits of paper, I bethought myself of carrying out a quick 'first pass' playtest, just to see how the thing would look. For this purpose, I chose one of the early actions in the 1805 Campaign, namely, the combat at Elchingen. The forces were small enough: the single VI Corps of Marshal Ney, and a rather smaller force of Austrians under Generals Riesch and Werneck.
|From David Chandler Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars,|
Arms and Armour Press, London (1979).
|The Austrian Corps commanded by Generals|
Riesch and Werneck (Minifigs).
- Corps command: 2 figures
- Grenadier Division: 16 figures
- Fusilier Division: 16 figures
- Cuirassier Brigade: 12 figures
- Corps Artillery: 4 figures; 1 gun.
Totals: 50 figures and 1 gun (the equivalent of 10,000 troops and 32 guns under my scaling. A little generous, but see below).
The orders of battle I have seen indicate that the Austrian force comprised a high proportion of heavy cavalry (cuirassiers, the lights being mainly uhlanen) and grenadiers, but lacked light troops (grenzers or jager). It seemed therefore meet that the Cavalry be represented by cuirassiers. Of course, splitting the grenadiers and fusiliers as I have is simply convenience on account of the scale I'm using.
Probably the number of gunners is excessive, 3 gunners being a better representation of the Austrian strength in artillery. And that very notion leads me to the idea that the effectiveness of gunfire be determined by the number of figures crewing the pieces, as by the weight of metal. A fellow blogger did make a suggestion along these lines, but at the time I was thinking more in terms of formal organization than game terms. In this action, I drew no distinction between French 8pr and Austrian 6pr equipments.
|VI Army Corps, commanded by Marshal Ney (Minifigs).|
- Corps Command: 2 figures
- Loison's Division: 24 figures
- Mahler's Division: 24 figures
- Dupont's Division: 24 figures
- VI Corps Light Cavalry Brigade: 12 figures
- VI Corps Artillery: 4 figures, 1 gun.
Totals: 90 figures and 1 gun (approximate equivalent of 18,000 troops and 32 guns).
1. The first thing to note is the difference in 'unit' (Division) sizes. One of the things I want my rule set to accommodate is the disparity that can develop among the units and formations within and between armies. True, this can be accommodated by a 'strength point' system, but one way and another, that requires bookkeeping. Why not let the figures carry the information?
2. Dupont's Division having been badly mauled the previous day at Albeck, whilst preventing the Austrians breaking out eastwards, ought probably be weaker than the 24 figures allowed it. A reduction to 18 or even 16 figures might not be too punitive a cost of the gallant stand this Division made the day before. But that would also indicate a fairly similar reduction to the Austrian corps, at least some of whom were involved in the same engagement.
To be continued: How the play test went...
Acknowledgements: ...and thanks to my 107th follower, 'El Grego.' You might want to check out the link through his icon in my Follower list. He has a number of blogs with a wide range of wargaming interests.
Links to past postings in this topic:
Big Battles for Small Tables
Big Battles for Small Tables continued 1
Big Battles for Small Tables continued 2
Big Battles for Small Tables continued 3
Past postings on similar topics:
Napoleonic Division Column
A Napoleonic Battle - River Crossing 1
A Napoleonic Battle - River Crossing 2
A Napoleonic Battle - River Crossing 3