Saturday, 14 January 2012

"A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets"


Impetus Grandeur – Napoleonic Variant of the Impetus Rules.

Well Christmas is over and it was back to the Club to catch up with everyone and to focus on the important things in life like pushing toy soldiers around a table top. I did not have any new toys to play with as I don’t ask for miniatures for Birthdays or Christmas. This allows me to keep up the premise of “official” cost of the hobby compared to the “actual” cost.

I had a game of Dark Future with Craig last week with some brilliantly converted matchbox cars that Craig had "liberated" from his Children's sand box.

However it was back to historical games this week.  The Grandeur rules are available from the Impetus Website as a free download and provide rule variations to play impetus in the Napoleonic period on the grand tactical scale.

We were simply trying these rules out and so Rob (B) and Mick fudged together an Austrian and Russian army from old Great North War and Seven Years War figures. They were not too concerned over the accuracy of the miniatures but just to see how the rules played.

I have played the 17th Century and 18th Century rules supplements for Impetus and have found that they are really well thought out and easy to play. The 18th Century variant (Le Roi Soliel) is particularly well done and comes with extensive army lists for the War of Spanish Succession.

Granduer changes the game slightly as the units represent a Brigade sized body rather than Regiment size units so the scale is bigger. As such the “melee” phase actually includes musketry as well as hand-to-hand combat as it is simply representing one Brigade engaging the other. The only “shooting” phase is to represent Skirmishing between the Brigades.

I didn’t actually play the game. Bob and I looked on and we all discussed the rules and the issues raised while Rob B and Mick fought it out. The first thing that jumped out at me was unlike the other variants, the translation in to English was pretty poor. (Impetus is an Italian rule set). This led to a bit of head scratching over the rules.

Rob (B) and Mick set up in a more 18th Century formation with cavalry on the wings the Infantry in the centre along with large battery of Artillery. Then in a more 17th Century way the Cavalry both engaged their opposite numbers to try and sweep the enemy wings away before the Infantry engagement.

Mick had better quality cavalry with a lot of Cuirassiers supported by a second line of light cavalry. Rob (B) had Dragoons. Rob (B) had some early success on his Left but could not consolidate. His Right did not do so well against the Austrian heavy cavalry but a unit of Cossacks pushed wide on the kept the Austrian thinking and their concern about being charged in the rear stopped them turning in to the Russian Centre.

Unfortunately that is as good as it got for Rob (B). The Austrian Cuirassiers counter attacked on Rob (b)’s left and swept the Russian Cavalry away. The Russian Infantry were then pinned to the front and attacked in the flank from the left. A desperate charge by the Cossacks failed leaving the Austrian cavalry to envelope the Russian foot from both flanks. The result was an annihilation of the Russian forces. At the end Rob (B) had only his artillery battery left while Mick has only lost 3 Brigades.

I have to say that I was not that enamoured with the Grandeur rules. I love the Impetus Rules Set and the 18th Century Le Roi Soliel are really well made and work well but these are designed at Regiment level (ish) The Grandeur rules are attempting to be, well, grander and I don’t think this has been achieved. Firstly there is the issue of fire and melee. At this scale, Brigade coming in to contact represents two units engaging in combat whether this be musketry or melee. As such there is not firing aspect in the rules other than skirmishing which seems to be very effective.

However the combat factors and combat result are the same as at Regiment level. The result is that on the tabletop the figures and the aesthetics of the game look like a regimental engagement which is confusing.

The guys at Impetus have consistently come up with good ideas for their supplements and I am not going to critisise them too much given that this is one of many free supplement they provide and the figures we used would have looked better if based differently. I have no doubt that things will improve over versions 1.3 and updwards but will wait for a few updates before giving it another go.

Next week it is Age of Blood. The excellent free Dark Age skirmish game.

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