Thursday, 26 May 2011

Listing Grievances

First a blurry picture of some toy soldiers...

Yes that's right folks, I have finally got around to doing some more work on my Napoleonic French. The sabretaches, jackets and moustaches are missing from the pic, but have been painted and attached in the meantime, and the unit looks suitably toy soldierly.... Charles Grant would be proud.

I finally have got around to cracking open the infantry boxes and have started work on my first infantry battalion.

It would be unfair to call this is a problem, but I was struck by how different the Victrix and Perry miniatures are - obviously as I am using Peninsular war Victrix, and post Russian invasion Perry's, there is a difference in uniforms - I can hear the tutting from the purists. However the poses between the two are also rather different, with the Victrix tending to be rather more static and reminding me of rather old school Minifigs... which is not a bad thing. The other main difference is the Victrix have thicker bases, which makes them look taller, when in fact they are the same height.

Still I am not going to worry too much about this, as my aim when starting this army was to build an army that had the ragtag appearance of being on campaign.

36 man units are also rather daunting to paint.

Wandering off on a side track for a moment, I listened to an interview with Rick Priestly on SoCal radio last night. They were discussing his latest rule book, Hail Ceasar, which is an ancients version of the Black Powder rules. And Pat from SoCal being Pat from SoCal it wasn't long before he wanted to know if their was going to be a suppliment for Hail Ceasar containing lists.... because that's right people.... it is impossible to have a fun wargame unless someone has told you what you can do, prescribed how many points each side has, and ensured that in future forums relating to your game will have jerks telling you that you are doing your hobby wrong.

Later, I got a mild dose of grey plastic fever and went over to the Warlord games website to indulge in a little casual pricing, and thought I would drop in on the forum and see what people are saying about Black Powder. And guess what? There were people there banging on about when there would be suppliments for the rules.

The grognard within me cried, 'sacre bleu!'.... before adding, 'merde!'.... I no doubt would have said many other things, except other than 'Amelie' and 'Cyrano de Bergerac,' the only other French I know is, 'can you direct me to the railway station' - 'voules vous coucher avec moi ce soir'.

Not because I dislike 'balanced' games, but rather that list writers generally produce lists for idiots - i.e. they strip out the fun, and reduce everything to a common ground.

I claim to be no great expert on the Penisualar War, but I do know the reason the French came on in the same old way, and were seen off in the same old way, was because a) the Napoleonic Empire was overstretched, b) the army in Spain was fairly raw and of generally poor quality due constant replacement of casualties (the death toll on the French sides was enormous through savation, disease and the activities of the guerillas), and c) the tactics of attacking in column was generally effective for the handling of poorly trained troops.

Therefore when I read Black Powder I was thinking to myself how can I best replicate how I think the French army in Spain would perform.

I like that in the rules the French are given the reliable rule when in column of attack. But my plan was to go further by classing large numbers of the infantry as Freshly Raised - meaning that the first time they are asked to do something, you roll a dice to see if they are hero's or zero's - but I also like the idea that they are Unreliable if they are in anything other than column of attack. Plus there are a few of the other special rules that I would like to play around with.

Now no doubt, people attracted to the Black Powder rule set are not the power gamers which have blighted other rule sets - and I don't just mean GW products here - but I can't help thinking that as soon as the suppliment comes out the urge to experiment, and the fight one sided battles, or campaigns, or whatever will be sucked into the void of 'competative play'.

At which point I will stop before the veins in my neck explode... not least because it is some time before my 3 battalion brigades, with attached 4 pounder guns, assault the Thin Red Line in mixed order before either heroically sweeping the British away, or messing about in a confused mass.... as I have to paint the stuff first.... standards, don't you know.

Oh and I obviously don't dislike competative play that much as I have tentatively signed up for a tournament with my Ogres. 1500 points... lol... which is like 3 ogres and 10 gnoblars. Meh.... I didn't chose Ogres to win.

And in truth I don't dislike competative play, what I dislike is what competative play does to the hobby.

Enough rambling... time to crack open the white foundation and ruin some more brushes by trying primer undried glue.

Happy gaming.


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