Sunday, 28 January 2018

Napoleonic Black Powder

Last summer Stephen parted ways with his employer. Whilst waiting for a lucrative bean-counting opportunity to open up for him he decided to paint some Napoleonics.
Two months later he had around 200 French and 150 British ready for action.

The Sherwood, Hucknall and Ilkeston Team played a couple of games of Sharp Practice, but we didn't really like the game and it certainly didn't scratch the big battle itch (or get close to getting most of Steves soldiers on the table).

Anyway, the world has moved on and Steve is about to go AWOL for a few months training for yet another new job. So, rather than force him to play more FIW, which although it would have allowed General B. and I to mock him about his AWI soldiers, he doesn't really want to play, we decided to give Black Powder a go.

Steve and General B have played before, albeit on John "Warlord" Stallard's preposterously huge table, whereas I've played a fair bit of Hail Caesar (and Warmaster for that matter) so we thought we'd have a reasonable grasp of the mechanics.

Only having a 6x4 table to play on and concerned by the distances troops can potentially move we decided to reduce all the moves and ranges by 1/3. To further avoid the "car-park" effect I've witnessed a couple of times at club games we also settled on 16 as the standard size for foot units and 8 for cavalry.

We set up a pretty basic meeting engagement and had at it with me mostly commanding the Thin Red Line and General Salle-de-Bain in charge of the French.

 The 99th Humberside regiment advance

 Redcoats rush forward

 The French defend the hill...

As is his way General Salle-de-Bain ordered a rapid advance, with two units hurtling toward the British lines. Despite fire from the British, the French came on unimpeded.

 ...before lurching forward to the beat of the drum

 British fire causes a little shock (pom-pom)

The British centre had advanced too far and were caught in the open. But held their ground (much to everyone's surprise)

 The French crash home

Bothy sides had small squadrons of cavalry on the same flank. Eventually the French charged home and saw off the British Light Dragoons.

 On the British  right flank the cavalry clash

Their work done the French horse crashed home into the rear of a British unit.

 Hussars to the rear!

Surprisingly the British held and drove off the French cavalry, who were then charged by the rallied British horse and drven from the field.

 More French charges

Unfortunately this proved a hollow victory for the British as elsewhere on the field the French forces crashed home.
Despite desperate defence on the hill the Redcoats were soon forced to turn tail and victory went to the French!

Struggle for the heights

This was a good fun game. Black Powder cracks on at a fair old pace and we'd all grasped the rules pretty quickly.
More importantly we all came away wanting to paint more soldiers.
It could be that BP is a keeper and will see more regular outings at the Ilko Gaming Hut.


  1. Thanks for this. I'm seriously considering getting into Napoleonics and BP is looking quite attractive to me. What would say is the minimum number of units you could start at?

  2. It's designed for 3 "brigades" each of 3-5 units.
    We played with two brigades on each side, each of 4 units.
    The morale (as written) doesn't really work for two brigades, but we just ignored that and it worked fine. (Though there are adaptations out there on blogs to deal with it).
    Two brigades that size fitted comfortably on 6x4 we're going to try 3 brigades per side (though I worry it will make for a very full table)

  3. Glad you shared a post re BP on a 6' x 4'.