Monday, July 27, 2009

Confederate 12-pounder Napoleon Battery

I recently finished painting up my first unit of Civil War Confederate artillery. More specifically, it is a battery of 12-pounder Napoleon guns. The figures are 10mm GHQ, and as always they are excellent miniatures.

The only problem I had with them is that the guy meant to be ramming a rod down the barrel isn't tall enough to do so. If he is mounted with the bottom of his base at the same level as the bottom of cannon, the ramrod isn't nearly high enough off the ground to be at the mouth of the barrel. It seems very strange to me that it would be designed this way. I corrected it by building up the base under that figure with some flat tooth picks. So it looks like both of those figures are standing on conveniently located bumps in the ground.

There are also a couple of figures (the guy I have pushing the wheel, and the guy just resting his hand on the cannon barrel) that I'm not sure what they are meant to be doing. I just made my best guess at where to put them, but I'm not sure if that is what they are intended to be doing. Anyway, here are some pictures of my completed battery.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Battle for Planet No-Name: Part 2

If you haven’t already done so, read Part 1 of this battle report here.

Ork Turn 2
Now it was time for the Orks to counter-attack. The Warboss and his retinue disembarked from their useless vehicle. The Warboss had a Power Klaw, and a retinue of Nobz, mostly with Klaw, that had 5+ invulnerable saves and Feel No Pain. A pretty significant threat. They were backed up by the timely arrival of a large unit of Boyz moving onto the table behind them. The unit of Stormboyz also arrived, descending from the sky to land next to the ruined building full of Gaunts and spreading out.
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2

The Orks in the Battlewagon attempted to disembark, but there was no room for all of them to get out with the Carnifex and Ravenors so close by. Seeing the bloodthirsty beasts right outside their Battlewagon waiting for them, the Boyz decided to stay put. And with the vehicle stunned, they couldn’t even fire this turn.
Orks vs Tyranids 2

After fire from the newly arrived unit of Boyz killed four of the Genestealers, the Warboss and his retinue charged in and smashed the rest like insects with their Power Klaws. The Warboss then continued charging forward, right towards the center of the Tyranid army, daring them to come and fight him and his nearly invincible warriors.
Photobucket Orks vs Tyranids 2

On the Ork left, the Mega-Armored Nobz and the Killa Can continued to advance toward the flying Hive Tyrant and the Gargoyles. The Weirdboy again failed his psychic test.

Tyranid Turn 3
On the Tyranid left, the old Carnifex moved around to the side of the Battlewagon, hoping to have an easier time piercing the softer armor there. He did, and with his attacks hitting the immobilized vehicle automatically, he managed to destroy it. Only a couple of the Orks were killed in the wreckage. Meanwhile, the Raveners moved toward the newly-arrived Storyboyz. The Guants in the ruined building fired on the Orks, killed several, before the Raveners charged. Another Ravener was lost, but most of the Orks were killed in the charge, and the rest run down as they fled.
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2

In the center, another Lictor leapt from its hiding place in a tree right beside the Ork Warboss. The two Lictors, the Hormagaunts, and the Hive Tyrant with his unit of Tyrant Guard, all surrounded the Warboss’s unit. Two Zoanthropes fired powered up Warp Blasts at them, but missed. Then the Carnifex fired his Barbed Strangler at the unit, the shot landing perfectly on target, killing three of the Nobz outright! That evened the odds a little.
Orks vs Tyranids 2

Both Lictors, the Hormagaunts, the Hive Tyrant and his bodyguards charged into the Warboss’s retinue from all sides! Since the Orks all had Power Klaws, they would strike last. The two Lictors and a few Hormagaunts managed to bring down the Warboss, and the remaining Hormagaunts, the Hive Tyrant, and the Tyrant Guard combined just did enough wounds to finish off the remaining Nobz. The mighty unit had been slaughtered to the last Ork. One of the Lictors consolidated into the nearby woods, but the other was caught out in the open.
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2

On the Tyranid right, the Gargoyles charged up the rocky cliffs toward the Weirdboy and his unit. Being in difficult terrain, the Orks attacked first and killed many of the Gargoyles as they struggled up the rocks. The remaining Gargoyles killed all but the Weirdboy and two of his bodyguards. The Gargoyles had lost the combat, but due to the influence nearby flying Hive Tyrant, the held their ground to continue the fight.
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2

Ork Turn 3
The Mega-Armored Nobz on the Ork left finally got into the action, charging a lone Zoanthrope and tearing it to pieces. The Killa Kan charged the unit of Gargoyles. In the ensuing combat, the Gargoyles managed to finish off the Weirdboy and the remaining two Orks, before the Killa Kan, which was impervious to their attacks, killed several of them.
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2 Photobucket Orks vs Tyranids 2

The large unit of Ork Boyz in the middle advanced and gunned down the Lictor that was out in the open.
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2

The Boyz from the Battlewagon fired at the old Carnifex, causing one wound. They then charged into combat, but failed to cause any further harm to the monstrous beast. And in subsequent rounds of combat, without the benefit of their furious charge, the Toughness 7 Carnifex would be impervious to their pitiful attacks.
Orks vs Tyranids 2

Tyranid Turn 4
The battle was now drawing to a close, as there weren’t many Orks left on the table. The Carnifex that had been firing his Barbed Strangler from the safety of the woods now found himself threatened by the unit of five Mega-Armored Nobz with Power Klaws. Seeing no good alternative, the Carnifex charged the Nobz, and was joined by the flying Hive Tyrant. All those Power Klaw attacks could do a lot of damage if they got a chance, but the Strength 9 Carnifex would kill the Nobz outright if he wounded them, so a lot would depend on how well the sniper Carnifex could fight in combat. Rolling his four attacks, he scored four hits! Wounding with all but one, he killed three of the Nobz before they could even strike, and the Hive Tyrant killed another. The remaining Nob, avenging his fallen comrades, wounded Hive Tyrant twice.
Orks vs Tyranids 2

The other Carnifex killed several more of the Orks, who could now no longer harm him. In a temporary bout of sanity, the Orks decided to run for it, but the normally ponderous Carnifex ran them down and trampled them all to death as they tried to flee.
Orks vs Tyranids 2

In the center, the three remaining Raveners and the one remaining Lictor charged the last unit of Ork Boyz. They killed many of the Orks, but not enough. In return, the Orks killed the Lictor and two more Raveners.
Orks vs Tyranids 2

At this point, the Orks gave up. The final Mega-Armored Nob would clearly be killed by the Hive Tyrant or Carnifex. The Killa-Can would clearly finish off the Gargoyles, but would likely be taken down by the Flying Hive Tyrant. The unit of Boyz would finish off the one remaining Ravener to earn another kill point, but the still mostly intact Hormagaunts and Hive Tyrant with Tyrant Guard could finish off the boyz. In any case, there was no way that the remaining Orks could possibly gain enough Kill Points to catch up, and so it was a Tyranid victory.

There was one Ork, however, that did manage to flee off the table and escape alive. Perhaps he is off to raise another army, and the battle for control of Planet No-Name will continue.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Battle for Planet No-Name: Part 1

After retrieving their captured specimens from the Ork-ravaged world of No-Name (which you can read about here), the Tyranid splinter fleet decides that the abundant bio-mass of the world looks rather tasty. And since they’re already here anyway, the might as well strip the planet bare and devour all useful biological material. Before they can do so, however, they’ll have to fight their way through the rampaging band of Orks who have just invaded this world. And after having some of their hard-earned loot stolen from them by the Tyranids, those Orks are looking for some payback.

The game was 2000 points per side, with me controlling the Tyranids, and the Orks split between two other people. The objective of the game was just to get the most kill points. Whoever destroyed more enemy units would be the victor. Deployment zones were along the long board edges, twelve inches onto the board. I rolled first turn, and so had to deploy my army first. Here is my deployment. I kept two Lictors in reserve.
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2

And here is the subsequent deployment of the Ork army. They had a couple of units held in reserve, including a unit of Stormboyz who would arrive by Deep Strike.
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2

And a couple pictures of the entire table before the first turn.
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2

Tyranid Turn 1
Most of the Tyranid army moved forward, eager to get to grips with the Orks. On the Tyranid left, the Raveners moved into the woods for some cover. The Carnifex in the center with the Barbed Strangler also moved into cover, and fired at the huge mob of Orks across from him, killing a few. The gaunts took up positions in a ruined building in order to improve their chances of survival. The Hive Tyrant in the center moved up on the hill and fired his Venom Cannon at the truck containing the Ork Warboss. He managed to stun the crew, but didn’t damage the vehicle.
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2

Ork Turn 1
The Orks advanced somewhat hesitantly. On their left, the Mega-Armored Nobz moved forward, followed by the Killa-Kan. The both fired on the gargoyles, killing a couple. On the other side of the woods the Ork truck moved up and its passengers disembarked. The squad with the Weirdboy moved up on the rocky hill, with the Weirdboy ascending the crest to inspire his followers. The then failed to get off a psychic power.
Orks vs Tyranids 2

The Deth-Coptas moved up and fired on one of the Zoanthropes, but failed to harm it. On the far Ork right, the battlewagon drove up and all of its passengers fired on the Raveners, but they failed to cause any wounds. The rest of the Orks on the right stayed where they were, afraid to approach the intimidating old Carnifex.
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2

Tyranid Turn 2
The Tyranid army surged forward at full speed. To avoid the fierce looking combination of Mega-Armored Nobz and a Killa Kan, the gargoyles flew towards the Orks who had disembarked from their truck and fired on them, killing a few. The flying hive tyrant stayed near them, also not wanting to tangle with the power-klaw armed Nobz. The Hormagaunts sped towards the massive Ork unit in front of them.

The other Hive Tyrant moved forward and again fired at the Warboss’s truck. Two Zoanthropes also targeted the truck, but none of their fire had any effect. One of the Lictors showed itself, hiding in the woods right beside the Warboss’s Truck! The Carnifex on the Tyranid left advanced toward the Battlewagon, and the Raveners toward the unit of Orks behind it. The Genestealers in the middle moved toward the Coptas.
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2

The Raveners, with their 12” charge, had plenty of speed to reach their target, but had to pass through the woods in order to reach their opponents, which would mean the Orks would strike first in the ensuing close combat. The Carnifex charged the Battlewagon, but since it had moved at cruising speed last turn, he would need 6s to hit it.

The Genestealers easily charged the Deth-Coptas, the Hormagaunts charged the huge Ork unit near the second ruined building, and the Gargoyles charged the unit of Boyz that had disembarked from the truck. This would be a bloody turn!
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2 Photobucket

Due to his Crushing Claws, the mighty old Carnifex attacking the Battlewagon would have a random number of attacks. He also had +1 Strength, +1 Toughness, and +1 Weapon Skill. He rolled well for his attacks, and would get 7 chances to hit, needing 6s. Okay, seems like a good chance for at least one hit. Rolling the dice, I managed to score FOUR hits on the Battlewagon! At Strength 10 and rolling 2D6 for penetration, I figured it was done for. Not so. The Carnifex only managed one glancing and one penetrating out of his four hits, and only succeeded in destroying a weapon and immobilizing the vehicle, leaving its many occupants completely intact.
The Orks charged by the Raveners went first, and despite having many attacks, only managed to kill two of the Raveners. The remaining Raveners had a lot of attacks, and sliced many of the Orks to pieces, winning the combat easily. But there were enough Orks remaining to make them unbreakable, and another half-dozen or so Orks were dragged down as they refused to run.
Orks vs Tyranids 2

The Genestealers made short work of the Deth-Coptas, and advanced forward. The Lictor leapt from its hiding place in the woods to attack the Warboss’s truck, which had not moved last turn due to being stunned. The Lictor ripped off a weapon and immobilized the truck, but was unable to destroy it. That Orky construction must be pretty solid. Their vehicles were proving hard to destroy.
Orks vs Tyranids 2

The Hormagaunts killed most of the Orks they had charged, the unit having been whittled down by two turns of shots from a Canifex with a Barbed Strangler. The few remaining Orks fled and were cut down, and the Hormagaunts followed up in the direction of the Ork Warboss, moving in behind the Genestealers.
Orks vs Tyranids 2 Orks vs Tyranids 2

The Gargoyles also managed to kill all but one out of the unit of Orks they had charged. The remaining Ork fled for home, and managed to escape with his life. Overall, it was a pretty devastating turn for the poor Orks.
Orks vs Tyranids 2

It was looking bad for the Orks, but they still had plenty of fight left in them! Since this post is getting long, I’ll break this battle report up into two parts. So check back later for the conclusion of the battle for No-Name!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Brigadier General John Bell Hood

To command my Texas Brigade of Civil War Confederate Infantry, I painted up a command stand to represent Brigadier General John Bell Hood. As usual, these are 10mm GHQ figures. I just used some figures I had left over from other packs, the standard and drummer from the marching infantry pack, and an artillery officer model. The rolled up flag is painted as the Texas state flag, to easily identify him on the table as commanding the Texas Brigade. Here are some pictures of the results.

Monday, July 13, 2009

18th Georgia Infantry Regiment

I recently finished painting another unit of 10mm GHQ Confederate Infantry figures to represent probably the 18th Georgia, but possibly the 3rd Arkansas. The are meant to be part of Hood's Texas Brigade, which I believe contained the 18th Georgia up until late 1862, and the 3rd Arkansas from then on. I think I'll probably paint up a separate unit for each of them and have the brigade contain both at the same time. It never happened historically that the brigade contained both of those regiments at the same time, but having 5 regiments in the brigade will make it even in size with my Union Irish brigade.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wargames Foundry's Napoleon Rules

My main historical gaming interest is the American Civil War, but I have a friend who is much more into the Napoleonic wars. He doesn't have an army or set of rules for the period yet, and I've been considering learning more about the Napoleonic period and maybe starting to put together an army. So when I heard about the "Napoleon" book from Wargames Foundry, and how it was supposed to be a good introduction to the period with a historical summary and uniform guides, I figured it might be a good way to start. I ordered the book from The Book Depository through It arrived very quickly and in perfect condition, so I was very pleased with their service and would definitely recommend ordering from them.

Having had some time to read through the book and digest the information a little, I thought it would be useful for me to post some first impressions, for those who are considering whether or not to get the book. So, having not yet actually played a game with the rules, here is my initial review.

The Book
First of all, the book seems targeted at beginning miniature gamers, or at least those new to the Napoleonic period. In addition to the rules of the game, there is extensive hobby information on how to collect, paint, and base your army, make terrain, and set up a gaming table. There is also a summary of the historical period and the major armies and campaigns, along with information about the various uniforms. I'm not sure how likely the book is to entice people who have never done any miniature gaming to try it out. It doesn't seem like it would be nearly as effective as the boxed sets Games Workshop sells to get people started on their main games. For people who have done some miniature gaming, but are new to the Napoleonic period (like myself), it seems better suited, though it contains some unnecessary information, such as how to paint miniatures and lay out terrain on a gaming surface. Then again, the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 rulebooks always contain this kind of general hobby information, and it doesn't hurt anything even though I have no interest in it.

The book itself is very nicely presented. Hard cover, 232 full color pages, sturdy binding. It has many drawings of uniforms and pictures of painted Foundry miniatures and games being played on tables packed with painted foundry miniatures. Quite inspiring to see, and helpful to get an idea of what the different uniforms looked like. Oddly enough, all of the pictures of battles look really boring. They always show a packed line of one army one one side, and a packed line of the other army on the other side, with no room to maneuver, and nothing but completely flat empty ground between them. You'd think they would try to set up more interesting looking battles to photograph. Aside from that, it is certainly well put together.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, the quality doesn't extend to the words contained in the book. Like a Hollywood summer blockbuster that spared no expense getting great actors and special effects but didn't bother making sure they had a good script, it seems like nobody bothered to proof-read the book. A single casual read through the book could probably have fixed at least a couple dozen errors, mostly typos or misplaced words. For example, there are quotes from Napoleon scattered throughout the pages to add flavor, but I started to notice that many of the quotations are repeated. How did nobody notice the same ones being used multiple times? I assume nobody actually read the book before it went off to the printers. And if it the had been proof-read by someone who actually played miniature games, they also could have spotted many places where the rules are confusing, poorly worded, or downright contradictory.

Luckily there are many diagrams showing examples of how the rules work. Unfortunately, there are one or two places where a rule is explained one way in the regular text, and then completely contradicted in an example of how the rule works. So how is one to know which is the correct way to do it? Is it how the rule is written, or how the example is done?

Before I veer off topic too much, I'll just say that the book, in terms of how easy it is to read, is somewhat poorly written. Of course, this is nothing new for miniature game rules, and historical gaming rules are particularly awful in this regard. So they are probably no worse than your average historical rules, but considering this game seems to be aimed at new historical gamers, if not new miniature gamers, this might turn many potential players off right away. No matter how hard the cover is or how glossy the pages or how great the graphic design, a rule set is still going seem amateurish and unpolished if it isn't written clearly and it's full of errors. And it's going to be hard to get new people to learn to play if the rules are written in a confusing manner.

It certainly isn't unreadable or anything, so don't let that put you off too much. I just think a little more effort put into the actual text of the book would have really paid off in making it rise above games with clearly lower production values.

The Rules
Here's a quick summary of how the game flows. Most units are suggested to be 6 bases, except artillery (usually 4 bases), and some heavy cavalry units having 8 bases. Units seem to represent a regiment. The Penninsular War army list says that those units represent battalions instead, but the rules are no different. Units are organized into divisions (which I suppose for Penninsular represents brigades), each with an officer who gets a command rating.

Armies are deployed alternating between players a division at a time, with some deployment advantages given to the player that scouts better, determined by a roll off with some modifiers. Each turn there is a roll off for initiative, and the winner can choose to go first or second when revealing orders or moving.

Players then place orders on any units within engagement range of the enemy. The orders are things like retreat, stand and fire, advance and fire, and charge. Once orders are placed, artillery fire is resolved. Basically each unit rolls a number of dice, and each one that beats a target number (based on target and formation) causes a casualty. Resolving howitzer fire is more involved.

The players alternate revealing orders. When each order is revealed, the player must roll based on the division officer's leadership to see if the unit sucessfully carries out the order. If the roll is failed, they stand still. (I think it would be more interesting if they had the chance of doing something completely different than ordered, but they don't). There are then some specifics about targets of a charge being able to react by immediately revealing their own order card and taking the leadership roll, and other things like that.

After the units in engagement range finish carrying out their orders, then other untis move, again alternating between players. All unit types have a standard move rate, and they can also march if in column, or in some circumstances peform a forced march. These obviously result in moving father, but with some downsides. If forced marching or going through difficult terrain, it is possible to suffer casualties from fatigue, which I like.

Then units which have not moved more than their standard move rate (by marching, charging, etc.) may volley fire. This includes, presumably, those that failed their command roll. Volley fire is pretty simple. Units roll a number of D6 based mostly on their formation, and have a target number mostly based on the target's range. Each success causes a casualty on the target unit. Then close combat is resolved, which involves each side rolling a number of D6 based on formation, with a target number based on the two unit types or formations (cavalry need 6s to hit infantry in square, for example). Sucesses cause casualties, and whichever unit causes more drives the enemy back, or wipes them out if the winner is cavalry.

At the end of the turn, any unit suffering casualties takes a morale test. This is done by rolling a number of D6 based on type of unit (militia roll less, guard roll more). If you roll over the number of total casualties the unit has taken, they pass. If they fail, they go on "Lost Command Orders", and must roll on a chart immediately to determine how they react. I'm not sure how this works out in a game, because some of the reactions allow the unit to charge or fire, which could seemingly allow them to fire twice in a turn, or move really far. It seems strange that failing the test could actually be a big advantage. Failing a second test when on Lost Command Orders means the unit routs.

That's the turn. There is a way to determine when the game ends and who wins based on percent of units that are routed or destroyed on each side. There is also a section on advanced rules, including things such as effects of weather and different kinds of terrain, deploying skirmishers, officer casualties, etc.

My impression of the rules went back and forth a bit as I read them. There are some really interesting ideas that I really like. One is the engagement zone concept. If your unit is within charge range of an enemy unit or able to charge an enemy unit, it is engaged and has to be given a command. This means that units far from the enemy can operate much more freely, and those close to the enemy will start to slow down and be less reliable. It also means that fast cavalry, with long movement and charge ranges, can be used to slow down and harass an enemy by getting close enough to require the enemy to issue orders and take the chance they will fail the command test.

On peculiar issue with this is that if you are engaging an enemy, then you are also treated as being engaged, even if they can't reach you. So a fast cavalry unit that is far enough away that they can't be charged by an enemy infantry unit, but close enough that they could charge the infantry unit, must also be issued a command. I suppose you could justify this by saying the cavalry unit is less free to move because they have to make sure they are deployed properly for a charge, if that is their intention, or whatever. Or it could be just a game balance thing, to keep fast cavalry from being invincible and really annoying. It's hard to say without actually playing the game how some of these mechanics would work out in a real situation.

In fact, there were quite a few rules that seemed strange to me when I read them. Many of them later made sense after reading the rest of the rules, or just realizing a situation that the rule is addressing. Others I never did understand the point of. I'm sure there are many things that you'd have to actually play some games and see how they work out in a real situation to understand the purpose behind them. However, I think it would have been extremely helpful if the author had just explained the purpose behind some of the rules. Especially since the game seems targeted at new players. Like I said, many of the rules I could deduce what they were getting at or what they represented from experience with other game mechanics. I think a player new to miniatures gaming, or even just new to horse and musket era wargaming, would find them much more difficult to understand, and might see some of them as arbitrary or pointless.

Some things are explained, like the differences between round shot, canister, and shell, why rifles have a longer range than muskets, etc. But other things aren't, such as what the roles of different kinds of cavalry were, what the actual ranges of the weapons were, how many men were actually in a regiment, what a "casualty" in the game represents, and other things. And some things are explained, but don't seem represented in the rules. For example, they say the attack column formation was good for less disciplined men because it made it harder for them to waver, but as far as I can tell, being in attack column formation doesn't seem to give you any bonus to morale tests. It's possible I missed it, though, as some of the rules (like with every set of rules I've ever read) are in a place you might not expect them to be, which might make them easy to miss when you are looking something up.

To me, the worst thing about the rules is the vague treatment of distances and scale. Unlike most rules, they never really say anywhere that one inch equal so many yards of actual distance, or that a unit represents a certain number of men. So a lot of the ranges and distances seem arbitrary and abstracted for the purposes of the game. For example, an infantry unit in the game normally represents a regiment. With their suggested basing of 6 40mm wide bases, that results in a regiment in line being about 9.5 inches wide. At extreme range, muskets can fire up to 15 inches. I'd think a regiment (of two battalions) in line is going to take up at least 200 yards, so there's no way muskets should be able to fire so much farther than the width of a regiment in line as they can in the game. In general, they just seem to gloss over the distance scale of the game, and presumably just set all the ranges based on what makes the game playable, rather than what is to scale with the size of the units. To me this is kind of annoying, because the limited range of a musket and the long lines of infantry are pretty defining characteristics of that age of warfare.

Hobby Information
The book covers what miniatures you'll need, how to paint and base miniatures and assemble units of them, a bit about terrain and setting up a gaming table, and other general information about the miniature wargaming hobby. They, of course, recommend using Foundry miniatures and paints.

It is difficult for me to judge this aspect of the book, as it didn't really interest me. I've been gaming with miniatures for a long time, so I don't need basic information on how to paint them or make terrain for them. And it is hard for me to judge how good the hobby information in the book would be for a beginner. It seems like it has what a beginner would need to know to get started, so I suppose it serves the purpose of making the rules friendly for beginners. There's definitely nothing really advanced.

Historical Information
This is probably the part I was more interested in than anything else. The way this is presented is sort of a chronological summary of events separated by theater or campaign, interspersed with details about the armies involved, and the relevant army lists for that campaign. The information about the armies includes a lot of details about their uniforms. The summary of events isn't exhaustive, obviously, or even very extensive, but it seems to cover the major campaigns, events, and armies in a succinct manner. It seems like a good summary to help beginners get into the period and decide on an army they like. There is also an appendix with a brief description and army lists for many smaller or less central forces.

The army lists I see as guidelines to help new players have roughly even forces and choose armies that make sense. Every unit has a points value, and the points seem to be in 5 point increments. It doubt it is very scientific and I'm sure they didn't put much effort into making sure everything was perfectly balanced. So I doubt these rules would be useful for playing competetively, if you're interested in that sort of thing. I'm sure once people know more about the period and are capable of making reasonable armies on their own, they won't really need the point values. The army lists also contain special rules for the army, which in some cases can vary for an army in different campaigns. These seem like they would be effective in giving each army a different feel, so combined with the look of the uniforms and the historical information, it is another way to help a player decide on an army.

To someone who already know a lot about the Napoleonic period, or has been gaming in that period for a long time, this section probably won't be very useful, aside from the army special rules. For someone new to the period, I definitely think it serve the purpose of introducing the armies and their unique characteristics, and the major campaigns and battles of the period. And for those new to the period or gaming in general, the point values and army lists will be helpful. The only issue with this section is that some of the text seems to assume the reader knows some basic information that he may not, especially considering that the book caters to those new to the period.

The Verdict
Overall, it's a nice book that could have benefitted greatly from more proof-reading and more clearly explained rules. The rules themselves seem pretty good, and probably make for a fun game. As I have not played the game yet, it's hard to know for sure. I would certainly be willing to play a game. However, since I already have been playing American Civil War games with Piquet's Field of Battle (which also works for Napoleonics), I think I'll probably end up sticking with those.

For someone who is completely new to miniature gaming, I'm not sure this would be the best place to start due to some of the rules possibly being difficult to understand. Then again, compared to any other historical rules I've seen, it is probably more beginner-friendly than any. For those who are already gaming in the Napoleonic period, much of the book will not interest you, and the rules are unlikely to lure you away from the rules you are already using. For those who have done some miniature wargaming, and are interested in getting into the Napoleonic period, the book is definitely a good introduction with plenty of inspiration to motivate you, and some decent rules to start out with.