Napoleonics and the 300 point army

As much fun as our games are, there are those that like a good competitive game.

So thoughts have turned to how to field a competitive Napoleonic Army using Black Powder 2 rules?

At this point John Hutton has played with his light bulb and had a bright idea(he tends to have bright ideas…) and has done some serious numbers crunching and come up with a series of army lists. The initial lists correspond to the armies we are using at the moment, namely French and Russians. The rest will follow in time.

The aim is to be able to have a game in roughly 2.5 to 3 hours therefore allowing for a game of an evening, or our target for the year to commence a tournament for a minimum of 8 players at the local “Call to Arms” convention in August 2019.

Our initial points per army is a 300 point army.

I hosted 2 games the other night where my Russians faced Roberts French and Paul’s Russians faced Russell’s French Imperial Guard. The French won both games. For the purpose of these first games we decided to rate all commanders as rating 8’s. The standard in future will be 7 and then you pay 7 points extra to increase to an 8 and then 7 more to a  9 etc.

My army was:

  • Commander in Chief
  • Brigade Commander with 4 bttns Grenadiers plus battery
  • Brigade Commander with 4 bttns Musketeers plus battery
  • Brigade Commander with 4 bttns Jager
  • Brigade Commander with 2 regts Cuirassiers and 1 regt Uhlans
  • Brigade Commander with 2 regts Hussars, 2 Regts Cossacks and 1 horse battery

Robert fielded:

  • Commander in Chief
  • Brigade Commander with 6 bttns and a battery
  • Brigade Commander with 6 bttns and a battery
  • Brigade Commander with 2 regts Cuirassiers plus a horse battery
  • Brigade Commander with 2 regts Dragoons
  • Brigade Commander with 2 regts Chasseurs, 1 regt Lancers and a horse battery
  • 12pder battery

I got walloped. Tried to move up slowly allowing my artillery to shoot at long range where have extra shot…didn’t work. Skirmish line of Jager didn’t work,  cavalry wouldn’t charge(well try to) or when did…failed to reach French…and when we did reach them and fight…even with odds in my favour…Robert saved wounds and dealt them back…..with extra pain…..and Robert had his heavy cavalry on his right flank and they had a good time chopping me up and his horse artillery got onto flank of my cavalry who didn’t want to move.

Sigh…… one of those forgetable days at the office.

So lessons learned from game?

  1. Light cavalry are not battle cavalry and in a competitive game, you need battle cavalry so out they go and Cuirassiers/Dragoons the way to go. They will have their place in scenario/campaign/fun games.
  2. The heavy cavalry need a commander on a rating of 9 to ensure the cuirassiers who are reliable are running around on a rating 10. When you order them, you need them to do it. Dragoons will have to settle for a 9!
  3. Playing 3 small brigades of Russian infantry may be historically correct….but cannot afford it. Command rating 7’s with units in column gives a command rating effectively of 8. 2 brigade commanders 23 inches apart with the overall commander in between allows me to reroll a command roll either way and negates need to spend more points on them.
  4. Artillery…am Russians…need to field more guns…somehow…few test games to be played and will continue to tinker around. In meantime, Front Rank are going to need to send me some more figures as don’t have any Jager and subbing in Austrian landwher just does not look right.

Pictures of the 2 games below.

Terry Russian’s

Robert French

Paul W Russian’s

Russell’s French

Robert’s advance from the Frederick the Great playbook

My Austrian Landwher pretending to be Russian Jager skirmishing to the French front.

Russell advances

Russell’s Guard lancers

Paul’s heavies

Terry’s centre

Terry’s left …with Polish Uhlans pretending to be Russian’s… probably why they refused to move.

Terrys’ right with 2 new units having first battle, the 2nd unit of Hussars and the horse battery.

Bother…or words to that effect…what we see her eis a gap where a column of my infantry charged the French….the odds heavy in my favour…I lost…the infantry blew up…the gun battery to their left flank blew up…the skirmishers to their right retired,….

Rigth flank…the cavalry had refused to move…allowing Robert to geta horse battery on their flank…served them right. The jager had shot up the Dragoons so they could not charge…however their was a shaken unit of skirmishers with Cuirassiers to their front…it ain’t gunna be pretty.

Other flank…Hussars charge infantry…miss by 3 inches…what a lovely target they will make…..other Hussars had charged French cavalry…met in middle…shaken each other up and retired…..turning into ‘one of those nights’.

Other game…there seem to be units everywhere…but French guard I understand had the better of things…makes sense that doesn’t it.

And the Russian cavalry manage to destroy the Gods….that’s the gap in the left centre in front of the Russian Cuirassiers. The Militia are holding the line…that will be the wind up the French Imperial Guard won’t it.


And that was it….2 French victories. Hopefully that won’t happen next round of trial games.



7 thoughts on “Napoleonics and the 300 point army

  1. Hi Terry

    We have a small group who play black powder point games over the winter in Taranaki.
    My Russians struggle to advance as well. We would be interested in the army list if that’s something you would be prepared to share. The boys do travel every few years so a game in the future may also be a possibility ?



    Sent from my iPad


    • Hi Julian

      Just checking with John as still testing lists…but see no issue.

      You same email address we would have from the Waterloo game? If Al M. is one your crew can email to him. He has popped down for games of late.



  2. Hey Terry, hope you are keeping well. Nice blog entry about BP. At the South Auckland club we play a lot of Black Powder, mainly ACW and AWI but I’m keen to get some Napoleonics happening too. Would be interested in the lists you guys have come up with. Also your basing sizes/arrangements would be good too. Might have to look at coming down to CTA if you get this off the ground, as I really enjoyed the WAB you used to run at that convention. Regards, Bryan.


    • Richard,
      we have some rather clever guys in the group who have devised a points system which has been refined over past year with much testing and many vigorous discussions!. Convention in 2 weekends will have us playing with 200 point armies.


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