Thursday, March 05, 2015

Brilliant Opportunist

Napoleon at balcony addressing the crowds
The advance toward Paris continued in an atmosphere of general jubilation.  At every stop Napoleon harangued assemblies of local people, adapting the tone of his address to suit the tastes of his varied audiences.  To countrymen he promised security of land and tenure; to townsfolk he guaranteed fiscal reform; to everybody he spoke of peace and prosperity.  Napoleon was at all times a brilliant opportunist.

~ D. Chandler, The Campaings of Napoleon page 1012

Wednesday, March 04, 2015


Napoleon & the 5th Regiment of the Line
The First real crisis took place at Laffrey, fifteen miles south of Grenoble, where the small band of adventurers found themselves faces by the 5th Regiment of the Line.  Bloodshed was narrowly averted by the coolness of the Emperor, who once again displayed his personal power over soldiers.  Advancing alone be bared his breast to the leveled muskets.  "Soldiers of the 5th, you can shoot your Emperor if you dare!  Do you not recognize me as your Emperor?  Am I not your old General?"  Noticing the growing hesitation, Napoleon won over the waverers by repeatedly adding a piece of blatantly untrue propaganda.  "It is not ambition which brings me among you.  The forty-five best heads of the Government of Paris have called me from Elba and my return is supported by the three first powers of Europe."  With one accord the soldiers broke ranks and flocked forward, shouting "Vive l'Emereur."  The crisis was past an the moment was decisive -- for the first units of the army had rallied to Napoleon and he was consequently once more a force on the international scene.  Grenoble opened its gates and the citizens gave Napoleon a rapturous welcome, while the local dignitaries feverishly sought their old tricolor sashes and locked away the Bourbon insignia.  At St. Helena the Emperor reminisced: "Before Grenoble I was an adventurer; at Grenoble I was a ruling Prince."

~ D. Chandler, The Campaigns of Napoleon, p. 1011

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Devil is Unchained

re-en-actors in 2014
On February 26 [1815], Napoleon set sail from Elba, accompanied by Generals Bertrand, Druout and Cambronne, the thousand men of his personal guard and four cannon.  On the first day of March, the Emperor once more set foot on French soil near Cannes.  His arrival took the authorities by surprise; the news took four days to reach Paris, and nine to be relayed to London, but gradually an apprehensive and astounded Europe learned "the devil is unchained."  The French people -- on whose reaction everything depended -- remained calm and observant, awaiting a sign before commiting themselves one way or the other.
If the popular reaction was at first restrained, the local authorities significantly made little effort to apprehend the newcomer. Massena was immediately informed by semaphore telegraph at Marseilles but took no decisive action.  Profiting from the universal hesitation Napoleon pushed inland, selecting for his advance the difficult mountain route to Grenoble -- purposely avoiding Marseilles and teh department of Provence with its traditional Royalist sympathies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Extending the Trading Post

Napoleonic Chess Set
This blog now has a new Trading Post page, highlighting some of the painted miniatures I have that are available for sale or trade.

The manufacture and scale are given on each page.

The list of Trading Post pages will be adjusting over the next few days.

Keep checking back with the Marauders as there may be items of interest to you that will go on and .. go .. quickly.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Boys Game Weekend

Axis & Allies an old favorite
This past weekend I engaged in games of choice with my three sons.

Saturday started off with a good early republic round of Republic of Rome, just a two-player as only my eldest wanted to play the game.  End result was mob violence in Rome and all players loose ... go figure.

Sunday was a more active day, starting off with an other ancients game with Conquest of the Empire, this time with three of us playing.  My eldest vs my youngest, there were some 'taking it personally' moments, then we ended well with my eldest claiming a victory, the first tin some time.

Republic of Rome - impossible task ... win the 2nd Punic War with straw men

Conquest of the Empire ... deep into the cash
That left my middle son with a choice of game, he likes computer games, or fun outside.  I also knew that he liked to use the pellet rifle that I have, unknown to all three was that a second pellet rifle has been gifted for their use to practice, before we go out to a real range.  This way they are all trained in safety and have some experience with using a sort of 'firearm'.

We went out into the February sunshine, into the woods nearby and found some stumps to set up milk cartons on and put out some little lead pellets into them.

some time in the sun

still learning how to hold the weapon and needing a close steady hand watching him

my 'action man' hitting target almost every time now
We returned from the woods with hole filled milk cartons, got some dinner and wrapped up the evening with a couple of Axis & Allies games, including one that almost went exactly as the WW II timeline, the moment seen here was where a sneak attack from Africa was possible because German forces in south Europe had been denuded to counter a Russian success in east Europe.

Good fun for everyone in the end they were all happy with the game(s) that they got to take part in.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Famous Last Words

Who has ever uttered such a phrase?

A look back at 100 Days Campiagning Nr. 6

With the fourth and fifth games I ran in 2005 I started to use new 'tactical' images on the map to give more of a sense of what each commander was facing.

While I chose not to use these in the end, here are some commanders:

 The tactical information, collected by light horse or dragoons ... so whenever large cavalry formations were present, then the road between them would have these as warnings:

Then when the main line units were detected, the map would include them ...

These troop icons were used in game four as depicted in the look back number 5.  They were a feature in game five which will be the topic of the next look back number 7.

Have you designed your own campaign system?

What were the results?

Friday, February 20, 2015

A look back at 100 Days Campiagning Nr. 5

Flapping Guard Flag
With the fourth attempt at running the campaign we decided to allow for the possibility of destroying bridges, though they could not be destroyed in the face of the enemy and one of the army artillery units must spend the whole day at the action, no moving in or out for the day of 'destroying' the bridge.

To give the reader here a different perspective on what the players had for information I give the starting French information map and the choice for French deployment in game 4.

what the French player had for information of Allied troop concentrations

French deployment at game start
This time round the French player hammered away at the 'great road' to Brussels and almost ignored the Prussians, while the Prussian player was busy blowing up the bridges ... they were left behind the action to support the Anglo-Dutch in actions at Charleroi and Waterloo.



The map plan for Waterloo
Then finally the Anglo-Dutch had to face down a large French army in Brussels itself!

While the Anglo-Dutch did manage to push out the French the first time, there were more than enough French to make a second battle in Brussels ... this time the Prussians were able to come to help!

Strategic situation
Tactical battle map
battlefield overhead view
By comparing the tactical map and overhead view you can see the 4 square map tiles that I used to make the game 'map', plus the troops.  I, as the game master, was the only one to get to see the 'helicopter' view of the field.  The players would have to make do with the 'field view' from the general eye level of their commander.

British at 10h00

French at 10h00

Prussian at 10h00
overhead MAP view at 10h00 - GM only saw this
The battle progressed with all sides in furious conflict.

British at 14h00

I used and extra 3/4 overhead view to promote the game on the Arcadian Guild website

French view at 14h00
Prussian view at 14h00

the Prussian player made direct use of the photos to make his orders

overhead MAP view at 14h00 - GM only saw this
16h00 British

16h00 French

16h00 Prussian
field MAP view 16h00 - GM only
The use of 'puffs' to identify units lost helped to clarify unit losses AND had the added bonus of increasing 'fog of war' in making the area more difficult to see past.

The Allies managed to win in Brussels again, though the Anglo-Dutch were forced to leave the field after losing too many supplies ... Blucher was triumphant!

game end map used in promotion of the game on Arcadian Guild website