Monday, September 26, 2011

Black Powder Napoleonics

Sunday I played in an invitation-only Black Powder Napoleonics game at Adler Hobby. I was able to renew some friendships with some of the members of the Boston Trained Bands wargaming club who are participating in the Black Powder games at Adler Hobby. I pushed two small brigades of infantry, one composed of Confederation of the Rhine troops and one of Bavarians.

When I saw the size of the game I thought there would be no way we'd get very far with so many troops and so few players, but the rules are definitely 'fast play' and easy to learn. With an occasional hiccup I was playing fairly competently by the third turn with the help of the excellent instruction of the other players. The other thing that allows Black Powder games to play quickly is STUFF DIES. STUFF DIES VERY QUICKLY. If you engage a unit and it's in a disadvantaged situation it's quite likely that it will be eliminated wholesale. Although this is a lower-level game in terms of organization, the way units are removed has a slightly higher scale feel to it.

All in all I left the game with a very positive view of the rule set despite losing three of my five units early in the game at the hands of a devastating set of cavalry charges. It was a fun game with easy to learn rules and good natured opponents that kept things fun. The rules are meant to be low-stress, high-fun and not overly complex or serious. Competition players need not apply.


Adrian said...

That fast play, quick decision aspect is definitely one of the things that contributes to BP's popularity. In spite of that, I think the rules have a good historical feel to them (otherwise I wouldn't play 'em). Looks like a good game!


ZeroTwentythree said...

I agree, in addition to being quick playing and having a (generally) historical feel, they achieve those results without getting bogged down in too many charts, modifiers and other minutia.

I'm hopping to try out Hail Caesar soon and see how their ancients rules play.

Adler Hobby & Board Game Cafe said...
More pictures at this site ; )
Man I had fun

DeanM said...

I've had the rules for over a month now; only leafed through it a couple of times; need more troops for a game though. Best, Dean

Giles said...

That was my experience of BP when I first played them. "Historical accuracy" may suffer a bit, but you certainly get an entertaining game.

Best wishes


Garry said...

Nice pictures - yes BP is fast resolution but I think it rewards cautious play with well prepared attacks. I have used to refight Boxtel 1794 to good effect.


Garry Wills

VolleyFireWargames said...

Having played these rules in the UK - I have to agree on several things - Stuff dies quickly - Some results border on the ridiculous - Stuff can get overextended very quickly - Which in conclusion leaves historical results and historical play gathering dust. Skirmishing infantry battalions contacted by formed cavalry units SHOULD NEVER win a melee - mine did seven times. Infantry should NEVER be able to support a Cavalry battle to determine the result of who wins. Artillery in works should never break automatically when contacted frontally and should be able to county infantry in support. (The great redoubt at Borodino comes to mind.) Just a few of my thoughts. It is an easy game for others to pick up for a pickup game. Oh and there are two few artillery pieces to fully represent the true impact of Napoleonic artillery