Saturday, April 18, 2009

In The Grand Manner Napoleonics Game

Marshal Lannes' V Corps arrives on the table in road column, on the French right flank.

Note: click the pix to enlarge the view.

And now for something completely different: Napoleonics, played with In The Grand Manner rules by Peter Gilder. Keith Leidy played host today to another one of his super-sized 28mm Napoleonic games, played on his vast table space of three 6ft by 24ft tables. There were eight players, with Randy F., Bill P. and moi commanding the French army against an Allied contingent of Russians, Austrians and British, commanded by five players, including the well-known Uncle Duke Seifried.

The scenario was interesting in that the game began with nothing but cavalry forces entering the table from a variety of directions, all determined by dice roll. I rather enjoyed playing a game with nothing but cavalry and horse artillery and it is a concept that I would like to try with my Seven Years War armies one day.

We played 15 game turns with the infantry starting to appear on the table around Turn 11 or 12, as I recall. As commander of the French army (Monsieur Bonaparte), I was given the task of rolling the dice to see where our initial 3 or 4 cavalry corps would arrive.

Two of our initial three French cavalry divisions arrived on the same road over on the far right flank. I let Randy keep to the road and benefit from the 30" tactical move allowed to units moving along the roads, while I headed off to the left, off-road, to provide more maneuvering space and to clear the log jam of troops arriving on the same road. Sadly, I rolled for Bill's cavalry to enter from the center of the table, but they would not arrive until the second turn.

The French were pretty well bottled up on the right hand side of the table, so once Randy had control of the right flank, and Bill seemed to be doing well in the center, I sent most of my cavalry, except for a regiment of Carabiniers, off to the left flank, where I eventually ran into a lot of Russian cavalry.

Around Turn 10, our infantry began to arrive: one corps on the crowded right hand road, and the other, better placed, in the center. Eventually, Davout's large corps arrived on the French left, where it was sorely needed. I leave you with a few of the pictures that I took during the game, captioned with a description of the action. We will reconvene at Keith's house on May 30th to continue the game.

Randy (center) leads the French cuirassier brigade onto the center table and successfully drove off the British Household Cavalry early in the game. Mike (foreground) and Derek (far right) provide the opposition to the French.

Uncle Duke (beyond the metal pole) and Bill (Monsieur Protz) went head to head for control of the key town in the center of the middle table. The cardboard boxes that you see everywhere are for rolling dice. In cavalry melees, you throw a D6 for each figure and score a "hit" on a natural "6". I cannot roll roll a "6" on a D6 to save my life, which is why I prefer to command infantry in these rules.

From left to right: Uncle Duke, our game host Keith Leidy, Stan and Curt watch the progress of the Allies as they try to fend off the French heavy cavalry in the center.

A view of the French left flank. Napoleon has sent a division of dragoons and a regiment of chasseurs to protect the vital road, possession of which allowed Davout's III Corps to arrive. You can see the forward elements of Davout's corps arriving on the right hand side of the picture, about to cross the bridge. Russian cavalry (left) moves up to contest the road and bridge.

Another view of the furious fighting for the central town. Austrian horse artillery was the target of numerous French cavalry charges. Monsieur Protz was able to maintain a stubborn toehold on the center table, as he awaited the arrival of the infantry.


  1. Hi Fritz
    At last a napoleonic game!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Fantastic! Thanks for a great report, looking forward to seeing the rest.

  3. Not rolling 6's is bad news as an infantry commander too! great report though..I'm looking forwards to part 2 already

  4. Gawd, How I wish I lived in Chicago.

    Amazing, tantalizing and as painful as walking into a "gentleman's club".


  5. You should have seen the afternoon lunch that Mrs. Leidy served to us. Good food and drink, good company, and a very good game. What more can one ask for?

  6. Was this in a person's home, an office building, warehouse, etc.? My game house can only support one 24x6. I'm curious and envious at the same time! Great looking game, great venue. You guys are definitely blessed.

    Steve Miller
    Red Oak, Texas

  7. This was played in the very large basement of a very long ranch house out in the country, about an hour outside of Chicago.

  8. Impressive game - and I'll join the ranks of those who are jealous. My house can only support a 6X4 table, and not for more than one day.

    I eagerly await pt2.


  9. Damned impressive, as you say, what more can you ask for? Lucky dice perhaps? Enjoyable read, as always.

  10. That is a house? I had assumed that you were playing in a car park.

    I am so jealous, British houses almost never have cellers and when they do they are only designed to keep coal in.

    The thing I like is the space between the units. So important and yet almost always sacrificed to get more figures on the table.

    Wonderful game.

  11. AH! This is what I always dreamed of when I was painting 15mm Napoleonics. Alas, it never quite worked out like I'd hoped. A fantastic spectacle indeed!

    Best Regards,


  12. Jim, great blog. It's fun to look back at our experience that day. Looking forward to continuing on the 30th. By the way, I think Keith's tables might be 28 feet long. Those of you who are wondering, he lives in a 3,600 square foot ranch home with a full basement. Nevermind the two roughly 36 by 42 out buildings that he has on his property.