Napoleonic Wars – Getting Started

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    Nigel Heather

    Can anyone offer any advice in getting started.  I would be particularly interested in the Peninsular Campaign.

    I have the second edition rule book and the Albion Triumphant supplement but I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by the potential number of figures – both in terms of cost and painting effort.

    I’m guessing I need to start smaller and build up, but then I’m not sure what to get.

    I’m also not sure what scale to go for.  I like the idea of 28mm, the detail in the figures, but I thought that 15/18mm would be easier on the pocket.

    But I have realised that if I went with 18mm (I like AB) they actually cost more than plastic 28mm – the savings only kick in when looking at metal 28mm.

    And a question from the rule book – I’m only a few pages in and trying to get my head round frontages.  This has clicked but I can’t see anything specific for cavalry – do they have the same small, standard and large frontages as infantry (when in line formation).



    Garry Wills

    I would definitely recommend going with 15mm rather than 28mm, the key benefit is that the normal size playing area will represent significantly greater battlefield and give better games as a result, this is particularly important with respect to the depth of the table. I have been gaming with 15 mm for a long time, but if I was starting again I would seriously consider 10 or 12 mm for the same reason. Timecast sell 25x 15mm infantry for £9.50. Perhaps Warlord will extend their new ACW 13.5mm range to Napoleonics.

    invisible officer

    If you like painting  (or like me love it) 28mm has no alternative but 40mm.    But if you are one of those that  dislike it 15 mm, 10 or even 6 mm are good options.

    I have 28 mm Napoleonics and 6 mm. In that later small scale I can field large armies in a 1/10 ratio and can use the table size better. But at the end, nothing better than the view of big ones.


    My AWI forces are even 40 mm and in a 1/1 ratio, possible by the small units there.


    If you have partners to game with they might have forces allready.


    Hi Nigel,

    re frontage yes in line they would have the same frontage, ie small unit of 8 models of Cav take up the same foot print at 16 infantry. when in line.

    For whats easier, depends who you are planning on playing.  As IO said, ask potential opponents, you may be able to combine orders and get cheaper delivery OR they already have a force that’s collecting dust etc.

    The club I go to went 28mm because thats what we’re all used to… went with the idea of a 500 point force each…

    Nigel Heather

    I’ve only read the first few pages but I thought the second edition of BP had dispensed with points based armies in favour of scenarios.




    Yes there are no points in the rule book, however points and stats are still in the supplements


    If you have a Bolt Action/Warhammer background, you may find it useful to consider the Sharp Practice! skirmish ruleset ahead of BP.

    All you need are a couple of boxes of French and British infantry and you are good to go. Any non modern 28mm scenery such as hills, trees walls etc are useable (OK that fetching purple Sci Fi tree may need a visit from a green spray can). Better still, if you have any local clubs around, see if they play the rules and attempt to get trial games in there before embarking on a major army building spree. Try before you buy!

    For cost reasons, you have to aim to raise most of your troops from the plastic ranges.

    Always be on the lookout for existing gamers selling off excess units/armies – you might be able pick up some unused forces that way rather than build and paint new ones yourself – ask around the local club. Don’t pay much more than the basic figure cost, you are looking for the unwanted troops, not a professionally commisioned epic costing £1000’s.

    Get a look at other peoples figures to see which manufacturers you prefer. Warlord, Perry and Front Rank figures are pretty much compatible in my opinion (others may violently disagree).  None cover all you need in plastic (FR is metal only). Victrix and the new kid on the block Atlantic Games are also out there.

    If you do decide to plunge in, the starter set/deal is your friend.  Base your initial forces on either the Warlord Peninsular French and British sets or the Perry British and French brigade deals.

    If you go the Warlord way, one starter box each plus a box of Heavy (French) and Light (British) will give you two balanced brigade level armies. ( A similar excercise could be done using the Perry deals.)

    The Warlord Brits will need some Rifles (10 plastic for £10? WLD or 5*indiv sprues from Perry)  an extra sprue of Wld HC (no horse for the officer) and a box of Perry British Light dragoons. Do not assemble the Heavies as Scots Greys (as per the WLD photo), make them up as bicorne or watering cap options !

    The French would benefit from a Perry plastic French Light dragoon command sprue with a box of Perry Dragoons (which gives some extra dismounted dragoons).

    You then have a 4 unit brigade of infantry, artillery piece and 2 weak (2* 6 man) heavy and light cav brigades.

    This is enough to learn with at ~£100 per army each.

    • never charge cavalry unsupported
    • do not charge cavalry into a ditch.

    The Ponsonby family have a lot to answer for.

    Paint, use and learn before expanding any further ! Do not commit any further cash until the first phase is completed. Only when you are complete and happy do you do the next £200 of spending and weeks of painting/assembly to up these to a divisional strength force








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