About a year ago, I was sent an email by Mark Latham asking my if he could use a picture of a diorama of mine in a book he was writing. I was incredibly flattered and happy to supply him with photos of anything he needed, and after a few more emails I began painting and/or touching up all my Napoleonic miniatures and getting new photos taken so I could supply him with as many pictures as he could use. And just last week, the book was released.
Today, I got my copy, and thought I’d give some quick impressions before I dive into reading it more thoroughly .
Presentation- Wow. Never seen anything quite like it, except maybe GW’s Lord of the Rings and War of the Rings rulebooks. It’s just packed full of photos of painted miniatures, uniform guides, painting guides, contemporary and modern artwork, ntique and artifact photos, and gaming tables. The whole book is 288 pages, and the actual “Rules” sections total is 82 pages. And for my small part in the book, there is a “Showcase” section filled with photos of miniatures from the collections or Alan Perry, Michael Perry, and myself. I’m pretty humbled to be included in their company. There is even one section in the Showcase, a 2 page layout titled “Dioramas”, which includes photos of my “Reporting to Marshal Ney” and “Charge of the Brunswick Hussars” dioramas. I was floored that Mark put in that one small section just for my dioramas.
Organization- Like I mentioned, the first 82 pages are the basic rules. This is followed by some scenarios,then a siege rules section. Detailed army lists are then included for France, Britain, and Prussia, including allied nations involved in the Peninsular Campaigns and the 100 Days Campaign. Then there is a long section with period history and information, followed by some useful painting guides and uniform guides, and then the Showcase section. After that are campaign rules, and information and scenarios for the Waterloo campaign. The whole thing wraps up with a Legendary Officers section. 288 pages total.
Rules- I haven’t gotten too far into them yet, beyond skimming for some information I was curious about (see below). They definitely look similar in some ways to the GW’s War of the Rings rules. There are diagrams and photos for all sorts of example situations.
A couple things that are always the first asked with my gaming group though-
- The basic maneuver units are battalions, squadrons, and batteries. All are mad up of groups of stands that the game terms “companies”. The companies represent roughly the size of their actual counterpart, but do not represent the actual battalion organization. They represent the size of the battalion. So the term “company” is more of a game term.
- A company is made up of 6 figures if its regular infantry, 3 if it’s light infantry, 2-3 figures for cavalry, 1 artillery piece and 4 crew for artillery, and 1 figure, mounted or on foot, for officer. But there is flexibility here on officer stands.
- Basing is variable. In the game, they call the stands “trays”. a “company tray” is anywhere from 45-60mm by 30-40mm for infantry, 40-60mm by 40-50mm for cavalry, 45-60mm by 40-80mm for artillery. This works fantastic for those who want to base their infantry individually on 20mmx20mm bases and their cavalry on 20mmx40mm. That’s very interesting for me simply because I can make a huge army for this game and have a skirmish army as well.
- Speaking of huge army…This is a BIG game, in terms of miniatures used. A full size french infantry battalion would be made up of a command stand plus 5 additional stands, for 36 miniatures. For the British, this can go as high as 48 miniatures for a full strength battalion.
- Standard games are figured to roughly use 1000 points and a 6’x4′ table. For 1000-2000 points a 6’x6′ table is suggested, while for 2000 pt. games a 6’x8′ table is recommended.
This is certainly a ruleset for battles with lots of miniatures on the table. And it’s most definitely geared towards 28mm. You can tell it was a labor of love for Mark Latham. He seemed to put everything he could fit into one book, while leaving plenty of room for expansion into other armies and years. I really want to try these rules out. But even if I didn’t, I would want a copy of this book simply as an amazing reference for Napoleonic miniatures, painting, and history.