Sunday, February 22, 2009

25mm Napoleonics

A hot topic amongst a group of local gamers is 25mm Napoloenics. After much talking, and not enough listening, I would like to try and enunciate my position as clearly as possible.

I like 25mm Figures, they are extremely beautiful scale. Regardless of manufacture an army of painted 25mm figures is damned impressive.

The problem with 25mm Figures is there is no consensus on a number of issues.

For the Napoleonic period there is no reason to mount the figures individually. In my opinion Napoleonic Skirmish is a pointless exercise. There are two problems with Napoleonic Skirmish:
The first is mission or game creep. No one wants to do a small skirmish action rather they want to recreate larger actions that are well beyond the scope of the rules. I listen to people tell me that you only need “sixty” figures yet when you listen to their plans they want hundreds. You move into the realm of an unplayable game when you go even one figure beyond the scope of the rules. If a game is a one-on-one game and requires sixty figures a side it is NOT PLAYABLE as a six-on-aside game were everyone has 120 figures.
The second is people only want to recreate “Sharpe’s Exploits”. I shouldn’t need to go any further with that complaint.
A semi-third issue, one that most over looked, what rules do you want to use? Have you read the rules you are suggesting? Yes that is directed at all three parties. If you are really interested in Napoleonic Skirmish, try Flintloque I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how the rules work and the fun you can have with the game. And heck you can even buy the figures painted.

So moving beyond Skirmish mounting the figures make the most sense in some sort of multi-figures per base scheme. It took us ten years to decide on the current schema in use and now at least three parties are suggesting other “better” plans. To those let me ask the simple question, why is your plan better than what we already have; why should I remount hundreds of figures?
Of course the only answer I have received from those three parties so your figures match up with mine. Wait you (might) have sixty figures that you are painting and I have 1100 tell me again why I need to match yours? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Finally I listen to a number of people who tell me why my “plan” and or “opinion” is wrong. I listen politely and then ask a simple question. “Do you realize that is neither my plan nor opinion you are ripping into?” I wonder how people who have jumped to such conclusions expect me to take them seriously?

What would I like to do?
I really enjoy Napoleon’s Battles. It is a nice solid system which allows me to recreate fairly large battles in a short amount of time without requiring a gym floor to play. Yes I want to play Napoleon’s Battles in 25mm. This has been my goal and objective for years. However it doesn’t necessarily jive with others in the area desire with 25mm figures. Several want to play battalion level games in 25mm and others company level games.
So it is all about compromise, and I think I have been on the winning end of those so far.
Others want a 1:30 scale game, let see if I paint up my figures at 1:30 that gives me four units at 1:120 in infantry and two cavalry units at 1:80.
In the end there are virtually no rule sets I can’t play with my mounting and everyone else is who is painting 25mm figures is working towards my end goal as well as their own. I really would like to do Leipzig in 25mm for the 200th Anniversary of the battle. But that is four years away. First we have to get through the Peninsula and Russian Campaigns of 1812.

But what about my 15mm Napoleon’s Battles Armies?
My French are actually organized at 1:30 and like my 25mm armies it means I use a battalion to be a brigade. And so on and so forth.
I have been expanding my 1809 Austrians to 1:30 as well.
In the end I should be well positioned to play lower scale games (1:30) in 15mm and my larger scale games in 1:120 using 25mm figures.

Well enough venting for now. Later all.


Ed Youngstrom said...

Hi Jeff,

Not that it matters, since I'm in San Antonio and don't think I'll be up north anytime in the next decade (!), but how do you base your Napoleonics?

I've gone for the 20mm single base option, and then movement trays for 30:1 games and sabots for LPE. Same for SYW, including BAR.

I'm curious how you are doing it.


Jeff Johnson said...

Hi Ed,

We are using a standard base frontage of 1 1.4" by either 1 1/2" or 2" deep. On the base we are mounting 4 figures in a 2 x 2 formation.
British and some british allied are on a 1 1/2" wide base Cavalry is all on a 1 1/2" wide base with depth to fit figures (2 wide x 1 deep)

I forget off the top of my head Artillery since we spent like ten years debating the best width. If you want I can look it later.


Ed Youngstrom said...


As you said, that really should work out for many systems. It is pretty close to 15mm per foot figure, which looks better than my 20mm...but 15mm wide single bases didn't work.


Anonymous said...

The main advantage for single figure basing with the 25/28mm figures is that it allows you maximum flexibility for basing options regardless of whether you choose to play skirmish games or not.

As you say, there's no consensus around town regarding rules or figure ratios. I personally am more interested in battalion-level games with the 28's and will organize my collections accordingly. My figure bases should work with the most common basing scheme without any issue.

I'm interested in doing a little skirmishing just to try something a little different and to give me a way to get a game going before having hundreds of figures ready. I for one wouldn't that to be all I did with these figures.

The long-term plan is larger units and lots of figures, but I don't paint that fast. I will probably base most of my rank & file infantry on multiple bases but leave some (mostly lights) singly-based. Magnetic basing is a wonderful thing. :-)

Chris said...

I have 25mm French and British napoleonics and I am looking for fellow wargammers in the TCs. I did this a long while back in the UK and then in LA. Have not found the time or people since moving to MN. I came across your blog. How can I contact you?

Anonymous said...

You just did... :-)

As you can tell, there's a number of people thinking/planning/working on 25mm Napoleonics in the Twin Cities area.

Depending on what form of 25mm Napoleonic gaming you're looking to do, you'll find someone interested.

Welcome to town! I'm sure Jeff will be along shortly to answer your questions as well.

Whereabouts in the Cities are you? Jeff and I are both on the east side of the metro.


Jeff Johnson said...

ChriI sent you an email this morning, let me know if you don't get it.

knightwire said...

I, like Bart, am interested in skirmishing just only as a stepping stone to a battalion/company level game for the 28mm hard plastic Nappies. As I paint up figs, it may be fun to do some skirmish games. Whether it is pointless or not is really up to each individual's taste and preferences for gaming.

As you have 1100 figs, I doubt there is any need for me to base up more for the same purpose. It sounds like you and Fitz have it covered.

That being said. I HAVE to believe there is a way to (with some creativity) be able to use the 28mm plastic for any game system with some sort of magic single basing system. (Beyond just movement trays. Perhaps some sort of REM magnets solution can solve it.)