Last Sunday I had the pleasure of enjoying an unexpected treat – a huge (by our local standards) game of General de Brigade. And no tiny 6mm midgets on that occasion, my dearies!We would be running that game the way wargaming magazines and Warlord Games have learned us over the years is the propper manner – 28mm plastics as long as the eye could reach, and a lot of them too!
Having the pleasure of seeing somewhere near 1500 28mm Napoleonic miniatures may be a common thing for those of you who are lucky enough to live in the land of the Queen and huge wargaming clubs, but let me tell you – here in southern Sweden it’s a rare sight indeed. My hat is definitely off for D., whos collection provided lion share of the figures on the table – very well done indeed, mate!
Allright, so what about the game then? Well… I’m actually still trying to wrap my head around it. If I understand things correctly we run one of scenarios from Caliver Books’ latest scenario book for General de Brigade, dealing with 1813. The one we picked had rather traditional format – two long lines of infantry and artillery opposing each other, the village in the middle provided the major objective. Prussians apparently had some beer in local beer house and Frenchies, for whatever reason, didn’t seem to appreciate the idea of Germans having good time and and decided to crash the party. And yes, it would be one of those ‘hammer to the teeth’ affairs where attackers would rush into defenders along entire line and hope of the best.
Over next four or so hours, we managed to play grand total of five, maybe six rounds. I must admit that being busy trying to shove in as many Frenchmen into the village in the middle, I didn’t pay much attention to what happened on my flanks. Things seemed to go rather well on my left. On my right, I did manage to observe that my fellow comrade in arms had rather dismal luck with his dice rolls and failed to make any impression on Prussian defensive line.
Yours truly tried his best to keep some sort of order among French columns marching toward the village. These columns, consisting of mainly second line troops constantly blasted by artillery batteries supporting two German Jaeger battalions parked in the village and having no intention sharing that beer, had a devil of a time. By round three I managed to reach the edge of the village, but once there, my assault pretty much stalled. By round five one of my battalion routed of the table, while the two battalions that managed to reach the objective intact were repulsed, with some losses. Prussians simply refused to be dislodged from their position. With just under an hour remaining of the playing time, I did the thing I hate being done to myself – I declared that since we wouldn’t be making any headway in remaining time, we may just as well quit for the day.
Musings after the battle
First of all, thanks again to the guys based in Lund for letting me participate in their game! Visual aspect of well-painted 28mm Napoleonic miniatures deployed en massé on a large table is something every wargamer should experience at least once.
Having said that… Damn, General de Brigade is reaaaaaly slow and ponderous game system. In our game, we had three players a side and things should have moved along at a decent speed, but the average time to complete one turn was still somewhere around 30 minutes. I honestly fail to see how, using this ruleset, one can complete a scenario of decent size in a single gaming session. This in itself doesn’t mean that BdeB is a bad ruleset, but I’m starting to wonder if I can use it for purely practical reasons. Say whatever you want about ‘Black Powder’, but that thing at least moves along at decent pace.