de Brigade 2nd Edition
in your view on General de Brigade 2nd Edition rules
miniatures at auction on Ebay
any set of rules to play a Napoleonic miniatures wargame
with is no easy thing and - luckily - the choice of
General de Brigade was already made when I teamed
up with the gamers at the Tauranga Wargaming Club
in New Zealand.
de Brigade was the 15mm ruleset on offer - although
it is not limited to use for that size figures - and
as the newbie how could I refuse?
scale is one figure to 20 men, a gun is worth two
cannon and the terrain is - according to the rules
- very approximately 1mm to 1metre.
your figures is no great issue and General de Brigade
is fairly unregulated in that way, although common
sense suggestions are made. Usually we have six infantry
per 30mm x 25mm base, four cavalry (50mm x 30mm) and
one gun with four artillerymen (50mm x 30mm).
designer of GdB 2nd edition, David Brown, has included
in his 72-page rules excellent tables to allow you
to create the various battalions of the opposing nations
- Britain, France, Russia, Prussia and Austria. For
example a French line battalion before 1808 would
have between 36 and 45 figures on six to nine bases,
whereas after that 30 to 36 was the limit.
helps newcomers - even usually non-wargaming Napoleonic
buffs - work out what should be where.
side gets a divisional Commander-in-Chief (C in C)
and then under him will be a number of brigades -
between four and eight - led by a brigade general.
The thing I like about this brigade-level look at
Napoleonic warfare is that you get into the nitty
gritty of battalions and regiments slugging it out.
looks very impressive (check
out the battle of Piave) and while you do have
to make sure your units are in the right formations
to meet charging infantry and cavalry after a few
games the system begins to become reasonably easy
to work through. This is great for gamers who want
to kill and maim opposition armies, rather than ponce
about with hard-to-follow rulebooks!
turns are in this order:
(roll two dice, winner has choice to make other
side go first).
(Phasing player issues orders to brigades).
Moves (Units under retreat, rout or pursuit markers
Declarations (Phasing player announces charges and
Movement (Units move).
(Phasing player fires).
and Pursuit Tests (Hand to hand combat occurs simultaneously).
(Morale checks made).
of the key things we've found with General de Brigade
is the importance of morale checks and - unfortunately
- the ability to roll good dice. Usually that means
the higher the better. Despite my knowledge of Napoleonic
warfare my dice rolling is abysmal (to say the least),
cursed is possibly a better description. Under the
rules this places me at a huge disadvantage.
a number of occasions my charging cavalry is about
to wipe out enemy infantry caught in line when - up
pops a 2 and 1, or 2 and 2 and my ferocious hussars
just stop dead.
other day I had a four-gun battery blasting at point-blank
range into an important victory-point village and
after a 3 and 2, four and 1 and four and 1, I gave
up and went for a nearby column instead.
numerous occasions my infantry will refuse to charge
home and - if I'm unlucky - may even retreat away
from the fight.
problem with this is that those cowardly brutes (a
gutsy battalion in any other person's hands) will
then cause morale dramas with nearby units and on
a tight battlefield you can end up having entire sections
of your army retreating or routing in minutes.
and my only big whinge about the rules. I can live
with a double 6 causing a check for commander casualties
- and David Brown deserves a pat on the back for his
imaginative and sometimes humourous results - but
a double 6 will also cause double casualties.
copped it once and while accused of being a sore loser
(unfair accusation for this never-say-die fellow)
I found it so un-Napoleonic (verging on childish)
I persuaded the guys to drop it from results as being
play a few games and maybe the morale business can
be adjusted on a house basis by your fellow gamers.
do also have to applaud David Brown's attitude towards
his ruleset, which seems to me to be pretty much change
it to suit your own tastes.
I reckon General de Brigade 2nd Edition is a super
ruleset that is detailed and yet not rigid.
de Brigade comes with several interesting battle scenarios
for wargamers to try out. They include historical
information about the battle, the protagonists' missions,
deployment, orders of battle, terrain and reinforcement
schedules. Other scenarios are available from the
publishers. Here are the ones that comes with the
(August 21, 1808): Wellington's British face a French
army in Portugal under General Andoche Junot.
(September 7, 1812): This scenario covers Russia's
defence of the Raevsky Redoubt against Eugene's
IV Corps with reinforcements from Marshal Davout.
(June 18, 1815): The big clash between the Duke
of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte.
The rules book includes:
Rules and Optional Rules with numbered paragraphs
for easy reference.
orders of battle for 12 armies that fought each
other in six battles.
points system allowing gamers to design their own
sheets and order markers.
chapter on Napoleonic troop types, their grading
and tactical formations.
really like the General de Brigade ruleset as it allows
our group to set-up and play a good-sized battle in
a night and larger, more complicated clashes in under
a day. They are battles with 500 to 600 troops on
each side on a six foot by four foot table (120cm
by 183cm). The battles look good, play well and there
is plenty of scope for creating new ones.
second edition of General de Brigade is a winner in
my book, even if I get my butt kicked on the tabletop!