Friday, 24 June 2016

A Slow Death by Fractions - NCiM

"Whiat is NCiM?" I hear you ask.

It's Napoleons Campaigns in Miniature - The wargaming rules written by Mr. Bruce Quarrie back in the 1970's. First released as Airfix Magazine Guide #4 in 1974.

From the blurb...
Now you can lead a French cavalry charge at Waterloo, defend the 
Grand Redoubt at Borodino or skirmish with British riflemen in Spain!
This fascinating book, which will be invaluable to beginners and
experienced wargamers alike...

These rules were then edited and re-released as Napoleons Campaigns in Miniature in 1977 and despite the reputation they have been, possibly, the most influential set of Napoleonic wargaming rules ever published. I can still see elements and concepts that originated in NCiM in every new set of rules that depict this era. 

Many wargamers from that era will probably remember these rules with a mix of affection and horror. They are quite simple in their concepts but extremely complex and difficult in their execution. In fact, they are so simple in some of their aspects that Mr Quarrie doesn't even tell you what some of the rules mean or how to execute them. It seems that he just assumed that you'd know what he was talking about and get on with it! 

Then there are the FRACTIONS!

Yes, everything you do in NCiM is affected by fractions and if you're like me your head will end up exploding when you have to figure out that having moved 2/5 of your move you will now have to deduct 1/4 of the total move in order to react to you enemy's moves leaving you... (I don't know)... how much time to shoot...?

Oh yes, and how many times can these particular troops shoot per turn, again? 
Well, when the dust has settled, your shooting will be multiplied by the appropriate fraction of a move left after it has been determined on the appropriate chart full of dozens of fractions in lines and columns.

Unsurprisingly, it's harder than it sounds. Especially for the mathematically challenged like me.

Having said all that, the rules do produce a very realistic result. But it's just a matter of working it all out and becoming familiar with the rules all over again. After all, my fellow Retro-Napoleonicist's and I use to play these rules back in our teenage years and we all seem to recall that they worked quite well. So, there must be some merit to NCiM after all this time.

Playing a test game last night we discussed that when we were youngsters these were the only rules we played and since that time our brains might have become dulled by simpler rules that stylize events during the game rather that using the more realistic concepts of yesteryear. (How's that for pompous?)

Anyway, we've had a couple of test games with the aim of getting reacquainted with the very British quirkiness of NCiM so that we can them pull them apart and put them back together again in a format that produces the same results but in a more user friendly format. 

But, I have to say that after a couple of years of not playing Napoleonic's and previous years of playing games with tiny little battalions of 9 to 12 figures, it is nice to deploy large bodies of well painted troops and gun batteries that look dangerous and really mean business.

Here's some poor quality photos of our test games so far:

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Prussian Project - First Battalion Painted

Well it took longer that I expected due to an untimely and unwelcome dose of the flu but I've finished my first battalion - @nd Battalion, 8th Leib Regt.

I didn't choose this regiment for any particular reason but because I started painting without first consulting any uniform plates and realised that I'd painted red collar and cuffs. So I had to find which infantry regiment had red facings. So, the 8th it is!

These figures are pretty easy to paint, although I decided after the second lot of 6 (6 figures to a company at 1:33 figure/man ratio) to paint the packs separately and glue them on afterwards.

They are also easy to put together but required of a fair bit of time getting rid of mould lines which is pretty annoying.

I decided on a back to basics painting style. No shading and the only wash use was on the skin. There's a lot of benefits to this style. It's easy (but you have to be accurate with the brush), it's pretty fast and above all it gives the figures a nice clean look.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Prussians from Perryland

A big bunch of Prussians arrived in the post today. I'll be organizing them into a 1813/14 brigade. I have enough for 4 musketeer battalions, 2 fusilier battalions, two 6lb foot batteries, a few companies of shutzen, a single squadron of uhlans and a brigadier.

I still need to get some figures for a grenadier battalion, a horse battery and more cavalry.

After I get this lot painted I'll move on to either the Russo-German Legion or Lutzow's Friekorps. As yet I haven't decided.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Some More Later Day Romans

So, I've painted some more late Romans.
I don't exactly know what I'm going to do with these chaps but I like the look of them. I have enough for a Lion Rampant or Dux Bellorum type warband. I have nowhere near enough for Hail Caesar so, who knows where these chaps will end up?

I've too busy painting a few more Napoleonic French at the moment while I wait on a bunch of Prussians to arrive via the land of Perry. They'll be taking up most of my efforts for the next month or two so the Dark Ages will be put on the back burner for the time being.

Anyway, here are some pics of the new troops.