Monday, August 10, 2009

By Tod Kershner

The author of the very popular Warfare in the Age of Reason (AoR) has produced a new set of rules to wargame the epic battles of the Napoleonic era. These rules were originally available only from Mr. Kershner on line but were recently professionally produced for release by “On Military Matters” and look great! Army lists included 1815 French, British and Prussians, however, it is a very simple task to make new lists for different armies or periods of the war. 32 pages, black and white drawings, two scenarios, examples of play, diagrams, basing recommendations and an easy to read one sided quick reference charts.
For those familiar with the AoR rules, the transition to this new set is not difficult. The basic game mechanics remain the same with the general “rally, move, fire and melee” phases. Players move cavalry and horse artillery units first (one side, then the other) followed by infantry and artillery. Artillery fire precedes infantry fire followed by melee. The game mechanics are very easy to follow and new players to the game catch on very quickly – by turn 3 of the game I recently ran, all of the players were handling the game with only a minimum of assistance from me.
Aside from the obvious differences and rules for handling armies of a new military era, the biggest departure from the original rules deals with causing fire casualties. Instead of rolling X number of d6 to score hits on multiples of 6, each type of unit has a “to hit” number that permit ALL dice to have the potential to score hits (e.g. a French line unit has a “to hit” of 2 and is rolling 4 d6 – all dice rolling a 1 or 2 will score a hit!) Following the order of calculating the dice available for shooting or melee is important and certain circumstances can multiply the dice! Inherent skirmishers are another change from the original rules. Everything is described clearly with multiple examples of play; the rules reward proper handling of combined arms and linear tactics – the side that managed this better in our game came out ahead.
While having experience with the original AoR rules helps, it is not necessary as these rules are very well written, easy to learn and play. The extensive use of examples, a significant plus for these rules, makes learning the new concepts much easier to understand. My friends and I all had a great time “taking these rules out for a spin” and they could easily interest me in gaming the Napoleonic period.
Price: $22.00


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