Saturday, March 3, 2012

Empire Wreckers

Marechal Oudinot snapped shut his telescope.  "Who the hell are those?  I thought we were fighting Wellington, not Bagration?"  "Oui, mon Marechal, Russians.  And we seem to have fast-forwarded three years."

So five valiant players gathered for Empire today, to give new troops some table time and introduce a player to the system.  It was supposed to be six, with the missing player bringing the British and Portuguese to support my modest collection, but a no show and no call meant we had to quickly adapt.  We lost about an hour setting up as we found the necessary Russians to give the French a run, but did play. 

Russian left looking toward the center.

Great-great-great grandson of General Toddovitch ponders.

Into the fight!

In total there were 42 French battalions of 12-16 figures with five cavalry in support and numerous batteries.  Facing them was the 2nd Army of the West with 48 battalions of 8 figures each with nine cavalry regiments and the inevitable cloud of Cossacks.  144 ill-crewed guns provided the Russians with a redoubt of iron.

To get "at it" we essentially started in engagement range.  It became a two-on-two game with me acting to expedite play.  The long and short of it is that the Russian cuirassiers on their left dominated the elite French division they were facing.  The "Terrible 57th" and 10th Legere failed to break through, they were mostly stymied on the Russian right though a serious threat was developing, and the French morale broke.  Despite legends to the contrary about Empire, the Russians had the first tactical initiative more often than not and occasionally even had three impulses.  We played an hourly round in a squeak over a real hour which is quite acceptable considering one totally new player and it being since last July that we last played Empire. 

I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

The French used a combination of le ordre mince and lines to maximize firepower.  The Russians awaited in regimental clumps behind their guns. 

French view of the Russian right-center.

A developing threat.

2nd time cuirassiers got to ride down a French line.

Nasty threat, but the division failed a determination test.

Despite my being a major-league grump for the last-second change in plans, it went well.  We have a new player painting Empire units and our stuff got some use after a long spell immersed in the SYW and WWII.  Till next time gents.


  1. Looks like a good time. Thanks for posting these AARs, it helps me feel a part from a distance.

    Ta ta,


  2. Great to see Empire makiing a 'comeback'.

    Assuming that you guys are very familiar with the rules already, do you find that they do actually play out at a decent rate once you get your head immersed in the mechanics ?

    I have never played Empire .. still digesting the rules, and that may be a way off yet. As a document, it is a fairly manic but solid tome of work, with no detail left uncovered. This level of detail is very appealing !

  3. Yes, when we were "up to speed" we could play an hourly round in an hour or less with each player controlling a corps or more. But in fairness that was our game in those days so we didn't need to look up everything and were familiar enough to see a dice roll and say "good enough." This game we played an hourly round in about an hour and twenty minutes.

    The best Napoleonic simulation I've played in 30 years but you must know it and keep up with it. Hope you enjoy it when you play.