Very happy with the the big game we had recently and now encouraged by at least three of the guys joining with promises to paint up specific corps of Russians, I wanted to see if we indeed could pack it all onto a regular convention sized table of 8 x 5 feet, be proportional to the actual field of battle, have enough room for all the terrain and...do it in glorious 28mm!
The battle of Borodino (bor-rod-nee-yo) has always been on my war gamer 'bucket list' but I was not going to get involved in the usual uber-game which we all come to expect, with hundreds of battalion. Be they large or small, these are still units which firing and melee calculations must be dealt with...in their hundreds . And so a very slow game and with only limited time in the day they end with the typical, "well you kinda won over there; we are beating you over here and if I can march my guard over to the redoubt, and with some good rolls I might be able to......."
As you can see only some 64 elements for the Russians which will be handled by many players. The combat rules and firing rules are very easy to pick up and players start quoting the numbers by the fourth turn. But it seems to work and feel like you the player are a corps commander whose job is to time the deployment of your reserves. And surely numbers will come into play as the photos will attest.
I have listed the main terrain points as reference to the actual battle. Maps abound but I have used primarily that of the well known expert Christopher Duffy which I had for, well, forever. Obviously with such high ratios and specific base size [ which has no known size ratio/calculation! but simply cause it looks "right"] I found it all worked well to create the proper dimensions.
I used about 2/3 my collection, merely grabbing elements out of boxes to position them, so you ignore the uniforms, troop types and even nationality all you 'button-counters' out there! Grin. But cavalry will be a cavalry element, infantry is infantry if not of the correct type.
|The whole field of battle / the whole tabletop of Borodino in our scale anyway. 8 x 5 foot table. The view is from the south, looking north with the French to the left, Russians to the right.|
|The battlefield's centre showing the Russian positions of the Grand Redoubt, Fleches and the destroyed village of Semenoskaya in the center. Davout's Corps nearest on the right, Ney's and Jerome's Corps to the left.|
|Raevsky's Russian Corps in the middle|
|The Russian right flank.|
|The French left of Eugene Corps with cavalry supports|
|From Kutusov's view of his army and the French columns in the distance|
|The Fleches will need to be modelled as they had a smaller footprint on the tabletop but not of lesser importance. And yes, Davout's Corps will start only inches away in the game. As historically, no manoeuvre; just straight at it!!|
|The southern end of the battlefield with Tuchkov's Corps defending against Poniatowski (at right) And who said there was no room?|
Yes, it is a "tight" tabletop but then again, it was historically. I believe we wargamers spend too much real time merely marching our figures to action. Three or four turns lifting up and placing back down bases which have moved a few inches moving in a roughly straight line towards the enemy. Heck, we generally don't have too much options where to fight the combats on the table anyway. All that manoeuvring should have occurred before getting on the field anyway. Much like for Borodino when Davout's wide flanking move was rejected by Napoleon. So now just up the middle. All the tactical moves of regiments are not of our concern, only the bigger picture.
So in that respect I must say this Beta test was a success, now just to paint up a few Russians, eh?