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Xenophon's Ghost covers military history and wargaming from the ancient period to modern times.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Scale of Battle

Napoléon on the field of Eylau by Antoine-Jean Gros
Public domain image from Wikipedia
I have been investing time to learn the best way to get started in Napoleonic wargaming, focused on building up enough of a miniatures collection to play Lasalle, a tactical scale game designed by Sam Mustafa. Along this journey, I learned about DBN, another Naps game that is radically different and piqued my interest. DBN was inspired by DBA, an ancients game that I play. Alex Testo and Bob Carter created the game. 

Game Scales

My recent posts have focused on a scale decision: figure scale. This post focuses on a different scale: game scale. Lasalle and DBN model Napoleonic warfare at different scales. Lasalle is a tactical level game; players command a division supported by a brigade. DBN places the player in the role of corps commander.  For a corps-level game, DBN can be played on a table as small as 2 x 3 or 3 x 3 feet.  This will be a plus for me in Seoul, Korea, our new home in two weeks, because of limited space.  DBN also supports playing the major battles of the Napoleonic Wars, such as Eylau, in a reasonable play area because each figure stand represents a brigade.

A Choice Not a Decision

Unlike the difficult decision on selecting a figure scale, I will be able to enjoy both games with the same miniatures collection.  I can choose to play both.  I have had a few days to read the DBN rules now and received some great information from the members of the DBN Yahoo Group. The rules are well written and much easier to understand than DBA. My first exposure to Nap rules was a couple of rule sets that were complex and suitable for an experienced player.  Both DBN and Lasalle have the complexity level that seems right for me and my 12-year old son, who is my main playing partner.  Both games are also appealing because they don't require paperwork and endless consultation of complex tables.

Charting an Efficient Path

In comparing the rules, I noticed that some figure stands needed for DBN may not be used in Lasalle, at least not initially.  I'm planning to collect enough figures for a Lasalle division and one supporting brigade for two armies.  DBN armies are truly combined arms corps, with a mix of different foot, cavalry, and artillery.  I won't be able to use all of the units in the initial Lasalle forces.  I'm analyzing combinations of Lasalle and DBN armies to determine the level of consistency for different national forces.  More information to follow in a future post.

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