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

Monday, July 2, 2012

Recruiting an Army Efficiently

Because I'm planning to paint Napoleonic figures for use in both DBN and Lasalle, I analyzed the figure requirements for the two rulesets, aiming to build up two armies efficiently.  DBN is a corps-scale game, so it includes a greater variety of units than is necessary for a basic Lasalle force.  I evaluated the forces of several major armies to determine the level of reuse of element stands.  (A stand is a base with miniatures mounted on it.)

The analyses compared Lasalle divisions with one supporting brigade to a DBN army list with all options.

Basing Options

DBN uses 40mm wide bases for its elements.  Fortunately, Lasalle also recommends a base width of 40mm.  Lasalle is flexible on the specific basing depth, so I will be able to base figures that work for both games.

Infantry Figures

Line infantry elements are completely reusable for the two games.  DBN bases some light infantry units, such as Legere, differently in terms of figure count. Lasalle treats Legere units the same as other line infantry.  I chose to use the light infantry elements as line infantry since the figures are in a regular pattern.

Other DBN elements, such as Jagers and Guerrillas, are not as easy to reuse for Lasalle.


Most DBN army lists include both heavy and light cavalry.  In building up an initial Lasalle force, I will need to choose between heavy or light for the supporting brigade, so I won't be able to reuse all cavalry figures.  As my collection grows, though, I can use the remaining elements in other Lasalle brigades.  DBN has a unique cavalry element, known as skirmishing cavalry, that will not be reused.


DBN uses heavy foot and horse artillery.  Many Lasalle forces use medium artillery and howitzers, so the reuse level for artillery might be lower for many armies.

French Attack the Austrians

Before deciding to switch to 10mm scale, I was working on a French Infantry Division and Austrian Avante Garde Division as my first Lasalle forces.  I'm not sure if I'll stick with these armies as the first part of my collection now.  In any case, let's look at the reuse level of DBN elements for a Lasalle French Infantry Division supported by Lt Cavalry Bde and an Austrian Infantry Division supported by the same.

To field a DBN French Army for the 1805-1812/1815 period, I will need 30 element stands.  I will be able to reuse all but nine of the stands for my initial Lasalle force playing in the Conquest period.  For the Austrians, the DBN army requires 28 elements; I can reuse all but eight elements for a Conquest period Lasalle force.

 Avante Garde

The Avante Garde division in Lasalle is a awesome combined arms force.  Comments on the Honour forum (www.sammustafa.com) indicate that it is a fun division to play, too.  I compared the DBN Austrian 1801-1808 army list to an Avante Garde division supported by a Grenadier Brigade, playing in the Conquest period of Lasalle.

The reuse of DBN elements for Lasalle is very high.  Only four elements cannot be used in the initial Lasalle force.  Of course, the total number of element stands needed to play this force in Lasalle is much higher: 70 stands.  The 24 reusable elements from DBN will make a dent in the painting, but I'll still have some work ahead of me if I field an Avante Garde Division.

I'll compare other forces in future postings. In the last days before our move, I was able to complete additional 10mm figures and run another time test, using a larger batch of figs.  I'll share the painting results soon.

Happy to have electrical power in Md,

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