Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Crisis on the Danube, 1809" with Snappy Nappy (part 4)

    So, last Saturday morning dawned cold and clear; I was up at 7AM so as to be sure to leave by 8AM and arrive in Danielson for Ellis Con shortly before 10AM. As usual, I was up until about 2AM pulling the troops and packing them, plus way more terrain than I ultimately needed. Unfortunately, personal issues forced Joe to cancel at the last minute, and we already knew that Barry and Greg would be unavailable (although Barry and I think Greg contributed some terrain and especially much needed table cloths. That left James, Thomas, and I as principals   I figured we would most likely have to contend with less table space than we really needed, and probably a less than a full complement of players. Still, this was intended both to be fun game in and of itself, and to be test run of the "Campaign in a Day" concept for a planned big 1813 bash in March or April 2013.

  As the old saying goes, and James observed on the day, "No plan survives contact with the enemy" (or gamers!). James and his wife assembled a slew of printed cardboard buildings, and he also had the overall map printed out at Staples on an 18x24" sheet of laminated paper, and deleting the green background, which was a big help setting up the terrain and getting the overall situation straight; thanks, James! The first surprise was arriving at the Ellis Technical school - the entrance to the Aircraft Hanger had been dramatically and beautifully transformed, part of a major renovation of the school by the Sate of CT. Said hangar is now a beautiful but not quite finished new gymnasium.... so this year Ellis Con was held in the *old* gym; I was told this is slated for compete revision/demolition starting next week. The heat seemed to be  off in this part of the building, although the Simulation Club used the big aircraft fans to try to blow warm air into the gym; still, it was at best 55-60 degrees inside, so we all kept our jackets *on*. The gym is smaller than the hangar, and the partitions that used to divide the far end of the hangar into smaller spaces don't exist in the gym, so that meant the tables would obviously be in plain sight for all, thus eliminating a good part of that aspect of the "fog of war". I brought three tables along myself, and the Convention gave us 8-9, so between a somewhat limited space to work with, and about 30-40% less table square footage than ideal (a fully anticipated difficulty) we had to improvise the table set ups to maintain the overall geometry, while abstracting the layouts to fit the available tables. Still, James, Thomas, and I, with help from Matthew, set to work arranging the tables with relation to one another, and then "dressing" them with terrain. We finished setting it all up about 11:30AM and after a short lunch break (the kitchen is also being renovated, so in place of the usual good, inexpensive hot food, they had good inexpensive cold grinders, chips and soda for sale), started the game shortly after 12 Noon.

    For players, we had myself, Thomas, James, Matthew, Brian and ? Charles; Pete dropped by after a while and seemed interested so we added him to the game. Forgive me any of the mixed up any names I've doubtless been guilty of! With a small number of players, it was clear that having an overall C-in-C for each wasn't really practical, so we decided to just have at it and give the Snappy Nappy rules a thorough run, including inter table movement. On the French side were Matthew (Davout), James (Lannes) and myself (Lefebvre's Bavarians); on the Austrian side were Thomas (Hohenzollern-Hechingen), ? Charles (Rosenburg), Brian (Ludwig), and later Pete (Liechtenstein's Reserve Korps). Towards the end of the game another interested fellow dropped by, and I handed off my Bavarians to him. We didn't use Massena, or Vandamme on the French side, or Hilller, Belegarde, or Kolowrath on the Austrian side, although I did require Davout to leave behind two Infantry Brigades in Regensburg in recognition of the Austrian threat there. This meant that tables A, B, and D were not needed at all, and several others were hardly used, although we had set them all up up (the number of players was unknown until the game got under way).

    I was the only one who had played Snappy Nappy (hereafter "SN") before, and that was 4 years ago; James had read through the rules pretty thoroughly, but no one else was really familiar with them at all. Thus we kept things simple, and were very liberal with orders changes for each Corps. Despite this, and although we doubtless made numerous errors, we all found the rules exceptionally easy to pick up once the key concepts were grasped. Allowing for the large scale of the game (an infantry "unit" has 2 stands, each representing about 2,000 men, so a unit is roughly a brigade in size!), and some necessary abstraction, the results  of combat were always plausible, and the play flowed smoothly. Indeed, all of the players were impressed that SN did very well at fulfilling the author's (Russ Lockwood) promise of  "Simple, subtle, and ultra-fast rules for miniature wargames in the Napoleonic Era", even to the extent that they'd consider the rules for short one on one "pickup" type games. Although we used my 25/28mm troops, at this scale an entire Corps has less than 100 figures, well within anyone's ability to collect using any figure size. Snappy Nappy is available from On Military Matters. The link also has still more information about the rules; the price is a quite reasonable $29/copy.

Action on Table "C" (between the Ilm and the Abens - The Abens also runs along the table edge above the visible river section). Lefebvre's Bavarians (me) and Lannes' French/Rhine Princes troops (James) have seized the crossroads, and with it control access to the bridge over the Abens at Abensburg. Ludwig's Korps is marching forward at all speed to make the passage contested, and (hopefully) allow sufficient time for the rest of the Kaiserlicks to crush Davout before our troops can intervene.

Hohenzollern-Hechingen's Corps (Thomas) is traversing table E (Abensburg) at all speed, moving to support Rosenburg on table F.

On Table F, Rosenburg (Charles) has passed through Eggmuhl and is headed towards Dinzling and Teugen.

Meanwhile, Davout (Matthew) on table G has set out from Regensburg (fortified town in the distance, straddling the Danube) with all haste, seeking to link up with the rest of the French army before the White Menace can destroy his powerful but isolated Corps!

Liechtenstein's Reserve Corps (Pete) has started on the march from its starting point near Pfaffenhausen on table "H", aiming to cross the Gross Laber onto table F at Eggmuhl. In the background behind him are (unused) tables D and B.

Circa Turn 3 on Table C; an impetuous charge by my Bavarian Dragoons was shrugged off by the Austrian Hussars, but I have established my 12# battery and Jagers firmly astride the crucial crossroads. Lannes has put his best infantry unit in the front, supported by three units of French Cuirassiers.

View from the Austrian side of Table C at about the same time.

Meanwhile, the bulk of Hohenzollern's Corps has crossed onto Table F near Hausen.

Taking advantage of control of the crossroads and the bridge over the Abens, Bavarian Infantry has crossed onto Table E at Abensburg, chasing the Kaiserlicks to the Feking Bach stream which runs along the opposite edge of the table. 

Liechtenstein's Grenadiers, Cuirassiers, and artillery prepare to cross the Gross Laber onto table F as well!

At the northern end of Table F, one of Davout's infantry DIvisions has crossed onto Table F near Abbach; Rosenberg's troops have adopted defensive positions. This table edge is formed by a band of thick woods rather than a watercourse...

and on the other side of the woods on Table G, preparing to attack across all three roads is Davout!

Combat on Table C; my 12# is about tom inflict serious damage on the still limbered Austrian 6# battery, Lannes' infantry  and Cuirassiers have launched successful charges non some Austrian Line and Grenz. For this rather complicated conflict, the small D6's are the sum of the modifiers for each stand, and the D10 is the random roll for that stand, which added to the factors and compared to the same as calculated for the enemy, determines the difference and melee results. All "losses in SN are declines in Morale status; these losses are quite difficult to rally off, and if the unit declines to "Rout", it is removed from play. Intermediate levels have various effects upon combat, and some cause mandatory (and immediate) retreats. 

The Austrians on Table "F" are looking very strong indeed...

but then Davout's troops (Matthew) charge onto the table near Dunzling! That battery being charged from the flank and front by Cuirassiers and Chassseurs doesn't look very happy!

My three artillery units (representing about 72 guns!) dominate the crossroads on Table C, and have driven off the second Austrian 6#er, while James' cavalry attempts to ride down the Austrian infantry. Still, my Bavarian Infantry is going to need artillery support if it is to be successful two tables away on Table F!

Aftermath of Davout's successful charge onto table F... but the Cuirassiers of the Austrian Reserve are now arriving from Eggmuhl...

with Liechtenstein's Grenadiers and artillery soon to follow!

Davout expands upon his initial success near Dunzling and Hausen.

Bavarian Infantry arrive on  the Northern end of Table F, hot on the heels of Hohenzollern's Austrians (Thomas).

And still more Bavarian Infantry arrive; Thomas has turned his three artillery units to discourage them. "Where then is our own artillery, Monsieur le Marechal?"

New Guy takes over the Bavarians on Table F, as he and Thomas discuss combat resolution.

The growing mass of Bavarians has cause Hohenzollern to do an about face with most of his Korps to counter the threat to his rear!

Bavarian infantry moves to the attack, as Thomas checks his Austrian roster sheet. The Bavarian cavalry is in reserve... but where are their Guns?

Shortly thereafter we called the game; we had reached our scheduled stop time of 5 PM, and it was clear that Davout would not be able to drive through the Austrians, and the Bavarian attacks failed to make more than limited headway. Thus, the Austrian players outperformed their historical counterparts, and have prevented the French army from reuniting... so far!. 

ADDENUM 11/29/12:  Dale had asked for a map of the moves, which had been part of the original plan. This proved to be far too time consuming with Battle Chronicler (at least on my vintage 1999 machine, replaced as of tomorrow with a brand new one running Windows 8 with and i-core-5 processor!), so I did this map using the file exported to Paint:

Corps without arrows had no players and thus did not move.


1) Snappy Nappy was easy to learn and play, and gave an enjoyable and plausible game. It is well suited to this sort of project, but not limited to it.

2) We were definitely encouraged to proceed with planning for the "Full Monty" 1813 project.

3) Next time I will design the overall map with the exact tables available known and accommodating them, rather than trying to do it the other way around.

4) Although the maps generated with Battle Chronicler looked great, the red on green text (town/village names)  is hard to read on printouts - back to MS Paint and white background next time, I think. 

4) I think a fictional set up might be best, with each player bring their own troops where possible (and the others in the group supplying the rest for those who want to play but don't have troops), and considerable leeway for the initial force set up to maximize the "Fog of War" aspects..

5) We may want to plan the next game to run at The Time Machine in Manchester, CT if we can secure the date, resources, and above all enough players to make it all work, ideally with a greater "Fog of War" factor.  Another option might be the March HAVOC convention in Worchester, MA run by battle Group Boston; that would require something other than their normal tables and time slots, however. I will say that, even with the other tables in sight, one rapidly gets caught up on the combat on your own table, and is only vaguely aware of the larger picture... of course, THAT will be the job of the C-in-C!

À Vienne !

Nach Paris!

(and Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans)



  1. Great report. Interesting how you divided the tables. Good luck on the project

    1. Thanks... and you'll doubtless read more about it here! :-)

  2. Interesting Peter,
    The several table concept for the zonal area good. I see the concept of "small miniature count" units is taking hold..... more units for fun and dice rolling.

    Great report overall and a testing of your campaign concept.

    Michael aka WR

    1. Thanks, Michael - and your idea (on TMP) re: cell phone text nmessaging for communications is a barn burner!

      I'll have more to say on unit size at another time...

  3. Like the look of the game, but adding an overall map to show movements mapped to pictures would have done the report better.

    Looking forward to more!

    1. Dale, I may be able to oblige you. That was part of my reason for doing the maps with Battle chronicler. I wanted to get the report out in a timely fashion, but I will be working on assembling the whole thing into a bundle for the Snappy Nappy Yahoo group, and I may be able to do some maps with the moves shown on them for posting here.

  4. Peter, I finally got to this excellent report (comme d'habitude) and the lead up posts. You did a great job of adjusting the set-up to the available 'human resources', not to mention your efforts in taking photos and notes in order to produce such a clear and interesting game report!
    It seems like a really enjoyable, challenging and creative way to run a multi-player game. Did the players on each table know when other troops were heading their way, or did they appear suddenly?
    For several years I have been toying with the idea of running a game simultaneously at several scales, figure and/or ground. For example, the grand tactical manoeuvring done at one scale (say 1 to 100 or more and perhaps even with 2 mm figures), the main battle with 20 mm figures (say 1 to 50), and a detailed combat (e.g. assault on a town or terrain feature) at 1 to 20 or lower and perhaps with 25 mm figures. I dub it the 'telescoping scales concept' (TSC)—I am sure that the tongue-in-cheek reference will be clear to you! The Snappy Nappy could be just the system for the grand tac. bit, don't you think?

    1. Because of the nature of the venue, etc, the players could see the enemy troops coming, although for the most part you so quickly became embroiled in the tactical combat that it was easy to all but ignore the strategic picture... to the peril of your side's overall success.

      Snappy Nappy would certainly work for what you have in mind above. I think Empire III had the "telescoping Time concept", and the tongue in cheek reference to other telescoping objects is definitely not lost on me, LOL!

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks, Phil. Campaign Cartographer worked OK; To go with with my new Windows 8 machine I downloaded a new (free) vector graphics program that I think will actually work better to make more easily readable and scaleable maps/labels, if perhaps not quite as artistic as the CC versions.

  6. What an interesting and exciting campaign to be involved in. Considering you've done all the back ground R&D you just need to recruit the players to "do the whole thing"

    1. David,

      As you know, the 18-09 campaign is a favorite of mine, so it wouldn't take much at all for me to run the whole thing some times] as outlined. Who knows, perhaps at Historicon some year...