Sunday, April 28, 2013

SN 1813 - Epilogue

I got a little more from the New Jersey Contingent about this event, so I've added it as an epilogue here. First, some notes from Dan, and then a nice, lengthy discussion of the game from Russ (Blucher's perspective):

From Daniel Burkley (Schwarzenberg, Allied C-in-C):

As the Allied CinC, the opening plans were to have all the commands rendezvous at Bautzen. Bernadotte & Blucher had aggressive orders (PROBE)to attack any French they encountered as they moved to Bautzen, while Seivers was given a MANEUVER order to scout west to avoid contact until I knew another army could support him (eventually fulfilled by Blucher).

Schwarzenburg's starting board was a little confusing, initially, but I soon recognized that I could either go towards Dresden (which was how I was initially facing in road column), or go east (to the next board) and go north to reach Bautzen for the planned rendezvous. This initial plan unfolded without a hitch, encountering a French detachment sent through the north mountain pass from Bautzen that was eventually reinforced with a couple of Saxon units. These were easily swatted back, but considering that the exit was a mountain pass and two players' units had tried to make a stand, I decided that there was probably a very large "welcoming committee" waiting for me on the other side.

Seivers sent word that the French were at Bautzen, but I did not change his orders (since he was an all-cavalry force and alone at this point). The benefit of being the CinC now manifested itself, as I could change my orders on my own whim, so I left a covering force at the mountain pass and trekked further east to take the eastern pass, leaving a garrison of Landwehr at the crossroad.

The eastern pass led to Gorlitz, which Blucher was advancing on. Blucher took the northwest bridge [Guben], and the Austrians took the southwest bridge (after dispatching the French garrison at Gorlitz). Bernadotte sent word of his encounter with the Bavarians and that he was driving them away with zeal. Now I could change Seivers orders to PROBE, since I knew Blucher was entering the board where Bautzen was, which the Austrians also entered a turn or two later.

The Saxons were waiting for the Austrians, but most were deployed facing the other mountain pass (that "welcoming committee" I knew was waiting for me, earlier, when I was on another board). The lead Hussar unit was repulsed, but the Austrian Grenadiers threw back the Saxon square and a bridgehead was established. Now I could see that we had three armies fighting the French and Saxons from three different corners, but St.Cyr was bearing down on the detached Austrian cover force on the other side of the south mountain pass - so I knew the local superiority at Bautzen had to be pressed hard before St.Cyr evened the odds.

There were two moments where the Allies could have broken the game wide open (one where Blucher had a shot at charging the rear of Ney's cavalry, and one where the Austrians had a shot at charging three limbered batteries of St.Cyr), had we won the Initiative - but fortune favored the French, and those moments vanished as quickly as will-o-wisps.

Nonetheless, the Allies enjoyed a local superiority most of the game and ground the French/Saxon armies down significantly by the time St.Cyr was in a position to deploy properly. There was still a lot of fight left for both sides, but with the setting sun, Schwarzenburg had plenty to be happy about. Bernadotte has captured Leipzig and the other Allied armies gave at least as good as they got.

All the players were courteous and the game was well organized - an essential element to any successful gaming event. Thanks to Peter for the invitation and the game.

A few pictures form Dan which give a better impression of the venue:
Russ/Blucher,trying to keep his Corps in command on the approach to Gorlitz.

James (Ney) and Barry (Sievers) work out some combat
 on the Northern end of the Bautzen table.

Greg (McDonald) deploys his Saxon "Welcoming Committee"
 opposite the Mountain passes on the Bautzen table.

Greg maneuvers to oppose Schwarzenberg's Austrians near Bautzen

From Russ Lockwood (Rules author, Blucher):

Snappy Nappy Day: 1813 Campaign In A Day was held at Time Machine Hobby in Manchester, CT with eight players and with about a half dozen or so more people stopping by to see some of the action. Players commanded a corps -- all troops were 25mm. The umpire, Peter, handed out a theater map, which stretched from Breslau to Leipzig and contained only the most general details about Saxony, Silesia, and Austria. The area was divided into 10 tables, rivers and mountains making up the edges, and cleverly, the umpire separated the tables so they were not adjacent *and* spun the orientation so that north was not always in the same direction. Better, players had no idea what was beyond the edge of the table. The result was a nice touch of fog of war. Each player started on a different table, within 12 inches of a major city.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I authored the Snappy Nappy rules, but although I have umpired many a "campaign in a day" game, I recall only one that I played in -- I'm almost always the umpire. When you use multiple tables, you need an umpire who does not play. A single battle on one table -- the umpire can be a player and I've done that plenty of times. But for multi-table gaming, you need a dedicated umpire (in more ways than one). So, this was a real treat for me.

I, Blucher

In any case, as Blucher, I started around Breslau. As it turned out, I was basically the corner...but I didn't know that, and the last thing I wanted was to be surprised by some clever French player barreling into me. Thus, I had the two ends of my force, generally placed on or alongside the main road, in combat deployment. With no surprises, I headed west, with my 24 units.

A note here about corp composition. In my previous campaigns in a day, players controlled about a dozen units in a corp. Here I was controlling a double sized-corp with 24 regiment-sized units! Yikes! And these were 25mm units, not the 15mm units we usually command. Double Yikes! Command control could become difficult to maintain because 25s take up some real estate. We used two house rules: You could voluntarily interpenetrate without taking morale checks and when in road column, as long as the commander is within radius of the column and the column is chugging down the road, then the rest of the column follows, even if the individual units are outside the 12-inch command radius.

As to my particular corp, I had four infantry units of Militia, four of Conscript, four of Seasoned, and two of Veteran. I had three light cavalry units; one each of Militia, Conscript, and Seasoned, and a heavy cavalry unit, the vaunted 4th Cuirassiers, that were Veteran. I did have five batteries of artillery: three 6lbers (all Veteran), one 12lber (Seasoned), and one 6lber horse battery (Veteran). When I looked westwards, I saw one road heading to the one bridge at Liegnitz over the River Bober. Hmmm. Traffic jam's a comin'.

The first two turns of the campaign were co-ordinated in that all players followed the turn sequence in order simultaneously. This is important for two reasons: one, it gives the players time to sort out the sequence and figure out movement mechanisms, and two, it gives the now massively overworked umpire just a bit of breathing room to move players from one table to another. The umpire, not the player, moves the first units from table to table. Remember, the tables are *not* adjacent, so only the umpire knows which connect to which. With every player clamoring to move, the umpire charges from table to table to make sure troops got to the correct table.

Command Dilemma

My corp poked across the river at Liegnitz and the umpire duly put me on another table on the road to Gorlitz, where I saw the tail end of a French corp moving west across the Neisse River. Gorlitz had a two-unit garrison, while a 12lber battery sat astride the road, blocking the way to the bridge -- and I knew what had gone on ahead of me over that bridge.

My original orders from the C-in-C were to Screen (half of units to be within 6-12 inches, or move towards, Bautzen or enemy troops) -- and Bautzen was across the bridge to the west. However, upon meeting French, the orders were to switch to Probe (half within 6 inches of enemy troops or objective, the other half within 6-12 inches, or heading that way). However, upriver was another crossing point at Guben that would bring me towards Bautzen. Note, no player had a pontoon bridge, so the only way across a river was over a major bridge.

Classic command dilemma. If I split my force, half to head towards Gorlitz and half to swing north to Guben, would the French mount a counterattack back over the Gorlitz bridge? Could I make it over the Guben bridge before the French set up a defense on the other side of the river (and on another table -- delicious fog of war -- that I could not see)? Was another French force coming from an unexpected direction? Sure, I can read a map, but...where were the French? They'll probably show up at the worst possible moment! My comment -- expressing admiration at this wonderful dilemma -- to the umpire was: "So that's what's it's like to play my rules!"

First thing I did was exercise command prerogative and change my order back to Screen (Prussians can select an order one level up or down the seven-level order hierarchy  The better French command structure can go up or down two levels). I took the cavalry, kept it and as much as I could keep in Blucher's command control and headed 'cross country' towards Guben. My other units took their chances on advancing on their own towards Gorlitz. The result was an ugly, ugly straggling of units.

And then, from a side road in the south, came troops marching up the road towards my strung out, out-of-control troops that were heading for Gorlitz. Friend or foe? I wasn't expecting any friends. Friend or foe? The plan didn't have any friends heading towards me. Friend or...

Whew! Friend. Austrian troops headed my way on their way to Bautzen. But what are they doing here? The original plan was a pincer movement towards Bautzen -- Blucher and the Prussians from the East, Austrians from the South, and Russians and Swedes from the North. Uh-oh. Did the plan fall apart?

Last I had heard from the C-in-C, which was a note dated Turn 3 (12:55pm in real time said the time stamp as we had started around 12:30pm or so), Schwartzenburg reiterated that the French had been contacted at Bautzen. "This is where the big battle will be," said the note.

To digress, communications were on index cards sent from players to umpire, time stamped, and then delivered to the appropriate player. I am not sure how many turns were done or what the time was when the Austrians made their appearance, but the C-in-C must know what he is doing.


At about that time, my Prussian cavalry crossed the Neisse River at Guben to the utter and complete surprise of the French. How could this be? Well, it seems the bridge model had been set up on the table with Guben and the corresponding bridge was not set up on the Bautzen table. The Prussian cavalry fanned out to form a bridgehead -- and was gratified to see the Russian cavalry entering the Bautzen table from the north. The French had bottled them up -- cannon and a garrisoned town doing a fine job of keeping the cavalry at bay and stacking them up back onto the other table with the faux town of Keineburg.

No matter. The Prussians had a tenuous bridgehead and the French were reacting and forming a wall of cavalry and artillery, with infantry marching to help. Blucher raced back to urge his struggling, straggling troops on the Gorlitz table to march for Guben. Macht Schnell!

The Austrians bombarded the town of Gorlitz, while the Prussians kept the French cannon busy as an artillery battery and the 7th Reserve Infantry Regt worked to the north of the enemy gun. Well, the out of command French gun rolled to relocate and sure did, pointing directly at the Conscripts, who were in column for an even better target.

The French gun thundered, the conscripts took it on the chin, and the gut, kneecap, and the left foot, and had two morale checks to do, needing an 8+ on a d10. I rolled the dice, and when the smoke cleared, two magnificent eights appeared on the faces -- both passed! An unexpected mighty roar of approval came from the Prussians. On the return fire, a lowly shell from the three Prussian batteries that had been ineffectively firing at the French gun finally hit...and the French blew the morale check, and the next, and then next, and so on until it routed (eliminated from play).

In Snappy Nappy, hits cause morale checks (MC), and units roll until they pass said MC, which means that one shot and several unlucky die rolls can do in a unit. In this case, at least for this story, the three Prussian batteries had fired for three turns (three hours) at the single French battery until it had enough. Meanwhile, the four Austrian artillery batteries pounded Gorlitz and broke the French defenders. The way was clear to Bautzen!

Over the River

Blucher collected the troops he could grab within his command radius and headed back for Guben. The rest, well, they did the best they could to keep up. Blucher gave up on some and had them form square on the southern road where the Austrians came from and on the intersection of that road and the main east-west road to Bautzen. A third regiment tried valiantly to head for Gorlitz, but often stopped to smell the flowers.

Back over the river, the Prussians infiltrated through the woods seeking to outflank the French line. A key move placed the vaunted Cuirassiers in column just as the French cavalry turned away and presented buttocks. If only Blucher could win the initiative for the turn, the French cavalry would be doomed!

Alas, Blucher must have spent too much time cajoling his troops across the bridge and the French won the initiative. Their cannon boomed, the cuirassiers were hammered and after many failed morale checks, fled in Panic back to the bridge. Even attaching Blucher to try and rally them failed for three straight turns. Blucher left the 4th Cuirassiers milling around the bridge pylons and nicknamed them the Trolls.

Meanwhile, Prussian artillery pummeled the 81st Ligne, which fled in terror through the woods and away from the Prussians. With troops emerging from the woods and more and more Prussians coming into line, the French withdrew back towards Bautzen.

Not that it would do them much good, for the Austrians had pushed over the Gorlitz bridge and grabbed a bridgehead. Frantic French counterattacks bent the Austrian line, but more regiments took their place. The French streamed back too, and saw the Prussians advancing south along the river to try and link up with the Austrians. The French put a 3lber horse artillery and two cavalry against the mighty Schutzen regiment, which charged the guns in column. The horse artillery fired cannister, but to the amazement of the Prussians, missed -- obviously rattled by the charge. The Schutzen swept away the gun and even caused a morale check on a cavalry unit that had sat too close behind, which failed.

At this time, around 5:30pm, the umpire called the game. A good five hours of battle had gone by in a flash. I am not sure how many turns that would be, but my guess is around 20. I remember being turn 3 when I entered the Gorlitz board, and then another six or seven turns to cross at Guben -- it's diagonal across the long way of the table from where I entered. Then another four turns of setting up a line and trading shots, then another four turns of pushing forward, and then another couple of turns following up the French and hitting the Austrians.

Night Falls

The situation on the Bautzen board was that the Prussians lost two cavalry units of four (both were Panicked and the 4th Trolls, er, Cuirassiers, defied Blucher's efforts to bring them back), had three infantry units guarding the backdoor, and the rest were untouched. The Prussians would need some turns to deploy, for most of the corps was still crossing the river.

The French in front of the Prussians were starting to falter. The Russians had lost considerable cavalry, but plenty left to put up a fight. The French originally at Gorlitz and now in front of the Austrians looked to be on their last legs. The Austrians had been dinged a bit and still had half or so of their force remaining in the field. The Saxon Corp, which had been delayed in part by marching towards France and then countermarching back to the sound of the guns and in part by rearguard Austrians, looked as intact as the Prussians, but would need time to deploy against the Austrians -- but that's from a view across a table and not seeing what was on the next table over.

In the "north," rumors of a slugfest on the march from Berlin to Leipzig came to Blucher, along with the news that the French supply center at Leipzig had fallen to the Swedes. The state of those troops were unknown to me, but the French apparently got the worst of it.

All told, the French were beginning to crumble as the Allies pressed forward. There was still plenty of battle left (thanks to the large corps), but the Allies were holding the better position and apparently had more troops in the fight than the French.


I can't say enough how much I enjoyed playing Snappy Nappy Campaign in a Day. Well, yes, I authored the rules, but I just about always umpired these large multi-table games, not participated as a player. Here I was dealing with uncertainty as much as the enemy in a marvelous fog-of-war situation, unsure how to proceed but hewing to my orders, and debating in my own head how to make the best of the situation. And the other players are trying to do the same. That's just a great day of wargaming. Thank you, Peter, for running the game and thank you, Time Machine Hobby, for hosting.

And thank you, Russ and Dan for driving all the way to Connecticut and playing!



  1. It was a good day, it was neat to see the author play, and have enough fun not to want an extemporaneous rewrite on a rule!

    1. True, and good one Joe (who has lived through enough of my rules writing efforts).

  2. A great report on a great looking game!

  3. What a great sounding game, everything you want in a Napoleonic fight lots of thought provoking situations....rivers, bridges, rendezvous points, towns, troops coming out of woods ..... it's got it all .....good stuff chaps.

    1. Thanks, and glad you enjoyed reading about it.. It was well worth the effort!

  4. Nice epilogue to the game. Sounds like a success all around.

    1. Thanks, Sean. I was very pleased with how it worked out, and learned some things I'll use the next time.

  5. I've very much enjoyed the posts on the Snappy Nappy game; well done to you and the players. Any plans for an 1814 game?

    1. Thanks Mike - it was a team effort for sure!

      I may do a tactical game from 1814 at some point next year (with Field of Battle). I would think it pretty difficult to do a SN Campaign in a Day based upon it - the disparity in numbers is s huge the French would have to have an enormous advantage in intelligence and/or command and control to have any chance at all. Still lots of 1813 tactical action to explore, though.

      OTOH, several phases of Napoleon's 1st Campaign in Italy, the 1800 Marengo campaign, the early and later phases of 1805, the opening phase of 1806 and the winter and spring phases of 1807, Italy 1809, Spring 1813, the "Hundred Days" of 1815 and many scenarios in Spain would all be very suitable for adaptation, I would think.

  6. Peter, I have just finished ready your four reports; great reading.

    This is magnificent stuff. It is such a clever way to do a genuinely grand tactical wargame with many players. You must be happy that all of your effort in the preparation paid off. Care to estimate the number of hours that you put in before heading to the venue?!

    I am amongst your numerous e-friends who look forward with excitement to the next "Anderson-exposition"!


    1. Hi James,

      First, thank Russ for the concept and the rules that made it run quite smoothly! I would heartily recommend a Snappy Nappy Campaign in a Day project to any group with enough players to make it worthwhile.

      Second, yes, I was very pleased with how it turned out, and I was glad that after the inevitable last minute "defections" caused by real life, we still had enough players!

      Time invested... well, a lot. :-)

      Aside from beating the drum for players and other recruiting/player maintenance activities, I'd say that the hardest thing is translating a theater map to a series of inter-linked tabletops. I find I usually have to read several accounts of the campaign first (in my case, Chandler, Petre, Nafziger, and the Osprey), allow myself to digest the key points of the campaign, and then review several theater maps, and develop a concept for how to translate the map to the tabletop configurations, taking into account the size of the tables available, river lines and mountain ranges, and other table divisors (band of woods is for when nothing else exists). That's why I went into quite a bit of detail on how I did that (see also the earlier Danube campaign project). Once I have the concept for the layout of the tables, and draw a grid, the rest of the terrain usually falls into place fairly quickly. So, I would say that generating the overall map took about 20 hours of work, including the readings. The 1809 map was a lot more detailed, in part because the ground scale was a lot less (i.e., the area represented by the combined tabletops was much less than for the 1813 campaign). Overall, I'd say less terrain is better than more as well as faster and easier to load up, set up, take down, and cart back... and I had excellent help doing that from the players.

      The "Bring Your Own Corps" concept worked well with a group of largely local players. The cell phone idea proved not to be viable; in the end I think the paper worked better as well as being more "period"; as umpire, I came to enjoy delivering the messages - the "Not now, I'm BUSY" looks of many recipients was priceless, as was Roger (Oudinot's) response to a message from the Emperor as his Corps was crumbling before Bernadotte... he took the message, unread, crumpled it up, and ceremoniously dumped it on the floor! On several occasions, I did a faux canter across the room to the recipient, breathlessly pronouncing (with a bow and a wave of the hand), "A message form His Imperial Majesty!" or some such.

      I had so much fun doing this I am seriously considering whether to do a SN Campaign in a Day for Historicon 2014.

    2. Thanks Peter. I expected at least that sort of time. A labour of love, but still requires the time commitment!

      I'm musing about using it for us to do the six days campaign of 1814 in a single session, rather than as a series of 'linked battles'. It would be a 'corruption' of your multi-player/multi-table game as I reckon we could do the entire thing on our table. We'd need to introduce fog of war in another way, unit blanks or barriers perhaps?

      I'll re-read your posts on the set-up for the '09 and '13 games later in the year to see how we might do it. In the meantime there is the little matter of a Lutzen and a Bautzen to stage, not to mention the on-going preparations for Leipzig (we've conceded that this will be for October 2014 at the earliest though).

      You are an inspiration and mine of information as ever, thanks!

    3. Thanks, James. 2014 seems more realistic for Leipzig; who knows, I might try it with SN in 2014 myself (all on one table).

      Re your 1814 project and Fog of War... Maybe do the maneuvering by and have the umpire set troops (or blinds at first) down only once they are within a certain range of the enemy?

  7. Yo DanB
    Great to see you pushing some lead. Actually, I will be pushing some NapsBattle lead in Schenectady NY next week. Still big into WARRIOR, but am interested in NapsB.
    Hope to see you sometime.

    1. You'll see some more of Dan in a few days, at least here on the blog, in the reports from our 18107 event on Sunday...