Basic Original Fire and Fury (a.k.a. BOFF) is considered by many experienced joueurs de guerre to be the most realistic, playable, et enjoyable set of grand-tactical miniatures rules de la Guerre de Sécession on the market, et for many of us it was only a question of time until a Napoleonic variant of the successful game system would become available.
When Richard Hasenauer's rules appeared en 1990, they set an industry standard for clarity, attention to detail, design et layout. Spectacular photos, easily understood charts et graphics, et well-written texts made it a joy to learn to play this simple yet incredibly realistic simulation game, even if you were not a native de la langue anglais.
Fire and Fury was, et probably still is the most in-period simulation de la Guerre de Sécession battle. BOFF is the reason why so many joueurs de guerre all over the world pried tens of thousands of miniatures de la Guerre de Sécession off their old socles et gladly re-based them for this excellent game. Not surprisingly, Fire and Fury soon spawned several variants for other conflicts of the Horse&Musket period of warfare, including the Guerre Franco-Allemande (published in Wargames Illustrated No. 140) et the Guerres Napoléoniennes (WI No. 143). The idea of Napoleonic Fire and Fury appealed to over 1600 joueurs de guerre who joined a supporting discussion group on the web et acted as playtesters for The Age of Eagles which was published in 2005 et sold out immediately.
- Titre: The Age of Eagles
- Période: Guerres Napoléoniennes
- Type: jeu de guerre opérative
- Échelle du Temp: 1 tour = 30 minutes
- Échelle du Terrain: 1/4320 (1 inch = 120 yards)
- Échelle de Troupes: 1 figurine = 90 men
- Basing: 3/4 inch × 1 inch infantry stand (4 figurines)
- Auteur: Colonel (Ret) Wilbur E. Gray
- Format: 100 pages, reliure spirale
- Langage: Anglais
- Maison d'Édition: David Waxtel, Quantum Printing, New York, NY
- Publié: 2005
Although The Age of Eagles owes a lot to BOFF, it is not a rehash of the original ACW simulation. The good news is that Wilbur Gray has successfully changed the historical flavor of the game by adding a few healthy ingredients.
Grand Tactical Zones of Operation
In the late 1970's Jim Getz et Scott Bowden, developers of the ground-breaking Empire III miniature rules, pointed out that "each major body of troops, known as a maneuvre element (ME), has a zone of operation which is defined as the ground area it occupies", et they went on to say that "no voluntary deployment ou movement may be made that would cause the zone of operation of an ME to overlap the zones of operation of other friendly MEs". Interpenetration of tactical maneuvre elements is dangerous, because it makes the bunched-up troops an excellent target, causes collisions when bataillons attempt to form line from column, hampers the effective use of firearms, et creates disorder which can lead to panic.
It is important to keep the concept of brigade zones of operation in mind when looking at figurine stands now used by many popular grand-tactical miniature rules. At first glance, these stands are too deep to be realistic, because a bataillon d'infanterie française in attack column would only be 5 mm deep at the typical ground scale of 1 mm on the table représentant over 4 meters of actual terrain. The illustration on page 31 of The Age of Eagles rule book indicates that the 25 mm deep infantry stand actually représente une section of an infantry brigade's zone of operation, not a single unit in line ou column. Bataillons d'infanterie napoléoniens were deployed in a staggered formation "en échelon" at the brigade level (called "Line of Battle Supported, Columnar Infantry" in the illustration reproduced above). En 1805 the typical brigade d'infanterie française de quatre bataillons d'infanterie de ligne et un bataillon d'infanterie légère occupied a relatively square plot of ground approximately 300 meters wide et just as deep. Intervals entre la ligne d'escarmouche, le premier régiment en ligne, et les supporting régiments en colonne de divisions, were necessary to minimize the danger of pass-through fire aimed at one line of troops inadvertently hitting the supporting lines. As can be seen in the illustration, formation changes of bataillons within the brigade zone, from column to line ou line to column, have no effect on the shape ou size of the brigade zone itself.
While une brigade d'infanterie prussienne de 1806 in supported line occupies the same ground area comme une brigade d'infanterie française en échelon, the two formations operate very differently. The Age of Eagles rates infantry of all nations, except France as Linear Infantry de 1792 à 1808. Linear infantry has the advantage in firepower, but is slow et cumbersome.
Infanterie française de 1792 à 1804, et 1812 à 1814, as well as other nation's infantry de 1809 à 1815 is considered Columnar Infantry which moves faster et is better articulated than linear infantry, but sacrifices some firepower.
Britanniques/KGL 1809 à 1815, Alliés Britanniques 1815, Français 1805 à 1811, et 1815, Davout's Corps en 1812, la Vielle Garde et Moyenne Garde Française at all times, et la Jeune Garde Française at all times except 1813 à 1814 are considered Impulse Infantry, the most powerful combat doctrine, combining the advantages of linear et columnar infantry doctrine.
National Combat Doctrine, Firepower, et Morale Parameters
Combat doctrine is the novel et refreshing game concept which sets The Age of Eagles apart from its competitors. Without the combat doctrine parameter, previous wargame rules have resorted to superhuman "Old Guard" morale ratings, arbitrarily inflating the firepower et melee ability des troupes de la Vielle Garde Française, in the vain attempt to give these wargame units the same edge in combat that their historical counterparts reportedly had. This procedure was never quite satisfactory, but most Allied players grudgingly accepted it for want of a more realistic approach.
The Age of Eagles rates most guard infantry, et many grenadiers as Elite infantry for firepower et morale purposes. Using the combat doctrine parameter, Gardes Prussiennes et grenadiers de la Garde, as well as converged Grenadiers 1791 à 1807 are considered elite linear infantry avec the same firepower et initial morale level comme l'infanterie de la Vielle Garde Française. The difference is that Elite infantry deteriorates from "fresh" to "worn" when brigade effectiveness drops to 70 percent, et deteriorates again to the "spent" level when the 40 percent mark is reached, whereas la Vielle Garde Française never achieves the "worn" level, but drops directly to "spent" at the 40 percent point. Thus, while la Vielle Garde Française are considered to stay "fresh" longer than other elite infantry, their resolve can et will fail at the same level when pertes mount.
In addition to its freshness bonus, l'infanterie de la Vielle Garde Française has ability d'escarmouche which les élites prussiennes lack, et it is rated as impulse infantry which combines the advantages of the linear et columnar combat doctrine. In The Age of Eagles les brigades de la Vielle Garde Française outclass other guard formations, because of the combined advantages of combat doctrine, brigade effectiveness, et ability d'escarmouche, et not because they are rated a superhuman 7 on a morale scale of 1 to 6.
Campaign gamers will be happy to know that The Age of Eagles introduces a simple et convincing point system to calculate the strength et average troop rating of a brigade. Using this system, historical brigade strengths et known combat ratings can be easily converted to create realistic table-top scenarios. Jim Getz et Scott Bowden put an enormous amount of detail into their Empire III army lists, using ten morale grades to differentiate Old Guard, Guard, Grenadiers, et Elites at the upper end, et Conscript, Landwehr, trained Militia, et untrained Militia at the opposite extreme. In The Age of Eagles the top four morale grades are subsumed as "Elites", the bottom four are "Conscripts", et everyone else is "Regular". Three morale grades et three different combat doctrines provide 9 unique combat effectiveness ratings in The Age of Eagles, compared to 10 morale ratings in Empire III. Enough to differentiate la Vielle Garde Française from Gardes britanniques, et Gardes prussiennes comme Empire III.
Like BOFF, The Age of Eagles requires little to no bookkeeping, because all game-relevant unit statistics are on a label underneath the brigade command stand ou artillery battery. Unlike other wargame rules, which use cryptic labels like "1B/A/R [10D] PrGN", the labels used in The Age of Eagles are easy to read like "Ziethen / 8e Landwehr Silésienne C 7/6/4", being a Conspript Brigade de la 11e Division Prussienne sous Ziethen. La 8e Landwehr Silésienne has a strength of 7 stands at the start of the Bataille de Dresden. It becomes worn when strength drops to 6 stands, et is spent, when it has only 4 stands left.
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The Age of Eagles recommends the same figurine stand sizes already popularized by other grand-tactical wargame systems, which also happen to be compatible avec popular brigade level wargame rules. If this were not the case, it is very likely that miniatures all over the world would be force-marching toward the sound of re-basing.
Pour plus d'informations, veuillez contacter les éditeurs de la revue Military Miniatures Magazine au Miniatures Forum.