Not tonight Josephine - 28mm Napoleonic skirmish game

My Secret Wargaming friend has been busy, he has painted some figures, scratch built some buildings, and asked for others for his birthday. He has started his Napoleonic armies, something he promised he would never do, because he didn't know where it would end......................

A French sentry guards the prize - a command wagon full of secrets

For a while, my secret wargaming friend has been patiently working on this project, and it has been well worth the wait. Tonight he put on a great skirmish game. I was the British commander (represented on tabletop by a suitably dashing command figure), SWF - the French, and he too was represented by a command figure (who's tunic was a little too tight around his belly).

I had strict orders to reconnoiter a nearby town, and bring back captured supplies if possible. I had 13 men for the task, and had to cross a river to get into the town.

The British approach was from the bottom left of the picture then on toward the bridge

There was another crossing point, a ford in the river. It seemed as though the game designer (SWF), was tempting me to split my force, I seriously considered it, and discarded the idea. If my opponent wanted me to split my force, then it would not be a good idea to fall into the trap.

So I decided against it, and opted for the less than subtle - " charge across the bridge and straight toward the enemy". I borrowed the idea from a World War One guide to assaulting enemy trenches that I had recently borrowed..........

The dashing commander, painted in my likeness, along with the short drummer boy, and an overweight standard bearer.

The Forlorn hope

The town was guarded, at first glance by four or five sentries, easy pickings to my group of hardened soldiers. It was the first time I have ever played Napoleonic's, and I was not disappointed. It took me a little while to get my head around the fact it was skirmish rules, but once I had done that, the game was quick, and I felt provided a suitable flavour for the period.

My column approach the bridge at the double

This time the pigs couldn't escape - the gate was closed

My brave boys were quickly spotted by the French sentries. Not surprising really, since they were marching down the centre of the road in bright red tunics. I was hoping speed may give me an advantage - it almost did, almost.

The sentries raised the alarm, and previously unseen French Grenadiers started appearing from the nearby inn, and house. The pressure was on, and I had to get over the bridge. I formed up some of the men in line for volley fire to see of the enemy sentries on the other side of the bridge.

A quick exchange of musketry between the British advanced group and the sentries resulted in private Stevens being seriously wounded. Note the brave officer sensibly leading from the rear - no need to make early futile gestures is there?

The exchange of shot eventually saw the French commander woken from his slumber. I am not sure what he thought was going on, but he was obviously in a rush at this point. He started to shout commands to his troops.

More Grenadiers appear from inside the buildings

Fool-hardy, or brave - British troops, led by a portly sergeant hailing from Hereford, race across the bridge, with French musket balls speeding past their heads.

My opponent, was at first bemused by the rather direct and unimaginative approach of my little company of men, until they crossed the bridge - without suffering a single casualty due to some horrendously poor French dice rolls.

At this point, he sent a man to move the command wagon. The race was on.......

French Grenadiers, in a bit of a panic, try and move the command wagon, and it's precious content away from the speedy British scout force.

The French commander takes personal command of the blocking force

For some of the occupants of the town, life continues as normal......he is called Pepe and belongs to the landlord of the inn.

Vicious hand to hand will soon be on the agenda

Unfortunately, the game was not finished when time was called, down to the both of us getting used to a new rule set.

A good game and great evening.


  1. Nice figures and terrain. What were the rules if I may ask?

    cheers WW

    1. Secret Wargamer12 April 2012 at 20:54

      Hi, thanks for the kind words - but it is all my opponents hard work. The rules we used are called Song of Drums and Shakos - by By Ganesha Games. I have never played Napoleonic before at any scale, and the rules seemed to be quick and give a flavour of the period. They are described as:

      Song of Drums and Shakos is a fast play Napoleonic skirmish game based on the popular *Song of Blades and Heroes* mechanics.

      Muster your squad. Deploy your soldiers and fire volleys
      at the enemy...and when the moment of truth comes, fix bayonets
      and charge!

      - Three scenarios included
      - Simple, elegant system where your tactical decisions matter
      - Playable in any scale with single based models
      - All major troop types represented: 160+ profiles (French, British,Prussian, Russian, and Austrian)
      - Easy measuring system
      - No bookkeeping
      - Point system for building up your Squad
      - Play with as little as 5-6 elite to 20 inexperienced soldiers in a standard game
      - Playable on a small table (60x60 cm for 15mm)
      - Simple yet subtle command system, with Officers and NCO
      - Two or more players, 30-45 minutes for a full game
      - Ideal introductory rule set to small actions in the Napoleonic Era.

  2. Wow, really good pictures. I really like the animals. What colour did you paint the pigs? i have tried to paint many pigs before now and never felt i gave them justice.

  3. Hey Secret Wargamer - ignore anonymous, he has had a few too many gins. Looks a good game and some nice models. I am particularly interested in Pepe, what breed does it represent? Looks a bit like a Yorkshire Terrier to me? - keep up the good work, must dash, off to play cricket in the back garden!

  4. Great report, I like your storytelling style. :)


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