Wars of Eagles and Empires

I haven’t posted in quite some time.  Work has been pretty busy, and my limited social media time has been focused on supporting the various Facebook pages that Sally 4th has established for Wars of Ozz and Wars of Orcs and Dwarves.

The setup for last weekend’s playtest scenario, based on Barry Hilton’s article in Miniature Wargames of the Battle of Walcourt 1689. Many of the scenarios I am creating for Wars of Eagles and Empires are generic versions of actual battles.

When Old Glory and I set out on the Wars of Ozz journey, Russ sought a massed battle, black powder, fantasy game to support his wonderful line of figures.  I used the Seven Years’ War as general inspiration as I designed the rules.  While not an expert on the Seven Years’ War specifically, I have read about tactics and grand tactics of the period.  My initial goal was to eventually grow Wars of Ozz into a Napoleonic set of rules.

The game begins. Mark controled the French, and Wayne controlled the Russians. The scenario was set up for six players, but only two were able to participate. While the game moved along fine, it was a little slower than other playtests due to the huge span of control.

After releasing Wars of Ozz, Sally 4th convinced me to create Wars of Orcs and Dwarves (WOOD).  Those rules were meant to be a come-as-you-are set of mass battle fantasy rules.  When I started on the rules, I didn’t even have any fantasy figures for playtests.  Much of the development happened during the mass hysteria of the pandemic, so play tests were done over Zoom with friends worldwide.  During the WOOD development, I still wanted to eventually turn the Wars of Ozz engine into a set of rules for Napoleonic games.  In addition, I had it in mind that the rules would be supported by a series of supplements for other black powder periods, such as the Seven Years’ War, the Thirty Years’ War, the Jacobite Rebellion, and the American Revolution.

Mark impetuously charged his French columns against the most forward Russian battalions. The French objective was to capture the hill on the right of the picture.

In the past year, even while WOOD was being formatted for publishing, I began developing Wars of Eagles and Empires.  Development is coming along nicely, I think. The rules seem to be working. Napoleonics are, of necessity, more complicated than Ozz, but I have worked hard to keep it as simple as possible without losing the Napoleonic feeling.

The French advance. After the game, I suggested that Mark might have spent a turn advancing before launching a bunch of charges. This would have allowed him to charge the enemy more in mass. Instead, his attacks came piecemeal, which helped the outnumbered Russians maintain their lines.

In parallel with rules development, I am also developing a set of scenarios.  These are meant for Eagles and Empires but could be used for other lesser systems as well.  Eagles and Empires are designed from division-level engagements.  I recognize that the trend in the hobby is to recreate Leipzig on a card table with nine figures in 15 minutes, but I prefer those smaller engagements with up to three players on a side.  I recognize that this will (once again) limit the commercial viability of the rules, but I am designing them for myself.  If others enjoy them too, that’s a bonus.

This is a scene early in the scenario. In the foreground, you can see the remnants of a French cavalry charge by chasseurs against some Russian infantry.

This development has also allowed me to get my old Minifigs on the table again.  I love the new 28mm figures from Old Glory and other manufacturers, but I cut my teeth on Airfix, and Minifigs were my first metal figures.  Ozz, WOOD, and Eagles and Empries are designed to provide an old-school feel but with modern, streamlined mechanics.  So, there is something satisfying about using older figures, where every figure in a battalion is in the same pose.

Mid-game, several battalions of French throw themselves at Russian grenadiers. At this point, I thought the French were about to punch a hole in the Russian line but note the Russian grenadiers and cuirassiers prepared to plug a hole.

Last weekend my buddy Mark was in Orlando for golf camp.  He was able to take time from chasing a little white ball around a field to come over and play a wargame.   After every playtest game, I tweak the charts a bit.  I am pretty close to done with development and will begin writing soon.  It has been about a year of development time.  I suspect I will have them ready for public consumption in another year to eighteen months.

French chasseurs battle with Russian dragoons.
On the French left flank, French hussars battled with Russian cavalry. By the end of the third turn, the French had swept the French cavalry and threatened to turn the Russian right flank.
French and Bavarian infantry advanced toward the Russian center. Note that one French battalion (on the right of the image) is retreating from the Russian fire. Wayne effectively used his single artillery battery to blunt the French attacks.  You have to love the look of those huge battalions on the table!
A Bavarian battalion almost punched through the Russian line.
Again on the French left flank, you can see French cuirassiers fighting Russian dragoons.  I had just finished painting four regiments of French hussars for this scenario.  Mark violated “Buck’s Law,” which states that the first time you put a new unit on the table, they get wiped out.
Here is one final look at the table showing the French trying to punch through the Russian line. I love the look of large battalions!

I hope you have enjoyed the pictures sprinkled throughout this post.