Saturday, September 24, 2016

Along The Black and Blue Danube

In late April of 1809, Feldmarshal Lieutenant Ludwig VonSourkraut finally began moving his division across the border of Bavaria despite delays caused by confused orders, poor roads and his own personal battles with the gout. On a crisp Sunday morning, his forces stood ready to cross one of the smaller tributaries of the Danube but a reinforced French garrison under the command of his old nemesis, Marshall Pierre Camembert, stood in his way. The Frenchman's resolve was the only thing stronger than his body-odor, and Ludwig knew he would be in for a grueling fight.

The view from the Austrian controlled South.
The Austrian objective was to push north across the river and secure the small town of Wasserhaus. Doing so would give them a minor victory. If able to push on to and occupy the town of Brunnenburg, the Austrian army would claim a major victory in the opening stages of the War of the Fifth Coalition. This past week, three friends and I got together to recreate this important fictional battle.

The French deployed in strength in the two northern towns.
For Napoleonics, we us a homebrew set of rules that is really easy to teach and learn and gives good results in a reasonable amount of time. We played a game with over 1000 figures on the board in about 3 hours - with plenty of time for drinking and conversations along the way. It was a great time and really fun battle.

Each player is responsible for commanding a brigade of troops, and our generals' personalities and abilities were randomly generated. My buddy Stu and I commanded the French side and these were our generals:

Men of refined culture and taste, obviously.
Our Austrian opponents, commanded by Ron and Alfonso, were ably led by Sir Connery and Sir Murray. With two knighted Generals, how could they fail?

The Austrians should never have let non-Germans lead their men!
The first several turns involved the Austrians jockeying for position. They concentrated their assault on the bridge at Wasserhaus and the Western flank, even going so far as attempting a sweeping cavalry assault by no less than eight squadrons of hussars.  The battle was incredibly bloody as Austrian infantry attempted to press towards the bridge and a wall of horses forded the river into a nest of waiting French Grenadiers.

Austrian Hussars begin their turn towards the Western flank.
French Carbiniers race foward to reinforce the bridge.
General Trejo leads the Grenadiers toward the Western bank.
Bavarians defend the Eastern flank of Wasserhaus.
French Carbiniers cross the river to push back the Austrian advance!
French Skirmishers desperately defend the watchtower at the bridge.
The Austrians attempted to bypass the bridge entirely and just ford the river.
The French Grenadiers held firm against the onslaught of the Austrian Hussars.
After several hours of fighting, the battlefield was littered with the tiny corpses of toy soldiers, empty beer bottles and the air hung heavy with cotton wool smoke markers. The Austrians just couldn't fully breach the river and were held at Wasserhaus. The French had won the day! It was an awesome afternoon and a great chance to get all my toy soldiers out on the table. I look forward to the next battle.

As a bonus (and because everyone always asks) here are all the rules and cards for my home-brew system. It plays really well and assumes that everyone involved behaves like an adult and has played a war-game before. And how many blogs offer you free rules?! (Don't answer that.)


Page 1
Page 2

Page 3

General Sheet 1 - print once and cut out.
General Sheet 2 - print once and cut out.
Special Event Cards 1 - Print once and cut out.
Special Event Card 2 - print once and cut out.


  1. Awesome beautifully based miniatures cool game to will have to give it a go cheers S

  2. hi once again
    i have played a few games of your Saber,Sovereign and Shako. Being a solo wargamer i have found they work well, and give a nice game full of tension and some hard fought battle to date. I was thinking of doing a series of wargames using your rules on my youtube channel, but wanted to ask if this would be ok with yourself as i didn't want to go any further without asking
    regards Stephen

  3. Hey! Glad you're enjoying the ruleset. Feel free to use them and please shoot me the link for your channel. I'm super interested to see someone else use the rules without me there to explain things! :)