GRENADIER is a wide-ranging and ambitious examination of European warfare during the period of transition from the first introduction of the socket bayonet, which allowed an infantryman armed with a musket to participate effectively in both fire and shock combat, to the years just before the Crimean War, and the dawn of modern industrialized warfare.
GRENADIER is the second installment (although it was the first to be released) of SPI’s series of tactical games dealing with the development of firearms and their evolving tactical use on the battlefield. The first game of the series, MUSKET & PIKE (1550-1680), was published in January 1973, and the last, RIFLE AND SABER (1850-1900), appeared in April of the same year. Interestingly, GRENADIER was the only game in the series designed by Jim Dunnigan; both of the other two titles were designed by John Young. After GRENADIER, leader counters — and command and control — were completely eliminated from the rest of the series. Apparently, players wanted a little realism in their tactical games, just not quite that much.
The course of play in GRENADIER is interactive, but logical. This multi-phase turn sequence, while adding a little complexity, gives the game some of the feel of simultaneous movement without requiring any cumbersome record keeping. A typical game turn proceeds as follows: first player offensive fire phase (fire combat is always resolved in this order: shot, then canister, and then musket); second player defensive fire phase; first player movement phase; first player shock combat phase; second player offensive fire phase; first player defensive fire phase; second player movement phase; second player shock combat phase. Once these steps are completed, the game turn is over.
GRENADIER offers sixteen different scenarios (mini-games) that depict engagements from the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714), the Second Silesian War (1744-1745), the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), the Napoleonic Wars (1796-1815), and the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). Among the many battles depicted in the scenarios are the following:
1. Blenheim (12 August 1704)
2. Fontenoy (11 May 1745)
3. Leuthen (5 December 1757)
4. The Pyramids (21 July 1798)
5. Trebbia (9 June 1799)
6. Marengo (14 June 1800)
7. Austerlitz (2 December 1805)
8. Jena (14 October 1806)
9. Rolica (17 August 1808)
10. Sepulveda (30 November 1808)
11. Los Santos (3 January 1812)
12. Salamanca (23 July 1812)
13. Pilnitz (mid-September 1813)
14. Waterloo (18 June 1815), The Charge of the Union Brigade
15. Waterloo (18 June 1815), The Attack of the Imperial Guard
16. Palo Alto (8 May 1846)
A PERSONAL OBSERVATIONBy today's standards, the GRENADIER game components are a little dated, if not downright primitive; the game design, however, is not. In fact, the complex interaction of the different combat arms, and the crucial importance of command and control, makes GRENADIER a challenging game to play, even by today's standards. Moreover, because the combat system minimizes the influence of luck, die rolls have very little impact on important combats; instead, it is the individual player's coordination of infantry, cavalry, and artillery and his ability to maximize the different arms' battlefield effectiveness that ultimately determines success in the game. Thus, the "rock, scissors and paper" tactical puzzle is really the heart of the GRENADIER simulation platform and probably explains why the game system remains fresh and challenging, even after repeated playings. This is undoubtedly also the reason that, despite the fact that I played every single scenario at least once (a college friend was a big fan of tactical games), and a sizable number of them many, many times, I never felt, by any game's end, that I ever really got things exactly right. In fact, when I took GRENADIER out to write up this description, I had the urge to set-up and play through The Attack of the Imperial Guard — my favorite scenario — to see if I could break the British left flank, just one more time, and march my grenadiers over Wellington and off the map to victory.
- Time Scale: 10 minutes per game turn
- Map Scale: 50 meters per hex
- Unit Size: company/squadron/battery
- Unit Types: GHQ command, infantry/cavalry/artillery command, line/conscript/grenadier/skirmisher/improved/Prussian/regular/light/militia infantry, light/heavy cavalry, dragoon, artillerymen, artillery transport, four-pounder/six-pounder/eight-pounder/ten-pounder/twelve-pounder artillery, and information markers
- Number of Players: two
- Complexity: low/average
- Solitaire Suitability: above average
- Average Playing Time: 2-3 hours
- One 22" x 28" hexagonal grid Map Sheet
- 400 ½" cardboard Counters
- One 5½" x 11½" map-fold style Set of Rules and Scenario Instructions
- One 8½" x 11" back-printed combined Combat Resolution Table, Terrain Effects Chart, and Scenario Historical Commentary
- One 8½" x 11" Errata Sheet (1974)
- One 7½" x 8½" SPI Catalog Mailer
- One small six-sided Die
- One SPI 12" x 15" x 1" flat 24 compartment plastic Game Box (with clear compartment tray covers) and clear plastic game cover with Title Sheet
Related Map and Counters Blog PostsGAME ANALYSIS: GRENADIER: Tactical Warfare 1680-1850 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
TRICKS OF THE TRADE: TURN PHASE TRACK FOR SPI'S 'GRENADIER'
SPI, MUSKET & PIKE: Tactical Warfare 1550-1680 (1973)
SPI, RIFLE AND SABER (1973)