GRENADIER: Tactical Combat 1680-1850 is a historical simulation of European tactical warfare from 1704 to the mid-19th century. The historical period covered by the game, contrary to what is promised in the title, actually spans the years from the very early 18th century, through the wars of Frederick the Great and the campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte, to the end of the Mexican-American War. GRENADIER was designed by James F. Dunnigan and published in 1971 by Simulations Publications, Incorporated (SPI).


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)


By 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.

Design Characteristics:

  • 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

Game Components:

  • 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 Posts

SPI, MUSKET & PIKE: Tactical Warfare 1550-1680 (1973)

Recommended Reading

See my blog post Book Review of this title which is recommended for those visitors who would like additional historical background information.


  • Nice review - and your point about the coordination of the Inf - Cav - Arty was and still is the defining moment for these games in my book.


  • Hey Joe,
    I've been out of touch about La Grande Armee and Leipzig. Just haven't been able to cajole or coerce more games of either out of my opponents. I might get Leipzig up and running this month or next. On the upside, I just got a copy of 1812 and a copy of Grenadier. I have an opponent that I have just played a three games of Musket and Pike with, and after a couple more, I intend to get him to give Grenadier a go with me. I've given the rules a quick read. Its amazing how much is in such a short set of rules. One thing that concerned me though was there were no rules for forming square. I can see how this is taken into account the way the various strengths of the units are set up and I can also see that the way the units were factored that it would be hard to add this in. However, I wondered if you felt this was an oversight? The various cannons are plenty powerful and forming square would be an immediate death sentence with the way things are. Still, I could see giving infantry in the open a +1 to their defense against fire attacks. Remove this if they form square. And then if cavalry are in a certain close proximity that gives them their best charge the Infantry must role to see if they must form square. etc., etc. and now I have added a whole new fold of rules were everything to be accounted for and I haven't even played the game yet. You guys have stated that this has that rock paper scissors feel of the Napoleonic battlefield so I assume this is achieved through the unit factoring, the very interesting combat table and the sequence of play. When not much more is needed you can call that a graceful design. Can't wait to play! Best, Lincoln

  • Greetings Lincoln:

    It's nice to hear from you again!

    GRENADIER, for all of its flaws, is still one of my favorite treatments of tactical-level warfare during the Age of Napoleon. Certainly, the WELLINGTON'S VICTORY (and its several subsequent permutations) is far superior -- as a complete and integrated tactical system -- to the relatively simple mechanics of the much older game. On the other hand, it took me (an experienced gamer) the better part of a month to really begin to master the intricacate tactical interactions of the various arms as represented in the WV game platform; while it only took me a couple of hours to start to get a reasonable feel for GRENADIER and its play.

    Your question about infantry formations in GRENADIER, not surprisingly, has come up before. This criticism of Dunnigan's design, although somewhat plausible on it's face, is -- I would argue -- actually misplaced. The individual infantry units in GRENADIER, it should be remembered, are companies; the "infantry squares" of the period, on the other hand, were almost always formed from battalions or regiments. Thus, Dunnigan -- at least in my view -- rather neatly handled this tactical situation through his use of the game's stacking rules which, in GRENADIER, expose only the top unit in a stack to musket or cannister fire; while, at the same time, leaving the whole of the same stack vulnerable to the effects of artillery "round shot".

    The use of "leader" units is, I think, another way in which -- in spite of the limitations of the GRENADIER game system -- creative players can achieve quite a bit of tactical nuance when it comes to how their assaulting and defending stacks are organized. In this game, it is often the case that it is not the strongest force, but, instead, the one that can reorganize most efficiently during (and after) melee combat that will actually win the day.

    No, all in all, in spite of its absolute "drabness" when compared to most contemporary Napoleonic games, I still find that GRENADIER offers a wide collection -- through its various scenarios -- of different (and quite intriguing) game problems to those players who are interested enough in the Napoleonic period to discount the game's unimpressive graphics, but look instead to this venerable old title's rich narrative value.

    By the way, I liked this game well enough to write a fairly lengthy "play analysis" of GRENADIER; you might consider giving that piece a look.

    Best Regards, Joe

    PS: I'm glad you were able to find 1812 along with GRENADIER; both -- in my humble opinion -- are great games (in their own ways), and both really do belong in the serious Napoleonic games afficiando's collection of titles.

  • Joe, I was looking over my setup of the Marengo scenario this morning and I basically came to the same conclusion about squares that you stated above. At this scale such things are demonstrated organically by what you actually do with the counters. Very, very nice!

    Here is another pre-play bit of blather to get your sage advice over. I have read that when cavalry charge there is a sweet spot, depending size of horse and man, to create maximum shock. Enough distance is needed to get up to speed but then this formation can only be kept for a short distance before it starts to straggle and lose its punch. Within the scale of this game should their be a drop off in value similar to the build up, should a charge exceed the the number of hexes required to charge at full strength. Or, is it appropriate to allow the cavalry to take up its position and charge all in the same turn? I assume this is as it should be. I am just haunted by the effect cavalry seem to have in other games. You set them up for a charge and that immediately effects the behavior of the opposing forces nearby. In this game it seems that cavalry have quite a wide ranging effect and this dynamic of merely placing the threat of a charge has less impact on play because the majority units are generally open to a charge at any given time. I'm probably wrong about this point and their set up is more problematic than I am imagining. It seems that the first player to cover the ground with his own cavalry definitely dominates that area vs other cavalry who will need to move up screened by infantry before they two will be able to place their weight on the field. Very interesting.

  • Greetings Lincoln:

    Your observation regarding the effect of cavalry on an opposing force on the Napoleonic battlefield sertainly has some historical merit; moreover, until Frank Davis addressed this issue in WELLINGTON'S VICTORY, it is not unfair to say that it had pretty much been ignored by previous designers, Dunnigan included. On the other hand, given the game's scale and the fact that there are no "Morale Checks" in GRENADIER, I think that Jimmy's solution -- a 3 to 4 hex straight line charge requirement followed by automatic disruption -- actually imposes onerous enough restrictions on the cavalry to insure that the opposing horsemen do not tend dominate the game's action in those scenarios in which both artillery and infantry are also present.

    No, when it comes to the proper use of the cavalry arm in GRENADIER, my view really hasn't changed since I wrote the "game analysis" on this old Dunnigan title some years ago: the best use of the cavalry -- at least in most cases -- is to not use them at all, but, instead, to maintain their threat value as a "force in being".

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Hi Guys
    Thought I once saw someone design a random chit draw movement system in this game to introduce chaos into the battles. Unfortunately, can't seem to find the article now.

    Author seemed to make a strong case that without the chaos, the game is too much like chess, which is totally unrealistic

    thanks, Terence

  • Greetings Terence:

    I'm not sure that -- at least at this simulation level (10 minute game turns; 50 meter hexes) -- I would want to see a lot of additional "randomness" introduced into Dunnigan's game, whether through "random events" cards or die rolls. Moreover, I think that the fact that Jimmy (see the Designer's Notes) was actually trying to -- as much as possible -- eliminate the luck factor from this title's combat subroutine strongly mitigates against reintroducing "chance" through some other post-publication medium.

    No, as I have already noted earlier, for those players who want a more "exciting and random (or capricious)" Napoleonic tactical game platform, there is always Frank Davis' very clever WELLINGTON'S VICTORY game system (and its several more recent off-shoots). Frank doesn't resort to the gimmick of "event cards", but there are still a lot of surprises built into his design thanks to the tactical interaction of the different combat arms, and, of course, the powerful effect of morale.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Greetings Again Terence:

    It occurs to me that, if you are really committed to tracking down the post-publication "GRENADIER" variant that you alluded to above, you might check the appropriate game folders at "Boardgamegeek.com" or "Consimworld.com". It has been my experience that, assuming one has a bit of patience, one will be able (surprisingly often) to track down the most amazing things relating to the game in the folder.

    Good Luck and
    Best Regrads, Joe

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  • Joe, I finally got one of my opponents to play this game with me tonight. I like it a lot so far but we both need to figure out how to get this pony to trot. We played the Marengo scenario which seems fairly balanced. I was the French and my opponent, Kevin, the Austrians.

    In this particular play I lumped all my infantry in Duvigneau (big mistake) and my opponent attempted to take the city before it could be relieved. Fortunately for me, Kevin greedily settled for a 3-1 at 8 hexes using shot and his second roll was a 6 ending the cannonade. Had he thrown in his forth cannon he would have had a certain DD. Instead, he hoped to also disrupt a unit from the other town hex with an attack with canister. He then approached with one cavalry and several light infantry and managed to eliminate the disrupted top unit. I was then able to make a fire attack from the other end of town and eliminate one of his disrupted units from his shock attack. So far many rookie mistakes on both sides.

    Over the next couple of turns the rookie mistakes amplified. We had both created at the outset as many skirmishers as we could. (Another mistake in this instance at least) The end result was that we wound up lined up and engaged. This did stymy his effort to take the city as it allowed me to continually feed in new units to the city. Even worse, neither of us seem to be able to get are artillery into a good position. He shifted his artillery to his left but while he was still in carriages I managed to open a whole in his skirmisher line and during my next defensive fire phase to disrupt one of his artillery units with musket fire.

    By this time I had committed half of my Grenadiers supported by two line infantry in the center and managed to at least partially eliminate the threat against the town routing several good order infantry companies. During these combats one disrupted and one good order Austrian cavalry units were destroyed. One of these was from Kevin's opening attack still not withdrawn. (More mistakes) The end result was that I now had a slight advantage in dragoons!

    I immediately took advantage of this moving forward six squadrons against the Austrian left and forcing him to load in carriages once again his exasperated crews. Had he not had a mix of skirmishers and cavalry in between or even if he had placed a single well supported battery in one of the two towns on his left I would still not have been able to threaten his artillery from the rear in such a manner. Of course he had no infantry to spare due to the fact that we had maxed out on skirmishers and due to his assault on Duvigneau.

    We left it at this point only a little over half way through. We had too many questions really to continue and it was getting late.

    Questions to follow:

  • Questions:

    1. Can some skirmishers join in shock attacks and thereby be used to absorb the required disruptions from rounds of attack? We did not like this much. We felt that this was a little gamey.

    2. At what point can a leader become disrupted? We played it that leaders suffer the fate of the last unit in a hex and that they do not block LOS. However, we still found them blocking the movement through the enemy line. Shouldn't they be either eliminated or displaced if alone? Are leaders fired at separately? What if the unit on top is a leader? Surely it does not block a fire attack against a the next unit underneath. In a shock attack, must a leader receive a separate round of attacks thus forcing the disruption of one more assaulting unit?

    Of course I acknowledge these are very poor uses for leaders but in the static game we played, heavy in skirmishers with poorly deployed artillery these are questions that arose for us.

    3. What happens to a limbered artillery unit that receives a D or DD? We played it that, like with an elim result, the crews are effected by the result along with the carriages (both disrupted) and the gun segment is unlimbered.

    4. Finally, it seems there is a dynamic whereby the player making a shock attack can disrupt units deep in a stack (if he wants) and disrupt the top units of enemy stacks. This also plays into fire attacks as well. It seems that the active player can do a lot to limit his opponents capacity to return fire. We were not certain whether the top unit in a stack that is making a shock attack should not be the one that is disrupted rather than another deeper in the stack. Any comment on this dynamic? Probably we are just still confused.

    Clearly, there are a lot of advantages to finessing some more fire attacks before allowing the line to bog down like this.

    I am looking forward to our next attempt in a couple weeks.

    Thanks in advance Joe!

  • Greetings Lincoln:

    I'm delighted that you are finally in a position to give this great old game a try; it's too bad that you won't be attending this year's Consim Expo as John Kranz and I will be playing this, as well as a few other older games from the "Golden Age" of SPI.

    Now, turning to your rules questions ...

    #1: Yes, skirmishers can participate in "shock" assaults; their "1" shock value -- unlike that of artillerymen, leaders, transports, etc. -- can be used for offensive as well as defensive combat. However, given the fact that skirmishers are both weak offensively, block friendly fire LOS, and cannot stack, this is probably a very poor use of these units.

    #2: Leaders are disrupted, just like other units, as a result of either enemy fire or shock attacks. Their "shock" value is defensive only, but if they are in a stack (usually at the bottom), they must be attacked (in the correct order) just like every other combat unit in the stack. Also, commanders -- until they are eliminated as a result of combat -- block both LOS and enemy movement.

    Remember, the design scale of 'GRENADIER' is only 50 meters per hex and 10 minutes per game turn; given the limitations of smooth bore muskets and the infantry tactics of the period, it really isn't u nreasonable to think that a commander (acccompanied, as he would be, by an escort and retinue) would present at least as much of an obstacle to the enemy's LOS and movement as a few dozen skirmishers.

    So far as the use of leaders is concerned: they are the only units in the game that are able to provide "command and control" and/or "rally" friendly units once they have become disrupted; hence, any player who carelessly places them in exposed positions will quickly get the battlefield outcome that he or she deserves.

    #3: Your interpretation is reasonable. Please note, however, that while caissons and gun crews can be eliminated in combat, guns cannot. This means that, although an attacker can destroy the transport and crew of a specific gun, if his opponent can scrape up another transport and crew, he can bring the formally diabled gun back into action.

    #4: Yes, the phasing player (attacker), because his units are moving, has considerably more latitude in the resolution of shock attacks than the defender. And while this may seem a little unfair on its face, it actually makes perfect sense, if you thinka about it.

    First, the attacker can -- at least in theory -- have organized his advancing force in any of several different ways: "ordre-mixte", simple column assault, companies echelonned right or left, one flank denied, etc. The defending unit or units, on the other hand, will -- barring those situations in which the defender occupies a strongpoint like a town or chateaux -- typically be drawn up in a line several ranks deep. In such situations, the front rank of defenders is always going to take the brunt of the initial assault.

    By the way, as an alternative to the "shock" combat rules (as written) in 'GRENADIER', I and my friends experimented with the somewhat more liberal "shock" rules from 'MUSKET & PIKE' and found that, although these rules do not come into play often, nonetheless adds a little something extra to the game.

    Fianlly, remember that the action in this game is at the company level; hence, familiar formations such as infantry "squares", etc. really have no applicability. This also means that any tactical nuance that players introduce into their games must come from the interaction of the different combat arms, the proper use of both elevated and covering terrain, and the inventive exploitation of the stacking rules.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Greetings Again Lincoln:

    In my haste to get off my answers to your several questions, I neglected to mention in my previous comments that SPI published a page or so of post-publication "errata" for 'GRENADIER' back in "Moves 12". If you would like a copy of your own, you can still download this "errata" sheet by going to the appropriate game file at 'Grognard.com".

    Best Regards, Joe

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  • Hey Joe, Thanks, I think I have that errata. I've played two more games now. I think I am starting to get the hang of this game. As I do, my appreciation of this game continues to grow. Unfortunately, my opponent does not share my opinion. Funny, he really likes Musket and Pike but he just doesn't like the fiddly stacking order and different shock rules... I DO!

    Making all the arms work together has been an engaging and illuminating puzzle. Figuring out how to counter when the other player has the jump in artillery placement is very interesting.

    In the last game we played' "Attack of the Imperial Guard" I broke his line, though we did not play long enough for me to drive the attack home. Still it was inevitable and all because he did not have a reserve.

    It does seem that this scenario requires that the Brits cover too broad a frontage. In fact we played that the French cannot exit south of Longwood. I attacked his hill line because I wanted to kinda simulate the historical attack of the Middle Guard. His big mistake was to not take sufficient advantage of the reverse slope.

    I think I will push for this to be played with another face to face opponent.

    Joe, I wish I was planning to come to Tempe. I haven't been since around 2002! I'm not really interested in playing monster games at a convention. I had know idea that open gaming had become so much a part of the event. The opportunity for a week of so much pick up gaming is too much of a draw to ignore! I am going to plan on coming next year. My God, Kharkov by SPI even has some interest on the open gaming list. I'll be there with a stack of flatpacks and mag games, Avalon Hill and GDW too.

    Leipzig, La Grande Armee, Lee Moves North, Franco Prussian War, The American Civil War, Frederick the Great. On and on, too many to list.

  • Greetings Lincoln:

    It would be great if you could attend the Consimworld Expo 2014; I know that, barring the unexpected, I will be there with the usual collection of older titles.

    Yes, achieving an understanding of the peculiar "rock, scissors, paper" aspect of this tactical simulation is where the real challenge and fun of Dunnigan's design comes out. And you are also correct when it comes to the proper use of artillery in this game: master the effective use of your guns, and everything else that you want to accomplish will suddenly seem to bea great deal easier!

    Finally, when it comes to the various GRENADIER Scenarios, "The Attack of the Imperial Guard" is probably my favorite. As you note, if the French avoid the Anglo-Allied center (with it's two Chateaux and very handy ridgeline) and, instead, strike at the British "left", then Wellington will have a very trying time of it.
    On the other hand, once you get a little more experience with the game, you will, I suspect, find that -- when his troops are properly deployed -- Wellington's center is virtually impregnable. This Scenario "set-up", by the way, is a little bit unfair to the French as La Haye Sainte had at last fallen to Ney's troops by the time that the Middle Guard went forward.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Whoops, we had not integrated the errata regarding firing from slope over units at ground level! This definitely makes the hill line far more difficult to break.

    OK, I am ashamed to say this but with only three games under my belt I already am considering a house rule.

    Skirmishers may always move one hex in the turn they are formed regardless of terrain costs.

    (Without this rule, skirmishers cannot be formed out of units surrounded by slope or woods hexes. I just don't think that is appropriate)

    What does your experience tell you about this modification?

  • Greetings Lincoln:

    Yes, as to your first point: friendly artillery that has been effectively positioned on the crests of ridges becomes extraordiarily powerful because of its ability to pick apart an advancing force, skirmishers or no skirmishers.

    The second skirmisher "movement" problem that you allude to is -- in my view, at least -- just one of those little details that players have to consider when planning their moves from turn-to-turn. Personally, I have never found this aspect of the skirmisher rules to be particularly irksome; but, if you want to experiment with a few "home-brewed" rules, I see no reason why you and your opponents shouldn't at least give them a try. For my own part, however, given the fact that the main task of skirmishers in 'GRENADIER' is to screen friendly companies from enemy fire as they cross open ground, it does not strike me as too onerous a hardship for both players to make a few early arrangements when it comes to their future allocations of skirmisher units.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Fair enough. One of the aspects of this game that I really admire is that whatever part of the rules I temporarily feel may need an update, either in the form of clarification or complication, it isn't long before I come back around to the opinion that the game works best just as it is. One starts out with the opinion that this game has a lot of those rough edges that most Dunnigan game essays had. One wonders how such a simple design can render the Napoleonic battlefield so well. With experience, the attentive gamer comes to understand that Grenadier is highly complex in actual play. Though it is early for me to say this, I also have to mention that Grenadier does not seem to suffer from gamey methods of skewing it in your own favor. No perfect strategies, no configuration of position and play that cannot somehow be countered.

    I just introduced this game to another opponent of mine last night. Again we started out with the Marengo scenario. Steve is a very experienced player and has played a lot of Napoleonic games so the problems in hand were not at all foreign to him. He was very surprised that he had never even heard of the game much less not played it at some point in the distant past. He was immediately enamored by the game and insisted that I leave it behind so that he could solo it for a week in preparation for our next game! The days are long now since I pretty generally have this thing set up on some surface. Plus, his dog has been known to eat the occasion game piece...or two!

    The one detail that bothered him was that my lone artillery piece up on the hill on his French left had the capacity to fire at leaders that were not stacked with any unit. He said that this was just never done. I of course never used my artillery in this fashion and I pointed out to him that it was highly unlikely that I would waste my artillery fire on one of his leaders alone when I was very busy attempting to instead break up his attack. The exposure still troubled him. Again I informed him that the battlefield in Grenadier is always rife with threats but the real danger is only when you don't mount a sufficient counter threat. What Steve didn't realize was that because he was advancing quickly his leaders in the open were perfectly safe because I had no such luxury while I was busy trying to break up his attack.

    I think that if this game were to be updated the chief thing that should be done is to give it some geomorphic mapboards, good looking counters and more scenarios. Once thing I might add is some color coding to show that a number of units all belong to the same formation including certain leaders. The fire defense value should just be removed from counters as players can simply remember that only skirmishers have a defense of 2. I would also include howitzers that can fire semi indirectly, or possibly the option of howitzer fire to some batteries. Of course whatever form it took, it would be very watered down in comparison to normal artillery fire. I do believe that howitzer fire had a role to play on the Napoleonic battlefield. My guess is they should be limited to a D result and never certainty. Possibly even some historical mapboards though I am not sure if that is all that essential at this scale.

    Really looking forward to next weeks game!

  • Greetings Lincoln:

    I am, I confes, more than a litle pleased that, after decades of almost total obscurity within the ranks of the hobby, GRENADIER has at last garnered a few more fans to join ranks with Mark Saha and myself. For the longest time, it seemed that no matter how many unfair criticisms of the game the two of us managed to bat down, there were always new pseudo-experts on Napolionic warfare who were ready and willing to offer their own ill-considered (and usually completely wrong) concepts of what a tactical (company-level) simulation of Napoleonic warfare should look like.

    Regarding the idea of a "face lift" (even an amateur DTP verison) for GRENADIER ...

    If the game were to be updated by some dedicated (if somewhat eccentric "grognard", and yes, I'm thinking of you, Kim), then, by all means, the counters and maps could, indeed, use quite a bit of work. In addition, the various game charts could also be updated (to reflect post-publication "errata") and a bit of additional terrain -- plowed fields, marshes. rivers. bridges, etc. -- could probably also be added without corrupting the essential logic of Dunnigan's basic design.

    Also, of course, any modern redo of this game -- besides including my free-to-all-comers "turn phase record track" -- should absolutely include "phase specific" Disruption markers for both sides.

    Finally, although "color-coded" units and leaders are intuitively appealing (I, for instance, eat this stuff up with a spoon); to make such an approach truly workable would: a) probably require double the number of unit counters (currently 400) included with the original design; and b) it would also require carefully rewritten additional "command & control" rules for those "ad hoc" formations that inevitably would come together as a result of the battlefield effects of combat and losses.

    Finally, finding good -- that is logically (and historically) persuasive -- "company level" simulations that cover the period running from the late 18th to early 20th century is exceedingly difficult. I suppose that, along with the titles that you have already mentioned, you could add 'MONMOUTH', but that is -- when everything is said and done -- really a "spin-off" of Frank Davis' WELLINGTON'S VICTORY.

    Certainly, the "Martial Enterprises" (and their various permutations) games attempt (sometimes heroically) to capture the essence of tactical Napoleonic combat but, alas, both their combat rules and their design scale (battalion, regiment), as often as not, tend to lead to some pretty astonishing battlefield outcomes when these games are actually played.

    In the same vein, TERRIBLE SWIFT SWORD. "you know who's" only really great game design ever -- in spite of its many wonderful tactical embellishments -- never really succeeds (at least in my view) in delivering the same immediacy of decision-making and action that Jimmy's much-older (and vastly underappreacited) GRENADIER does; so go figure

    I guess in the end, as, I should note, both Jimmie Dunnigan and John Young ruefully conceeded long ago: "sometimes players don't really want accurate simulation, what they really want are games that simply reinforce their preconceptions about historical periods and specific battles."

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Joe,

    I have been trying, off and on, for the last couple of years to acquire a copy of Deployment circa 1969. I believe this was also referred to as Tactical Game 10. I have very little information on this game other than that its chief focus was on the timing involved in two forces closing and deploying for battle. The crux of the game seemed to center on which player could get the jump on the other in deployed artillery.

    This sounds fairly abstract but I can see how working out how this tends to play itself out in game form would be an antecedent to games like Grenadier. Its interesting from an historical or ludographic point of view to think about how all this was fairly new at this time to boardgaming. Not new to miniatures style wargaming which would represent this problem in a more prosaic fashion. Within this nexus it is interesting to consider not only the game and its design, and its possible link to the development of later designs, but also the possible transference of processes from the miniatures hobby into a palatable form for boardgames. And of course this is to say nothing about the interesting subject of the design and development process.

    I have always held out hope that someone will one day put forward a serious almost day to day history of SPI, its operation and its projects, especially of the early days when there was so much energy and a sense of being part of something new. The cast alone!

    If you still have a copy of Deployment I appeal to you for a fulsome review! One that explains the mechanics and the counters a little better than I have been able to glean. If not but you played it back in the day, I would be grateful for any recollections. Its interesting that the game does not have an entry at web grognards but only one on BGG. There seems to be no discussion of it on the consimworld forum.

    So far as I can tell the counters were mostly in long strips a'la old fashioned kriegspiel, I assume to accentuate the focus on the maneuver from road march to line. My experience is that multi-hex counters never really works on a hex grid. I have always felt sure that the game is fairly rudimentary but since getting to know Grenadier I am second guessing this assumption.



  • Greetings Lincoln:

    If I ever actually gave 'DEPLOYMENT' a look back in the oh-so-distant-past, whatever impression that this early design might have made on me has long since faded completely from my memory. Then again, there were a number of early SPI designs (e.g., STRATEGY I, the several generations of the "Prestags" tactical games, SNIPER, etc.) that, for one reason or another, I just couldn't get interested in.

    So, when it comes to helping your find this title, I am pretty much a "dead end"; however ...

    It seems to me that you might approach Kim Meints (who frequents many of the BGG and CSW game forums) about this game. Unlike me -- who has sold or given away the vast majority of my games and hobby-related mgazines -- Kim has kept virtually everything (associated with wargaming) that he was ever able to get his hands on, including a lot of the amateur and experimental designs that emerged during the early days of gaming. Hence, it is quite possibloe that he either has a copy of 'DEPLOYMENT' or kn ows where you might be able to get one.

    Another option would be for you to contact Russ Gifford who can usually be reached through the CSW Social network (among other venues). Russ has been working diligently to compile an exhaustive compendium of materials relating to "literally everything" SPI for many years.

    Finally, you could also try a few of the SPI "old timers" that are still around. I know, for instance that you should be able to reack down Mark Saha, David Isby, and Richard Berg, at the very least. When it comes to approaching Jimmie Dunnigan, on the other hand, I suspect that -- since Dunnigan tends to view SPI as ancient history -- you would find your efforts to persuade Jimmy to help you pretty much wasted.

    In any case, good luck with your quest and

    Best REgards, Joe

    PS: One set of SPI games that you might find interesting -- at least in this regard -- is the collection of stand-alone titles in 'THE ART OF SIEGE'.

    Although you might not think so, the titles in this Quadrigame are actually very interesting and quite ingenious, both because of how their designers chose to tackle their respective subjects, but also because of the obvious influence that "miniatures" rules had on these designs' individual game architectures.

  • Greetings Again Lincoln:

    I don't know why I didn't think of him before, but you probably should consider contacting Joe Angiolillo. Joe -- when it comes to wargaming -- has been around forever, was an early player at SPI, and is a serious wargame collector, in his own right. I can't guarantee that Joe will be able to help you in your quest for a copy of 'DEPLOYMENT'.

    Best Regards, Joe

    PS: If you look carefully at a number of Dunnigan's early game designs (BISMARCK, PANZERBLITZ, CA, etc.), I think that you will immediately see the obvious influence of "miniatures" on his evolution as a game designer.

  • Joe,

    I hope you are enjoying the Consimworld convention. I intend to be there next year.

    I agree about your observation about about these games being influenced by miniatures. I had come to that conclusion just based on the early content of S&T. I could only assume that Dunnigan was at least an avid reader of it.

    Well, sadly I have worn out yet another Grenedier opponent. I have one more player that I can run it past. In this last pair of games I let Steve take the offense and the learning curve is pretty tough for that end of things. We played the Marengo scenario. He tried twice. The first time he advanced too slow and I made good use of the hill to the right and generally tore him up.

    The second time I new he would charge the hill and my far right so I set up a reverse slope defense and kept my cavalry within range to make him very careful about his advance on the Austrian far right. Eventually I backed a pair of artillery units onto the second hill line (the one used for the Waterloo Scenario) This completely stymied him both about taking the position on the first hill and any offensive on my far right and this allowed me to pull back to my original line and concentrate for a counter move. In this second game I had thus far left Duvigneau largely alone. But as his weight was mostly near the hill on my right I set up a line on a diagonal oblique to threaten HIS right by eventually passing Duvigneau and starting a flanking maneuver. I had moved my other two artillery into position along this line. Having made the preparatory adjustments, I suddenly decided to pull a ruse that my draw a couple French grenediers into the central killing ground. I feigned a move to take a position back up on the hill that would threaten his artillery as they were being moved into position. My hope was that he would send some of his force around the hill between this oblique line and my hill position to add strength to his attack on that tenuous position. Instead he advance in force in the center as a means of covering his shock attacks on the hill. By this point in the game I had eliminated about ten of his skirmisher so this advance was fatally not well covered. My line was perfectly placed and I was astonished that he walked into the bag. Though I lost my position on the hill (as I intended) I wiped out his center almost entirely. This more or less decided the the battle.

    So far I see the chief error attackers make is that they obsess too much about the threats and don't focus enough on creating enough threats themselves in the right order to overwhelm a strong position.

    In this last game my opponent was obsessed with keeping a solid line of skirmishers because in the first game I had taken advantage of a few open files to get some kills. I have found that sufficient weight in reserve and care not to open up vulnerable files is sufficient to cover any advance from a serious counter attack. If you can manipulate the advantage on a couple files with your artillery so much the better but early on artillery (along with a little cavalry) seems most useful in covering your advance from being seriously attacked or flanked.

  • The French have a significant advantage in infantry in the Marengo scenario and they just need to move forward as quickly as possible, use their artillery wisely and get the weight of that infantry into action. The French 8pdrs range the Austrian 6pdrs and there are definite opportunities along with some skirmish fire to nullify the killing guns and close if it is done right.

    For example: A quick advance by a small force supported by a battery of 4pdr toward the back side of the Hill on the Austrian right is sufficient to decline them the hill and force them to keep to a reverse slope position. A little cavalry helps avoid any thoughts of enemy cavalry raids on this position. Then as it takes at least two turns for the Austrians to get a gun up on that hill at all, one or both 8pdrs can be in position to threaten that emplacement before the Austrians can use the reverse slope to hold sway on the center of the board. Such a position also covers the center with the assistance of the same a heavy cavalry presence covering the French left. Thus far the cavalry is kept just out of range of both guns and cavalry but far enough forward to counter any charge made by impetuous Austrian cavalry. Skirmishers, the town of Duvigneau cover this implacement as well as a strong infantry attack gone forward on the French right. Once the town is passed on the French right Duvignau is a dandy place to put some French artillery. The force in Duvignau can now be shifted onto the offense as well if only as a threat as the enfilade toward the towns is perfected. The force in the dead ground behind the nullified hill on the Austria right can be brought into the center and the cavalry brought up behind or just into the furthest range of fire elsewhere and so overwhelm the Austrians for artillery targets and so make the move on the right that mush easier.

    Of course there is plenty the Austrians can do about such a plan not the least of which is to deploy heavily on their left making good use of the towns they have there and defend the hill on their right in a similar fashion as I have set forth for the French above. But at least if the Austrian do this the French can meet the Austrian guns file for file.

  • There are some troublesome things about Grenadier. It is too easy to target enemy artillery crews. The hilltop positions are a little to impervious. Leaders should not be able to be targeted by shot fire or if not stacked with a unit in the rear. Disrupted skirmishers should be able to become unpinned.

    My solution probably is to make the fire defense strength of Leaders and Gunners 2 just like skirmishers. I even like how this can be manipulated in staking. A leader when rarely placed on top of a unit or stack then helps represent the moral or discipline increase of the force beneath when taking fire.

    In actuality an entire division of companies in line would fit in a hex so this means that two units ought to be able to fire out of a hex in a turn. For that matter a full strength pre 1809 battalion in closed column would fit in a single hex. Of course fixing such things is outside the scope of this game. It is interesting to note however that the frontage of a battalion at even this small scale of 50 meters to a hex would be not more than 4 hexes. There are no games really at this scale. I'm trying to recall if that new Grognard Games Austerlitz game is at this small a scale. Rebel Yell is at this scale and I think Ney vs. Wellington/Wellington's victory is too. But that is it.

    I was think about this and wondering why. The first thing would be that you would want to have counters that displayed which units belonged to which battalions. But then if you went that far you would have to start thinking about making players maintain formation. You know, the battalion colors always with the fourth and when to place the grenadiers on the right flank of a column etc., and that's just for the French. I assume that by this point you have lost most people.

    And so we have Grenadier which does a damn fine job of making players think like a Napoleonic colonel or brigadier because it makes you have to fear the same things and it just let's you be stupid if you want to be. And so you lose most players that way too. Sigh...what I need is a time machine or for everyone to turn off their TVs and play stations. No one recalls that the reason families had a piano in the house was so folks could make their own fun. Most kids have no idea how great it is to read a novel. On and on and so it goes...

  • OK, fourth post in a row. Sorry, I'm such a long winded bastard.

    Say, if I made a Cyberboard gamebox or an ADC2 gameset for this game would you or anyone else here be interested in a pbem game?

    My email is chrphrgrv@gmail.com

    Hope you get some good games over the convention and if this one gets played I'd love to hear about it.

  • Greetings Lincoln:

    As usual, it is nice to hear from you; but I do confess that I'm a little disappointed to hear that your skillful play has "chased away" yet another potential GRENADIER player; on the other hand, this elegant old design does not surrender it's secrets easily, so I am really not that surprised that some of your opponents have given up on the game out of frustration.

    On to other. more important things ...

    I think that your volunteering to go to the trouble to design a "game box" for GRENADIER -- while certainly a bit of a project for you, individually -- is nonetheless a truly capital idea! Of course, setting up the different OoB's for the various scenarios would be a bit of a chore, but -- assuming that players were interested enough to try the game in the first place -- it probably wouldn't be that unreasonable for the two PBeM opponents to drag their own units from a separate "countersheet page" onto the "digital" game map.

    The choice of game platforms may be a little trickier; this is because -- speaking for myself now -- I do not use either the ADC2 or Cyberboard game platforms for my online gaming; instead, I use VASSAL (usually under protest) or Zun Tzu. And that being said, of these two game platforms, I suspect that Zun Tzu would be the far better choice when it comes to designing an "unsanctioned By DG" version of SPI's GRENADIER. Zun Tzu already hosts (from France) a whole collection of other old SPI games and "Doc Doom" over at Decision Games has -- thus far, at least -- been unsuccessful in getting the French "site manager" (Jerome, I think his name is) to take any of them down.

    Finally, when it comes to your own quest for opponents, be assured that -- if you can get a GRENADIER game box up and working at Zun Tzu -- I will be more than happy to play any of a number of the game's scenarios with you.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Joe,

    Good news. My recent Grenedier opponent Steve graciously allowed me to try my hand at the offense. We have played a couple of sessions and he is warming once again to the game. In the process we have started to conclude that we prefer the following modifications to the game.

    We have developed the following house rules that we have started using.

    1. An artillery unit cannot fire at another artillery unit that has not fired or moved within its line of site.
    2. The one way LOS for units at elevation has been removed. Units firing from hill to ground level or from ground level to hill do not have their LOS blocked by units at ground level in intervening hexes.
    3. Artillery at ground level firing at artillery on hill hexes suffer a column shift to the right. If already firing on the column furthest right the fire attack cannot be made.
    4. Artillery units now have the following fire defense values:
    Carriage - 1
    Gun Crew - 2
    Gun - 2

    1. Skirmishers do not pin other skirmishers. Additionally, skirmishers can fire at other skirmishers from adjacent hexes using the 1 hex range column.
    2. Skirmishers cannot end movement in a hex adjacent to a non skirmisher infantry unit or cavalry unit unless it is a hill, town or forest hex.
    3. If a non skirmisher type unit ends its movement in a hex adjacent to a skirmisher unit, regardless of terrain type, it is pinned.
    4. A disrupted skirmisher unit can stack with other friendly non skirmisher units as well as with leaders. They count as a full unit in stacking. If they are rallied they are immediately placed in any adjacent hex.
    5. When a unit is traded in for skimishers the first skirmisher must begin in or adjacent to the hex previously occupied by the unit. The remaining skirmishers can be placed with up to two intervening hexes between the first skirmisher and themselves.

    1. The target value of leaders is 2.
    2. A leader combines its shock value with unit beneath it when defending in the same manner as a gun crew. A gun crew stacked beneath a leader could still add in an infantry unit stacked beneath it.
    3. The unit just beneath a leader can fire as if stacked on top.
    4. Leaders can only be disrupted by artillery fire they cannot be eliminated. A DD result in an artillery fire attack has no effect on a disrupted leader unit.
    5. Leaders that are not stacked with combat units cannot be targeted by artillery fire unless they occupy an objective hex.

    1. If more than one unit is firing at the same target in one fire attack each unit must be adjacent to another unit firing at that target. Exception: skirmishers are not required to be adjacent to other units making a musket fire attack to join in the attack.

  • We had a big problem with the invulnerability of artillery at elevation. I tried hard to find an excuse for this this in the literature and nearly found a number of them. Despite the fact that gunners were expert at disguising their positions and in using terrain and recoil to their advantage, despite all issues of smoke rising from units at lower elevations and diffraction effects looking both up and down, despite the psychological effects of the immediacy of the enemy at hand, this invulnerability was just to onerous and caused the devising of stilted and gamy tactics. In the end the strengthening of the fire defense value of the gun crew and a shift to the right just felt more appropriate for fire in both directions. So far we have found that while the field commander would just love to silence the enemy batteries there are generally better targets to be had.

    With regard to skirmisher we just did not like their capacity to bog things down. We may be lacking in some subtlety and experience in this game but at our level of play it was just too easy to bog down a section of the the enemy line by placing your own skirmisher adjacent to his own. Yes I realize a skirmisher can be withdrawn and disrupted and replaced with units that can easily destroy the opposing skirmishers. And, alternately one can do the same and simply oppose them with a nice line but ultimately there has been just too much abuse tempting the opponent to disrupt his units with either an assault or a disengagement. Possibly this is an elegant representation of things but I just felt something else needing trying before we consign ourselves to this cycle. I am considering having skirmishers keep their fire defense value of two even when disrupted.

    We found that raising the fire defense value of leader to 2 really brings out the command aspect of stiffening a part of a line or some assault with a level three leader stacked on top. This represents for us the effect of leader on seeing two it that a company or a few companies stand against withering fire. It also made their placement within a stack for strategic because not their are clearer reasons to stack them at specific points in a stack. While leader on top represents battalion leadership seeing to it that a formation keeps closing up, does not begin sneaking off to the rear, remains steady etc, a leader lower in the stack not only will rally disrupted units but works to keep those units together despite being rent by shot while they are rallying. So far making leaders a little tougher has not skewed play so far as we can see and it has just felt right. Again, perhaps we just lack subtlety in this games play. While it seems clear that there is a real timing issue about creating a stack and making a shock attack etc., it does seem that this adjustment in leader fire defense strength makes creating columns as standing bodies rather than at the last minute (which is entirely counter intuitive) a remotely sane idea.

    Oh, one other thing. We have started allowing forest to create dead space against units at elevation using normal LOS rules.

  • Greetings LincolnL:

    Clearly you and your friend have been busy with GRENADIER; and while I find a number of your "home-brewed" rules changes intriguing, I am probably going to have to think a bit about your ideas regarding "skirmishers" and "defensive values" before I offer my own thoughts on your changes. The power of elevated artillery in this game, however, is something that I will discuss immediately as I already gave this subject quite a lot of thought some years ago.

    If there is any element in the GRENADIER Game System that is more frustrating to an attacking player than trying to cope with the virtual invincibilty and sheer "killing power" of enemy artillery deployed on ridgelines behind the defender's line of battle, I don't know what it could be. In fact, when I first took up this game four decades ago, no other feature of the game sent me and my friends back to the rule book and/or in search of fresh "errata" more regularly than this one. IN the end, however, I and my friends finally (if grudgingly) came around to Dunnigan's thinking on this topic, so allow me to share some of our reasons why.

    First, ordinary "physics" tells us that a projectle launched from a height will more easily pass over intervening obstacles on lower elevations than one launched from ground level. Don't believe me: try engaging in a "rock fight" with an adversary whose own position is elevated.

    Second, as you note: the black powder fire arms of the Napoleonic Wars produced a great deal of smoke when discharged; as a matural result of this, gunners at ground level were much more likely to be blinded by local patches of smoke, than gunners who -- by virtue of their being at a higher elevation -- enjoyed a much more panoramic view of the battlefiled below. This also, not surprisingly, would have meant that it was much easier for gunners firing from higher ground to see the "fall of their shot" and hence, correct their fire, than those unlucky gunners who were trying to fire at uphill targets.

    Third and in keeping with some of your own research, guns deployed on higher ground -- unless they took part in a short, sharp meeting engagement -- tended to be both better protected and better concealed by their crews than the more "mobile" batteries deployed and fired at ground level. Moreover, the wheeled artillery of Napoleon's day (unless, of course, we are talking about mortars) would -- were it firing from ground level -- have had a very difficult time when it came to the gunners being able to elevate a gun's muzzle sufficiently to accurately engage a distant and much higher target.

    No, after agonizing over this issue at least as much as you and your friend, I am forced to concede that, like it or not, there were valid military reasons why high ground tended to convey a genuine battlefield advantage to those who held it, and the several benefits of elevated firing positions to friendly artillery was certainly one of them.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • GREAT discussion! Interestingly enough, I came in to re-read Joe's review because I, too, decided to bring this aged classic back to the table. (Had replayed a few Rifle & Saber scenarios, and thought 'I really remember enjoying Grenadier - let's get that out again!' )

    I know you have already found these, but my site www.spigames.net does have the Errata and the variant article to add the panic chit to Grenadier. Also has a copy of one of the original full page adds for the game.

  • Greetings Russ:

    It's been awhile since I heard from you; but glad to see that you're still dropping in once and awhile!

    If you are going to revisit GRENADIER, I suggest that you look at my post on the tactical analysis of this great old game; I think that you will find a few of my comments -- old as they are, now -- useful.

    By the way, will you be attending this year's WBC Convention in Lancaster, even if only for a day or two? I certainly hope so! For my own part, I usually arrive Friday morning -- just so I can take part in Bruno's "Grognard" PreCon -- and then don't depart Amish Country until Sunday afternoon, ten days later.

    In any case, I hope to see you at this year's "DonCon" and

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Greetings Lincoln:

    As I promised, I have ruminated off-and-on for several weeks about the "home-brewed" rules that you and your friend developed in the course of your games of GRENADIER and, after all that thinking, I'm sorry to report that I am going to have to "punt" when it comes to the majority of your rules changes.

    What I mean by this is that, although I can certainly see the supporting logic of many of your suggested rules changes for "skirmishers" and also for the fairly large-scale adjustments to the "fire defense strengths" of certain units (e.g., leaders, artillery crews, etc.) that you would like to make, I think that -- reasonable though your arguments are -- I am going to stick (for better or worse) with the original rules. And this, I suspect, will inevitably lead you to ask an obvious follow-up question: why? Since such a query is certainly a fair one, I will try to answer it with a few substantive rebutal arguments of my own.

    First, I understand your frustration with the "skirmisher" rules, particularly when two opposing lines of skirmishers crash into each other and become entangled. On the other hand, I am pretty sure that the commanders of the Napoleonic era were also occasionally frustrated when one of their infantry advances went wrong and degenerated into an unmanageable melee. This sort of awkward skirmisher stalemate -- at least in game terms -- is irksome, I grant you; however, it is almost always avoidable (not least because of the slowness of the skirmisher units) with a little pre-planning on the part of one or both commanders.

    Second, I just don't understand why you and your friend think that the defense strength of leader units needs to be doubled. Obviously, artillery firing shot from a ridgeline could attempt to disrupt an enemy commander or two; on the other hand, since the effects of "range attenuation" for shot attacks are fairly severe and leaders can, according to the official SPI "errata" already stack with a skirmisher unit, I fail to see what the problem is? I suppose that a determined player could -- assuming that all of his guns were firing at exactly the same range -- blast away at a single target hex with a leader in it, but, I confess, such a use of one's artillery (particularly given how short the scenarios tend to be) strikes me -- at least at first blush -- as a colossal waste of time and fire power.

    Given my comments above, you can probably extrapolate as to what my thoughts are in the case of some of your other ideas.

    Finally, I guess that one of the main reasons that I oppose too much tampering with this great old game is that, the more tampering that one does, the more the game becomes a "boutique" title. Also, some of the aspects of the game that you and your friend find troubling, I find fun. Which is to say: I personally like a tactical game in which, if the players are not careful, they can one or the other or both completely lose control of the flow of events. This is what I co nsider the phrase, "losing control of a battle", to be all about.

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Greetings Again Lincoln:

    It occurs to me, in retrospect, that I might have been a little clearer as to what I meant when I said that you want to be careful that you do not turn GRENADIER into a "boutique game". What I meant, in a nutshell, is that it has been my experience that the more "home-brewed" rules that we append to an existing game, the smaller the pool of potential new players.

    I and my friends really encountered this phenomenon years ago when we began -- quite innocently enough -- to tamper with the rules to what was an utterly unplayable game as published, the first of many GDW "monster games" to come, DNO/UNT.

    Initially, we fiddled a bit with the armored effects rules; however, it was not long before rail road repair and other modifications began to creep i nto our group copy of the game.

    Next, came the maps: since Chadwick and company had been astonishingly unlucky in their guesses as to the locations of many of the major cities and rivers in Russia, we decided to completely redo the map using a collection of maps from the period. Interestingly, when FIRE IN THE EAST came out, we were gratified to see that the new GDW map of Russia was very close -- at least in it's main particulars -- to ours. Unfortunately, in the intervening years, I and my friends discovered that no one else wanted to play DNO/UNT with us because our version had gradually morphed into something that -- although I think much better than the original --was nothing like the game that had first been shipped to us from Normal.

    Thus, you can see that -- even in cases where rules changes are very sensible -- they can also create problems by reducing the number of hardy souls who might otherwise be willing to give the game a try.

    Best Regards, Joe

    PS: I and my friends did not, I should note, give up on our version of DNO/UNT; in actuality, we had all invested so much time and effort in our mutant design that we continued to play it even when FIRE IN THE EAST was fianlly published.

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