by Ged Elliott
My first – and lasting – impression of these rules is that are that they are something of an anachronism. They are designed for Napoleonic wargaming with huge armies, on large tables, over many hours, for a truly grandiose affect. In that respect the photographs are truly daunting. Back to the Seventies where mass and complexity equalled accuracy? They are clearly aimed at the 10mm and below scale market, but can be adapted for any scale and basing.
The ‘Command & Control system’ is centered upon Divisional level, reflecting the abilities of the Napoleonic generals and the rules’ ‘Morale system’ (the return of the ‘test’), allows much variety and combinations of training and élan. Very traditional and, reading on, the idea is reinforced that players will need vast resources in time, board space and miniatures to play, something few today possess (if indeed they ever did). On the plus side the use of reserves – traditionally neglected by gamers – is given some importance.
At such a macro scale one could expect some kind of abstraction to achieve ‘accuracy’, but this doesn’t appear to be the case: there are 6 pages of QRef charts alone and the return of the ‘casualty table’ (one for musketry, one for artillery), so much consulting paperwork would be involved. There are helpful diagrams and explanatory pictures, but the detail and complexity is such it would almost certainly make the average player’s brain hurt after a few turns of play. The full-page quality illustrations are certainly nice, but not comprehensive enough to be a painting guide, merely eye-candy. There are no army lists, but then these are not those kind of rules. To re-fight specific battles one will need supplements, and these are promised as the rules are the first part of a planned series of companion books with battles, OBs, and tabletop maps. Rule questions will be answered via the web, along with advice. There is also a Yahoo support group at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Inthegrandestmanner/info.
These are very traditional rules for those who enjoy very traditional games, a somewhat niche market. On the whole, I feel that the mainstream hobby has moved on to affordable playability. If you have the time, resources and dedication to the era, maybe this is the set of rules for you.
Reviewed by Gary Mitchell