Saturday, 29 April 2017

First game using 19th Century armies

I am now at the stage of having competed enough units of my Imagi-Nations armies to have a game. This will also help determine how many more unit I will need to complete. Both armies stand at 4 infantry units, 2 skirmish units, 1 dragoon unit, 2 cavalry units and 2 artillery units.

Start of my first test game
From the other side of the tabletop
When starting this project back in February I was unsure whether to use a grid or not. I had based up the units so a gridded game was an option. So with this first game I chose to go with a grid after laying out all the units to see how they fitted and looked on the tabletop.

Two columns on the move
For the rules I chose to use Neil Thomas' Rifle and Sabre rules from One-Hour Wargames as a starting rule set with a few modifications. Quite the usual starting point for most of the rules I use. I like the simplicity and additional rules can be easily added.

For a number of the variations Neil Thomas' 19th Century Wargaming book was the source of inspiration.

Columns advance towards the opposition
On the other flank
As the game progressed a few rule mechanisms were left by the wayside and other took their place. I now need to write up these modifications before I forget which of them worked and which did not. I ended the game early and will try a replay with a written up rules again this weekend. So while the rules are still in a flux, it was still a joy to get these old figures onto the tabletop.

All the models in these pictures are old Spencer-Smith plastic figures. Mostly ACW with a few Napoleonic lancers throw in. Conversions have been limited to trimming hats and adding the feathers using green-stuff to confederate infantry and cavalry models.

The advancing columns meet head on
Battle lines are drawn as reserves start to arrive
From playing this test game (admittedly with some work in progress rules) I think a few more units are going to be required when I start devising a campaign. I will want to be able to field forces with different make ups. So I plan to add to each side: 2 more infantry units, 1 more cavalry unit and 1 artillery unit. This will give me two armies of:

  • 6 infantry units
  • 2 skirmish units
  • 1 dragoon unit
  • 3 cavalry units
  • 3 artillery units

I am expecting to field between 8 to 12 units in a game on a 6x4 foot tabletop. More than 12 and the tabletop can get over crowed with units, and the whole game can turn into a bit of a boring slog.


  1. Looking wonderful already for day 1. The period and the subject will suit a grid. I have picked up Honours of War from Osprey, that look very nice, straight-forward and playable. It covers 7 years War and there is recognition in the book that Imaginations is a likely use.

    Anyway, the troops look splendid, look forward to more.

    1. Thank you. After the first test game I will stay with a grid and see how future games play out.
      It will be interesting to see what you think about Honours of War. When I think of 7 years war games large 8x5 foot tables always spring to mind.

  2. I have some metal Spencer Smith figures in my pike of unpainted lead, and seeing your imagi-nation armies in action is making me think that I really ought to get around to painting them ASAP.

    All the best,


    1. I have so enjoyed painting these figures because they are not overly detailed and allow for a very straight forward painting. They also have a charming look to them when finished and grouped together, so when you finish one unit you just want to start on the next.

  3. Peter,
    The Imaginations Project is looking very good- with the extra troops to finish off you will certainly have a very interesting game on your hands. Cheers. KEV.

    1. Thanks KEV. I have just completed another infantry unit this weekend. The infantry units (because of their numbers) take a weekend per unit. With that in mind I hope to finish them all in early June. Now the focus is getting the rules up to scratch. Regards, Peter

  4. Getting project game ready in little time is commendable.
    I like the look of your project very much.

    1. Thank you. I have really enjoyed painting these in an old school style with no shading or dry-brushing. The figures just do not lend themselves to anything other than a simple style of painting. And are quick to paint which is a bonus!

  5. I like the simple, 'old school' appearance of your game very much. I hope I can achieve a similar effect for my 10mm pseudo-Napoleonic Red and Blue ImagiNation toy soldier armies, and look forward to reading more about your project.

    1. Thank you Arthur. I have applied a similar paining approach last year with some 15mm AWI armies and it worked well for them too. All the best with your Napoleonic styled 10mm armies. Peter