Sharpe? No, Actually It’s Quite Blunt

Aaah, “Napoleonics”. The Napoleonic era holds a special place in wargaming circles. After all, before wargaming became a hobby, it was a serious training and contingency planning exercise, which first took on a form broadly familiar to modern wargamers in the Kriegsspiel engaged in by the Prussian High Command during the Napoleonic era itself. Moreover, it is well-documented that before Dungeons & Dragons not only kicked off the roleplaying game genre but also injected a new enthusiasm for fantasy and science fiction into the wargame scene, the dominant form of wargaming was historically-based, with the American Civil War and the Napoleonic eras being the most popular eras. (One suspects as well that the American Civil War era is somewhat less popular outside of the United States itself.)

Either way, perhaps undeservedly Napoleonic wargames have gained the reputation of being a particularly dry or stuffy niche of the hobby – “grognard” as a term, after all, is a slang term originating from Napoleon’s forces themselves. But there’s no reason why that has to be the case – and the Napoleonic era, whilst it has been extensively mined in fiction (as in Sharpe and Hornblower and other such series) and wargaming, has hardly been touched when it comes to tabletop RPGs.

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