TITLE: Batailles de l’Ancien Regime 1740-1763
AUTHOR: William B. Protz, Jr.
PUBLISHER: William B. Protz, Jr.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2007
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): $40.00 (in 20013). Books can be purchased here.
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The Seven Years War
Batailles de l’Ancien Regime (or BAR as it is usually known) is a staple bound book of 54 pages. It has a color cover with B&W interior. Two original play sheets are included but need not be removed from the center of the book. The author provides new and separate 2012 play sheets plus User Notes with each order.
Two versions of Quick Ref. charts are provided on 17"x11" folded sheets of paper. Version #1 is for large miniatures and table surfaces. The second with movement and ranges reduced -40% are for smaller table sizes. The first three pages are rules not found in the book. The fourth page is the drill manual. Players use the QRs 95% of the time. QRs lay convenietly on the table without the need to sort or flip through stapled pages or the book.
The rules themselves are a thin 20 pages. The book is filled out with examples of play, suggestions for further reading, optional rules and a guide to collecting and basing miniatures.
SCOPE: BAR is designed to recreate multi-brigade battles of the Old regime (1740-1763).
ARMY SIZE: Units in BAR represent individual battalions, squadrons, and batteries. The rules are quite flexible and work with unit sizes from 24 to 42 figures per battalion.There is a group, including the author, that game with 60 figure battalions (on very large tables).
- Infantry units are battalions, cavalry are in squadrons and artillery is grouped into batteries.
- Ground Scale: 1” = approximately 10 paces
- Time scale 1 turn = 20-30 minutes
- Figure Ratio 1 infantry base = Varies depending on size of unit.
- Recommended Figure Size: 25mm but conversion for 15mm and other scales is covered.
- Table Size: The bigger the better. It can be played on as small a table as 4x4
- Game Length: Depends on the number of players and size of units. Game is intended to get to a definite conclusion in one evening or afternoon.
Figures are mounted individually. For infantry bases are 1/2” for 15mm figures, 3/4” for 20-25mm figures and 1” for 28-40mm figures. Cavalry 3/4 wide for up to 25mm, 1” for larger figures and as long as needed.
- Routed Units Check Morale
Units are activated by card draw. It is up to the players or umpire to determine whether a card activates one unit, one wing or one side. This will largely be determined by the needs of the game.
The rules for movement are quote loose. In order to speed play, movement rates are quite generous (16” for close order line). Beyond that they are largely up to the players. Formation changes are handled realistically. Players are encouraged to actually perform the change with their figures. An abbreviated graphic Drill Manual is one page of the QRS.
The rules do limit movement within 20” of the enemy to prevent “gamey” maneuvers such as crossing the front of the enemy.
Cavalry has the ability to move to different rates, and can only change speed one level at a time. They are limited to two gallops per game. So planning ahead with cavalry will be a critical skill in their successful use.
Fire combat for artillery and infantry is resolved in the same way. The fire chart has rows for either the number of figures or the poundage of gun (so 8# canister uses the same row as 8 figures for example). 2D6 are rolled, modifiers applied, and the chart is consulted. The result is the number of potential casualties. The target then makes a saving throw, using one die per potential loss. Successful saves negate one hit, any excess are actual casualties. One figure is removed for each casualty caused.
The dice to hit are modified for disorder, training, target formation, cover, etc. Saving throws have fewer modifiers, mostly for formation and cover.
Melee is resolved between units in base to base contact. Each side “matches up” nose to nose. Depending on the situation up to 3 ranks deep may fight. Each side simultaneously rolls on the casualty chart (procedure is identical to firing). Both sides make saves as normal. The winner is the side causing more casualties. The loser retreats, an checks morale. The winner advances. The winner may advance back into contact. Thus up to three consecutive turns of melee may be fought. If after three consecutive turns the winner is still engaged, he must withdraw.
Units must make morale checks for a number of reasons. For each such check there are exceptions and modifiers. For example, you must check when charging or advancing toward visible enemy within 10”. However, good troops above half strength do not have to check. Units that fail are pinned, not routed. Units below half strength must also check.
To check morale throw 2D6 and apply modifiers. On a 6+ the unit remains in good morale. On 5 or less the unit routs. Modifiers vary by situation, but include unit quality (Grenadiers +1 for example), being flanked (bad!), cover etc.
There are quite a few specific rules spread throughout the book for more detailed situations. There are a number of rules for battalions guns, Detachments, Dragoons and Dismounting, Interpenetration, etc.
The rule book includes no scenarios or army lists per se. However, it does have a guide to hwo to organize battalions for the major nations depending on unit soze. So there is an actual chart showing how a french battalion would look if small (30 miniature), medium (42 miniatures) or large (60 miniatures).
B.A.R. is laid out in a very unusual way. The rules (called Protocols”) are written in short paragraphs. Each paragraph has a title - for example there are protocols for Defending Structures, Flank Attack and Oblique Movement. The protocols are then presented in alphabetical order. This means reading the rules is a bit disorienting. On page 20, for example, the protocols are:
- Battalion Artillery Morale
- Carbine and Pistol Fire
It seems likely that once you are familiar with them, this layout acts as a self-indexing function. Look up Melee and it refers you to specific more detailed protocols.
Fortunately, there are several very detailed examples of play that will clear a lot of things up, including detailed examples of firing and melee.
The Quick Reference Sheets also need a serious redesign. They are very crowded with lots of notes and exceptions tucked into various places. There is so much gray shading that, in effect, almost nothing is shaded. If I were going to play a lot of BAR I would design my own sheets. I would make the “Drill Manual” a separate sheet and use that space to open up the design of the charts to make them much easier to read.