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Polemos Franco Prussian War
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Polemos Franco Prussian War

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When Emperor Louis Napoleon declared war on Prussia in Summer 1870 he was at the head of an army that most contemporaries regarded as the leading military force in Europe. No doubt he had plans of recreating the Glory of his illustrious namesake Uncle. What actually happened was a campaign that saw the Prussians invading France and the Imperial army capitulating at Sedan. Louis Napoleon abdicated and the French carried in the war under the auspices of the Third Republic.

As a wargames period, the FPW remains largely unexplored. There seems to be a general myth that the uniforms are boring, the battles one-sided and that informartion is just too hard to get to those of whose language skills do not include French and German. As it happens, nothing could be further than the truth than these stereotypes. The French can have a large variety of brightly dressed and colourful units, ranging from the Imperial Guard to the Zouaves and the North African Turcos. You can even field the French Foreign Legion! The Prussians number a significant contingent of allied German troops who all add their own colour and variety to the army, especially the large contingent of Bavarians. Infantry battalions still fought carrying their colours into action and the deployed armies make a brave show on the wargames table. The Prussians may have their superb artillery arm, but the French Infantry were armed with the Chassepot rifle. Tactics were in state of flux as armies were coming to terms with the change from Napoleonic tactics to ones more suited to the greater range and lethality of rifles and artillery. No greater example of this can be seen than the presence of Cavalry units whose purpose was still to charge the enemy with cold steel as their fathers and grandfathers had done.

If you've not considered 1870 before then it is well worth a second look!

Although the war involved unprecedented numbers of soldiers, there was a great deal of variety in the size of the battles. the French army that fought at Wagram was ten times the size of that which fought at Vimiero. It is a lot to ask of any single;e set of rules to cope with such diversity.

Polemos FPW is therefore produced as two sets of rules in one book. The first set, Commandant de Battaile will allow the wargamer to fight battles with armies of up to corps size. The second set, Kommandant der Armee will allow the wargamer to refight the BIG battles of the period.

The same wargames figures may be used in both sets of rules, as the basing system is universal - only the nominal scale will differ.

Polemos FPW aimed at enabling the wargamer to fight large scale actions; actual battles, rather than small scale skirmishes. Systems for firing, melee and morale are straightforward and easy to learn, but allow your troops to emulate the tactics used by their historical counterparts.


Basing and Representation

The basic unit of manoeuvre in Polemos FPW is the Base - a group of wargames figures mounted permanently on a single base of a given size. The actual position and number of the figures on the base is not important, nor is it important that the base sizes given below are adhered to. So long as both armies use the same basing system, the rules should not be affected.

In Commandant de Battaile

A 60mm x 30mm base of infantry represents an infantry battalion - about 500-1000 men.


A 60mm x 30mm base of cavalry represents a regiment or three to four squadrons.

A 30mm x 30mm artillery or mitrailleuse base represents two batteries each of 6 guns.


A 30mm x 30mm Officer base is use for Generals, Corps and Divisional commanders


In Kommandant der Armee, 60mm square bases are used. These can be formed by using two CDB bases, butted up one behind the other or a single larger base which allows a more creative and dioramic approach.

A 60mm square base of infantry represents a brigade or division of 1500 to 3000 men.



A 60mm square base of cavalry represents a brigade or division of 750 to 1500 men.

A 30mm x 30mm artillery base represents 18 to 36 guns,

All distances in Polemos games are expressed in Base Widths (BW) and Base Depths (BD) in order to allow the use of differing base sizes. A BD is half a BW.
This system means that any size can be used for bases, so no rebasing is required so long as both sides are consistent. We believe that a 60mm x 30mm base gives the best results in terms of both practical use and visual impact.

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August 29th, 2011
A group of players in our club got together to play Kommandant der Armee (the army level version of the game) for the first time yesterday and everyone was pleased with the results. I found that the tempo system of movement worked well and simulated th [...]
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File Last Updated:
June 16, 2010
This title was added to our catalog on June 24, 2010.
Baccus 6mm
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