Those with a fixed-move, IGOUGO background may struggle to come to grips with how to manoeuvre. The thing is that with more play, people will adapt themselves to more realistic manoeuvres on the table, and end up with less requirement for a referee, but it remains to be seen whether your average IGOUGO gamer would stick with it through the learning curve. My personal belief is that IABSM appears to provide a good representation of the friction of battle and the decisions of a company commander.
The turn ends when the Tea Break card arrives.
Once on the table, the platoon cards are inserted into the deck, and the platoon can move and shoot when its card comes up. Each section of the platoon is given a number of initiative dice based on the quality of the unit (SS and Paras have more dice than Volksturm). These dice are used to move, spot or shoot. Dice can be reserved when the platoon's card comes up to be used before the Tea Break arrives as an interruption. As a result, ambushes are very well catered for (unlike a certain popular WW2 ruleset....).
Combat involves shooting dice being rolled and totalled and compared against a table. The result on the table gives a number of casualties in the target unit and also whether there is any pinned or suppressed. Casualties are separately diced for to determine whether they are dead, wounded, or a near miss.
Close combat involves what (at first glance) appears to be a complex set of modifiers. This is one area where I am not sure how exactly it will work on the table.
As well as the platoon cards, there are also Big Men on the table. These officers and NCOs (not every officer or NCO is a Big Man) have their own cards in the deck and can be used to activate nearby units or take actions when their card comes up.
For a couple of platoons or less, I'm going to be using 15mm and Ambush Alley Game's Force-on-Force or Ambush Alley (depending on the scenario and the force composition. These are a great looking set of rules that they've deliberately targeted at World War 2 and Moderns from the start. More on them soon….
Napoleonics have never appealed to me previously. I think large blocks of men manoeuvring has been dead boring. Also I don't think I understand the period and its challenges well enough. However, the concept of Sharpe Practice being more of a skirmished sized game does sound interesting, particularly with the chance to recreate characters like Flashman and Sharpe. It's definitely on my list now, but I need to complete what I'm trying to do with WW2 and Moderns before I push on to anything else.
I'm also trying to resist getting into colonials (which have always held a great attraction for me). I've always intended to use either the Sword and the Flame (which I would need to purchase) or the Space:1889 Soldier’s Companion (which I have already) for this. The benefit of Soldiers Companion is that it's a quite good set of colonial rules that also has sections to cater for Victorian sci-fi elements like martians, steam tanks and airships. Plus the only outlay is on figures!