ET SANS RÉSULTAT (ESR) is a comparatively new and exciting ruleset from The Wargaming Company designed to reflect Napoleonic battles at Army and Corps Commander level. The title comes from a quote from Marshal Ney after the slaughter at Eylau in 1807 – “Quel Massacre! Et sans résultat!”
Each player is a Force Commander (Corps or equivalent) and controls a number of Formations (infantry and cavalry divisions, together with relevant back up such as engineers or pontonniers etc.).
Each Corps Commander activates an ‘Objective Order’ from the Army Commander and he in turn issues ‘Directive Orders’ which are activated for each Division under his command. The Corps Commander can intervene to ensure that the Divisional components carry out their orders to his requirements. This is done through a system called ‘leader actions’. This is a key factor in the rules as the Corps Commander can choose from a range of 10 ‘leader actions’ such as taking personal command of a unit, calling up the engineers, creating a grand battery (if he has the ability to do so) rallying units etc.
Divisions can be either ployed (in column of march) for speedy movement or deployed (in battle formation) to fight. The commander’s skill is in deciding when to deploy for battle as the length of time to do this is unpredictable. These are the only two formations as columns, lines, squares or loose order are all below the scope of these rules.
Each move comprises 4 steps – COMMAND, MOVEMENT, FIRE and COMBAT. Three such moves represents an hour. Movement is simultaneous and there is a choice of ground scales to suit your armies or table size. Infantry battalions, cavalry regiments and artillery batteries are each represented by one base.
COMMAND. This is the main emphasis of the game – the orders you give, their activation and the way they are carried out.
MOVEMENT is very simplified to speed up the game. This includes ploying and deploying your Divisions.
FIRE and COMBAT resolution is also simplified and has the effect of inflicting Fatigue points on opposing Divisions. This can result in Divisions retreating or even breaking.
Overall each player is required to make Corps Commander decisions rather than getting mired in the minutiae of formations, fire and combat. Forward planning and anticipation are the main skills required. This, together with the simplified fire and combat resolution, ensures a fast moving game.
The rules come complete with plenty of examples and a very comprehensive playsheet which alone is sufficient after a few games. There is also a very complete glossary and a section called ‘Raising and Army’ which explains the organisation of the main armies of the period together with a very detailed lists of Commander ratings and Troop gradings.
The rules are available in Europe from Magister Militum and are backed up by a Facebook Page and an active Yahoo Group where the author – David Ensteness – will very promptly answer any rules queries.