Long time wargamer but newly minted CCN dabbler here! I've been looking for a good Napoleonic game for a long time & both the weight of detail & the quality of the presentation of CCN strikes me as right on target! Alas, I am also struck by a bit of a tactical quandary.
I've played half a dozen or so scenarios thus far, & while I've been successful more often than not, I can't shake the impression that it has been my opponent's naiveté rather than my wit that carried the day for me. The sticky widget is the sheer brutality of the lowly French line infantry! While cavalry can be seen off with square & supporting muskets surely enough,& the occasional guard unit must be tackled, I can't seem to figure out a reliable way to answer those accursedly common bayonets! It seems that in a head to head exchange, odds are a French column will soak a musket volley & still ultimately win a point-blank exchange when it closes, & I fear only the timidity of my usual opponents is keeping me from being overrun! VS other infantry, every French battalion is effectively a slow dragoon squadron that you cannot square against.
How does one answer a French opponent that simply advances in column to bayonet range heedless of casualties? While it's counter-intuitive, it seems like an easy way to obliterate enough defending units to win a low Victory Flag scenario in a couple of activations. I can't remember which scenario I played the French in, but the handful of line infantry that started near the enemy were murderously effective & most likely handed me the win. How do more experienced players bring them to heel? This is my biggest quandary with the game.
I look forward to being schooled in proper infantry tactics, & thank you in advance for your support!
My preferred solutions to the French Line advantages are;
1. Terrain - especially towns. Defending towns as outposts from the main line slows the French down. Other good defensive terrain like forests and hills give parity. Given them a volley on approach, and whilst they might make the attack, the battle back could be harder on them.
2. In the open, counter advance to meet the incoming Line with your own bayonets. Might as well strike first and hardest.
3. Artillery, write them down on the approach. Forget counter battery fire or cavalry targets, wear down the French infantry.
4. Sometimes, pull back away until you reach better terrain, and have more units putting out more firepower. Especially early in the scenario, better to run and form a solid line than get taken down piecemeal.
5. Cycle units in the line, if a unit is down to 1 or 2 blocks, run away and bring in a fresh unit.
That being said.. they are monsters and battle winners, no going past that.
Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.
I agree with Mark, experienced CCN gamer that he is. Regarding #3, If you have arty in the front (not always the case), and a choice of targets, fire at the infantry. Even with only 1 or 2 dice there is a good chance of getting a hit. If you reduce a French line unit by one block, they only roll 4 dice against your infantry, and you can meet them on an equal footing. As Mark said, I will often choose to fire arty with 2 dice at an infantry unit, rather than 3 dice at a cav or arty - the odds of getting a hit are better.
Also, Guard Grenadier units (if you have them) are more than a match for French line.
If playing the British, remember that British infantry has the die advantage in ranged fire.
Thank you for the warm welcome & advice! For whatever reason, I was resistant to the idea of counter-assaulting them with my own infantry but it appears that the math does hold up! I'll just need to make sure they don't bait my infantry too far out of position! I've used artillery against French column before to reasonable effect, but you raise a good point regarding its increased effectiveness vs infantry rather than cavalry & artillery as well. I think I'll need to be more mindful of the way the dice make infantry casualties more likely going forward. Thank you both!