Wargaming Rules

Rules for Napoleonics

Posted by Adam on 04 Apr 2008, 12:57

This one ought to please you Rafa! :jumping:

I know you use Napoleons battles for your games, but wondered if you had ever tried Shako? (There is a version two coming out soon.)

I have only ever played it at the battalion level. The biggest game we had was probably 35+ battalions a side, plus skirmishers, 4/5 batteries per side and 4-5 cavalry regts each. The rules however do have adaptations for brigade level base unit play like you napoleons battles.

I am currently preparing my first 10mm british brigade for painting and basing, and have chosen a scheme that will allow me to play all sorts of rulesets.

Having got this out of the way I was looking for a little summary of what you think the strengths and weaknesses are of NB, and any other rules you have played? (esp if you have played shako)

cheers! :-)
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Posted by Herbert on 04 Apr 2008, 13:49

and let me add the question: what´s about Grande Armee? can it be adopted to batallion level play so one can use different formations? or was this Volley and bajonet? basing with both is the same and would be very good for me

sorry adam for jumping on this
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Posted by Adam on 04 Apr 2008, 14:53

No worries, All important stuff.

Hopefully we can use this thread to try to bash out what rule sets seem to work for different types of game- battalion/brigade/company level and also what sort- multiple player and solo etc? I think the "why?" is the most important bit, as different people enjoy different elements. Somebody saying "these are awesome rules and the most realistic I have ever played", isn't always that usefull. For example, you may be a big fan of quick games, or uninterested in artillery and cavalry, therefore if the game simplifies these you may not mind so much as I would etc etc.

I have read lots of reviews and evaluations of NB and other rules online, but they are not always very forthcoming with the reasons. Ideally looking at what we like and what features are strong will mean that rather than judging rules we can evaluate them based on individual preferences.
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Posted by Herbert on 04 Apr 2008, 16:47

yep, i also start reading the last time and looking for a rule set, not at least because i startet repainting my prussians, and so i will have to base them new anyway.

so perhaps it might be a good idea to post what we are looking for, and an expert like Rafa could point us in the right direction?
anyway i will start :-D
1: i am looking for a ruleset where i can play on a batallion level with probably simulating differnet formations (so that should be usual at this scale ?).
2: There should be at least an option to play it solo (i know that there are rulechanges that should be done by myself), so perhaps a card driven game is an option? i don´t know anybody else around here interested in this hobby
3: that´s a question of personal taste, but i don´t like 24 figure batallions, i would prefer to play with only 2 or 3 bat. over gaming a complete battle, but this batallions would be big!
4: out of the same reason i would not use the usual 1" bases. I start out with the prussian army in view. the infantry usualy marched in sections of 5 or 6 abroad. if you divide the 75cm per man with the 1:72 scale you are at 1.02 cm, and that´s exactly what most of the Schmäling figures need. muliply this with 5 and you are at a base width of 5.1 to 5.2 cm.
the cavalry rode 3 abreast on the march, the figures need about 1.7 to 1.8 cm each, so with 3 you are again at 5.1cm width. this base width is unusual except the 2/3 width of the Grande armee rules. additional if i leave the section basing the normal Grande armee and volley and bajonet basing of 3" / 7.6 cm works too, with 7 to 8 infantry (depends on the figures, one of the Schmälings fits on 0.9cm) or 4 cavalry.
Base depth i will what i need to display the figures historically, regardless what the rules say.
so, Rafa, with tis all in view, HEEELP :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Herbert
PS: i know that VB and GA are grand tactical rules, but perhaps they can be tweaked?
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Posted by Martin on 04 Apr 2008, 18:40

Hi, I've got a book here: Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature ( A Wargamers' Guide to the Napoleonic Wars 1796-1815) written by Bruce Quarrie (foreword by David Chandler) first published in 1977. I've read it and it's a nice book even when you are not into wargaming, like me.
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Posted by rpardo on 04 Apr 2008, 20:09

Hi
I missed this thread until I arrived home... sorry :mrgreen:

I have read (and sometimes bought) many rulesets: Empire III and IV, General of Brigade, Shako, Fire and Fury (and its napoleonic alter-ego Age of Eagles AoE), Volley and Bayonet (VnB), Grande Armee (GA), Napoleon's Battles (NB), Le Feu Sacre, and many other downloaded free. And naturally I did start my gaming with my own rules modified from the given by Bruce Quarrie in the book cited by Martin (I own the 1977 edition!) and by Charles Grant Sr. and Donald Featherstone....
Now you must choose: small (one division each side) or big affaires (several army corps each side).
If you want to play the big battles of the Napoleonic era you must use a terrain scale at least 1" to 100 yards (1/3,600 for us the I.S. people). That's the only scale allowing the refight of nearly all the big affaires (with exception of Leipzig or Wagram with their monster battlefields). At that terrain scale you enter in the grand-tactical world where the basic units are the brigades. Amongst the grand tactical rulesets you have NB, AoE, GA and VnB (excuse the use of acronyms). The two last use brigade bases (ca. 4" x 4") containing many figures but without manoeuvers whereas the two first use 3/4" bases with 4 figures allowing some small manoeuvering.
The other rulesets are more small tactics oriented and the figures are mounted by pair or fours in single rank with a terrain scale around 1"/25 yds
In both cases you must forgive the real world: your figures are abstractions so the 1/72 scale of your figures never will match the scale of the game. However if you want to maintain the 1/72 scale you must go for skirmsih type games (1 figure / 1 man) or for Chef de Bataillon (1/5) which are more nearer to the 'real world'
I my case I stick to NB from 12 years now. I have been tempted by AoE and GA but I am growing old and I don't like to learn new mechanisms. By this same reason I use NB (modified by the scale) for small affaires
Excuse this long, long answer but the subject is more complicated that it seems at a first glance :horse:




Nwith that o similar scale I stick to Napoleon's Battles because the ruleset allow me to play the For

I have not played neither Shako nor any other battallion-based ruleset.
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Posted by Martin on 04 Apr 2008, 20:17

Hi Rafa,
And naturally I did start my gaming with my own rules modified from the given by Bruce Quarrie in the book cited by Martin (I own the 1977 edition!)


I have the same edition bought on an open book market in Deventer a couple of years ago. Price was € 2,--
Also I have a wargame book about the second anglo-boer war written by Edwin Herbert. first print of 1990 (Argus Books UK)
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Posted by napoleonminiatures on 04 Apr 2008, 20:53

Quarrie´s also was the first napo rules I played. And possibly the worse of all, if I can write it with no aim to criticism to the excellent work of Bruce Quarrie, one of the legends of wargaming. From this, we went to Empire and after to NB, GA and finally NapoleoN, the best (well, I wrote it, after all) to refight really big battles. About batallion level, I am tempted by Le Feu Sacre, but still not tested. If some of you has tried them, please let me know your opinion
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Posted by rpardo on 04 Apr 2008, 22:16

Hi
I own Le Feu Sacre but I have don't tested it... I am waiting to have some time spared to try a battle
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Posted by Herbert on 04 Apr 2008, 22:25

Rafa, small, but with big bases :mrgreen:
seriously know. i was looking for the ruleset "chef de bataillon" you´ve mentioned above, but found nothing except price and frontpage on the net. can you tell me something about the bases?
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Posted by rpardo on 05 Apr 2008, 08:17

Hi
It's very difficult to find informationabou CdB. Try
http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=137750
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/20257
I can guess that figures were mounted single-rank in blocks of 5 to make a company... but it is only a guess. The rules have not any success being too complicated
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Posted by Herbert on 05 Apr 2008, 10:33

Rafa perhaps a silly question. chef de bataillon is infantry only?
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Posted by rpardo on 05 Apr 2008, 13:08

Wowww... I don't know sure.... I think that the gamer is an infantry officier but in the web they talk about form square so I suppose that there were also cavalry units.... :(
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Posted by Adam on 05 Apr 2008, 14:17

Cheers for your repsonses guys, especially Rafa. I have thought of this and am aware it could end up being the longest thread ever, but I'm up for a slow ongoing discussion if everyone else is! :thumbup:

I have worked out a basing system that alows me to play quite GenDeBrig size rules and smaller encounters by using multiple bases, but also bunching a few of these together into groups can represent Shako, and even NB size games. Shako is no really a problem as the only real requirement is consistent basing and size ratio between cavalry and infantry and artillery!

O.K dealing with napoleons battles. What are its strengths for you Rafa?

Do infantry reflect well fighting against cavalry, does it allow much use of ancilliary troops- engineers/supply/limbers etc? Is the difference between lights and elites, normal infantyr well reflected. And probably most importantly what are its weaknesses to your eyes at what it trys to do, which obviously is allow corps level games- what des it get a bit wrong?

Finally, what has convinced you to stick with it- and yes familiarity and not wanting to bother learning new rulesets is a perfectly legitimate answer as far as I am concerned!! :lol:
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Posted by rpardo on 05 Apr 2008, 15:42

Hi Adam
One of the most funny things of wargaming is the possibility to play God: i.e you are 'the maker of rules, dealing with fools' - Ah, shadows of Eye in the Sky of Alam PARSONS Project! ;-) A judicious mix of rulesets is a good personal alternative and if you play solo, like me, is the best alternative indeed. The only requirement is the consistence in basing and terrain, a question that you had previously solved, so you are in the good direction ....
The reason to use NB (in addition to the familiarity) is that NB allows for brigade bases splitted in near-batallion elements: a typical NB brigade (or large regiment) is composed from four to seven 4-figures elements allowing the deployment in line (en bataille to fight), in column (to move around the battlefield), in march-column (to use roads and go faster) and in square (to repel cavalry). AoE is similar to NB but the statistics of the different units are cruder. On the other hand, VnB and GA, use brigade size bases losing the tactical feeling.
In addition, NB can be fine-tuned because you can add new units and generals to the given by the designers (450 and 1440 respectively!). For example, French Dragoons from Spain used in Saxony 1813, Polish Krakus, 1813 Reserve Russian Infantry... With these bricks, the design of your own scenarios becomes so funny than the actual battlegaming! :thumbup:
The rule quirks are few and can be easily dealed with home-rules. The main one is the rout move, that the official rule allows to be controlled by the player, but a randomization with the dice easily fixes it.
Excuse again the long answer. You could find further information at the yahoo group:
napsbattles
where one of the designers enters regularly.
Regards
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Posted by Adam on 05 Apr 2008, 16:48

cheers thanks for that- much more use than many of the reviews I have read!
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Posted by Captain Blicero on 10 Apr 2008, 04:22

I am relatively new to Napoleonic miniature wargames, moving from WWII where I played with the “Blitzkrieg-Commander” rules. I did a lot of internet research about various rule-sets for the era before deciding to try “Piquet: Field of Battle.” Piquet is card driven, meaning that units only act via cards to move, change formation, initiate melee etc…Field of battle covers 1700-1900 with army list for most of the conflicts of the period. Units are composed of four bases for cavalry/infantry two for artillery. The scale is battalion level meaning the units are battalions, miniature scale, and the numbers of figures per base are purely aesthetic.
Units are rated by two factors, attack and defense. Defense die (D4 through D12) is directly related to the units rating, rabble, raw, average elite etc… numbers based on ratings derived from historical OOB’s. For instance my 1812 French Line infantry may be rated average (D6 defense die) I then consult a table and roll to determine their attack die (D4 through D12+3.)
In combat attack die are used for both range and melee, defense die are used to defend against ranged attack, attack die to defend against melee.
Leaders influence morale recovery (Rallying) and the type of cards (sequence deck) a player uses. The better the leaders rating, the “better” the deck, meaning it has more movement/maneuver cards less lull cards etc…An interesting feature is that there are no “fire” cards, a unit may fire any time even during an opponents turn. It cannot fire again however until a “firepower” card is played.
Due to the fact that any given unit (even an elite one) may roll low for its attack die in a given game, and the unpredictability of card driven movement/maneuver I believe Field of Battle is eminently suited for solitaire play. The rules are fairly simple while allowing for period tactics and formations; line, attack column, square, etc…Skirmishers are not covered as the author notes because in most circumstances both sides in an engagement used them and they in effect “cancelled each other out.” Also he notes, skirmishers are often abused in “gamey” sorts of ways by wargamers.
For anyone interested I would recommend this article on the Piquet website; the theoretical basis of Piquet. http://www.piquet.com/page.php?2
I do not like wargames that allow “radio control” of units, I believe (especially after reading Tolstoy’s critique of the Russian Campaign) that command and control is the essential struggle in any armed conflict. Thus rules sets like Piquet, or Blitzkrieg-Commander that attempt to simulate the unpredictability of the battlefield and the difficulty of command appeal to me. If you want your battalions to march when and were you wish without fail this is not a rule set for you.
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Posted by Adam on 10 Apr 2008, 12:31

that sounds quite good. Do you think they could be modified to accommodate larger unit sizes (say 6-8 bases per battalion, purely for aesthetics?).

I too am fond on the command and control idea, and enjoy most the marching onto the field, deploying and orders aspects, so this sounds like it could be fun.

I see their point about skirmishers, but believe that it is a factor of Napoleonic warfare. Whilst what they say is valid say about Britain/France/Prussia etc, but not nessecarily true abotu austria who never really "got" skirmishing and used what they did class as light infantry as just battalions tactically.

I also think as a general you may want to try innovative combat as was occasionally used by differing sides. Altering ratio's to gain advantages in certain areas- for example the additon of the lieb oels and 95th/5-60th to an area of a skirmish screen can help to drive back enemy skirmishers and inflict damage on the battalion before the main attack.

Its true that gamey things occur, but I wouldn't play them and I'd whine if someone else did!

Have you played a lot of games with it, and would you mind expamding on the card idea? It sounds great as I like physical simplification rather than endless tables and charts of morale etc, and the idea of a plan going pera shaped because of an unreliable general sounds ace!
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Posted by Herbert on 10 Apr 2008, 12:31

thanks, Captain Blicero.
No, i don´t want absolute control cause that´s not the way it was. so this sounds interesting. do you see chances to change scales within this rules? as i said before i don´t want little units, and i think i don´t have to refight a big battle to have fun.

@adamparsons
again, i hope i didn´t smash your thread in jumping on it! seems that i brought it in another way than you want it? if yes, sorry :oops:
Herbert
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Posted by Herbert on 10 Apr 2008, 15:20

Adam, we posted our last post the same time, so i had the same question you asked :-)
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