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"My new Napoleonic rules for smaller scales... give a look!" Topic

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2,081 hits since 28 Oct 2009
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Lord Ashram Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2009 8:14 p.m. PST

Hello all!

Whelp, I just put the finishing touches on version 1 of my small scale Napoleonic rules; Brigades and Bearskins!

No need for worry about base size or the like… these simple rules for 15mm minis and smaller are both quick and fun, and I hope simulate the fun of the Napoleonic era well!

A few neat aspects of the game, like the orders mechanism (not every officer will do as ordered every time… sometimes their personality will take over!) combined with the Steady! mechanism (no more casualties… now, units gradually degrade until they simply cannot fight any more) makes the game VERY simple to play and yet quite effective at conveying a sense of scale appropriate for Napoleonic conflict! The rules start with a general overview, and almost every section begins with a short, one or two sentence overview just so you can understand right from the start (I hope!)

To be frank, I think they are the most fun rules I've come up with yet! Skirmishers that degrade enemy morale before the fight even begins, horse artillery that can gallop right up and begin firing, valiant defences of buildings, aggressive officers who push forward in spite of your best intentions and inept officers who simply cannot seem to get it right… that, plus the promise of NEVER removing a single miniature you worked hard to paint makes it all, I think, a winner!

Anyway… I do plan to use these rules at the 10mm Napoleonic game I am running at Fall In, and honestly I really need the help of the TMP folks to give them a read and see how they look! Even better… if you have an hour for a quick game, I would KILL for some feedback!

So please do come on by and take a look! Thanks!


KniazSuvorov Inactive Member28 Oct 2009 9:25 p.m. PST

Well, I'll give it a read. If I post feedback, should I include the list of people I want you to kill? Or would email be better?


pigbear Inactive Member29 Oct 2009 1:56 a.m. PST

Who is Whelp?

Maxshadow29 Oct 2009 2:45 a.m. PST

Hi Lord Ashram old bean,
I've read through the rules and they seem quite clear and easy to read to me.
A couple of minor glitches.
Page 21 Headed Artillery and shooting.
You have "Unlimbered Artillery may not shoot" when i think you meant to say "Limbered Artillery may not shoot".
Page 24 Steady test.
Its unclear to me if every battalion in a Brigade must test when one of the other members of the brigade comes under fire etc etc.
Lastly the 90o shooting radius.
To me that means anything in front of the units front line. Is it possible you mean a 45o angle?
I like some of your ideas Lord Ashram please keep sharing them. Esp the idea of campaign specific random army creation for pick up games and random force arrival. ( or was that in muskets and moustaches which I've just read as well. I really liked them.)
To me your brigade creation table is a little Cavalry heavy but that's for my tastes.
Good luck with the game.

Lord Ashram Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2009 3:54 a.m. PST


First off… bunch of wiseguys, eh? Okay, I'll remember that.


Max, thanks for the feedback. I was hoping they would be shorter, but they ended up being a bit long… but still awful simple, I hope!

Of course I did mean limbered, thank you for that… my eyes were starting to cross.

Indeed, every battalion in a brigade must take Steady! tests the moment ANY battalion is engaged… once they see their friends start to fall down, men get nervous!

As for the 90 degree radius… I think I do mean 90 degrees? As if you draw a line through the two front corners of the stand…? Let me figure out how to explain it better:)

The random force arrival is supposed to be in this… I must have left them out!:D I'll add them in tonight and post a new version… it should be fairly easy.

I hear you on the cavalry… I'll switch the brigade rolls from 1d6 to 2d6 and then give it more chance of infantry.

Again, thank you to everyone for taking a look, I really do need the feedback!:)

Lord Ashram Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2009 4:02 a.m. PST

By the way, here are a few blog links that can help…

First, a general overview of the rules:


Then, a WHOLE bunch of games played using the rules… please do take a look!


Frothers Did It Anyway Inactive Member29 Oct 2009 5:21 a.m. PST

You are a brave man releasing your rules during the same month that Lasalle and Black Powder are released!

Lord Ashram Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2009 5:22 a.m. PST

Oh, I meant to say…

For deployment, you basically divide your table side into thirds… the left corner, the center, and the right corner.

Each division rolls; on a 1-2 they deploy left, 3-4 center, 5-6 right.

Divisions MAY add or subtract from this roll as much as they want; however, for every 1 they add or subtract, their arrival is delayed by a turn.

I am playing around with allowing cavalry to enter the field first and forcing all infantry to wait, but for now those are the basic rules I plan to use at Fall In.

Thanks for looking!

Oh, and as for the "real" games… yeah, I figure that mine are free and certainly nowhere near as professional… plus, I still have time to accept input!:D

Personal logo Who asked this joker Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2009 6:40 a.m. PST

Thanks for the rule! I will report back at lunch time.

Lord Ashram Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2009 6:50 a.m. PST

I eagerly await your feedback!:D

And as I mentioned, I have three different battle reports, all fully illustrated, on my blog that feature the rules… the oldest one in particular talks about the rules in the midst of the report (although I must admit there have been one or two changes since then.)

Thanks so much!

Personal logo Who asked this joker Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2009 9:34 a.m. PST

Hi Lord Ashram,

I have skimmed through them. They look good so far.

Question…why two long infantry stands per battalion? Why not use 4 smaller stands instead? You could then accomplish all of the formations, square assault column, column of march, line.

I'll read more later. I was up late doing computer maintenance at work and the late night is hitting me harder than I thought it would. Off for coffee!


gweirda Inactive Member29 Oct 2009 9:40 a.m. PST


Lord Ashram Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2009 10:57 a.m. PST


If you would like to do four small stands that would be fine! I just do two stands because that is how my guys are based!:) As long as you can make the basic formations then as long as all minis are the same it is fine!:)

Thanks for looking, I look forward to the input… it is lonely working on rules all by oneself!:D

Angel Barracks Inactive Member29 Oct 2009 11:26 a.m. PST

it is lonely working on rules all by oneself!

aint that the truth

Personal logo Who asked this joker Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2009 12:17 p.m. PST

Ok. More comments.

1) How do you base? I figure cavalry are regiments, infantry are battalions but what do artillery represent and how many stands for an artillery unit?

2) Like the order system. It is a "black box" friction generator…so to speak. I generally like this method of command systems better because of the chaos involved.

3) Steady test (nice name!) I've noticed that you take steady tests as a result of melee combat but not before. One of the features of this sort of warfare is that often the defending unit runs before contact because they get shot to pieces before hand. How come no charge and recieve charge test…or did I miss it?

4) Speaking of melee, the winner never seems to take damage. I would think the winner would take 1 damage regardless of the outcome. Melee is quite messy and if the defender stands, the blood will flow on both sides.

Other than some minor typos, the rules look pretty good! More importantly, since you are using notional units, this is a fine candidate for making a vassal module out of for online/solo play! grin


Lord Ashram Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2009 1:10 p.m. PST


Thanks for the comments!

Okay, one at a time…

Basing is outlined in an early section… but yes, a battalion generally represents a battalion of infantry, a brigade of cavalry, or a… what, battery? of artillery. Basically it represents a lot of guns:) Is that exact enough? I am sorry I am bad with the terminology:)

At the moment there are no charge and receive charge tests… in my mind I suppose the Steady! tests taken at the end of the first round of combat represent either the defender standing his ground or running, or the attacker losing his nerve before he can really press home.

Yes, the winner takes no damage in melee. This might not seem great, but remember that the winner STILL has to take a "Steady!" test, so even if the winner takes no casualties he can STILL become Shaken or even Rout after a successful combat. I hope this can represent the disorder that can follow even a victory in combat!

Thanks for the advice…. yes, it can be played solo a bit, as I have done!:D

I would love it if anyone could take the rules for a spin! Does anyone have any specific questions about that? I realized I do have to add a few things, including a bit about woods (seeing into them and out of them, and the fact that cavalry cannot enter woods) and a few other things… but if anyone has any other questions I would be happy to field them!

Oh, and one other thing… do people wish there were more photos, a la Muskets and Moustaches?

Thanks again for the help!

Personal logo Who asked this joker Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2009 1:40 p.m. PST

I liked the photo examples in M&M so yes. I wish there were more.

As for terminology, 6-8 guns is a battery. 2 or more batteries is a battalion…usually the collection of the artillery from the entire corps.

I can probably give them a spin, but probably not before fall in.

1968billsfan Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2009 6:41 a.m. PST

I posted come possible rewording of some rule sections (as a comment in your blog) to see if I understand them. I'm not a words smith but wrote how I intrepret the rule.

I haven't pushed units around the table with these rules yet but like their simplicity and elements of unpredicatability.

One thing I am interested in is what is the width of your battalion in line and how that compares to the musketry firing distance?

Lord Ashram Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2009 8:58 a.m. PST


I did get your comments, and they are VERY helpful! I cannot tell you how much I value feedback on the rules… as I have mentioned I don't really have anyone to test rules with, so having another set of eyes (or six) is hugely helpful.

As for the widths vs range, ranges are 6 inches for muskets while regiments in line are four inches long. I hope there isn't an inherent problem there I haven't seen?:)

1968billsfan Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2009 11:04 a.m. PST

I don't anticipate that there is a problem. Why I asked is the following: I am interested in how our many Napoleonic rules handle the "scaling" between length of line of battle, musket fire distance and footspeed over the ground. The first pair of these is {effective musket range} verus {ground scale} and {lenght of battalion line of battle} verus {ground scale}. Smoothbore muskets had a high muzzle velocity but a poor ballistic co-efficient, poor range estimate & elevation by the users and a rainbow path through the air. Within 50 yards they could be deadly, 50-100 yards they were efficient, 100 to 150 yards they were damaging and beyond that the smoke just made it hard for you to see what was out there. Rules that have musket deadliness only dropping off 10 to 20% beyond 150 yards, don't make sense to me.(but see below). They don't mimic that part of what we know existed. ……… So if a regiment (I'll assume you actually mean battalion, since a regiment "usually" had 2 field and 1 depo battlions, but the field battalions operated mostly apart from one another, so brigades were constructed from a collection of battalions) was typically 150 yards (4 inches long so the "scale" might be 1 inch = 40 yards)and the range of the musket is 6"…. then the range of the musket is 240 yards (not "less than 150 yards")…..If I was a purist, I might jump up-and-down about this but I am too old for that much exercise. Using the "240 yards" as the "effective musket range" in the rule might also be thought of as combining the real world effects of the "effective musket range" and the desire NOT to dally with your troops within such a close range of the enemy! They might catch you unaware (picking your nose or taking a Bleeped text behind the lines) and they could do a sudden advance and catch you at a disadvantage. If it works to replicate what we think would have happened- then its okay (with me) as part of the rules. Anyway, how it plays and do we have amusement is why we are here!! Thanks again.

RudyNelson30 Oct 2009 11:06 a.m. PST

Range 6" so does that mean your ground scale is 15-20 yards with a dramatic hiot chance drop after 50 yard (3") for musket fire?

With fire arcs we considered (Guard du Corps 1981) that the highest volume of fire would be concentrated in front of the unit. Volume of Fire to the flank angle would be drastically reduced. So we had that a unit could fire only to the front creating a one edge to the other wide kill zone.

If you want angle fire then I would agree with the other comment that 45 dgrees is better than 90 degrees. A lot does depend on the troop scale in use.

RudyNelson30 Oct 2009 1:50 p.m. PST

If you want angle fire then I would agree with the other comment that 45 dgrees is better than 90 degrees. A lot does depend on the troop scale in use. The higher the troop scale the less angle fire would be justified. With a lower troop scale, it would be easier to justify a wider angle of fire.

Grizwald Inactive Member30 Oct 2009 4:09 p.m. PST

"As for the widths vs range, ranges are 6 inches for muskets while regiments in line are four inches long. I hope there isn't an inherent problem there I haven't seen?:)"

As has been said, effective musket range was 150 yds max. so your 6" range gives a ground scale of ~1in to 25yds. I don't know what you mean by "regiment" but the frontage of a battalion was about 150 – 160yds, so at your given ground scale a battalion should have a frontage of about 6".

Whatisitgood4atwork01 Nov 2009 7:41 p.m. PST

Thanks for posting these.

A one quick question, which may be in the rules but I didn't pick up in my read through.

I see that inf units have 2 bases, cav 4 and art 4.

Are all base widths the same? I see above that recommended inf base width is 2" (so 4" frontage in line). Are base widths the same for cav and art (giving 8" frontage for art, and 4" for cav in a 2 x 2 block?).

Thanks again,


RudyNelson01 Nov 2009 8:05 p.m. PST

The average deployment width for an arty battery ran 60 to 90 yards. A frontage of the base wider than 2" would be hard to defend in debates.

An infnatry battalion frontage of 4" sounds about right for 4" to 5" graound scale comparison..

Lord Ashram Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2009 8:16 p.m. PST


Guys, thanks so much for all of the feedback… it is HUGELY helpful.

About fire arcs, I'll have to think on it a bit. Also, with base size… I have to admit, I haven't put a ton of thought into it… honestly, as long as all your guys are based the same I think you should be fine? But a lot of what else has been recommended has been added in!:)

I am posting up version 2 tonight, along with some photos of some touched up 10mm British, who are just WAITING for someone to come Saturday night at Fall In to take command of them…!:)

For 6mm I would simply cut the ranges by a bit… movement down to 2, musket range to 4 inches and 2… I'll give the whole thing a look over after Fall In and try to refine those suggestions though.

Again, thanks much… and if anyone has the chance to push some guys around with these rules I would appreciate any other feedback they might have!:D

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP02 Nov 2009 3:03 a.m. PST

I have just had a quick read through. My initial thoughts without having had a chance to play them:

Like the basing. Mostly 'cos it matches mine! Two stands for an infantry battalion works well with small scale figures. You can represent formations without having loads of fiddly stands.

The order system looks great fun. I like plenty of friction and 'what the hell are they doing! Numptys!' moments. The 'in command' chain from unit to unit is a neat and elegant touch.

The simple move and combat combined with a focus on command and morale is exactly what I am looking for. I hope to fit a game in as soon as I can and will let you know how it went.

petit tondu Inactive Member02 Nov 2009 3:26 a.m. PST

Hi there,

I just grabed the V2 of the rules.
I still have a question about artillery :

An infantery battalion was around 600 to 800 men. Let's assume 720.
An artillery battery was around 6 guns.

Simulating a battallion with two infantry stands, and an artillery battery with 4 gun stands seems a bit unscaled to me. If we supposed your long basing with 20 minis an infantry stand, so 40 for a batallion, it gives a ratio of about 18 mens per mini as the guns per artillery stand is around 1.5.
If we assume a gun stand sizing the frontge of 5 infantry minis, that would mean 1 real gun deployed would occupy the frontage of 18*5/1.5=60 real mens. As far I can hardly immagine 1 deployed gun occupying the same frontage than a line of 60 mens… (assuming 80cm per men in close formation that would mean 48 meters frontage for a gun, 288 meters frontage for a battery (base to base…))

Isn't it out of proportion and could lead to issues regarding relative frontage between an artillery battery and other troops ?

Even if a deployed battery frontage is somewhat important I think 4 guns a Battery is too much. Wouldn't using one or two guns max per battery sound better ?



RudyNelson02 Nov 2009 12:16 p.m. PST

So can an infantry unit march into and through and then out of firing kill zones in one turn? (Cavalry can move through without being an issue)

If so that puts more emphasis on the need for a pass through mechanic. An unengaged enemy unit sees the unit move into the zone, would he simply watch them move out of it as well? If the battle is already active, I do not think so. If the enemy is postioning troops and the 'firing unit' has hold until ordered fire orders (if initial fire bonuses or in place), the nmaybe not. Opportunity fire can be handles with ease. An alreay fired marker for that or later phases of the same turn. No marker but a reduced chance to hit a target that is marching through the zone. Such mechanics will slow the game but does help with realism (which is important to me).

RudyNelson03 Nov 2009 7:17 a.m. PST

Lord Ashram, if you are considering angled fire by your batteries, you might want to give a read to the ACW post on artillery angled fire. T Kindred makes some very good comments in it about the affects of angled fired on adjacent guns in batteries.

Clay the Elitist Inactive Member12 Nov 2009 11:41 a.m. PST

Well done man. Any chance of a battle report?

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