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"New Napoleonic Rule Set - WIP" Topic

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2,098 hits since 21 May 2012
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Alyxander100 Inactive Member21 May 2012 1:07 p.m. PST

Taking a leaf from a number of my gaming friend's books, I have begun blogging about my miniature experience. I have posted info about my Napoleonic rule set and that will be the focus of the blog – although I will also post pics and info of my FOW exploits as well.

Let me know what you think – I am open to all types of suggestions on the rules as well as on my pictures etc…I am totally new to the rule set writing process as well as Blogging…growing up in the tech age and I have NEVER had a blog before…kind of embarrassing :) comments are welcome and appreciated!

Steve64 Inactive Member21 May 2012 6:41 p.m. PST

Best wishes on a bold adventure. Its good stuff !

Looking forward to following the progress, and happy to help out at any stage if needed.

Its a deceptively simple period, with a subtlety that hides a diabolical level of complexity below the surface. Nailing the whole accuracy vs playability thing in a ruleset is a real challenge.

Be prepared to aim long term on this, and be prepared to be flexible, as you will probably be learning a lot as you go along.

nsolomon9921 May 2012 6:52 p.m. PST

So Alyx, thank you, I've downloaded your rules – Empires and Honour, all 193 pages of 'em. Before I start to read what should I be looking for, what innovations will I see, what in your opinion differentiates them from other sets out there? Whats your claim to fame, what you were seeking to achieve with these rules, the core objective?

Thanks, Nick

Steve64 Inactive Member21 May 2012 7:13 p.m. PST

Oh – just found the rules too (after a 2nd closer look).

Very impressive stuff – you have done a huge amount of work there. Will take some time to digest them and start playtesting ASAP. Looks great !

Ashenduke Inactive Member22 May 2012 12:08 a.m. PST

Very nice of you to post these rules. I downloaded and skimmed a few pages and the production value looks great. I plan to give them a read when I can.
I noticed a typo on page 52 of Blucher's quote, "I will shoot any many I see with pity in him!" Should be any man.
Many headings appear at a bottom of a page rather than top. For instance French, Austrian, Russian, Spanish and Prussian nationality descriptions are at the bottom of the page of the previous nationality.
Sorry don't mean to be so nitpicky but I used to do a lot of proofing in a previous job and can't help it.

WKeyser22 May 2012 4:58 a.m. PST

Hi, took a look at the rules and they seem fine, nice layout, and pretty standard mechanics.

One thing that did strike me are the "special" rules, some are a little stranger than others, for instance you state that French where not as good as others in skirmishing, not sure where that came from but I dont think that was the case. French where quite good at skirmishing, however, over the 20+ years of the conflicts of the Napoleonic period they of course varied but I would say that they where consistantly one of the better nations in skirmishing.

The other think that caught my attention was that the Prussians where good at skirmishing because they made good guns. Sorry that has nothing to do with the ablity to skirmish.

Good luck on the venture however, it is a very intresting aspect of the hobby to create your own rules.

Alyxander100 Inactive Member22 May 2012 8:33 a.m. PST

I appreciate the comments thus far, Its always great to get the feedback of others so I know where I need to dedicate my time to making things better!

I have put a large amount of research into this, but there are always going to be things that one person will tend to miss. I am definitly going to look into the French Skirmish rules and the Prussian Skirmish rules. I also am going to revise the Grenadiers rules to only apply to the Early period of the rules since Grenades were not used much past the American War for independence.

The major thing that sets this Rule Set apart from the others is the importance I have placed on the psychology of the combat making most things be based off the Morale tests. One other aspect that I have placed importance on is the multiple ways you can get into close combat. Most rules have a Charge phase or an Assault phase. My rules have both, Charges being the high impact events as expected and assaults being more of an event after firing a healthy volley into the enemy and following the rounds up with cold steel.

Other than that, I have no real claim to fame other than I love the era, am studying to get my bachelors and eventually my Masters and Doctorate in the Imperial/colonial era (1490 -1948). I love wargaming and found that there are SO many different games on the period – my desire is that this should be the "One Ring" so-to-speak kind of the way that Flames of War was with WWII gaming. There were tons of WWII games before FOW, but FOW came along and unified most WWII gamers. I want that type of catalytic game for the Napoleonic period, to unify gamers behind one game that is simple in mechanics and has a depth of play that satisfies the historians out there. I feel that this game set, while it has some historical sacrifices for game play, could be THAT rule set, the one that finally puts a face on Napoleonic gaming for the community.

I am eternally grateful for any insight others may have on the period – If I ever hope to achieve a "One Ring" status with this set I will most certainly need feedback from my audience. I am taking notes and working to improve as I go.

One thing I need help on for sure is – as I have noted – I know very little about the national characteristics for the Italian, Neapolitan, minor German states (Bavaria, Oldenburg, Saxony etc), Sweden and Denmark. the one that I need the most help on is the Ottoman Empire…I know NOTHING except that thy had a plethora of melee type units…Orta? with swords rather than muskets.

I also need to know what periods and battles people would like to see Order of Battles for. I am currently working on OoB for the Peninsular war since that is the conflict that interests me the most – but the conflict was long and the Orders of Battle are huge – so scaling them down is a bit of a task. I am also trying to compile a "typical" order of battle for each country during each period I cover to allow for modular point based "fictional" battles. I am looking to build a Flames of War type collection of books. I will have the Generic book for generic battles and then have campaign specific books that cover a specific conflict or theater.

Any help on the nations or requests on OoB are more than welcome!

Thanks for the interest!

Marcus Maximus Inactive Member22 May 2012 1:00 p.m. PST

Did you ask permission to use the graphics of Sega games? In fact did you ask permission for nay photos, pictures etc used? If not I suggest you remove them pronto, then re-upload, OR ask for permission from the relevant owners and then add a legal note stating their rights, claims and ownership of the pictures, and re-upload.

Apart from that, interesting rule set as others have pointed out.

With regards Ottomans, they had as many muskets as any European army, what they lacked was training and discipline to march to time, volley fire etc, effectively acting like Formed Napoleonic Infantry. The best troops in the Ottoman armies were the Balkan troops who were noted for their accuracy in firing and the ability to stand againt formed enemy. May I suggest in the first instance that you obtain THE CRESCENT AMONG THE EAGLES OTTOMAN EMPIRE AND THE NAPOLEONIC WARS By William Johnson and / or The Ottoman Empire and the Napoleonic Wars by William Johnson and Christopher Bell which is an abrigded version of the The Crescent among the eagles publication. These books should provide all the information you need to draw up rules for Ottomans.

Are you going to consider the persians who fought the Russians and Moghul Indians? Are you also going to consider the Moghul Indians who fought the British and French?

Can't wait to see the updated version. Good luck and success on this new veture and your studies!

Thank you for sharing with us all on TMP, it is greatly appreciated.

Ashenduke Inactive Member22 May 2012 1:24 p.m. PST

I don't think he needs permission to use images unless he is trying to sell the book. As long as its a free distribution set.

Alyxander100 Inactive Member22 May 2012 2:13 p.m. PST

thats what I thought – thus the reason i uploaded it. I thought the permissions were needed if I was going to sell – at this point it is not for sale or profit of any kind – though I do hope to sell it at some point in which case I will obtain the needed permissions or change them out with pictures of my own – Thanks for watching my back on it though, the last thing I need is to be sued!


Alyxander100 Inactive Member22 May 2012 2:22 p.m. PST

I do intend on drawing up rules for the Persians, Moghal and Maratha Confederacy at some point – though I want to get a handle on the the major European powers before I branch out. I know a pretty good deal about the European powers, but know little to nothing of the wars fought in the near east. I know that they existed and that the Indians gave the Brits a run for their money – but that trying to conform to British line fighting proved fatal to the defending armies. Any info I can get on these empires or books you can recommend will definitely go in the queue of "Good Books to read" category for me and will sit in my Amazon wishlist till I get around to it or My wife gets me a present :)

Does anyone know of any good sites for getting accurate OoB for Peninsular war battles? I have a few battles nailed down, but I am having trouble finding OOB for the Battle of Bailen (one of the shinning moments of the Spanish…they need all the historical love they can get, not many shinning moments for them.)

ghost02 Inactive Member22 May 2012 3:18 p.m. PST

I would highly recommend reworking the basing. Most of us already have a large collection that is based to generally two rule sets. Napoleons Battles or Empire.

While reading the rules, it does not appear that base size would heavily impact gameplay, so I would defiantly provide accommodation for different basing styles. Look at Lasalle for a good method of this.

John de Terre Neuve Supporting Member of TMP22 May 2012 3:53 p.m. PST

Very well produced. I will look forward to having a read through.

I will second ghost02, take basing out of the equation. Use either figure number, or even better number of bases to designate your battalions or regiments. Lasalle is the guide here, superb idea using base widths rather then inches/mm. It allows all collections to be used.

And this is from someone who pretty well is using the basing system as you have described in your rules.


Alyxander100 Inactive Member22 May 2012 5:18 p.m. PST

I will have to revisit the rules on the basing – I agree that the base size does not affect game play too much – I may alter it to give an equation for alternative base sizes and how that will affect ranges – I chose the base sizes I did just because I had a bunch of Flames of War bases sitting around, the size of the base allows for some scenic basing that I enjoy – thus, being a creature of comfort I made the bases the size I have them.

Really, as long as the figure count and basing is similar between the armies being played there should not be an issue.

I would prefer to avoid a "base width" measurement system just because I think it would A: be a pain in my posterior to edit all the rules to this measurement and B: it wold make the rules look cluttered. I may include a section in the back of the book that would give some conversions – though the book is already pretty "Chart rich". Other than a complete overhaul of the measurements are there any other options that may be a bit easier?

I guess it all just boils down to the fact that I like the tape measure feel as opposed to the measuring stick with hash marks.

nsolomon9922 May 2012 6:03 p.m. PST

Alyx, I see nothing wrong with your desire to not use a Base Width derived measuring system. Lots of us like tape measures. I do agree on the comments about using a basing system that can work with existing basing systems. You reduce a barrier to entry that way.

I'll cop some flak from some niche players for my next comment but can I suggest that if you truly want these rules to become widely adopted that you dont start them off with a Peninsula focus. Many of us like to play the occasional Peninsula action but know that when we do we are experiencing a subset of the period and its warfare not the full spectrum. It may well be your favourite campaign and the one with which you are most familiar and thats great but a lot of people would not view the Peninsula War as mainstream. By all means include a scenario from the Peninsula – the actions there are a good introduction to infantry fighting in the period but the proportions of cavalry and artillery are not typical at all of the main campaigns in central and eastern europe.

Just my 2 cents worth :)

Alyxander100 Inactive Member22 May 2012 10:33 p.m. PST

Solomon, as always, thank you very much for the comments. I for sure will include a peninsular campaign, I think it was a pretty important part of the era, I know the Russian front is probably more commonly played. What are some of the major battles or campaigns that would be more appropriate to lead with? Would Austerliz or Aspen-Essling be more appropriate?

Open to suggestions and more than willing to put the footwork in for research, though book suggestions are always a plus.

Steve64 Inactive Member23 May 2012 2:10 a.m. PST

Basing widths are actually extremely important – at least in respect to ground scale.

Whatever size bases are being used, need to make double-plus sure that the ground scale equates to the frontage of whatever the base represents on the table.

However, finding an 'accurate' description of the width of a battalion at full strength in various formations, for various armies at various campaigns … is a lifelong endevour :)

Having said all that, there is no need to get it spot on perfect, but do the homework a few times to make sure that a battalion has the footprint of a battalion and not a crowd at a football game.

Alex – there is decent reference material at WarTimeJournal
That gives some decent overviews for ORBATs for different campaigns, and a rough guide to historical make ups for different armies. Might be handy for your extra material.

The napoleon series web site has lots of detail on battalion formations and things – but thats just a starter.

I also find the Empire Yahoo group really good for getting answers on nuts and bolts mechanics during this period. There are many people on that group who have a tonne of experience (mostly from various militaries), who know the old napoleonic drill regulations like the back of their hand. Good stuff.

David Brown23 May 2012 10:16 a.m. PST


I take it you must have a copy of General de Brigade?


Alyxander100 Inactive Member23 May 2012 11:19 a.m. PST

I do, I am using some of it as a base to launch my twists and turns on the period, adding national flavor and some of my own ideas. Many of the existing charts are going to be heavily modified as this is just a draft.

I have used ideas from your rules as well as from Flames of War, Johnny Reb and other Tactical level games that I have played to give a framework in which I can modify and and change it all the way I want it to feel.

I have changed the basing, the measurements and many of the results on the tables to give it a new feel, as well as adding national characteristics that will influence the play quite a bit. I have also added (from the FOW way of thinking) Training and Morale based rolls using some of your mechanics with modifiers depending on troop grades.

Artillery is handled differently in terms of where the rounds fall on target using a Warhammer Fantasy type of idea with scatter dice and distance for the bounce through and Canister fire is handled in somewhat of a LeSalle type of way in that it is considered to more-or-less blanket a given area. I have toyed with the idea of modifying this even more to use a teardrop shaped template to allow the batteries to aim the shots better, but I have not come to a determination. Howitzers also use a template depending on size when using explosive shot.

Defensive positions are another idea that I have put into the rules. there are special rules that you can play with that use trenches, gabbions, Cheveux de Frise, Deployable cavalry spikes and Fougasse.

Many of the game mechanics are similar to many other game systems, however one major difference is the inclusion of the assault phase. This will allow players to charge heavy with their cavalry and elite infantry units while allowing them to follow up the charges with supporting infantry. Cavalry may find it hard to break infantry in square during a charge – though if supported by assaulting Infantry as well, the defender will have a hard time not breaking.

Some other things that I have added to give things a nice feel are the cavalry avoid squares rule allowing the cavalry to take a training test at the midway charge point to avoid collision with the potentially deadly square. Artillery counter-battery fire has also been included to give the firing player the opportunity to damage and destroy guns. The chances that this will happen are slim unless the dice gods smile on you, but Artillery was tough to hit to begin with.

Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or concerns at alyx.lunceford(at) :)

flipper23 May 2012 12:41 p.m. PST


My impression of the content is one of being overly wordy and sprawling (lots of unecessary content) they make a medium complexity rule set feel cumbersome and off putting.

I am a person who prefers rules which are more simplistic, 'grand tactical and to the point so perhaps it is me?

If I was your publisher/editor, I would set you a target of 60 PP …

Even 'Empire' didn't (seem to) take up so much space!

David Brown23 May 2012 12:48 p.m. PST


In its current form the rules are just General de Brigade with some extra bits.

That does cause me some concern, as I have spent many years developing this product.

There's nothing wrong in using similar mechanics or mechanisms but that were it ends. Using identical mechanisms and virtually identical wording is not acceptable.

E.G. You have:
Identical Order System,
Identical Movement Rates,
Identical references to Massed columns,
Identical Formation Change Table
Identical Fire Modifiers & Fire Table, (including Risk To General)
Identical Skirmish Method
Identical Melee Chart & Results, along with Pursuit Test Table
Identical Morale Charts And References.

I could go on, (and on!)

To basically "cut & paste" my work and claim it to be yours puts you on very thin ice, legally.

By all means produce new Napoleonic rules but I would prefer it if it were your own work.


Alyxander100 Inactive Member23 May 2012 12:59 p.m. PST

I completely understand. I have removed my set from public access and will not post it again until I have changed it sufficiently. If you would like, I will gladly send you a copy to review prior to posting again.

Marcus Maximus Inactive Member23 May 2012 1:25 p.m. PST

Ashenduke yes he does, irrespective of whether he distributes free or not, he must clearly state copyright owners.

Bottom Dollar Inactive Member23 May 2012 2:08 p.m. PST

Thanks for the review Dave ! And that gives me an idea Marcus.

From what I've seen, I agree with you Alyxander, Napoleonic rules need a thorough going over where the battles between the primary land combatants is the focus. From what I can tell GdB has the framework.

Marcus Maximus Inactive Member23 May 2012 2:50 p.m. PST


nsolomon9923 May 2012 9:07 p.m. PST

Alyx, I've now had a read through. I realise they're a draft but already a few things are obvious. You cant seem to make up your mind which part of a very large period filled with change you're covering. If you want one set of rules to cover such a span of time then you cant go down to the detail level that you do. Or if you want to present detail then you're going to have to narrow your focus.

The other comment would be that they read like a worship-the-British-super-troops rules set. Everywhere there seem to be special rules covering the British giving them +1's for this and that, allowing them to operate some sort of special 4 deep attack column that no-one else has, superior officers all the time, superior light cavalry, superior skirmishers, etc, etc. Maybe thats what you think and thats ok but as a general rules set you would like to see become a standard you'll possibly need to moderate the hero worship a little.

I'd also suggest you need to do a little more reading – the Prussian army did not have the worst horses going around, did not use the fastest drill system to move from column to line to square, didn't equip their Grenadiers with grenades, etc, etc. The French were not poor skirmishers but actually some of the best and so and so on. The British Light Cavalry were not the best in Europe, ever! Few Spanish commanders would boost the morale of their men by their presence. Russian Unicorn (the actual term is Licorne) batteries weren't one of the most devastating artillery types on the field and so on and so on. I actually laughed out loud at a couple of points and to be honest if I picked up a copy of these rules in a store and read some of these comments I wouldn't be reading any further.

I think you need to read a little more widely, beyond the Peninsula for instance, and decide which period your rules are going to be aimed at initially and perhaps spread them to other periods with the use of modules.


ghost02 Inactive Member23 May 2012 9:24 p.m. PST

I concur with Nick, if anyone should get a column bonus, it's the French.

Also, if your going to give special rules to certain nationalities, there needs to be a time stamp. For example, from 1806 – 1809, the Prussians should get a negative modifier for formation change, along with slower movement speed.

Alyxander100 Inactive Member24 May 2012 7:54 a.m. PST

Thanks for the feedback – Many of these items are already in the works for getting the overhaul in the rule set – many of those special rules are left overs from when I wanted this to be an all inclusive black powder era set – have since narrowed it to the Napoleonic – I for sure have some revisions to do. I will review and revise much of the rules before putting it back out.

Thanks for your honesty.

Ashenduke Inactive Member24 May 2012 12:01 p.m. PST

Ashenduke yes he does, irrespective of whether he distributes free or not, he must clearly state copyright owners.

Did not know that thanks for pointing it out. Since he has removed the rules from public domain and stated the graphics are placeholders no longer an issue. Good to know though.

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