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"Empire V or Revolution & Empire? Coming back to my roots..." Topic

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sctrac Inactive Member25 Feb 2013 11:32 a.m. PST

Hi all,
I have recently decided to dust off my 15mm napoleonics, start a few new painting projects and get back into Napoleonic wargaming after a 15yr hiatus. I grew up (literally) playing Empire III, IV (ok, I bought them but used them as a bookend) and V. I am planning to stay within the Empire family in the foreseeable future I have looked at many other rule sets and have found them lacking for personal reasons. Many are great wargames rules but do not have the flavor I have come to enjoy with Empire… the individual regimental histories, the detail, etc. So using this topic to convince me to try another rule set altogether instead is not my purpose here and therefore not helpful. ;-)
So, to my business. As I mentioned, I own Empire V and 4-5 years ago bought Revolution & Empire. Many of the subjects that I have researched, the size of regiments, etc. seem to be more accurate with R&E (using 1:60 ratio) and was intrigued by some of the concepts introduced but was put off by the many (many) typo's I found throughout my set and probably didn't give the rules a fair shot.

My questions:

1. OF THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE PLAYED BOTH SETS which do you prefer and why?

2. Support. Besides you wonderful Grognards here at TMP, what websites do you recommend for support and discussion specifically for these two rulesets?

3. R&E Errata? Does it exist and where would one go to find it?

4. My copy of Empire V was purchased hot off the presses in 1991 (or so) has there been any updates (official or otherwise) you all would recommend?

Anything else you can think of to pass on, please do so.

Thank you in advance!

laager50 Inactive Member25 Feb 2013 11:36 a.m. PST

Not played them myself, but here's the link to the yahoo group incase you don't already have it


coopman25 Feb 2013 3:49 p.m. PST

I never made it past III. Good luck.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian25 Feb 2013 4:29 p.m. PST

I'm with coopman. "there but the for the grace of God go I…"

sctrac Inactive Member25 Feb 2013 5:33 p.m. PST

Thank you for the link – I had forgotten about the Yahoo group. Keep the thoughts coming!

Steve64 Inactive Member25 Feb 2013 6:34 p.m. PST

2. Support. Besides you wonderful Grognards here at TMP, what websites do you recommend for support and discussion specifically for these two rulesets?

3. R&E Errata? Does it exist and where would one go to find it?

Yahoo group – tonnes of material, and direct access to Todd for answering questions. There is a rather large errata / FAQ document, and lots of answered questions in the archive.

4. My copy of Empire V was purchased hot off the presses in 1991 (or so) has there been any updates (official or otherwise) you all would recommend?

A smaller errata sheet, and a monster archive of Q&A on the yahoo group again.

1. OF THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE PLAYED BOTH SETS which do you prefer and why?

Big topic, would take an age to answer that one thoroughly.

Bottom line is that R+E is well worth dusting off. It adds more complication to the game, but is a little faster to play once you get your head around it.

Dont be too put off by the typos – the rules are there to be digested and understood prior to play.

On the Yahoo group, there are some great 3rd party QRS downloads that make the game much more digestible.

Major differences in play :

1) Deployment. R+E manages the deployment of large forces from the march into battle array. Empire assumes it as part of the scenario.

2) Order activation. This can be a little frustrating with Empire if you get several turns of unfavourable die rolls. R+E adds an extra layer of bookkeeping. Orders activate more predictably as they progress towards 100% activated.

3) Pending orders. R+E adds the concept of pending orders, which reward the player with a plan.

4) Skirmishing. R+E incorporates grande bande skirmishing with a pending attack order. This aspect was a favorite part of Empire III which was streamlined out of Empire V. Lots of detail that is missing from earlier Empire rules … skirmishers operating outside of support range, klumpen tactics, enboldened skirmishers penetrating the enemy front line, etc, etc.

5) Elan test. R+E replaces the elan test mechanic with something … much simpler and less detailed. YMMV.

6) Attack impetus. R+E adds the concept of attack impetus. Adds a good bit of chrome to the flavour of the battle.

7) Musketry. R+E completely replaces the percentile dice mechanic with a rather complicated 2D10 roll + mods. Mathematically, you get the same results as Empire, with a little more variance at the extremes. Gives Landwehr the (remote) chance to pull off an effective volley. Its still quite a messy mechanic though.

8) Ammo tracking. Yay ! more detail, more bookkeeping. The ammo rules are tightly bound into the ME determination test, and also make skirmish attacks highly effective now. You can now use skirmishers to actually disorder enemy lines, deplete their firepower, erode the confidence of the target ME, as well as pin down isolated gun sections. Worthwile addition to the game.

9) Artillery. Complete rewrite to catch up with the last 20+ years of research. Major difference is the artillery fatigue, and the need to pull guns back to reserve for refitting.

10) Time scale. 30 minute turns. 1 combat impulse per turn, with a chance to gain a bonus impulse. The more positive things you pull off in a combat impulse, the more chance you have of getting a bonus impulse to exploit a breakthrough.

The 2 MAJOR changes which really affect the way the game feels :

10) Commander Actions. This has a major impact on the way the game plays. Corps commanders, Div commanders, and Brigade commanders have a limited pool of special tricks they can pull at any stage of the turn (including for the defending player during a combat impulse). Takes a few games to get your head around it, but works really well.

11) Reserve Brigades. Each ME can have a separate reserve force. Use Commander Actions to create ad-hoc reserve forces, and use another Commander Action to commit a reserve force.

Plus – a greatly expanded set of Appendices for lots of extra troop definitions for lots of different armies.

Possible Negatives ? – Tactical phase plays pretty loose still. There is nothing in the rules about regulating battalions or regulation formations.

If you are into that, its easy enough to bolt houserules on.


Overall conclusion on R+E vs Empire :

- Nasty learning curve. You need to afford to burn a few weeks playing some training games to get up to speed, before being able to enjoy the results.

- Still feels like a game of Empire, but with less random chance of a run of bad dice getting in the way of a good game.

- Gives a hugely satisfying game that captures everything you read about in all the good books.


Also, before I forget …. the authors are running some SYW games on the convention circuit using R+E.

All the mechanics are in there to handle Ancien Regime armies, so I guess its just a question of coming up with approriate stats for the earlier armies.

Hope that helps.

Parfitts Tele Inactive Member26 Feb 2013 4:37 a.m. PST

Thanks so much for such a detailed response. While I am still happy to use Empire V( and probably the only one in my state) I may have to track down a copy of R+E and compare.
Most appreciated

marshalGreg26 Feb 2013 10:54 a.m. PST

Steve64 is spot on!
I have grown up literally with Empire sets II through V. Now that I am older. I have acquired a copy of R&E.
I would prefer R&E for all the same reasons mentioned by Steve64.
Just keep in mind.. what do the others you play with are willing to invest time an effort in. That is the issue I face and the limit to my play with R&E ( or Empire).
I hope to participate in a game someday.
Good gaming Parfitts Tele & Sctrac

sctrac Inactive Member26 Feb 2013 12:46 p.m. PST

All – thanks for the help and comments! I have since signed up for the Yahoo group and have pulled out the R&E rules to look at again.

Steve64 – I appreciate the analysis. I was intrigued by the R&E artillery rules and have always been bothered by the Empire rules (one of the few things in Empire that didn't have a historical "feel" to the outcomes)…

If anybody has anything to add…please feel free…any information is helpful in shaking off the rust.

baltojake Inactive Member26 Feb 2013 7:03 p.m. PST

I have been happily playing Empire 5 since it's introduction and before that 3 and 4. I prefer it to Revolution and Empire but to be fair, although I own a copy, I have never played R&E. Some of R&E seems a little too detailed for a ruleset like the Empire "system". Speaking for myself I have certinally got my money's worth from Empire, still play about twice a month, and am always glad to be back to it after trying other rules, (mostly at conventions). I have come to the opinion, over the years, that Napoleonic rulesets are like cars, some people like Fords and some people like Chevrolets, and thats just the way it is.

John Miller

John Miller

pessa00 Inactive Member26 Feb 2013 8:15 p.m. PST

I'm totally happy with Empire V myself, but I have to say the R&E rules for skirmishing and artillery sound very intersting.

WarDepotDavid Inactive Member03 Mar 2013 10:03 p.m. PST

Stuck on Empire V myself but have added a few good things from R+E and expanded the morale testing and results.

MattDLM Inactive Member06 Nov 2013 9:21 a.m. PST

Dear R&E Enthusiasts,

I've been trying to measure interest in a R&E 2nd edition that cleans up the typos and streamlines the game. Trying to push the other co-authors in that direction.

Please drop me a line at if you have any interest in the project.

Matt DeLaMater

bkim417506 Nov 2013 10:50 a.m. PST

I have played II, III,IV and V; and own R&E. Still have copies somewhere of II and IV. Since Moving to WV, Harpers Ferry area I haven't found anyone to play any version.
Any of you within close proximity of this ACW haven?

John Miller Inactive Member07 Nov 2013 4:31 p.m. PST

bkim4175: I am not sure if you would consider it a close proximity but four of us regularly play Empire V in the Baltimore area about twice a month on Sunday afternoons.

John Miller

bkim417508 Nov 2013 10:16 a.m. PST

John Miller, I may be just desparate enough to try once a month.
I have a wide range of forces that I could add to the pot.
Here's my email so we won't tie this line up:

I Drink Your Milkshake13 Nov 2013 9:51 a.m. PST

My old group(5-6 fellows) from Norfolk area are still active in Empire 5.

Bandit Inactive Member16 Nov 2013 8:48 p.m. PST

I have played both Empire and Revolution & Empire but neither as a primary set of rules. I would say that for the complexity of both I'd vote for the second. My criticism is that a single player can control the tempo of the game (this is also true in Empire I-V), I do not feel this is unrealistic but I do feel it is impractical in a game.

That said, I find a lot of the concepts and mechanics in R&E to be both novel and refreshing even though they are an "old" set of rules at this point. I don't put much stock in the "old" vs "new" question.

An example is how it deals with artillery, requiring an easy roll to commit it from a divisional reserve and a moderate to difficult roll to displace it to a new position once the guns have been dropped.


The Bandit

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