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"Field of Glory Rules for Napoleonics" Topic

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29 Dec 2016 10:23 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from Napoleonic Discussion board
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2,952 hits since 31 Jan 2014
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

david1910331 Jan 2014 1:20 p.m. PST

Has anyone ever given it a try? If so, what were your impressions of it?

I was browsing on Amazon and read a review which said there are some options for scale, which I thought was appealing since you can play as a commander at different levels. Having never tried any of the FOG rules beforehand, however, I'd like to weigh in with others to see what they thought before considering it.

ernieR Inactive Member31 Jan 2014 1:32 p.m. PST

played a demo game at a convention last year and even the two guys running the game had trouble keeping track of where all the charts and tables were . there were eight of us playing and i think we all had a good time and the game played well and gave what we thought was a realistic result for the tactics we used . four of the players were from the group i play with and we decided to stick with LaSalle.

disclaimer: i've only played one game each of LaSalle and FoGN , i'm very far from an expert on anything Napoleonic

Personal logo reeves lk Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2014 2:19 p.m. PST

It is a fun game but I would not play it at a convention or club. It should be no more than four players. The concept of not losing figures due to fire or melee is hard to conceive with Horse and Musket gamers. You don't remove units by killing figures. You remove them by breaking their cohesion. That might not be the right word. I have played it several times and have had fun each time. You have to keep an open mind when using the system. One of the plus is you don't need a lot of figures. In reality the figures are for looks. You can have as few or as many as you want per stand.

Give it a try more than once. You can take your existing army and play a game. Just cut some card board in the size of stands you need and put your existing army on the stand.

Gozzaoz31 Jan 2014 2:58 p.m. PST

Most modern rulesets don't use figure removal as a unit takes casualties. Figure removal is a hallmark of "old school wargaming",

Yankees Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2014 3:04 p.m. PST

Play shako 2 better game, and more people play it, and it's written in American English.

Timotheous31 Jan 2014 3:16 p.m. PST

I have played FoGN with my group two or three times, and tried to read the book with the objective of understanding game play, but I have to echo what ernieR said above, that the charts are not laid out very well. Nor did I think that the rulebook was laid out very well either. For example, there are so many rules exceptions and caveats in the body of the rules which did not make it into the charts. There is no outline structure in the rules to make it any easier to find the rules you need in play, only bullet lists with some bullet items parsed out with sub-bullet lists…which use the same bullet symbol. Very hard to make any sense of what the rules are trying to accomplish.

I say this as someone who reads and enjoys the original FoG game, with all its complexity. I'm sure that FoGN is a good game, but the rules are atrociously written.

My 2 money

willthepiper31 Jan 2014 3:47 p.m. PST

My experience is as a newbie to Napoleonic wargaming. We played three games of FoG:N at the club last year, led by a player who enjoys FoG for renaissance and ancients. The challenge we had in each game was that things moved too slowly. In the first game that could be explained by inexperience with the rules, but the common result for all three game was that we couldn't bring the game to a definitive conclusion before we ran out of time and had to pack up. I liked the concept that it is necessary to use artillery and other fire to weaken a unit (impose cohesion loss) before charging in to finish it in melee. We had problems setting up attacks, as the target unit was able to recover in time to see off the attacker usually by defensive fire.

After three attempts at FoG:N, we set up a game with Black Powder, and managed to get a result in half the time of a FoG:N stalemate. I know that BP has its shortcomings, but at least we can get a game to conclusion in around three hours!

steamingdave4731 Jan 2014 3:51 p.m. PST

Played several games, using 6 mm figures and 15mm figures. I echo the comments above. The rule book is horribly laid out. It gives the impression of having ideas jotted down on loose sheets of paper and then just thrown together at random. Proof reading does not seem to have been part of the production process. The charts in the book have been superseded by on – line versions, which can be downloaded.
In spite of the criticisms, I do think it gives a good game at Corps level. We certainly intend to carry on with it in our group, although we are thinking about giving Age of Eagles a go, as well as General de Brigade.

Yankees Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2014 4:20 p.m. PST

Pretty books by osprey does not make a good game. This game has come and gone. Every year 10 new sets of napoleonic rules are published, none test the time. The English hate American sets of rules, but Shako 2 kicks there ass, Wargamers have played it from 1992.

It's just a matter of time when you will figure it out.

JJMicromegas Inactive Member31 Jan 2014 5:09 p.m. PST

I have played eight games of FoGN and here are my positives and negatives. It is the type of game that you have to play several times to get some of the intricacies of. I've never played Shako 2 but would try it out if someone locally played it. I played in the same demo game that ernieR mentions above.


- The idea of regiment sized formations in tactical or extended line with attachments is a bit abstract but it allows you to play a corps sized battle which is the level that I like to command.

- The tactics on the table top reflect Napoleonic combat very well as I understand it. As two sides approach one another, they will exchange several volleys of fire and if one side manages to charge the result is usually very decisive. It is very difficult to assault a steady unit head on without making it lose some cohesion or outnumbering it. Cavalry can be very powerful if used properly but can also be frail. Skirmishers and artillery can be very effective but have to be positioned well.

- Command and control is dealt with in such a way that doesn't slow down or take away from the game but yet is important. Basically units can move forward, shoot and attack as they wish, but more complex manoeuvres, recovery, second moves require the use of a limited pool of command points.

- The game can play fast once you get the hang of it, last week I ran a game that was 1200 points, about 20-25 units per side controlled by 3 players per side and half the players were newbies. The game concluded in about 3hrs of play. Speed of play does, however, depend on the style of the players as well which I'll address in the negative section.

- The updated charts for download are fairly straight forward once you get the hang of them.


- As mentioned, the rules are very badly written. I agree with the above points on the layout so nothing else to add.

- I don't think these are newb friendly rules, I think to fully appreciate them you should have a decent understanding of the period and the patience to play at least half a dozen times before you really get them. After eight games I am getting the hang of the system.

- The game can play slow if one side or the other plays cautiously and either sits back and waits in the case of the defender or is hesitant to attack in the case of the attacker. To this end I think the game could do well with some objective based scenarios which we are discussing at our club here in London.

In summary:

I think the game provides a good representation of Napoleonic combat if you want to be a Corps commander and yet see the effect of formations on the table top. The abstractions work once you understand what the game is trying to accomplish. The rules can be a difficult to get through and will require some effort to play smoothly. If you happen to be in London, UK there is a group of about 8-10 people that play it regularly. In the UK the whole FoG franchise has a much larger following than in the US, with regular competitions for all three of the systems.

Maddaz111 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member31 Jan 2014 6:06 p.m. PST

Hmm, not played.

From reading this, probably not enjoyable.

RazorMind31 Jan 2014 8:06 p.m. PST

I love Napoleon at War, that is a fun game that resolves in a reasonable amount of gaming time

Timotheous31 Jan 2014 11:19 p.m. PST

I have not played NAW, but have heard a lot of good things about them. My group plays Lasalle, and I have Drums and Shakos Large Battles, aimed at the level of divisional command. All three games seem to have a reputation for being fast and fun. Unfortunately for FoGN, my group and I did not have the patience to see if it was true for FoGN as well.

JJMicromegas Inactive Member01 Feb 2014 3:03 a.m. PST

FoGN plays at a different level than NAW and Lasalle in which you are commanding a Division. FoGN plays at the Corps level, and as I mentioned it can also provide you with a fast playing game.

So it depends at what level of command the OP prefers, I personally prefer the Corps level to the Divisional level because I can have all arms of the army represented, more diversity in my troops and the Corps would be the lowest level of command to operate completely independently. But the systems aim for different things so it's hard to compare.

Bandolier Supporting Member of TMP01 Feb 2014 4:40 a.m. PST

I echo JJMicromegas comments.
Each FOG:N game I've played has had a clear outcome and completed in good time. My advantage was that someone already experienced with the rules gave me my intro. The comments comparing FOG:N with Black Powder, N@W etc are erroneous as they are not the same level game.

When they first came out I was a bit "meh" about them. But now they are my preferred set at this level. There is a learning curve, but rewarding when you pick up the subtleties and rhythm. My comments will probably not change anyone's opinion, but hopefully it shows that there are a few players around who really enjoy it.

Trajanus01 Feb 2014 8:13 a.m. PST

The cohesion concept in the rules is a nice representation of Napoleonic units being ground down by combat and the need for reserves to press home an attack.

The writing, or more exactly the editing, is a tragedy that lets down a game with a lot of promise. In this day and age too many players would not bother to stick with it and figure things out though it should be said they are more annoying than baffling.

ernieR Inactive Member01 Feb 2014 8:27 a.m. PST

hello JJMicromegas ! good to hear you're enjoying FoGN , when (if?) you make it back to Toronto you can teach us how to play :)

ancientsgamer01 Feb 2014 9:37 a.m. PST

"Most modern rulesets don't use figure removal as a unit takes casualties. Figure removal is a hallmark of "old school wargaming" "

Just patently not true. Name games that have come out in the last 10 years that are historical? The majority have figure removal.

Old school would definitely be removing individual figures or putting casualty caps on figures to denote kills. Stand removal and indeed figure removal is very much common in most rules sets that have been release even the last few years.

Napoleon at War is fun. If anything, it may play too fast! LOL Pretty much 40K/Flames of War for Napoleonics with mechanics for period feel from what I see. Canons are deadly in the game; very deadly.

I like Lasalle and feel it can be scaled up with no problem. Just play historical OOBs and ignore the army lists if you aren't doing a tournament or competition. Buck Surdu's Battles for Empire are quite good too IMO.

Have not played Shako or the second version. Probably mostly due to not have figures on the smaller bases.

My gaming preferences are to have rules that can handle Division to Corps levels on each side. Hopefully something that we can to multi-player and scale up to Army level too. I am playing what others are playing locally. Right now this is Napoleon at War for scalable games in 15mm. DBN for larger battles in 10mm scale.

For smaller games but big army level battles, DBN, Grand Armee or Snappy Nappy would be my choice. But I do miss seeing the visual appeal of troops in squares and various other formations.

As to rule complication, unless I am playing a genre 80% of the time, I don't want complicated rules anymore. And even with my 80% rule, I am drifting more to medium complexity rules. We have essentially dropped FoG for ancients/medievals here. Looking at Might of Arms as the best candidate for something we will stick with. The decision will be easier with Might of Arms 2 launch sometime this year as they will be available again more readily.

JJMicromegas Inactive Member01 Feb 2014 12:54 p.m. PST

I don't think FoGN is any more complicated than the other rulesets mentioned. It's just that the poor editing tends to hide rules and make them harder to find. There are no special rules to remember for example and the factors that affect combat can be easily remembered. If you play the other FoG games then I think you'll find the transition to the Napoleonic version quite easy.

Sgt Steiner02 Feb 2014 11:23 a.m. PST

I like FOGN for the Corps scale game it generates. It just feels right overall for that scale of simulation.
Am also a fan of Shako and indeed Lasalle which play very differently and for different scaling.
Agree FOGN is rather opaque to read but things are clearer once you start moving the toys about.

I am not known for sticking to one set in any period as variety is indeed the spice :-)

Timotheous03 Feb 2014 11:15 a.m. PST

Not a dig at FoGN, but I have been wondering if the fact that FoGN being one level of command 'up' from the other games in which you command a division is significant enough to feel sufficiently different? Wargames are already a scaled-down representation of the real thing, not the actual thing itself, so whether I am manuvering battalions or regiments, do I really feel like I am commanding more men? I suppose with FoGN, the ability to 'attach' artillery and skirmisher bases to a regiment goes some way to represent groups of battalions with integral artillery or a few squadrons of attached cavalry, but other than that does it really make for a different game? It seems that I'm just moving around groups of miniatures, it's all the same.

The original Shako rules were written for battalions as the manuver unit, but had army-level rules adjustments which shortened artillery fire, eliminated skirmishers, and made the unit sizes based on the OOB strengths of the brigades or divisions which took part in the historical battle. These changes seemed upon reading (never having played them) that the big battle rules made for a much different game.

Bandolier Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2014 1:36 p.m. PST

but other than that does it really make for a different game? It seems that I'm just moving around groups of miniatures, it's all the same.
Fair question. I asked myself the same thing when I first started playing FoGN. The rules themselves give a solid explanation for the chosen level and the abstractions used become clear. It is still just moving around miniatures, but definitely different to battalion level.

ratisbon Inactive Member03 Feb 2014 3:46 p.m. PST

Regiments are units of administration and if large enough they could act as brigades and be units of grand tactical combat. The problem is all too many regiments are not and the rules wind up ignoring Napoleonic command. Also I found unit ratings saccharine. Perhaps it is an attempt to keep them competitive. $90 USD for a set of rules that doesn't quite work seems a bit dear but if you like them your money is well spent.

Bob Coggins

JJMicromegas Inactive Member03 Feb 2014 4:28 p.m. PST

Hi Bob, where did you get the $90 USD number from? You can currently get the main rulebook for 12 GBP on Amazon UK and it has enough army lists in the back of the book to get you going.

Vincent Solfronk03 Feb 2014 5:39 p.m. PST

IMHO I think that Osprey rushed the rules and army lists before they were play-tested or edited. My club plays them and I like them very much. Once you get the hang of the rules and factors, it plays rather quickly.

Hopefully a new edition will be coming out that will be easier to understand and read (and include the Wo1812).

Trajanus04 Feb 2014 3:17 a.m. PST

Field of Glory is $21.70 USD at Amazon as of this morning. God Alone Knows where the $90.00 USD comes from!

ratisbon Inactive Member04 Feb 2014 6:20 a.m. PST

Whether or not God knows, I do. Keep in mind I collect rules, so the quality of the rules is less important than having them. Osprey issued 3 hardcover rule books covering different armies. The original price on release that I and a lot of American gamers paid was $30 USD per book.

However, your point is well taken. So let me restate $65 USD is a lot to spend for these rules. They do, however, look good on the shelf.


Bob Coggins

JJMicromegas Inactive Member04 Feb 2014 6:37 a.m. PST

Hi Bob,

Your point is taken but I am going to correct you for the sake of anyone reading this thread that might find it confusing when you refer to all three books as rulebooks.

The Rulebook, which contains all the rules that you need, and a sample of about a dozen army lists is currently around $20 USD-25 USD on Amazon. The other two books do not contain any rules but are Supplements with more army lists. One covering the Revolutionary, The Peninsula and Napoleonic wars up to 1808, the other covering 1809 to Waterloo. The supplements are not absolutely necessary as the original book has enough lists to get you started and covers a variety of periods. So if you buy the Rulebook and like the game then you can decide to buy the other Supplements.

ratisbon Inactive Member04 Feb 2014 12:54 p.m. PST


Thanks for the information. I own all 3. The rules are no more of a bargain at $65. USD All of the stuff in the last 2 books could have been in the first book. In short Osprey turned a $40 USD or so product into a $90 USD or $65 USD product.

It is true you don't need the 2nd and 3rd books to play the rules but if you want to play an army or year not included you need have them. In the US that's called nickling and diming.

Call me old fashioned but I think that Napoleonic rules should cover the entire 1792 to 1815 period in one book.


Bob Coggins

Dexter Ward06 Feb 2014 7:11 a.m. PST

ancientsgamer wrote:
Just patently not true. Name games that have come out in the last 10 years that are historical? The majority have figure removal.
Shako 2, Lasalle, BlackPowder, FoG:N, Le Feu Sacre, are all historical games which have come out in the last 10 years which do not have figure removal.

Emperors Choice Inactive Member10 Feb 2014 3:22 p.m. PST

We tried it. It took us four or five long sessions to play a medium to large battle to conclusion. This included a learning curve to learn and analyze it a bit. This was done with 4 players.

I personally felt the game was a lot of fun, I liked the mechanics etc (most of did). We mostly all agreeed the game was fun and had something to offer.

However it was near impossible to find stuff in the rule book and this is where the majority of our time was lost. It seemed like parts of rules were scattered in other parts and always a t the moment where you really needed to know in order to get the game moving.

I understand it is not very easy to write a set of rules, but these were very difficult to navigate and remember where you had read something before. The index was lacking as well if I recall.

Inside FoGN there is a gem to be had, this I am almost certain of. I am just not 100% convinced that our group can spare the time to digest it and make it one of our regular games. I would like to but after purchasing four or five sets of the books and invested all the time I am not sold that it can work for our group, it would be great if it could…

We used figures based for Napoleons Battles (Avalon Hill). Napoleons Battles was always our choice for the multi corps game. But those rules seemed rather long and created quite a few arguments over the years. We bought into the (3rd?) edition from Five Forks but that worked out to be disastrous for us and we stopped playing. I believe Napoleons Battles has another version coming out sometime?? I would be interested in again if it isn't just a regurgitated copy like the other version. The Avalon Hill version was certainly laid out the best of the versions.

I would also like to know a good Multi-level Corps game to play. Perhaps we will look into the other ones mentioned above (Shako, Lasalle etc) soon. I do own Lasalle but I think we opted to try FoGN due to accessibility or some other reason. Our group will either look into some of these other games probably or wait and see what Napoleons Battles new edition can deliver.

I agree with Bob Coggins (Napoleons Battles author??) that it should cover the entire period.


BrettPT Inactive Member11 Feb 2014 12:18 a.m. PST

We play FoGN in our group, and the rules have been used in 5 tournaments in New Zealand so far. We have also used them successfullly for a campaign (autumn 1813) and in 3 major battle re-enactments (Austerlitz, and Waterloo twice). FoGN are IMO the best set of Napoleonic rules for tournaments I have played, are good for club games and give realistic results in large games.

Some random observations on game dynamics:

1. Absolutely the rules can be frustratingly hard to read, with ambiguities and grey areas and bits you have to flick through to find. Annoying.

2. That said, the basic mechanics are pretty simple and become easily remembered and intuitive after a couple of games.

3. A non-moving (defending) unit will always shoot before a moving or attacking unit. This means, as others have noted, that closing on good fresh opponents without softening them up a bit first with artillery and/or skirmish fire, can be very risky.

4. Units get bonuses for rear supports. Makes you have to think about forgoing some army frontage in order to deploy in depth for cavalry and conscript infantry in particular.

5. Cavalry behave very differently in FoGN to most rules I have played. They have little chance of killing fresh infantry frontally. Combined arms assaults are a rarity (by combined arms I mean taking a unit of cavalry and one of infantry, and throwing them both at the same infantry opponent). You may see a single combined arms assault every 3 or 4 games, but not much more than that.

The better FoGN gamers tend to use their mounted either to mob enemy cavalry on a flank (if they think they have a better mounted arm) or to maneouvre around flanks. If no such opportunities arise, mounted are usually held in reserve, support infantry as a fire brigade, and/or wait their chance to assault late in the game, once the enemy forces have been degraded. Cavalry get one good charge in the game. After that, they become spent, fighting at reduced effectiveness and usually needing command point (see below) and test to charge again.

6. The dynamics of a game of FoGN often flows from inital maneouvring, to a middle phase where attrition steadily mounts, and then one side dramatically collapses usually because the other has managed to keep some units fresh to commit against battered opponents.

7. On timing, we play 4 hour tournament games, including set-up. About 2/3 of games in tournaments get a result (ie one side breaks) and 1/3 are timed out draws. That said, the draws are often affairs where one side is clinging until the bell to stave off defeat these can be exciting games in their own right.

Excluding set-up, Waterloo took about 6 hours to play the first time (British defeat, Prussians hardly arrived). We called the 2nd Waterloo a day and an allied victory) after 8 hours of gaming (the French hadn't broken but things were getting grim), whereas Austerlitz was all over for the allies in 2.5 hours of gaming (about 4 players per side in each of these games which are 1:1 ie every unit represented, no scaling down).

8. The balance of quality v quantity is excellent in FoGN. Even the worst troop types have a role to play (even if this is only to provide rear support to there betters!). There is no consensus over whether small high quality armies do better or worse than large dross filled ones.

9. There are player decisions to be made throughout the phases of the turn.
Many rule sets seem to effectively limit player decision making to the declaration of charge and movement phases. The rest of the game then consists of following the mechanisms laid out in the rules, rolling dice and applying the results.

My favourite aspect of FoGN is the (often) finely balanced decisions required of a player throughout the sequences of the game turn. Be it command pip allocation, whether to assault or wait, once an assault launched do you try to charge home, or instead stop at close range to deliver a volley, how to allocate your dice in shooting or close combat, or which units to rally or recover (a Divisional Commander can only chose 1 each turn).
Even experienced gamers will sometimes think long and hard about risk/reward, and what option to take.

10. The command system has been described as a "pips lite" system. This brings an element of forward thinking into the game, in how the Corps Commander (CinC) allocates his (1 or 2) pips to subordinate commanders, and then how and when those Divisional Generals use them at first opportunity/need, or should something be held in case of need later in the turn. If you want your Generals to led assaults, you need to have anticipated this and set it up in your previous turn.

Anyway, enough of the ramble.

Glenn Pearce11 Feb 2014 7:48 a.m. PST

Hello ernieR & JJMicromegas!

If your looking at Napoleonic's in Toronto, I run one of the oldest clubs in the world, "Napoleonic Miniatures Wargame Society of Toronto". Were in our 49th year. Were now under a new umbrella name "Miniature Brigade". So if you want to know more, please contact me at

Best regards,


Glenn Pearce11 Feb 2014 8:10 a.m. PST

"Stand removal and indeed figure removal is very much common in most rules sets that have been release even the last few years."

I think the terms "old school" and "new school" refer to the design of the game, not when they were released. Keeping in mind of course that there was a time when there weren't any "new school" games. New school games are pretty much confined to this century, where as old school games were prevalent in the last and are still being designed.

While new school games are very popular there is still a very large number who prefer old school. In my area I would guess that old school is the most popular.

Trajanus11 Feb 2014 8:56 a.m. PST

However it was near impossible to find stuff in the rule book and this is where the majority of our time was lost. It seemed like parts of rules were scattered in other parts and always at the moment where you really needed to know in order to get the game moving.

I think that's a nice summary of why people new to the rules can easily give up on them. Which is a shame.

The other point would be the choice of the use of "Regiment" as a component which tends to confuse players, particularly those new to Napoleonic games, as to the size of the force represented, when they learn of how different nations fielded their armies.

Having said that, if they are ever reprinted in a properly edited format, I would buy another copy.

MikeKT Inactive Member24 May 2014 1:55 a.m. PST

@Ratisbon: Bob, I think you must have skipped the design philosophy section when you looked through the rules. It explains how battalions of a regiment in French and allied service commonly served together and why and how using units
the size of a group of several battalions (called "Brigades" in British service, demi-brigades for the Revolutionary French, or "regiments" in various armies then as now "is a very flexible way of enabling historical orders of battle to
be represented in a reasonably consistent manner." This is further illustrated by the instructions on how to translate historical OBs for FOGN scenarios.

Regarding army lists – the 2 hardcover list books, each under 200 pages, supersede the sample lists in the rulebook. 3 books keeps each at a handy size and weight, without a proliferation of list books nor an "OMG! 500 page rulebook"
reaction. They don't cover the War of 1812 or the war in India as I would like, but then they don't claim to go farther afield than the Near East. I would have liked a
few more pages in the index to cover more topics.

I do find the rules compelling. The key thing, as in FOG, FOGR and any other rules set with nuances to it, is to diligently follow the sequence of play in proper order to have it work right. I am hoping to see a reference sheet with the detailed order of play released in the near future. That would make a great difference to newer and occasional players.

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