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"Playing Napoleonics with The Men Who Would Be Kings" Topic

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cae5ar25 Jul 2017 4:20 p.m. PST

Whilst "Sharp Practice 2" is a most excellent and innovative game, I wanted something quick and simple, that could be picked up by a bunch of newbies in a club environment and played to conclusion comfortably in an evening. Yep, even quicker than the other popular skirmish rules for horse and musket, Muskets and Tomahawks. I thought Osprey… "Chosen Men" kind of fills the gap but it's not as fast play and smooth as I'd like.

Surfing the Dux Rampant forum I note that Osprey's other Colonial rules "The Men Who Would Be Kings" is well received and has been used successfully for engagements as early as FIW and AWI, giving troops the Antiquated Muskets trait. Am I dreaming or is this the answer? Has anyone else tried such madness?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2017 6:22 p.m. PST

I can't answer your question directly, but I can throw something else out there. Have you looked at "Song of Drums and Shakos"? I played it at a con; it is a fast play set that is pretty easy to learn.

boy wundyr x25 Jul 2017 6:49 p.m. PST

Maybe this is a planted memory or wishful thinking, but I thought I read somewhere that Dan Mersey was working on such a game with the LR system. If not Pikeman's Lament would also work with some tweaks.

I'm a big fan of SDS but it's a scale smaller than these games, 15 guys per side max.

Personal logo Private Matter Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2017 6:53 p.m. PST

There's always Chosen Men published by Osprey.

cae5ar25 Jul 2017 7:26 p.m. PST

I did think of SDS but as boy wundyr says, it's at the extreme end of the skirmish spectrum, and I was hoping to get more troops on the table.

I'm turned off Chosen Men by the successive dice rolls required. The Lion Rampant stable has a very slick way of resolving hits in one go based on the stats of the attacking and defending units which tends to speed up play, though you do have to check morale with another roll.

What's the best fit for Napoleonics, Pikeman's Lament or Men Who Would Be Kings?

Henry Martini25 Jul 2017 11:37 p.m. PST

TPL is a barely modified variant of Lion Rampant. LR mechanically centralises close combat and armour (I'm not yet convinced by the transformation of Armour into Stamina).

TMWWBK centralises firepower and operates on the assumption that armour is exceptional. It seems to me that TMWWBK comes closer to the right tone for H & M adaptations.

basileus6626 Jul 2017 3:27 a.m. PST

The Men Who Would Be King, I would say.

Actually, you don't need to give Antiquated Weapons trait to your units, as that trait it is just a comparison with other weapons available at the moment. Therefore, in The Men Who Would be King an Enfield is state of the art in a game set in 1857, but would be considered an Antiquated Weapon for a game set in 1879. In other words, the trait works when comparing weaponry.

Dexter Ward26 Jul 2017 3:45 a.m. PST

You might be better off starting the the Pikeman's Lament as the basis for your Napoleonic adaptation than men Who Would be Kings. The weapons are closer – just no pikes!

Jabba Miles26 Jul 2017 4:29 a.m. PST

There was a Nap version of Lion Rampant in one of the wargaming magazines, Wargames Illustrated IIRC.

cae5ar26 Jul 2017 4:37 a.m. PST

Thanks All for the responses.

Henry Martini makes a good point about the focus of the two games, close combat versus firepower. And thanks basileus for the advice on weapon comparisons; that makes life easy!

Dexter, you think the other way, that TPL is a better match than TMWWBK. In the simplified, no-nonsense approach both games take to weaponry and troop designations, you don't think the firepower-centric TMWWBK is more suited? The weapons are closer you say? I think I understand what you imply, in that a smoothbore flintlock musket is closer to a matchlock in performance than a late 19th Century rifle, but is it not more about general feel and tactics than weapon specifics? I'm happy to be persuaded either way.

Yes Jabba, but didn't the Wargames Illustrated article come out when there was only Lion Rampant as a basis? We now have two more variants which arguably bridge the gap to Napoleonics with less tweaking than a medieval rules set.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2017 4:58 a.m. PST

We've successfully used "Rifleman's Lament" for Napoleonics. The author of The Pikeman's Lament uses it also. Its easy, fun and can have a nice dramatic feel.


French Volltigers use cover to flank the riflemen in the village.

Ney Ney26 Jul 2017 2:52 p.m. PST

What is the riflemans lament please? Official rules if the author is playing it? Is this the version mentioned above that he is working in and when is it be out?

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2017 5:00 p.m. PST

Sorry to mislead.

That's just what we called our completely unofficial and not too different version of The Pikeman's Lament that we use for Napoleonic skirmishes.

Michael Leck, the author, uses TPL with very few changes for his own Napoleonic skirmish games that he has displayed on his blog.

Again, sorry for the unintentional confusion.

Henry Martini26 Jul 2017 5:27 p.m. PST

I know there's a Design Note in a sidebar on page 17 of TMWWBK that makes the claim that the rules rate firearms relatively basileus66, but contradictorily, on page 36 under 'Theatre-Specific Rules', it's recommended that magazine-loader equipped units be upgraded to Marksmen 'to represent their additional firepower'. This being the case, I take the default 'modern rifle' designation to represent single-shot breech-loaders.

cae5ar27 Jul 2017 1:58 p.m. PST

Thanks Big Red. The author's blog gives me hope that TPL could also fit the bill, and I have those rules in my bookcase. It seems like I should experiment with both and see which one I prefer for Napoleonics.

Ney Ney27 Jul 2017 3:40 p.m. PST

Thank you big red for explaining. That makes sense.

cae5ar28 Jan 2019 6:03 p.m. PST

At last! Rebels and Patriots fits the bill:


Maxshadow19 Feb 2019 8:38 p.m. PST

I'm guessing Rebel and Patriots lacks shock cavalry?

Basha Felika20 Feb 2019 4:26 a.m. PST

On the MWWBK Facebook page there's some accounts of Napoleonic games using the rules (South American Independence Wars specifically, I think) and the core mechanisms are pretty robust when you start tweaking them for other periods and campaigns.

Trajanus20 Feb 2019 1:58 p.m. PST

Rebels and Patriots does have Shock Cavalry.

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