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"Napoleonic rules for tournaments" Topic

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18th Century

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cae5ar27 Aug 2017 3:35 p.m. PST

At our next local convention there are three or four tournaments for Ancients in different rules sets and WWII has two or three, but no Napoleonics!? I thought this theme would have been up there in terms of popularity. Is it a lack of a tight set of rules, particularly at the traditional divisional level? I'm not a hard core tournament player, preferring informal games with friends and big historical club battles, but it would be nice to be able to jump in a tournament circuit in Napoleonics from time to time.

TMPWargamerabbit27 Aug 2017 4:32 p.m. PST

Personally I have never heard of a convention tourney for any Horse & Musket era armies except during the very early wargaming years…like the 1960 "gamer meet ups" period (shirt and ties required). I reme,ber reading in the old "gamer newsheets" about those games before WRG was born. Been a wargamer since 1971.

Now… Ancients, Medieval, Dark ages, Renaissance periods.. yes. But once a musket in general use the rules tend for individual match or team gaming till the 20th Century. Even the ACW hasn't developed true organized tourney gaming.. thinking J Reb, Fire and Fury etc… and those armies, if any, should be a prime candidate.

Should be possible…. but, like myself, the majority of players tend toward historical horse & musket scenario gaming so the rules would need that outlook plus ability for pick up gaming off a "universal" point, unit size, and capabilities structure. How someone grades a Prussian 1806 musketeer vs. a French fusilier… or Russian grenadier, or a Kingdom of Italy dragoon and the possible interactions would give pause to most rule writers. I use a simple points system… and I know it is not perfect by far, but seems to have worked for the last 35 years…for free and fun pick up scenarios. Then how to create "missions" for the games, like some of the modern WWII games, is another stepping stone for the rules author. Having designed hundreds of scenarios myself over the years, they tend to be good for most situations… but someone commanding a pure cavalry force (by choice) may not like fighting over the Borodino battlefield feeches. Weather also tends to come into play during the later H&M battles. Anyone for a Eylau game? Charles Grant's "wargame scenario book is a book of basic scenarios…. but tends to the lower command structure of games.

Possibles….. maybe the Blucher game could be held out as an example. Basic, simple, uses larger scaled "units or card blocks, Some would say BP… but I personally think those rules open to much "fill in" required and again the scenarios are small divisional or brigade actions.

Someday…. But I prefer actual historical scenarios so the interest from my position would be general in nature.

forwardmarchstudios27 Aug 2017 4:56 p.m. PST

I'm working on one. : )

It's in 2mm and is played on a map behind glass. : O

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP27 Aug 2017 5:39 p.m. PST

I saw reference to a Napoleonics tournament in the UK fairly recently. Esprit du Corps?

RudyNelson27 Aug 2017 6:58 p.m. PST

Back in the 1990s we ran several tournaments using Guard du Corps rules. That was the main supplement change from the gold cover to the red box rules.
The events were one versus one games with players running equal point armies. Average armies were running 12 to 15 infantry battalions with two to four cavalry regiments and four to six artillery batteries.

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP27 Aug 2017 7:13 p.m. PST

I believe Napoleon at War was an attempt to fill this gap. Blucher has been used as a competition set in the UK at least once IIRC. You could use Lasalle easily enough. Horse, Foot and Guns has a points system and army list.

Back in the day WRG 1685-1845, To the Sound of the Guns and the Newbury Rules were all used, I believe

Timotheous Inactive Member28 Aug 2017 2:57 a.m. PST

Lasalle would be a good tournament set, except that the basing was not standardized; Napoleon at War would probably have done so, but it does not appear to be very popular anymore.

Sho Boki28 Aug 2017 3:37 a.m. PST

I disained my Fast Play EMPEROR rules ready for tournaments.
Just troops recruiting cost/point system need some more polishing.

The idea is – players go through tournament with their initial army, all losses cumulatived and some reinforcements and reorganizations available between battles.
So players will value the reserves and think twice before commited all-in exhausting charges.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Aug 2017 5:18 a.m. PST

The DBA variant DBN would work.

I think the challenge is that for many, Napoleonics without formations is not Napoleonics. And that means games that take more than an hour or two.

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2017 1:06 p.m. PST

I've played comps over the past few years with Lasalle and Napoleon at War. Others have played with FOGn.

David F Brown

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP29 Aug 2017 3:46 a.m. PST

I've participated in a number of Napoleon At War (NaW) tournaments at conventions here in Texas. They worked very well. Its too bad the NaW game system owners failed to promote their product and it failed.

Games were evenly matched, each nationality could win in a points match. Games were 6 turns on a 4x6 table and took less than 2 hours per round.

A great game that failed due to management and marketing.

Mark4629 Aug 2017 4:23 p.m. PST

There is a Grand Battles Napoleon 500 point scheduled for Friday at Fall-In.

cae5ar29 Aug 2017 6:38 p.m. PST

Napoleon At War did show promise as the go-to set while it lasted. Pity the wheels fell off.

As for Grand Battles Napoleon, I don't know anything about it and there aren't many objective reviews that I can find – still too new, though it's been around since the beginning of 2015? Some sort of variant of Koenig Krieg? How quickly does it play? Are these rules gaining traction?

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP30 Aug 2017 4:01 p.m. PST

Lasalle seems to be geared for tournaments. I don't like them because of that and other reasons. But it maybe what you need.

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member31 Aug 2017 4:03 p.m. PST

ForwardMarchStudios, I look forward to seeing that.

bpreston Inactive Member05 Jan 2018 11:19 a.m. PST

Field of Glory Napoleonic has been used for tournaments in Australia and New Zealand for some years.

A beta version of 2nd edition FoGN was successfully trialed at Melbourne and Auckland tournaments last year.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2018 4:22 p.m. PST

DBN does indeed work for tournaments!

John Edmundson05 Jan 2018 9:38 p.m. PST

I played Napoleonics when I first started wargaming in the 70s, using Bruce Quarrie's Airfix book, then his followup. I liked Austrians then but was frustrated (even with my little knowledge) by his anti-Austrian bias and strange gaps in knowledge (the Austrians allegedly had no horse artillery (the crew apparently walked) and he didn't even mention that they had ever had any success against the French, let alone defeated Napoleon himself). Still, right from the start I was interested in the Austrian army. I used Newbury for a little while too but they just seemed a slower more complicated version with no compensating benefit. A few people were using WRG but they didn't appeal and I ended up not playing Napoleonics any more.

Switching to Ancients, I played WRG and then moved on to DBM and DBMM. I liked DBM and am one of those people who've stuck with DBMM, which I like. But that's why I don't think I'd want to use 'DBN' or HFG – not as a judgement of the game, but because I want my Napoleonic games to feel different, not like DBx in a different era. So while they are probably both eminently suitable for competition, I don't think they'd attract me to play competition games.

The other issue with Napoleonics in competition is the divergence of figure to troop scale prefered by various people. I'm working on my Austrians now in 15mm on a roughly 1/100 ratio, so 8 figures to a battalion. It has occured to me that I could put three together and call it a single battalion for the 24 per battalion rule types . . .


18th Century Guy Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2018 1:59 p.m. PST


Big battalions are better! For my 2 cents I just think that Napoleonics don't lend themselves to a tournament style of gaming. Usually there's too much going on but I did play Napoleonic Houserules by Brian Stokes and that sorta worked.
I just think most Napoleonic games would take too long in a tournament setting.

Sgt Steiner06 Jan 2018 3:59 p.m. PST

I saw Principles Of War rules used in tournaments many moons ago I think it was at old Colours ? But they seem to out of favour nowadays

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2018 6:53 p.m. PST

John said

Switching to Ancients, I played WRG and then moved on to DBM and DBMM. I liked DBM and am one of those people who've stuck with DBMM, which I like. But that's why I don't think I'd want to use 'DBN' or HFG not as a judgement of the game, but because I want my Napoleonic games to feel different, not like DBx in a different era. So while they are probably both eminently suitable for competition, I don't think they'd attract me to play competition games.


It was a pity that PB didn't go from DBr to write rules for later eras but went back to another draft of DBM.

Some of the concepts in HFG such as 'Spent' results, cavalry passing through guns, silenced guns etc could provide a game with period flavour.

The success of the DBx system for comps has always been its army lists support. I'm not sure how you dice up the larger Napoleonic armies into manageable and logical lumps for 3-4 hour comp games.

I hope that WRG's sub-sets to HFG are published some time soon.

David F Brown

adymac2650 Inactive Member07 Jan 2018 8:27 a.m. PST

we held two successful Napoleonic tournaments in Mansfield Notts in 2016/17 using Over the Hills a Napoleonic Wargame went well and the rules are getting favourable comments and reviews

Dexter Ward11 Jan 2018 3:57 a.m. PST

Lasalle isn't really geared to tournaments – it is suitable for them, because it contains balanced 'pick up' lists – a core brigade plus a support brigade, which gives you a nice game playable in a couple of hours.
However, you don't have to use those lists; it works very well for historical refights.

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