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"Most Popular Napoleonic Grand Tactical Rules for 15mm" Topic

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1,499 hits since 11 Sep 2017
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Captain Avatar11 Sep 2017 2:26 a.m. PST

Not the "best" Napoleonic rules, mind you as there are as many rules sets as there are opinions. The question is what is the most popular grand tactical rules out there that you are seeing at conventions and at your local game club.

I move around a lot and have been playing the original Napoleon' Battles off and on for years. I'd like to try Blucher, but want to see what others are playing.

Grand tactical so army level with the smallest unit being a brigade. Also looking for something designed or at least plays well in 15mm.

robertg Inactive Member11 Sep 2017 2:41 a.m. PST

Volley and Bayonet or Grande Armee. Probably the latter in overall popularity.
Both good rule sets in their own right, both taking the single big base per unit approach.

Allan F Mountford11 Sep 2017 3:58 a.m. PST

Not sure about the popular vote, but I would recommend Age of Eagles by Bill Gray.

marshalGreg11 Sep 2017 6:07 a.m. PST

Popular as to what clubs and what is being played at convention here in USA…
For the east coast to mid south this what I see.
ESR ( GT but pcs are Btns and not brigades like AoE,GA)
Shako II( even though btn is represented and traditionally Tactical rules-it is played like Empire in scale, where each player is playing corp COs, so I place it under GT here)
Home grown (modeled off FnF or GArmee)
Mostly Home grown stuff or modified FnF ( slight different to AoE)
Shako II
Napoleons battles


Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2017 6:50 a.m. PST

Age of Eagles, I like Napoleon's Battle but they don't seem very popular.

CATenWolde Inactive Member11 Sep 2017 7:32 a.m. PST

Interesting that AoE and Shako remain popular – solid, classic rules. I still like my house-ruled V&B for really big games, but I'm not sure how many people are still playing it?

nickinsomerset11 Sep 2017 8:14 a.m. PST

Great fan of Napoleon's Battles, played games from Corunna to Leipzig and parts there of, easy system and great games,

Tally Ho!

Dexter Ward11 Sep 2017 12:55 p.m. PST

Blucher has replaced Grand Armee for us. Same scale, but plays much faster.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2017 2:54 p.m. PST

It is a question which can't be answered in any meaningful way unless you count something of who plays and who buys the rules. Saying "I saw three of the games played at X convention really doesn't mean much other than who likes the game enough to put it on at a convention.

You can go with the TMP polls or count how many are in each of the online group lists for each game.

Members on the yahoo lists for

AoE 3481
Blucher 1715 for all Honor Games [minus Grand Armee]
Grand Armee 1696
ESR 1555
Napoleon's Battles 1711
Shako 1512

And of course, that doesn't address how much activity each list sees. For instance, the Grand Armee list hasn't had a post since Dec. 2016.

The Wargaming Company11 Sep 2017 7:03 p.m. PST

ESR (Et sans résultat! Second Edition) does pretty well. We're pretty happy with our growth rate, 'units shipped' this year is on track to come in at double last year.

Being a lot younger than any of the other notable players in the market, we're pretty happy with how it seems to be taking off.


Trajanus12 Sep 2017 3:15 a.m. PST

Captain Avatr

I like Blucher for this level of gaming but the thing you have to bear in mind is like some of the others already mentioned is its designed for single base = a Brigade.

Obviously nothing stopping you moving existing units in a block style with out rebasing but its not like Naps Battles, or others, where you layout columns, Lines and Squares and pretend all (or the majority) of the units in the table space they occupy are doing the same thing.

I mention this in case you like that appearance and to point out the rule a written with block basing in mind.

Madmac64 Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2017 5:00 a.m. PST

I would second ESR……I played at Historicon and was really impressed with the grand tactical flow and historical results.

Mac163814 Sep 2017 5:03 a.m. PST

WRG Corp d'Army out of print
A great set of rules for a Corp+ games
We use club amendments
As we have been awaiting a long tine second edition

Beresford24 Sep 2017 12:31 p.m. PST

Art of Command gives you a fast play rule set from Army down to battalion/squadron/battery level multi-player big battles. We have fought over 40 big battles (including Leipzig, Wagram, Talavera, Waterloo etc) in our Napoleon 200 series, the last being Borodino where we fought 49 periods in 12 hours.

The rules, which include strategic movement, fighting in built up areas etc, also work well with small corps and divisional battles.

Stoppage24 Sep 2017 2:10 p.m. PST


Bit of a tantaliser – where can your set be found?

True Grit25 Sep 2017 12:08 a.m. PST

For me its DBN
Check out the battles on youtube, Waterloo, Borodino, Leipzig, all in 15mm

dantheman Supporting Member of TMP25 Sep 2017 2:09 p.m. PST

I thing the original question is not what you like best but what is most common, like it or not…..

If I used that criteria ONLY from where I am…. I see a lot of Shako, but would take it off the list because it is not Grand Tactical. Age or Eagles I see on and off. Probably the most of all Grand Tactical games. Napoleon's Battles had a lot of play, but I have not seen it in a long time around me. The rest seem to see little action.

Almost forgot, the most played of all by me is Commands and Colors Napoleonics. However, as it is not packaged as a miniatures game it may not be appropriate for this list.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP25 Sep 2017 2:32 p.m. PST

I thing the original question is not what you like best but what is most common, like it or not…

I think the question was about which was 'most popular' which isn't necessarily what is 'most common.' And what else can the individual do but comment on what they personally see around them…but that doesn't necessarily mean anything when talking about the "most popular" hobby wide.

Command and Colors can be played as a miniatures game… I do.

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP25 Sep 2017 7:19 p.m. PST

at that scale, Blucher.

Arch Duke charles Inactive Member25 Sep 2017 11:17 p.m. PST

For me Legacy of Glory.

Beresford28 Sep 2017 4:07 a.m. PST

In answer to Stoppage's question:

Art of Command is published by Liphook Historical Wargames, 18 Stonehouse Road, Liphook, Hampshire GU30 7DD England

CATenWolde Inactive Member28 Sep 2017 7:35 a.m. PST

One of the few "play battalions, but fight big battles" sets that actually works is March Attack – an unsung set well worth looking into for this level of play.

laretenue28 Sep 2017 8:23 a.m. PST

Chris TenW

I've noted with interest your comments down the years, and your keenness for GT systems with Tac representation.

This isn't the OP's point, but have you ever tried to port what you like about MA into other rules, such as AoE/F&F or V&B?

CATenWolde Inactive Member28 Sep 2017 9:33 a.m. PST

Hi laretenue,

An interesting question, that I haven't really thought about in those terms. I think for many people interested in Napoleonics in particular (but really any horse & musket period), the idea of being able to maneuver battalions but also fight out the larger battles in a *reasonable* time is a sort of Holy Grail. In order to do so, you have to accept some level of abstraction at the tactical level – the question is, how much?

The first rules that I found that could do this was "Napoleonic Command" back in the 90's. A very innovative set, it centered on assessing the Threat that active units posed versus the Cohesion of an enemy formation. This was expressed in numeric fashion, counted by battalion but totaled by formation, and results were usually incremental movements of a formation front or loss of whole units. The only real drawback of the system was that it was more "math heavy" (albeit simple math) than some players like to encounter during a game.

March Attack takes a different path to tactical abstraction, using simplified combat centering on a numeric Combat Value for each unit. More traditional mechanisms are streamlined enough to move very quickly, and even if the time involved can be greater than Napoleonic Command as the number of combats grows, the mechanics are more familiar to most players.

The thing that both sets had in common was the abstraction of battalion size and the simplification of their ratings – while still leaving the formations and quality differences meaningful. On a secondary level, movement was streamlined, and generally increased, making each move more meaningful.

Have I tried porting over these approaches to other rules? I never thought about it that way before, but I suppose I have concentrated more on streamlining scale representation for ease of play – and actually specifically for the two sets you mention.

I love the F&F system for the ACW (both regimental and brigade), but for occasional players who won't learn the rules the sheer variation can be a bit overwhelming. To make things a bit easier for new/occasional players, I first streamlined units to generic 8/10/12 bases in size for Veteran/Experienced/Green units. Then, I took the more heretical step of simply dividing the number of troops in a division by 1000 and representing the division by that number of 12 base units. You lost some detail, of course, and some lower level "colour" of commands, but play certainly sped up, and the vital interaction with the Maneuver Table was retained.

For really big battles with lots of players (most not veterans of the rules or period), V&B are also a good option. Here, the simplicity of the movement and combat system actually allowed a little un-streamlining (?) of the system. ;) My house rules for V&B revolve around using "linear" bases of 1000 men that can then be paired to represent the default "supported line" (or "block") V&B unit. Abstracting the strength of a division in uniform 1000 men units speeds play, and the breaking of the "block" into two linear segments allows for more tactical choices, including not only deployment but also combat results.

I've actually been concentrating on the ACW (and Arthurians!) for the past couple of years, but I will be returning to Napoleonics over the winter, and I'm sure I'll take these lessons from the ACW back to Napoleonics. ESR seems to be a set that attempts to hew to these general principles, for instance – it's just been too pricey for me to browse while my attention was elsewhere.

I hope all that makes some sense!



laretenue28 Sep 2017 2:41 p.m. PST

Thanks, Christopher – another really interesting answer. I own MA but have yet to play it; I had also been wondering whether I could graft bits of Weigle 18~ onto the F&F chassis to the same end.

But I'd better return the thread to its originators.

The Wargaming Company29 Sep 2017 6:15 a.m. PST


Very astute observations all around.

If it might entice you: there are two ways to potentially ease investigation of ESR Second Edition:

The first is that we provide The Overview for free download, which is the rules with the procedures for the mechanics and their examples stripped out. This allows you to get the sequence of play, and to survey all the concepts to see if they are to your liking. Combined with downloading the Quick Reference Guide, this should give a potential player a very good idea as to if ESR is something they'd like or not.

Secondly, we do offer upgrade pricing at a substantial discount to anyone who owns ESR Original Edition.

No matter if you choose to look into either of options these or not, hope you have a very productive Napoleonic winter!


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