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"Using "Rank and File" for Club Games" Topic


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469 hits since 31 Dec 2018
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TheGoldyGopher Inactive Member31 Dec 2018 1:43 p.m. PST

Over the years are group has struggled to find a tactical set of rules for the Napoleonic period for use with our (or rather a couple of members large collections) of 25mm Figures.

We have tried dozens of rules and never really settled, emphasized the word settled, on anything. Well there are lots of potential rule sets out there, there are many pros and cons for the various sets of rules. In deciding to take the bull by the horns so to speak I made the decision to run with "Rank and File" as we never truly warmed up to a couple of other sets (aka Shako II, Napoleonic Houserules, Off to War, Big Battalions, General de Brigade, others).

We played our first game over the past weekend, loosely model after the Austrian III Corps attack against Lindenau, and played the game pretty much as written.

A couple of situations in the game occurred that caused us some grief. I am wondering if there are some regular users of the rules who could answer some questions or if we will need to write and adopting a few house rules for those situations.


Question 1) Unit A declares a charge against Unit B. Unit A moves in the Charge phase to two inches away. Unit B being a formed unit has to site there.
What is to stop Unit B from moving away during their movement phase? We could not find any rule that locks them into place.

Question 2) How small of units do people actually play? 4 stands, 5 stands, 6 stands? How large?

Question 3) When a unit retires from fire/melee in what direction does it face? The unit gets to ignore terrian penalties as it is unformed mass, but moving 12" to the rear and facing the enemy in an attack column seems like a bonus.

Question 4) One of our members insists there was an actual Napoleonic Book released (similar to the ACW) but none of us had ever heard of it. Was it released?

Question 5) What other house rules do you other groups use? We have considered instituting a rule on which side declares charges first, but..

Thanks in advance.

figuresales Inactive Member31 Dec 2018 3:56 p.m. PST

Q1: Target of charge is pinned if it does not break through a morale failure although in some instances it could countercharge

Q2: Depends on whether you are using the 1:50 ratio or 1:200 ratio. Wargame unit size is calculated from actual unit strength.

Q3: Retire and rout are different things. Retire is if unit was previously steady, rout is if it was already unsteady. Retire is facing enemy, rout is unformed facing away.

Q4: No napoleonic expansion, but Crusader do also publish March Attack which is Napoleonic but a distinct set of rules.

Q5: None apart from the special rules for Age of Reason (we only use R&F for WSS)

TheGoldyGopher Inactive Member01 Jan 2019 9:46 a.m. PST

Thanks Figuresales!

Followup Questions:

Q1 – WHere is this in the rules, we have torn the rules apart, we all know it is in there but cannot find it.

Q2 – Question is more about how people actually play. We know you can play with units as small as 4 stands, but do people actually play using that small of unit, and on the other end do they play with 12 stand units?

figuresales Inactive Member01 Jan 2019 3:33 p.m. PST

Charge resolution was discussed on a forum previously (could be TMP?), the only mention of the pin is in the first few pages on turn sequence. I think it's actual rule paragraph got lost somewhere in the edits.

As for units, most of ours are 4 bases.

18th Century Guy Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2019 4:09 p.m. PST

TGG, so you played Houserules Napoleonic? Were those the rules by Brian Stokes or is it a different set. I'd like to hear how your group feels about Rank and File after you get a few more games under your belt.

TheGoldyGopher Inactive Member01 Jan 2019 8:33 p.m. PST

@ 18th Century Guy

Yes we played Brian Stokes third edition of Houserules Napoleonic – Houserules Napoleonic II. We always thought that was an oxymoron.

I have about a dozen "Rank and File" games under my belt, last weekends was the first one I have run in half-a-dozen years. I played in a couple over those intervening years at conventions and such, but wasn't the one who is supposed to know the rules inside and out.

There were several occasions where we were sure what the rules intent was but we couldn't find the specific rule. Many of those situations were covered in the sample turn. The one we couldn't find was Pinning a unit that is a target of a charge. we all agree it should be there and we all think we saw it, its just not in the rules as far as we can tell.

marshalGreg02 Jan 2019 7:13 a.m. PST

@TGG
I am not a GdB proponent and have played only a few times solo but it seemed the rules did a good job of getting it done and popular, especially in UK and Austl. There is now the GdA version which adds more command and control component. So it would be interesting as to why this one did not make your group's grade.
Something to also consider though not for all ( especially little to no dice throw). I did not think so for me either but have since grown to appreciate and always able to find players ( convention or around the area)… is the Carnage and Glory II computer moderated game.
It is very much a Empire V system ( as to simulation of period accuracy/recreation) w/o all the calc and dice throw and with some flow refinement so turns are 4 x as fast and hourly turn is not dealt with either, so simple sequence of play.
Otherwise, pls consider the idea of a 1:20 or 1;30 version of Empire V. Which to me plays a good "tactical level" game, even though the rules are to be "Grand tactical at 1:60"
I have made the necessary change to the QRCs, streamlined many of the Calc for faster play and beginning to reclaim "lost soles" back to playing regularly ( since many have experience playing this system but have since lost touch since most have stopped playing)

TheGoldyGopher Inactive Member03 Jan 2019 3:42 p.m. PST

Thanks Everyone – We found the rule where units are pinned by Charges (Page 11 for those playing at home.

@marshalGreg
We gave GdB the old college try a couple years ago. The game was met with a cold shoulder from everyone, not a single player in our group or the greater groups we tried the game with was willing to champion the game. If you asked each played individually you would get vastly different answers, some didn't like how long anything in the game took to resolve, others hated the Skirmishers rules, others thought movement was an issue, I disliked the fact I could beat anyone because I understood the system (baby killer), finally people in general hated 1:20. The math got funky when we attempted to set at 1:30 for the Artillery. In the end as no one was championing the rules those of use attempting to make it work through in the dice.

We tried two computer moderated games, "Carnage and Glory" and "Electronic General"; beyond being slow it took too much effort to prep for games, especially in a casual club.

While I played a lot of "Empire III" and "Stars and Bars" in days past I was a player totally lost by the conversion to the short lived Empire IV and the longer lived Empire V (my copy is still a simulaton). Sorry as an Austrian player watching my entire army defeated in detail without allowing me to do basically anything was it for me.

codiver07 Jan 2019 10:04 a.m. PST

Getting in a little late, but my $0.02 USD:

I use R&F for SYW, with some fairly significant house rules that address many of the items mentioned above…

Question 1) Unit A declares a charge against Unit B. Unit A moves in the Charge phase to two inches away. Unit B being a formed unit has to site there.
What is to stop Unit B from moving away during their movement phase? We could not find any rule that locks them into place.

I don't recall what's exactly in the rules, but as mentioned, the target of a Charge is "occupied", and thus cannot just move away in the movement phase. The target of a charge only has certain options:
- Stand [and fire]
- Turn-to-face (target must be charged in flank or rear from more than a half move away)
- Countercharge (must be valid charge)
- Flee (only certain troop types)
- Form emergency square

Question 2) How small of units do people actually play? 4 stands, 5 stands, 6 stands? How large?

This is a good, and important question. In our SYW games, 4 seems to be a good minimum, and 6 is a good maximum. I tried to adapt R&F to AWI, and one of the problems was the disparity of unit sizes.

Question 3) When a unit retires from fire/melee in what direction does it face? The unit gets to ignore terrain penalties as it is unformed mass, but moving 12" to the rear and facing the enemy in an attack column seems like a bonus.

IIRC, the rules say the unit goes backwards, or away from the charge. The way I remember it is if you fall back Shaken, you keep your formation and facing. If you rout, you become a mass, and if charged, a routed unit must 1) flee, and 2) fleeing routers caught by chargers will simply be wiped out in the Melee Phase.

Question 4) One of our members insists there was an actual Napoleonic Book released (similar to the ACW) but none of us had ever heard of it. Was it released?

Answered above.

Question 5) What other house rules do you other groups use? We have considered instituting a rule on which side declares charges first, but..

I mentioned house rules above. Two significant ones we added: 1) Moved the Initiative Phase first. Winner decides who declares charges first, moves first, and attaches/detaches leaders first. Removes all ambiguity regarding said actions. 2) Add a C2 system (ours is essentially a simple top-down Napoleon's Battles-like system).

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