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"Rating Generals" Topic

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Last Hussar10 Jan 2019 1:06 p.m. PST

There must be something out there, though I cant Bing it.

At least one person must have put together a list rating Napoleonic Generals in a wargame style.

Any ideas?

Nine pound round10 Jan 2019 2:10 p.m. PST

The most comprehensive lists I have seen WERE in a wargame. I don't know that I agree with every one, but you could do worse than the commander ratings tables in Empire V.

Last Hussar10 Jan 2019 2:27 p.m. PST

Hmm. Maybe what I want, but I'm a bit shy of buying rules just for one page in them – That money could go on figures, gin and beer (not in that order)

evilgong10 Jan 2019 2:56 p.m. PST

Didn't Bruce Quarrie, all those years ago, start this nonsense of rating generals.

Last Hussar10 Jan 2019 4:40 p.m. PST

FoG has 3, Competent, skilled and exceptional. Its used to determine how many "complex" moves they can order. Simple stuff is automatic, but things like changing formation while close to the enemy need a test. Excellent Generals can give 3 complex move orders in a turn, competent not just one

TMPWargamerabbit10 Jan 2019 4:59 p.m. PST

I have a simple system which over the years have given great service on the tabletop. Player can call the generals Aggressive, Slow, Deceive, Masterful… what ever, but I prefer a simple scale of 0 to 3, rated with four leadership position categories (in order of seniority), and a percentage rating. For example: 2 / 1 / 1 / 1 .8 means this leader has Cat #1 value of 2, Cat #2 = 1, Cat #3 = 1, Cat #4 = 1, and the percentage value is .8 or 80%.

A "0" rating means the general was of poor quality, a court promoted no experience flunky, was ill, or always lost his battles. This rating gives no positive morale or combative values to their units. He is a "placeholder" in reality.

A "1" is a typical general rating. The vast majority of generals have this rating.

A "2" is a general known in history, performs action, and wins. Think Lannes, Davout etc.

A "3" is the exceptional general. Only a handful have this rating. Napoleon in his good years, Wellington is another.

The four leadership rank Categories:
Cat #1 is general who commanded Corps or greater formation historically sometime during 1790-1820 period. I go to 1820 for the South American affairs.

Cat #2 is the rating for Divisional or Brigade commanders. Senior generals with Cat #1 rating also have Cat #2 in their "stats" line for when they were lower rank commanders.

Cat #3 is the radius of morale and command rating for senior commanders with Cat # rating. In general it is one less than their Cat #1 value, with a few odd omissions or extra reduction, Our group scenario games give all generals a 9" tabletop radius to give morale (if seen), and if attached to unit, the value directly influences combative action (shock).

Cat #4 is the radius of morale and command rating for divisional / brigade commander….. even a regimental commander if required in scenario. Like Cat #3, this value is generally the same or one less to the Cat#2 value. Rare is the divisional or brigade commander who merits a "2" in that command rank level.

The Percentage value is the most important value. On a scale of .5 to 1 (50% to 100%), this is the value which a player must roll equal or less than to give the general full ratings. If the d10 dice roll (or determined by computer program) is above the % or .X value, that general has a bad day… for any reason you can conjure up…drunk, sick, wounded previously in duel,,,,, and all his Cat #1, #2, #3, and #4 values are reduced one step towards and could become "0" (zero). Almost all generals can have a bad day from a battlefield leadership viewpoint.

Now, how did I come about the ratings……

The calculation formula:

Start with giving a leader or general his Percentage rating of .7 Base. Maximum adjustments to the .7 base is +/- .2 so the rating scale ranges from .5 to .9 values. Only a rare notable commander would rate a "1" or 100% rating as they would have to be near god like to their army, for examples; Napoleon in his grand years, Wellington, Davout, Lannes.

+ .1 to value if Winning or Veteran commander of battles. Think 80% ratio battles are won for the winning determination.
+ .1 If the commander has major titles, major military awards, promoted often, mentioned in dispatches, etc in the biographical record.
+ .1 if commanded cavalry formations larger than a regiment, or technical training like artillery or engineering.
+ .1 if French commander in service of France.

- .1 Old age, born before 1740
- .1 Losing record of battles, no battlefield experience, court flunky type, fortress governors. Lost more than half their major battle appearances.

+ /- .1 for specific historical comments found in the historical biographical record. Sort of a fudge factor.

For example: Start with a base .7, this general is French so plus .1. Next he won a lot of battles or was on the victorious side so another +.1. He commanded a cavalry division in his career so +.1, he was promoted fast and won major military awards to his bravery and battlefield success for another +.1, he was born in 1769 so no age adjustment. Final value is .9 as the maximum adjustment is +/- 2 from the .7 base value. Only then some typical comments about his career and links to the country ruler, no comments of note.

Next…. did he command military formation larger than a division…. if yes then he needs all four category values. If he never commanded multiple divisional force, then just the Cat #2 and Cat #4 values mentioned above. Our example commanded a French Corps so all four category values required.

Start with 1 / 1/ 1 / 1 .9 values. If this general is known to history, and his percentage rating is .9 or higher, then unless the comments adjustment states negative information, this general is assigned the values of 2 / 1 / 1 / 1 .9. Note I didn't raise his divisional or brigade Cat #2 or #4 values higher but is a possible candidate if his early years success on the battlefield warrants it (his values would look as 2/2/1/1 .9)

Now…. assuming the base Cat # value is "1", to raise to "2" the commander would have to rank high on his percentage…ie.. .9 or higher. Also, that general will be known to history for his battlefield wins and actions. Above 2 value, or a "3" ranking, the leader must be nearly perfect or godlike leader.

To find the biographical records, google the commander's name, search in google in the same language if possible. There are entire written biographical sites covering the major nationalities. It takes time, but after you read about the first hundred general of France, you quickly sense and spot the exceptional generals, you recognize their name, and you remember the battles which they fought and led the army. My list number 1200 generals just for France alone. Austria, Prussian, Russian, British, Swedish, Saxony, Spain, ….. even a ReichArmee of 1790 commander list. As a bonus, if I come across a portrait of the general, I save and use for my scenario rosters to personalize them. Each general in the leadership list has his portrait if known to exist or found with internet search or scanned from old texts, embedded into the leadership list.

How are these values used? Basically, if the general or leader is senior ranked on the tabletop battlefield he uses the Cat #1 and Cat #3 values after using the percentage rating to see if he has a "bad day" adjustment. If he commands only a division or brigade on the tabletop…. a battle scenario dated during his early years, then just the Cat #2 and Cat #4 values. Our group rules uses a d10 system for morale and scaled unit rating so the general plus 0, 1, 2 etc value is added to the unit rating for morale determination or combative results. Thats a bigger story but above is how I have rated thousands of generals who commanded during the French Republican wars and the later Imperial period.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2019 5:08 p.m. PST

There was a list in at least one version of Napoleon's Battles. Personally, I disapprove of the concept.

Might be fun in a campaign, though if only the umpire knew the ratings, so the player acting as CinC was in the Lincoln position of being unable to tell whether John Pope after Island Number 10 was really good or just had a single good die roll. Anyone can put good generals where they're most needed if he can read the little numbers on the base.

Lets party with Cossacks Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2019 5:34 p.m. PST

You are right that Quarrie rated leadership among a clutch of Marshalls and army leaders. Although it has been 40 years I thought the point of the rating was the effect on morale and not competency per se.
IIRC there was an attack and defence rating of how much each leader improved morale.
I guess you can never really quantify these things, but I don't think Quarrie's idea was a direct assessment of ability.
BTW vastly prefer GdB and GdA to Quarrie's effort!

Winston Smith10 Jan 2019 7:41 p.m. PST

If you are role playing an incompetent fop, or a glorious firebrand, ratings matter. But if I'm just a dude playing an anonymous General, I would rather be judged by what I accomplish. Or roll. grin

Whirlwind10 Jan 2019 7:53 p.m. PST

Although it has been 40 years I thought the point of the rating was the effect on morale and not competency per se.
IIRC there was an attack and defence rating of how much each leader improved morale.
I guess you can never really quantify these things, but I don't think Quarrie's idea was a direct assessment of ability.

It also had a quality for how quickly generals could process orders as a rating of competence, plus a factor for how much the general was likely to hold his troops back (or push them recklessly forward).

Lets party with Cossacks Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 1:35 a.m. PST

Whirlwind no doubt you are right, and the leadership rating expanded beyond morale impaxt. Now feel motivated to look at my battered copy of the Airfix published rules again.

Martin Rapier11 Jan 2019 9:26 a.m. PST

WRG had bold, cautious and rash, which was entertaining at times.

Horse, Foot and Guns has normal, inert and brilliant. There aren't too many brilliant Generals. Inert Generals are quite funny. It also classifies them by command style, central HQ vs mobile CP, with various advantages and disadvantages.

The counter mix for War and Peace rated every single Napoleonic Corps Commander and up from 0 to 3. Board Game geek would be your friend. There are only two 3 Generals though. I'll let you guess which.

patrick766 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 9:37 a.m. PST

There's this


Whirlwind11 Jan 2019 9:49 a.m. PST

Tomb for an Empire had to rate every single Army, Corps, Divisional and Cavalry brigade commander in the Peninsular War link

mad monkey 111 Jan 2019 10:37 a.m. PST

Grand Armee' had general lists as did Might and Reason. Theses were modifiers to the command dice roll + or – to see if your command would follow orders or not. The command table was divided by different commands with a range of numbers from 2d6 assigned to them. High rolls led to the command attacking, medium range maneuvering, lower range holding in place with the lowest withdrawing. Aggressive commanders like Ney (+2 I think) would be attacking with high average rolls, while commander Poltroon (-2) would more likely hold in place or even retreat from the field if not watched carefully by his commander. There is more involved but this covers the gist of it.

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 12:42 p.m. PST

Lowest to highest I've used is:


Started out for ACW, worked for Nappies.
Plugging in actual generals is tougher.

Marcus Brutus11 Jan 2019 3:48 p.m. PST

Napoleon's Battles has a complete list of Generals with ratings. Even if you don't use this system it will give you
a set metrics to work against.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2019 10:26 p.m. PST

From the good ideas of Empire then Legacy of glory and their baby whose name I forgot (far far from home):
Not all perform at different command levels. For example Ney was a very good division commander, quite good with a few divisions he could see- corps- and lost in the life as an army commander, especially independant.

Generals can be good comandes and not really leaders to raise morale in close fighting and vice versa.

For game purpose, to overdo the "dumb" syndrome is maybe a useless penalty on players. Generals can have bad performance ( as far as we can "judge" on off days, plus many other features of their staff etc. and players not be too burdened with hopeless commands a la Empire ( humm years playing Austrian).

Last Hussar12 Jan 2019 2:51 a.m. PST

Thank you Patrick 766 for answering my question.

Everybody else: Do you have trouble at job interviews?

Whirlwind12 Jan 2019 5:59 a.m. PST


pages 5 & 6.

for the brigade and divisional commanders, they are rated:

Morale (negative = good) / Initiative (more = better) / Tactics (positive = good)

for the army and corps commanders, they are rated with an Activity Point rating first (i.e. roughly speaking, strategic competence), then the same as the brigade and divisional commanders.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP12 Jan 2019 10:09 a.m. PST

Lst hussar. We enjoyed giving you our free time to develop your question into solething answerable.
What kind of characterustics?
"In a wargame style.".

No need of job interview. 😜

evilgong12 Jan 2019 3:08 p.m. PST

I'll soon be on a job interview panel for a new senior executive; I might ask the candidates 'on a score of 1-10 how do they rate Napoleon as a general'.

That should be enough to scare off the tyre-kickers.


patrick766 Supporting Member of TMP12 Jan 2019 8:40 p.m. PST

You're welcome.

khanscom14 Jan 2019 5:44 p.m. PST

"Ligne de Bataille" provided a comprehensive list of generals and marshals rated for staff/tactical competence as army, corps, or division leaders, and for charisma. Ney (for example) rates a 3 as an army leader, 4 for leading a corps, and 5 when in command of a division (higher numbers are better, with 5 as an exceptional rating), and scores 2 (on a scale of 1- 3) for charisma.

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