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"Napoleonic rules for newbie teenagers" Topic

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Current Poll

1,644 hits since 22 Mar 2020
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Comments or corrections?

Xenofun23 Mar 2020 9:24 a.m. PST

Hi Everyone,
I have some teens that I would like to introduce to nappy gaming. They enjoy history, but don't have much gaming experience outside of RPGs. I'm looking for rules recommendations. I don't care about figure size, or operational scale (brigade, corp, army, etc)- any is fine for me. I'm not looking for skirmish rules.

So in your opinion, what rules are FUN,EASY (relative terms, I know), can be concluded in 1-3 hours, and can easily involve 2-4 players.

Right now I have Shako and Napoleon at War, if any of you think those are good ones to try, but I'm happy to get new rules because I doubt I'll get a second shot at this :).

Our available playing areas are a coffee table and dinner table.


dwight shrute23 Mar 2020 9:35 a.m. PST

black powder ..

d88mm1940 Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2020 9:40 a.m. PST

Try Jr General. Here's Salamanca:

mildbill23 Mar 2020 10:05 a.m. PST

One hour wargames.

Mike Petro23 Mar 2020 10:25 a.m. PST


I've used Rank and File as a extremely simple intro and everybody was blazing away within minutes.

Who asked this joker23 Mar 2020 10:38 a.m. PST

I'd say any of these except Black Powder. Too many moving parts.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2020 10:39 a.m. PST

what rules are FUN,EASY (relative terms, I know), can be concluded in 1-3 hours

Commands & Colors Napoleonics is a fun and easy way to introduce Napoleonics. The rules are simple and well written, and everything you need to play is in the box. Playing any actual set of wargame rules on a non-gridded table top with miniatures is extremely complex and usually takes several days to complete a game; and that is if you are already familiar with the rules.

Hayes Wauford Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2020 10:55 a.m. PST

I agree on C&C being a great system!

Personal logo Jeff Ewing Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2020 11:02 a.m. PST

Thomas' One Hour Wargames: link

Jeffers23 Mar 2020 12:17 p.m. PST

Another vote for One Hour. Pick them up in seconds and have them playing without referring to rules within minutes. They are designed to work on tables that have uses other than wargames…

Valmy9223 Mar 2020 12:20 p.m. PST

Up a level (units being brigades) I'd suggest Volley and Bayonet would allow them to be the generals they read about.

Personal logo PzGeneral Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2020 12:27 p.m. PST

I recommend Fast Play Napoleonic Wargame Rules by Jon Linney.

They were the first we played and I thought they worked really well. And they are free…..


raylev323 Mar 2020 12:56 p.m. PST

Teens should be able to handle Black Powder….otherwise, go with one hour wargames…VERY simple rules.

arthur181523 Mar 2020 1:49 p.m. PST

Bob Cordery's Portable Napoleonic Wargame has simple rules with a common structure for brigade, division and army level games. See his Wargaming Miscellany blog for details.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2020 2:26 p.m. PST

Larry Brom's 'Before I was a Marshal…' was developed
back in the 1960's to give a game in 1-3 hours.

Units are 20 figures (inf) 12 (cav) gun and 4 figs is a
battery (foot or horse).

Four foot units with a gun is a brigade, single mounted
figure for command. No 'national differences' but you
can 'bolt on' some if you wish.

Great intro rules for younger or inexperienced gamers
but also a superb 'tool box' for adding your own
preferences vis-a-vis national differences.

Foot are organized 3 figures/base, cav 2 fig/base arty
crew are individually based. Foot therefore are 6 bases
of 3 plus a 2-figure command stand (officer and color).

Desert Fox23 Mar 2020 7:44 p.m. PST

Command and Colors to begin with, great introduction. After they get the basics of gaming I recommend Shako 1 because it is an easy read, simple, logical and easy to remember. Then I would like introduce them Black Powder and V&B. Seems like a logical progression to me.

T Corret Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2020 10:17 a.m. PST

Snappy Nappy allows a dive into large battles quickly. Most people seem to want to be a General, rather than a RSM. The game is also easy to begin, but hard to master.

coopman24 Mar 2020 3:47 p.m. PST

One Hour Wargames.

Last Hussar25 Mar 2020 3:09 a.m. PST

Not Shako, surely!

I never really enjoyed a game of it.

I'd say Black Powder. Let's face it too many grognards complained about how simple it was!

Marc at work25 Mar 2020 7:30 a.m. PST

Black powder – works well, and very flexible. You can make it more complicated if they enjoy it

Xenofun25 Mar 2020 12:47 p.m. PST

It seems One Hour Wargames, Black Powder, and Commands and Colors: Napoleonics are well regarded for this kind of situation.

Turns out they wanted to try skirmish, so we played Song of Drums and Shakos and they had a ball. That works for me. And now I have some good rule suggestions if they want to do large-scale stuff. So thanks everyone!

colkitto25 Mar 2020 2:31 p.m. PST

I think there's a large battles variant of Song of Drums which might appeal?

Xenofun25 Mar 2020 4:52 p.m. PST

colkitto, I think that is where we are headed.

HappyHiker10 Apr 2020 6:09 a.m. PST

Another vote for Rank and File, my 12 year old loves them. Hated Black Powder.

hexblade13 Apr 2020 6:25 a.m. PST

+1 for Rank and File rules. Good basic set that makes for fun game. Easy for anyone to use, and as you go, you can add optional rules that are sprinkled within the rule book. Also very easy to add house rules. Bonus, you can use them for other horse and musket periods.

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