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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian31 Dec 2020 11:50 a.m. PST

You were asked TMP link

Which set of rules did you first play as a Napoleonic newbie?

8% [TIE] said "Column, Line & Square I" OR "WRG 1685-1845"
7% said "Napoleon's Battles"

If we merge the results for 1st and 2nd edition Column, Line and Square, it would be at 11%.

Note that, if we merge the results for all editions of Empire, it would have stood at 13%.

Allan F Mountford31 Dec 2020 12:13 p.m. PST

I would suggest these polls are better advertised. The response numbers are tiny.

Eumelus Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2020 12:15 p.m. PST

"Short Rules" by Leon Tucker, mail-ordered from Lowry's, circa 1974.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian31 Dec 2020 12:25 p.m. PST

I would suggest these polls are better advertised.

The polls are on the TMP homepage, and on sidebars through the website. What do you suggest?

The response numbers are tiny.

Ever try to fit 103 Napoleonic gamers in your game room? grin

Allan F Mountford31 Dec 2020 12:58 p.m. PST

@Editor in Chief Bill
1. Cross post advance notice of the poll to the Discussion, Products and Media Reviews pages. Keep the message near the top for at least one month. I am sure this could be automated.
2. Good point. It would need serious a/c!
Seasons Greetings and very best wishes for 2021!

RudyNelson31 Dec 2020 1:00 p.m. PST

My first set in 1977 was Tricolor by TSR. After about six months, we shifted to Empire 2 for a couple of years.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2020 1:12 p.m. PST

Can't say, since I haven't bought one yet.

JimDuncanUK31 Dec 2020 1:17 p.m. PST

The first Napoleonic rules I played were written by Peter Gouldesbrough in Edinburgh. They were used in a refight of Waterloo in the Appleton Tower circa 1969.

Peter was chairman of SESWC at the time. Another member was George Jeffrey who also wrote sets of Napoleonic rules as well as several books. He later went to develop 'variable bound' rules which others took on after his death.

Allan F Mountford31 Dec 2020 1:27 p.m. PST

Do you have any pictures of the Waterloo refight? Or a copy of the rules?

Thank you for the note about George Jeffrey. I took over the admin role for the former Yahoo Group that was set up to develop George's 'Variable Length Move' ('VLB') rule concepts. Link to the site:

Glengarry531 Dec 2020 1:30 p.m. PST

As far as I recall the first set of Napoleonic rules I played in Jack Hutchings basement didn't have a name, they were homebrew club rules. I don't remember commercially published rule books at the beginning. Available rules were mostly self-published (sometimes on a gestetner) by our, The Trumpeters of Vancouver, B.C. or other clubs. For example for years I used the Colonial wargame rules from the Western Washington Wargamers. Probably the first commercially available Napoleonic rules I bought were Bruce Quarries Airfix Napoleonic Wargaming in 1975 or so. I never did play them!

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian31 Dec 2020 1:45 p.m. PST

Practical Wargaming by Wessencraft.

Mike the Analyst31 Dec 2020 1:54 p.m. PST

Bayonet rules

RittervonBek31 Dec 2020 1:57 p.m. PST

Bruce Quarrie's rules.

JimDuncanUK31 Dec 2020 1:58 p.m. PST

Do you have any pictures of the Waterloo refight? Or a copy of the rules?

Sadly no, this was in 1969 so long before digital cameras and even 'compact' cameras were fairly rare. I do not have a copy of the rules which were hand typed and few in number.

If I remember correctly there were press photographers present so if any pictures exist then I would enquire with the Edinburgh Evening News/Scotsman picture archives.

It may be of interest to you that I do have a copy or two of Georges rules as they were before his jaunt into variable length bounds.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2020 2:10 p.m. PST

Ever try to fit 103 Napoleonic gamers in your game room?

They'd need to be about 300mm scale--unless my game room is the Distelfink.

As for combining versions of EMPIRE, my contention is that every time you make people rebase, it counts as a new set of rules. That makes EMPIRE at least two, and F&F about a set and a half.

I do observe the consistency with which someone proposes a poll question, the poll runs for a week and when the poll result is published, people post answers to the original question.

Mike Petro31 Dec 2020 2:18 p.m. PST

Buck Surdu's Battles for Empire.

Nine pound round31 Dec 2020 2:33 p.m. PST

GDW's "Fire and Steel." Some interesting TO&E research went into that one; I wish I still had it.

JimDuncanUK31 Dec 2020 2:37 p.m. PST

Ever try to fit 103 Napoleonic gamers in your game room? grin

Yes, but we had to borrow another 'game room'.

YouTube link

khanscom31 Dec 2020 2:40 p.m. PST

"Aux Armes" by Pete Bennett

Mike Petro31 Dec 2020 3:04 p.m. PST

One good thing to come along from Empire, everybody was based the same way.

raylev331 Dec 2020 4:50 p.m. PST

Empire II…..tedious but a workable edition. After that, I gladly moved on to Napoleon's Battles.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2020 4:58 p.m. PST

Home-brew rules which after over 40 plus years were finally
published (after MANY re-writes and a LOT of discussion
and playtesting) by Sergeants 3.

Titled now 'Before I was a Marshal…'

Attalus I31 Dec 2020 4:59 p.m. PST

Napoleonique by Jim Getz

JMcCarroll31 Dec 2020 5:16 p.m. PST

"GDW's "Fire and Steel." Some interesting TO&E research went into that one; I wish I still had it."
My first set also, I have all off the System 7 armies still.

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2020 6:03 p.m. PST

Frappe. Was scaled at 1:10 figures, we scaled to 1:30 with our large Airfix armies.

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2020 6:09 p.m. PST

Frappe, Napoleonic rules by Ray Johnson and Duke Seifried. 1970.

Chuckaroobob31 Dec 2020 7:03 p.m. PST

Larry Brom's "Before I was a Marshal, I was a Grenadier"

5thlancer31 Dec 2020 7:34 p.m. PST

Empire I I think it was 1978ish.

21eRegt31 Dec 2020 10:02 p.m. PST

Charles Grant's Napoleonic version of "The Wargame."

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2020 10:50 p.m. PST

I'm still looking.

None of the Napoleonics games I've played ever felt like "my" Napoleonics game, so I don't feel like I've really had a first.

Jeffers01 Jan 2021 12:03 a.m. PST

Voltigeur. Can't remember who it was by!

Green Tiger01 Jan 2021 12:56 a.m. PST

Charge (not really Napoleonic) and Newbury (only once)

Rod MacArthur01 Jan 2021 12:59 a.m. PST

WRG 1971 Rules, the ones in the red cover, with "Flinch factors" not seen in any other rules.


John Edmundson01 Jan 2021 1:54 a.m. PST

Lots of games with Bruce Quarrie and Airfix figures, then a game or two with Newbury.


Allan F Mountford01 Jan 2021 2:17 a.m. PST

Thank you for the steer – I have just had a look at the digital archive maintained by The Scotsman and it may yield something.
I would be very interested in anything you might have written by George. Would you be willing to send me a copy? My email address is

Fred Mills01 Jan 2021 6:06 a.m. PST

Newbury, then Quarrie.

skipper John Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2021 9:07 a.m. PST

Colum, Line and Squire… baby! 1970's, those were the days!!

Mister Tibbles01 Jan 2021 9:52 a.m. PST

CLS 20 years ago, and I thought it stank. Left that group of gamers. Now, if I want crunchy rules, I use Napoleon's Battles 1st edition. Otherwise Black Powder 2nd edition.

Marulaz101 Jan 2021 11:44 a.m. PST

The original Empire.


pbishop1201 Jan 2021 12:52 p.m. PST

Quarrie rules. The little red Airfix rule book, back in 1977. Where in hell did all that time go? Used 20mm plastic figures on my coffee table.

Personal logo Gonsalvo Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2021 1:30 p.m. PST

Another vote for Frappe! circa 1970.

14Bore01 Jan 2021 5:35 p.m. PST

Really not any idea of the rule' S title, remember you had to guess or estimate artillery fire distance and then measure to see if you hit using your guess.

HappyHussar01 Jan 2021 10:51 p.m. PST

I played "Melee" a set of house rules developed by folks in the Los Angeles area. Simple rules to play with. Each stand took 50 kills to wipe out. You used a unit roster. I actually prefer it over the typical "60% chance of wiping out a casting" format prevalent in most rules sets.

The group splintered off eventually into smaller parts with one of the main arguments being "should skirmishers be able to flee from a charge or die in place?" Other issues arose and that ended the big group games I was in.

I got started in miniatures at our CSUN club playing these rules and a set of man to man Ancients combat rules called "Sword and Spear." When I saw man to man rules for the Napoleonic era come out I almost picked up a copy and played them.

Empire II was out and I started playing those rules quite a bit moving on to Empire III once it came out. We had a small, loyal group of Empire players. I always loved how there was never a lack of castings to use.

One of my fav. battles was where I commanded Reynier's VII (Saxon) Corps. Despite them being rated sub-par in Empire (except that lovely battle cavalry) I was able to successfully delay my opponent …

Allan F Mountford02 Jan 2021 3:17 a.m. PST

For the record ;-) it was in 1973: 'Napoleonic War Game Rules' by Stephen & Julian Reed, published in Sussex, England; undated, but including a short list of amendments and corrections dated July 1971. Written for 25mm figures, scales were one infantry or cavalry figure represented 25 men, one gunner figure represented 10 men and one artillery model represented one gun. Ground scale was 1" represented 12 yards and time scale was one move represented 45 seconds.
Very typical of its time, including lists of tactical factors for morale and firing and a casualty table recording losses in men recorded on a unit roster. I realise now this was a rule writing technique lifted from from the early WRG Ancient period rules.
I never actually owned a copy of the rules, but started looking round for a used copy some years ago, finally tracking down a copy from Noble Knight Games in the USA in 2017.

Bill N02 Jan 2021 7:32 a.m. PST

Tricolor. It is also the only Napoleonic rule set I ever owned. By the time I got back into wargaming there were an intimidating number of rules sets floating around with no one predominating.

marmont1814 Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Jan 2021 2:35 a.m. PST

The original WRG Napoleonic rules the red book with flinch points, played those in competitions at various clubs in the late 70s

Allan F Mountford03 Jan 2021 3:38 a.m. PST

WRG 1750-1850. Available for free download here: PDF link

JimDuncanUK03 Jan 2021 3:41 a.m. PST

WRG 1750-1850. Available for free download here: PDF link

I think I have that somewhere in my archives.

shugyosha03 Jan 2021 4:07 a.m. PST

Field of Glory: Napoleonics 1st Edition. What can I say, I started late with Napoleonics (at least on the table). I remember my first game with counters fondly. It was Plancenoit and after years of playing funnily enough one of my very few real historical refights, among Austerlitz, Quatre Bras and Marengo. And yes, that means I have never refought Waterloo!

Yesterday I actually thought about going back and replaying it with miniatures and the 2nd Edition rules (although i don't like the complexity of FOG anymore).

Basha Felika03 Jan 2021 6:46 a.m. PST

That there have been almost as many contributions on this thread AFTER the poll result was announced suggests that maybe polls could be better publicised when first released?

More participants make the results more representative.

For my part, it was either the Bruce Quarrie or the WRG -1845 rules: still got both on the bookshelf.

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