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"Breaking the Existing Historical Wargame Paradigm" Topic

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Personal logo Analsim Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2022 7:30 p.m. PST

TMP Members,

Let me provide you with a little more context before 'Jumping in at the Deep end of the Pool', pertaining to this discussion topic*. ;^)

*NOTE: This posting is primarily intended for ALL those "Lurkers" and/or "TMP ILFs", that frequent this website, as I have done myself 'off and on' over the last several years.

1. CANDOR – The quality of being open and honest in expression, focusing on "Frankness".
COL Lynn Glossup (i.e., BN CDR 1-61 Infantry and XO, 2nd Brigade, 5th Inf. Division (Mech), a former boss of mine, explained to me that, "You must instill and encourage "Candor" before there can be any learning and change for the better."

So, I'm going to 'open my kimono' and let it all hang out below so, that there can be little doubt in your mind, what I am trying to say to you. Try to remember that this is 'NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK' directed against any one or group. It is my sincere desire to foster a 'professional discussion' for as long as possible, just like we did in this discussion about 'Infantry Squad Suppression': TMP link

a.) My Own Background. After receiving my BA in European History (CSUS, CA) and a MS in Weapon Systems Management (NPGS, CA, followed by a subsequent minor in Military History, I've finally managed to retire about ~1 year ago, after working 40+ years as an; 1) US Army Armor Officer (M60A1&3 & M1&A1 Tanks), 2) Test & Experimentation Officer, 3) Modeling, Simulation & Analyst Officer, 4) DA Senior Analyst and finally 5) as a DOD Contractor (Senior Analyst) for a Science, Technology and Engineering company. The major take away I gained from all those years of knowledge & experience was a wider 'PERSPECTIVE' on Warfare, M,S & A and Military History.

b.) Historical Wargaming (my main focus was on Napoleonic miniatures). I started out playing with Jud Bauman (co-writer of "Column, Line and Square") in Yuba City, CA in the early '70s. I moved on to Empire II, and then took a shot at writing my first set of Napoleonic Miniatures rules at 20 years old. I called it 'Triumph', which was synonymous with the usual 'run of the mill crap' that every wargamer eventually attempts at some point in time. Got commissioned in US Army, where in 1984 I switched to 'Empire III, IV and V'. Got stuck playing (i.e., as the only Napoleonic wargame in town), 'Napoleon's Battles' for about 2-3 years while I was working on getting my MS in Monterey, CA. Was then re-assigned in1994 to the 'Simulation and Analyst Office' at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ., where I fortunate to link up and wargame with Jean (Mister) Lochet (a' la Empire, Eagles & Lions) and his wargame group in Metuchen. He quickly became my 'Napoleonic historical wargaming inspiration' and is probably the main reason that got me to where I am at today. Jean is now 91+ years old and retired after his wife passed away about ~5 years ago.

c. Prior to retiring last year, Family, Work and the 'War on Terrorism', have kept me pretty well engaged and/or distracted from actively participating in 'recreational wargaming' for the last 20 years. That's all over now.

Back on Topic!,..So, get ready for some really 'Tough Love!' (i.e., Candor)

2. The Nature of the Paradigm Problem. So, I'm basically, a late re-entry back into mainstream 'recreational historical wargaming' as it is today. From my perspective, the 'Historical Wargame Design Art', must have stagnated decades ago (i.e., circa 2000) based on what I'm seeing sold out on the street these days.

Nowadays, "Fast Food Wargaming", with its focus on flashy rulebooks, game mechanics, gimmicks and randomizers is all the rage, having almost replaced any semblance of actual Historically based wargame research and/or wargame design. Historical accountability is virtually non-existent now. A phenomena I find as inexplicable, given all the 'History Credentials' that too often get tossed on the table, as "testimonial proof", in lieu of any legitimate Primary Source Documentation or Data (i.e., this data comes from historical records & documents, empirical sources: such as experimentation, test, and outputs from other validated models and simulations, such as a Monte Carlo Simulations) or Support which as a 'Card Carrying Historian', like me, You should KNOW that YOU are suppose to provide us with your Historical Work. Just like in college, you get 'No Credit' for your answer, unless you show us all your work. That's only fair,..right?

My fellow Historians, I'd sincerely like to hear from any of You, either in the open or confidentially,..Your Choice? Be assured, I'm trustworthy, honorable & discrete .

3. 'Voice of the Customer'. A 'Lean Six Sigma' Term, that addresses and describes the Historical Wargame Customer's 'Product Expectations'. Which I think can be described by these two choices below:

a). Do You, the 'Historical Wargamers' want the 'Illusion of playing History'? Which is essentially Historical Fiction, just like what is presented in war movies?
b). Do You, the 'Historical Wargamers' want 'Historical Substance' that will provide you with the means and a valid tool to make your own historical assessment?

Obviously, the current answer based upon all the wargame products being marketed and sold today,..has to be: "a.) The Illusion of History!"

So, tell me gentlemen, is this really true? Is it really what You want?

From my perspective, it looks to me like a Product Quality issue, that focused on the appealing to the greatest common denominator. Regardless, of Your own particular answer to the question above.


Obviously, I am NOT going along with it. 30 years acquiring Historical Knowledge, Experience and Perspective tells me this paradigm can and should be Broken now.

4. Breaking The Historical Wargame Paradigms.
When you break paradigms, you can make step-change improvements, advance the state of the wargame art, and create competitive advantage. However, you need a catalyst and an initiative where existing paradigms can be challenged. Effective leaders are always encouraging their teams to 'think outside the box', identify and break their paradigms, and then lead the way Forward!! That's exactly what I intend to do.

a.) My 'catalyst' is using my own Historical Napoleonic Wargame Design "Coup d'Oeil" to crack the historical wargame barrier, and then reinforce and support this process via additional 'forces for change'.

b.) The 'initiative' is via a 'Grass Roots Approach', aimed at the largest historical wargame player audience available in the USA,..HISTORICON.

c.) Additional 'forces for change':
(1) I have already asked and received the kind support of two (2) known (independent), wargame & DOD Modeling, Simulation and Analyst experts in the USA to assess my Historical Design claims. A few of the "TMP Lurkers" out their already know their names. After Historicon, I will be attempting to add Professor Philip Sabin in the UK, to this list as the 3rd expert. I'd like to have a total of three (3) (i.e., No Ties) in order to be able to provide a clear, objective message to the members of the Historical Wargame Community.

(2) Mr. Norm Gibson has agreed to be my Napoleonic 'Technical Weapons Expert' for "Coup d'Oeil." If You have ever seen the Movie, "Master and Commander", then you have heard and seen some of his work. Norm provided the "Cannon sound tracks and hit special effects" for this movie, that received an Oscar for Special Effects, using his own Napoleon 12lb cannon and Howitzer. I might add that Norm is perhaps one of the only persons who have actually fired actual historically accurate cannon balls and explosive howitzer shells at target out to 1,200m.
I will be more than happy to show you some of the videos of these cannon & howitzer firings at Historicon, if you stop by to play or chat.

(3) Additionally, Norm made a fool of me, as well as providing me with a perfect example of what an Unknown-Unknown really means, in Not Knowing, that You Didn't Know the Right answer after all. He was helped along by two (2) Havoc XXXIV wargamers, Mr. James Sulzen (aka: Marshal Ney) and Mr. Timothy Allen (aka: General Riesch) who played the French and Austrian Commanders in my Saturday night Battle of Elchingen 1805 wargame, using Coup d'Oeil. Their question and issue involved French Charleville musket accuracy firing at a 2'x3' Window target @ 90m. Since I own that musket, I graciously volunteered to go out and provide them with an answer, when I got home. Norm helped me get the answer. After firing 5-rounds myself and not hitting the target at all, I said to Norm confidently, "I guess that answer the mail." Norm said "let me take a look at that weapon and give it a try". He looked it over, fired his first 3-rounds missing the target as I did. He then started tinkering with the lock, the flint and trigger commenting that the trigger was right and the inside of the barrel wasn't bored true, because the ball would stick a foot down the barrel and then roll free the rest of the way down the bore. So what?, I said that's probably typical of the real weapon. Norm then fired the next 2-Rounds hitting the Window frame both times, one round 2' above the other. I was left in total awe! But managed to ask him "If he had done anything to this Musket, that a Napoleonic Soldier couldn't do himself." His reply was No! Soldiers, are not stupid, they figure these things out on their own. My sincere compliments to James Sulzen & Timothy Allen who spurred on by historical play, get credit for helping to identify a much larger historical musket accuracy issue.

(4) Paddy Griffith comments in his book "Forward into Battle" that, Historian Jac Weller conducted his own extensive musket test in 1954, which characterized the Napoleonic musket as wildly inaccurate, which produced hit groupings over three feet in diameter @ 100 yards or ~91.4 meters, essentially the very same distance Norm was firing at, but with dramatically different results. Norm told me what he did to my musket and how he compensated for its quirkiness. I'm not going to say what it was right now, but it lead to a discussion which involved conducting our own series of pistol, musket and cannon operational trials based upon an original primary source information to compare it too.

NOTE & REQUEST To: Mr. Kevin Kiley. TMP Members, if you know what his TMP Alias/Name can you pass along the following message to him: At my request, Mr. Norm Gibson reviewed Kiley's book, "Artillery of the Napoleonic Wars" and wanted me to pass along his comments and compliments to him stating that it was very well written, completely accurate, well documented and supported, in his expert opinion. He had only one minor question for him regarding a diagram depicting the internal structure of a canister round, but stated it was no big deal. Both of us would like Mr. Kiley to seriously consider being a part of our Napoleonic Live Fire test trials that we are researching and planning on conducting next Spring/Summer 2023 here in Michigan. In return, we can offer him authentic empirical cannon/mortar data at different ranges and using a host of standard ammunition types. I am in particular interested in firing round shot at an earthen Redoubt in order to capture shot effects data on that target. If there was ever a golden opportunity to write a sequel to your first book, this is it. I know you are going to be attending Historicon this year and would like to link up with you there to discuss the details, if you at all interested in participating in this live fire project of ours.

(5) Finally, a last comment and the most significant one of all. It involves 'Perspective' again. In the course of discussing and researching the live fire project above I discovered a 'Key' primary source Napoleonic warfare document that after reviewing the Bibliographies of all the current well known, mainstream Napoleonic Historical authors, it seems that none of them have, sited it, mentioned it or are even aware of its existence,..except three (3) living individuals, Ned Zuparko, Howie Muir and David Commerford and possibly the late Paddy Griffith. I also want to publically state that I value, respect and trust these three (3) historical authors work above the majority of the all the rest, my sincere compliments to all three of these gentlemen. I also want to call out the incredible document Ned Zuparko created in the guise of a French Napoleonic Divisional Commander (Battle of Vittoria 1813) and participant, in my Distribute Interactive Simulation (DIS) Situational Awareness Experiment involving 26 historical authors and wargamers located all over the world,that I conducted several years ago. Ned, Howie and David were instrumental in making it a success. With his consent, I will be bringing a copy of his DIS Memoirs & Experience, for you to review at Historican 2022.

That's it in a Nut Shell!


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2022 8:36 p.m. PST

Good lord, I didn't think a post could be that long.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2022 8:54 p.m. PST

Games in a box have been popular for quite a while. Most people want to play a game with toy soldiers and be done in 2-3 hours. Some people want more complexity and will find like minded folks. Some people like to get bogged down in minute details and fool themselves into believing that they are playing an accurate simulation and can't figure out why just about everyone else thinks their games are tedious, slow and boring. It's just a matter of how much fudge factor/ fantasy you are comfortable with.

BillyNM21 Jun 2022 10:05 p.m. PST

So what is it you want and why?

jwebster Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2022 10:14 p.m. PST

Very interested in what you come up with

Napoleonic wargaming is ripe for breaking paradigms – or perhaps there are many wargaming "facts" that are incorrect. To me the most interesting thing about Napoleonics rules is that that the nature of battles changed compared to earlier 18th century battles, despite no major changes in the underlying technologies. This has to be the ultimate challenge for any rules writer

Point (3) is difficult. As 79thPA says, there are people whose primary goal is to be done in 2 hours, and others who perseverate over details. Most people are in the middle, but the location of that middle point varies greatly

Perhaps another way of expressing this is "historical accuracy" vs "playability" or "fun". When I have objective, measurable definitions of those terms, I will let you know. Of course, these things need not be mutually exclusive

Point (2) I do see fancy mechanics that seem to have had no analysis to assess the probabilities of the different outcomes, sometimes to the extent that I wonder if they were play tested


raylev321 Jun 2022 11:01 p.m. PST

Not sure what you expect or where you're going with this. You're kind of all over the place. It seems you're saying ALL of today's wargames only provide an illusion of history and that we have all accepted this. I disagree.

I think you realize that historical accuracy, which is only one aspect of wargaming (and, yes, a critical one for me, as a "card carrying" military historian) is a spectrum. At one end you have a non-achievable perfection of history in a wargame, and at the other, an abstract game, let's say, like risk. History itself is not an absolute. There are a variety of interpretations.

Your musket example above can be flawed for a variety of reasons. I'm going to assume your buddy is very familiar with muskets et al, and probably knows more than the average Napoleonic soldier with a limited education AND more importantly, limited training and target practice. So, is your example historical? In fact, your argument is more of a "technology" one based on modern knowledge and a much higher level of education -- not necessarily historical.

Most wargames fall within the spectrum depending on the rules author and what he is trying to portray. I disagree with you that there are no historical wargames out there. There are plenty, but it depends on the level of historical realism you want. Rules authors have to choose what they want to portray. It is impossible to portray every aspect of a historical battle or campaign.

This is why design notes are important to me. I want to know what the author is trying to demonstrate and how that affected his rules…what did he include and what did he leave out.

In fact, it seems your comments are more of a "straw man" to say everyone else's game sucks, and your game will fix it all. You may have a fine wargame, but you've put yourself on a high pedestal. You can't ignore the other aspects of wargaming such as playability, etc. I admire you and your friend's credentials, but you didn't prove your case with your commentary.

Gray Bear21 Jun 2022 11:42 p.m. PST

The OP might do well to take to heart 1 Kings 20:11.

Martin Rapier22 Jun 2022 12:06 a.m. PST

I'd be very wary of lumping all games and gamers into a single category. We are a very diverse (and argumentative) community, and to a large extent, what people end up playing is what their friends and/or local group are playing.

Personally, I'm interested in simulation and operations research, but turning that into playable and enjoyable games is hard and involves considerable degrees of abstraction and a very broad brush approach.

Telling people that what they are doing is flawed is never going to win many fans, but showing people why your way is more interesting and enjoyable can gain some traction. Good luck with your project.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine22 Jun 2022 1:06 a.m. PST

Well I almost made to the end of the post. I think it's fair to say the OP and myself are not looking for the same thing from our wargaming hobby..

I like pretty painted miniatures and lovingly set up wargames tables, with great scenery, I'm a very visual person at heart. Then I want a fun game of toy soldiers with a bit of history thrown in. Something I can fit into my busy life for a couple of hours.

Sounds like the OP wants something akin to a government military simulation played out on maps with wooden blocks, while keeping track of how many rounds battalion B has fired and why the supply train is bogged down at town X.

If that's what he enjoys then all power to him but it isn't what I won't from my hobby.

Fitzovich Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 1:18 a.m. PST

I'm confused, is there a question in there to be answered?

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 1:43 a.m. PST

A few random thoughts in response.

I would agree that some recent miniatures wargames emphasise the "game" aspect at the expense of reality, with questionable mechanics, stats etc. intended to either create a level playing field that didn't exist in reality or to give almost superhuman powers to the author's favourite side/ aircraft/ship etc. But thats clearly not true of all (or even, I would argue, most). I've been writing and publishing rules for nearly 30 years and my aim throughout those years has been to create rules that play quickly and which represent the historical setting in which they occur and the relative performance and capabilities of the forces involved. Many other authors do the same

I've said it here before but the "game vs simulation" trope and the idea that complexity = realism is a myth. It is perfectly possible to create a simple game that simulates reality (and which is fun to play). Also it is possible to write amazingly complex rules that bring with them an impression of realism due to that complexity, masses of charts and data tables etc. but are anything but a representation of realism. As well as hobby wargaming for nearly 50 years (it took me 20 years to get to the point of publishing :) ) I've also been engaged in professional wargaming for the last couple of decades. Through that I've seen many fine simulations that are extremely simple (and fun). True, some are immensely complex but most are not. An example in mind at the moment that we use in warship design and further into warfare officer training consists of 2 sides of A4 , a playsheet for each ship and some movement templates – very simple to play yet provides an excellent game for designers and operators in terms of demonstrating the importance of various performance parameters, tactics etc. – and it keep track of ammunition expenditure too :)

UshCha22 Jun 2022 2:20 a.m. PST

I think personnaly the discussion misses some key points and that is he has not really analised what I suspsect is a shifting mass market. To decalre my bias I am on the "historical" side and we do publish our game albiet on Wargamnes vault.

Certinly since Phil Barker (UK I know but some of the wider audiance may have heard of him) left his Zen=ith wargames have become more game than Simulation, my opinion of course.

I suspect there are reasons for the shift among others are:-

1) Wargames, has with the availability of wider and wider figure ranges lead Warpainters like Prince Rupert of the Rhine to have lots of diffrent armies from diffrent periods of history and like to see them all on the board. Nothing wrong with that. However thats a LOT of history to consider, rules (all diffrent if you want simulation and if they need lots of thought you are too busy to appreciate the spoecticle). That militates toward simple rules aimed at lighthearted fun not deep thought.

2) Even in our own little group some folk wast very simple scenarios as they do not want to spend there two or three hours wracking there brains on how to modify there battle plan that did not survive fully first contact. "Worse Still" they want to chat while playing! Such "uneccessary" lack of attention eats time and breaks concentration, hopeless for a real simulation, real generals have a lot of jobs to do most of the time.

3) Even worse some folk have figures and don't even care about the hisory, "its Just a Game" so they are never going to want a simulation too much to learn of history for them with no gain.

4) The pressures of life have got more over the decades, we all have more hobbys/pastimes now and work is harder so Brain strain in the evening is proably less attractive than it used to be.

Folk are allowed to make up thir own mind and to be honest trying to recruit such folk is pointless they are playing there ideal game already.

All wargames are not as described ours are closer to reality NOTE simulation is not reality it cannoy be.

Georgew Box once eaid "Since all models are wrong the scientist must be alert to what is importantly wrong. It is inappropriate to be concerned about mice when there are tigers abroad.

Fitzovich has it, what is thew question? Is it the general one of why many but all wargames are "Histoty Light" or how to use moderen data to define the "tigers" and get them better modeled. If it is the latter the topic would be better in a napolionic board where folk clueless on Napolionic warfare are not present.

PS it should have been titled not for UK consumption as Historicon is not a usefull reference for most of us in the UK.

advocate22 Jun 2022 2:23 a.m. PST

If that's the nutshell, it must be some nut!
I can't attend Historicon, but rather than telling us we're all wrong, can't you just demonstrate the game and we can decide if we like it? These long diatribes create more fog than light.

Decebalus22 Jun 2022 2:39 a.m. PST

A very long article, that doesnt even use the word miniature soldier.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine22 Jun 2022 3:46 a.m. PST

You get the feeling the model soldiers aren't important to the OP he'd probably be happy with wooden blocks painted red and blue or 2mm (no offense intended to 2mm fans).

The rules and pursuit of data to model absolute realism seem to be his only interest. I mean to be honest if you want totally realism in a set of rules the first thing you need to do is take away the model soldiers and wargames table to remove the players god like view of the battlefield but then at the point you have removed the thing that's attracts me to wargaming.

Mr Elmo22 Jun 2022 3:47 a.m. PST

Can you summarize that in like a sentence?

Tl;dr dude.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine22 Jun 2022 3:50 a.m. PST

Nobodies wargames rules are realistic enough and any rule set should be accompanied by a huge book of historical data to prove why their rules are realistic. Is the TLDR version.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 4:57 a.m. PST

Long ago a gamer friend and a USMC combat vet (Korea)
told me 'If you want WAR, find volunteers, arm and
equip them and have at it !'

He wrote more than a score of rules for different levels
(skirmish, regiment, etc) and always tried for the
'game' aspect over the 'reality' aspect.

My favorite quote from him vis-a-vis 'game' versus
'simulation': 'Until you can put in the stink and the
fear, you're just blowing smoke.'

miscmini Fezian22 Jun 2022 5:06 a.m. PST

Congratulations on your retirement.

doc mcb22 Jun 2022 6:01 a.m. PST

When I was writing BLOODY DAWN rules, there was a point at which I was going to give the Mexicans an advantage in melee since they mostly had bayonets and the Texians mostly didn't. Then I discovered that the average Texian was 6" taller than the average soldado. So +1 for bayonets and +1 to the other side for height? No: "It all comes out in the wash." The two factors cancel, and that is well; we want a GAME that moves fast. BUT I am confident that anyone who plays out a game of BLOODY DAWN will have learned an immense amount about the Alamo. I've done it with dozens of kids and I know thta to be so. If the rules still included bayonets and relative height would they have learned more, in a much longer game? No, I do not believe so.

doc mcb22 Jun 2022 6:07 a.m. PST

I do a lot of skirmish gaming these days, along with big battles. It is always about the player making decisions. The game should give the decision-maker the information and choices he needs to decide among, comparable to what a real soldier at that level would have to make in real life. Napoleon has to decide when to commit his reserves. A company commander has to decide whether to open into skirmish or keep his men closed up. A game of a large battle should not have players doing sergeants' work.

Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 6:56 a.m. PST


+1 79th PA

Yes this post was all over the place.
I'm not sure how his educational credentials and military service really provide much for a discussion on "what kind of toy soldiers do we really want and like to play with", but to each their own I guess.

TBH, this sounded like an interesting idea but at the same time was so expansive and scattered I lost interest and or even an idea of what I was reading about about 3 paragraphs down.

This sounds more like a thesis paper argument than a piece about miniatures.

If someone can give me the TLDR version, please do.

Thanks in advance.

Personal logo KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 8:18 a.m. PST


It's already been done. At the last Historicon, played this massive battle of Wagram with 16 players on a 20 foot table with Thousands of miniatures.


Looked like a Napoleonic battle, played like a Napoleonic battle, felt like a Napoleonic battle and had all the historical elements one would expect from the Napoleonic era.

All this was played using the gamemasters own rules on a 3 page hand out. After the first turn most players were running the game by themselves and the game moved at a very fast pace.

The entire battle from start to finish took only 3 hours!

The "best" game rules are usually NOT commercially produced ones, as you say "Fast Food Wargaming", but ones designed by dedicated, historically knowledgeable people in our hobby who are interested in doing the kind of game like you want, and not just publish something to make a buck.

The average gamer is only peripherally interested in most historical eras, and buys enough figures to paint and play using some commercial rules set for a short period before moving on to the next thing that comes along.

Few are truly dedicated to get deeply into any particular historical period for the long haul.

Best of luck to you.


BillyNM22 Jun 2022 9:36 a.m. PST

@KimRYoung – sounds very promising – is the three page handout available to give us an idea of how it works?

Andy ONeill22 Jun 2022 12:22 p.m. PST

I'm not so sure reality simulation is much of a seller.
Even if you could implement it.

You set your toys out.
Designate reserves.
Then you're off.
The units do pretty much what they like.
All you can do is choose when to commit a reserve unit.
That then hares off out of you control.
Eventually a messenger appears and tells you who won.

DeRuyter22 Jun 2022 1:28 p.m. PST

All the prior comments pretty much hit all the points. Personally all the groups that I know and play with have gone away from the complex systems to the let's have fun, make decisions, roll dice and have a beer style games. Of course some would consider the original Kriegspiel to be more of a milsim than a game with a complex set of chart and tables.

That said I am signed up for your Saturday evening game at Historicon so I will find out in person. One point that I didn't see you address is the effect of PC games. Plenty of milsim level games in that arena.

Grattan54 Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 2:00 p.m. PST

+1 Murphy

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 2:41 p.m. PST

Vandals are continually running around breaking paradigms when they run out of statues to topple. Get yourself a decent quality one in the first place and perform regular maintenance, and your paradigm may last a very long time.

It helps if you remember that "new" is not the same as "better."

Andy and Ed both have good points. There are aspects of war we can't replicate and wouldn't want to. And most of us, if we were reduced to making only the decisions a high-ranking Napoleonic commander made in a day, would bring a book to the wargame. Almost inevitably, we get to take the place of two or more levels of command, and wouldn't play if we couldn't. If Analsim is accurate on that point, I hope for his sake he has a pdf for sale at Wargames Vault and not a thousand glossy full-color rulebooks in a garage.

Prince Rupert, as a card-carrying two mil gamer, I'd like to say they're not blocks even when I paint them--much less so with a better painter. No, they're not my beloved 28/30mm castings--but they are something I can carry with me on vacation and play on a motel room table. And they're my only hope of fighting Leipzig again.

jefritrout22 Jun 2022 2:50 p.m. PST

For the only set of rules that I have had published, are for soccer (football). We tried to get the feel of the game and left out the minutia. Could we have tried for absolute realism, yes, but I played a set of rules that tried it and it took almost 8 hours to play a half. Out game is about 2 and half hours, can be run by the players after the first 4 or 5 turns. It plays like a highlight reel of a game. The best compliments that I received were from 2 professional footballers (granted neither made the top division in their country, but they were close.) who stated that this game gave the feel of a real game. We had to change some things for playability but the feel of a the game is there. The tactics are there and the decision making is there. And it's fun!!!

whitphoto22 Jun 2022 3:43 p.m. PST

even some of the responses here were too long.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 4:17 p.m. PST

Unless you read his rules or play a game you can't really make a fair comparison. The game mechanics could be completely different. We'll have to wait and see and see how he has balanced playability with historical realism and decision making.

Nice looking battle.


Personal logo KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 4:48 p.m. PST


I was not making a comparison to any other game, only stating that the "concepts" he was promoting had already been accomplished by others.

Lots of wargames accomplish similar design concepts with very different game mechanics and hence the proliferation of new published, and unpublished game rules that are cranked out like new history books every year that have "new insight" on a particular battle or campaign.

79thPA pretty much summed up how the majority of our community views game rules.


Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 5:35 p.m. PST

One drawback not yet mentioned: nobody in the English speaking audience will pronounce "Coup d'Oeil" correctly.

- Ix

Q: "Coop Doyle?"
A: "No, the P is silent. It's Coo Doyle."
A2: "C'mon guys, it's French. Coo duh-Wee."
A3: "I took a year of French in school. I think it's Coo duh-Eel."
Q: "I think Coop Doyle is easier. I'll just stick with that that."

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 7:23 p.m. PST

I figured we'd settle on "Coop Deal" Yellow Admiral, but if the rules are appealing in other respects, that won't matter. Difficulty of pronunciation hasn't hurt Notre Dame's recruitment or ranking.

Anyway, when I want to hear someone telling me how great something is going to be, I go to Real Clear Politics.

evilgong22 Jun 2022 8:53 p.m. PST

I'm not sure what to make of this thread.

Having said that, the Wagram pic looks good. Two bases per battalion and lots of battalions is a good way to play Naps.

David F Brown

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 9:06 p.m. PST

What's a paradigm ?

Russ Dunaway

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2022 9:35 p.m. PST

Well, I was struck by the last big point being about "Perspective". The photo above show a typical wargame table. Unlike the world, it is very flat. There is no dead ground. I have happily played many a game like this. But I now use vinyl mats that allow for at least a bit of rolling terrain look. But I am still God looking down on a world with no surprises.

Once you know the secrets of live fire trials in the 21 century with Napoleonic weapons, how do you account for the scale of the ground, the buildings, the clunky bases, making your troops a scale 9 ft tall

. What about table size? What about time? Visibility? Smoke? These things are always a bit out of whack. perspective is indeed the big issue. We cannot simulate in miniature just by knowing the firearms. The ground is critical. But luckily it's a game, and we compromise and approximate and enjoy. It is our own reality, touched here and there by history as we see it. Close enough. I am a kid with toy soldiers.

Grand Dragon22 Jun 2022 10:53 p.m. PST

Coup D'Oeil is pronounced Coo Doy, coup in French means a cut or a blow or a sudden event eg Coup de Foudre means love at first sight.

Grand Dragon22 Jun 2022 11:33 p.m. PST

Another thing is – you might have the perfect set of rules, but you also have to consider the players playing the game as well. Imagine a hypothetical refight of the battle of Austerlitz 1805 (in 2mm!). Playing the role of Napoleon is a 12-year-old boy whose wargaming experience is having played two games of Warhammer before, who has never played this particular ruleset before, and who has a really bad cold starting. On the other side, playing the Tsar, we have a 40-year-old history professor who has majored in military history, has an IQ of 160 and who has been playing this particular ruleset every weekend for the last several years. Who is more likely to win? The professor also has the ability of hindsight so he will know the mistakes made in the original battle and will be unlikely to repeat them.
A good wargames ruleset is really just a tool, it may help you fight a realistic Napoleonic battle but you can't exclude the human factor either.

UshCha23 Jun 2022 2:31 a.m. PST

Grand Dragon , Really? That must be the daftest statement ever. If I put a top tenis player against a 2 week old baby the result would be equally sutpid. The oly daft thing is the organiser. Begginers are a diffrent set to full players you can't have a gane that satisfies both at the same time.

Your second comment is strange but less absurd. A multi millon pound simulation of a fighter aircraft is not reality. its not supposed to kill the pilot he is learning while not dieing! Hpows that for not covering human factors!

We find that even under pressure in a wargame some human factors do apply folk make mistakes under pressure.

Note a simulation is about the game first and formost, chess players don't drink beer while playing, it would be ludicrous as its a clash of wills and expoetise and historical study.
If that is not your thing and you want "Wargames Light" thats fine, but to me if that was the only form available I would give up immediartely.

GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2022 3:23 a.m. PST

Gaming with miniatures is just that, the rest is all in our heads. Enjoy, and have fun!

Mr Elmo23 Jun 2022 3:53 a.m. PST

Nobodies wargames rules are realistic enough and any rule set should be accompanied by a huge book of historical data to prove why their rules are realistic. Is the TLDR version.

I got this, hold my beer:

You can kill skirmishers on a 6+ because it felt better and made for a better game than when we tried 5+.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine23 Jun 2022 4:45 a.m. PST

Sorry Elmo I can't except your game mechanic until I've seen a full thesis, with historical proof, that skirmishers can be killed on 6+. I need names, times and numbers. If you can't provide that how could I possibly take your game mechanic seriously? I mean it would be like we were just playing a game, with toy soldiers, instead of the serious historical research that wargaming is supposed to be….

mildbill Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2022 5:10 a.m. PST

If the game gives historically plausible results and is fun it doesnt matter how simple or complex the rules are.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2022 5:38 a.m. PST

@Elmo, do skirmishers get a saving throw?

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2022 6:55 a.m. PST

This has been a whole lot of effort, with some interesting posts though, starting from an incomprehensible if not amazingly arrogant OP. And I personally know Col. Sanders, Queen Elizabeth, and Vladimir Putin, who are the only REAL authorities on these issues, and we decided in 1974 which PERSPECTIVE the aluminum siding fairy dust is right and CORRECT,


Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2022 2:56 p.m. PST

I admit I can't tell from the OP what will differentiate these rules from the other 10,000 Napoleonics rules already published or run as "home rules" games at Historicon. Or even which paradigm is to be broken.

- Ix

Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Jun 2022 3:50 a.m. PST

Certinly since Phil Barker (UK I know but some of the wider audiance may have heard of him) left his Zen=ith

He and some fellows are in the process of releasing DBA3 as the successor to DBA (and rumoured to prepare an update to DBMM).

Here is a link to a review of Barkers new ruleset: link

This dutch wargaming group also has a line of articles on this very issue of comparing rulesets under different viewpoints.
Here is their article that focusses on a Napoleonic scenario to check out rulesets: link

Article 6 in a row that seems to cover the issue of this debate, among several others.

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2022 5:37 a.m. PST

@PusteróDBA 3.0 has been out for years and that has been the version everyone plays for years. Not new. It is, however, an improvement in several areas and helps assuage some of the biggest criticisms (not all, but some big ones) that DBA has too many "geometry" tricks.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2022 8:03 p.m. PST

DBA 3 has been out since 2014.

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