Three things I like about Shako:

  1. The rule book is clearly written, well presented and has diagrams to help explain the more complicated points.

  2. The game systems are simple enough that most players will have them in their minds within a few turns.

  3. The support rules ensure a "Napoleonic" look to the battle field as the game progresses.

Our group games about twice a month and in several periods. We can not develop the familiarity with a complicated set of Napoleonic rules that can only come with repeated and frequent use. Shako suits us right down to the ground. It is easy to learn and play, and gives a satisfying feel of a Napoleonic battle.

Graham Beattie (
I have played Shako Seven Years War and have found the rules to be the most enjoyable Seven Years War rules that I have played. They flow quickly and are the current preferred Seven Years War war rules used in our club. We have added rules for cavalry skirmishers but otherwise use the rules as written.
Jim Davis (
My gaming buddy and I have been using Shako for the Mexican-American War very successfully. Good games, and we felt the results and flow of the game believable.
Jim O'Neill (
I have recently bought the rules. I am strictly a solo wargamer (due to lack of opponents in Papua New Guinea), and I much prefer using the "Large Battle" set. I have just finished a remarkable Salamanca which played beautifully. I cannot compliment Mr. Conliffe enough on these rules. (Can someone set about doing a follow-up scenario set for Large Battles?)
Michael Wilson (
I have never played Napoleonic rules before last week when I tried Shako. I played with my game group, which has a lot of experienced Napoleonic players in, but it was the first time for all of us playing this rule set.

It is written by Arty Conliffe, the same person who wrote Armati, so there are a lot of similiar ideas to Armati in Shako.

Any way, the guy who owned the rules explained the basics to us in less than an hour and we were playing. I thought it moved fast and was fun, which are two of my requirements for a good game.

We played it again this week and it went fast. It comes with a reference sheet that helps speed the game along (really, after playing a couple games you don't need the rules, just the reference sheet).

Again, I'm not a Napoleonics player , but I enjoyed the rules.

Steve Burt (

Shako is a 'cheap and cheerful' set. Easy to understand, nice order system, fun game.

Historicity a bit dubious in some areas:

  • The 'super French' syndrome - French are the only ones who can move & change formation. I know they moved faster, but the advantage wasn't as great as the rules portrary
  • Squares too vulnerable - Even steady squares regularly get broken by cavalry (typical roll is cavalry on MR 2 vs square on MR 4, so the cav only need to roll up 3 to break the square - about a 1 in 6 chance).
  • Some of the compulsory actions are a bit whacky - cavalry are compelled to charge enemy in reach, even if it is suicidal to do so.

But having said all that, I like the rules and play them regularly - they give a good game. There's a good set of scenarios available for it, too.

Definitely 'Beer & Pretzels' but none the worse for that.

Eltjo Verweij (

The Shako rules look very interesting. They are short and simple. I do like to comment on the army lists though. The Prussian list for 1806 is not historically correct, especially in the use of light troops.

From the Osprey book on them, it is quite clear that the Prussians did use them. The problem was that skirmishers were withdrawn from their parent unit to be used elsewhere. Prussian infantry had about half the amount of skirmishers (Schuetzen) compared with the French. So they should be allowed to receive one skirmisher stand for every eight infantry units. The amount of Fusiliers and Jaegers should be higher as well.

Furthermore, half a Fusilier batallion was habitually used as skirmishers. For every two Fusilier units, one should thus be allowed to start as a skirmisher stand. Usually, Jaegers and Fusiliers were brigaded together with Hussars. Again, nothing of this can be found in the army list.

I hope that Arty Conliffe will change the list in the future.

Phillip S. Myers (

Just one specific criticism of Shako (admitting that troop ratings and a few melee modifiers ought to be tweaked, true of any game) is that one side sits passive while the other moves, then roles are reversed, even for cavalry being charged. When cav charges other cav, there should be a countercharge (unless there's reason not to) and a penalty for hit at the halt, otherwise cavalry can hold ground as well as infantry. My problem with the lack of countercharge is where the melee takes place, not that it does. The cav ought to meet in the middle, not exactly where the defender started.

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Last Updates
22 October 1999comments by TWGRINER
9 October 1999comments by Graham Beattie
1 June 1999comments by Jim Davis
25 May 1999comments by Jim O'Neill
23 April 1999comments by Michael Wilson
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