Tuesday, 5 May 2009

House Rules - Napoleonics

As is probably very well known to most gamers of this period, I have developed my own set of Napoleonic Rules over the years, it is a labour of love and passion for detail and historical accuracy. I will not claim I have achieved that but it is my aim and long time goal to do so.

The system came about as a result of playing the original orange Airfix book written by Bruce Quarrie. I loved that system so much because he himself had a passion for detail and accuracy. My friends and I played that system for years and enjoyed it regardless of its complexity.

I have already gone into great detail on another post here regarding my early years and the natural progression from one set to another, my likes and dislikes and so on. What follows here is a small indication of what I have achieved through my own research and many hours of gaming and the trial and error that entails. These pictures show the many laminated cheat sheets I have for my system and their detail. They are colour coded simply to denote the various sections of the system. They are all double sided and packed full of meat.

Red - Small Arms fire / Coloured - Casualty Matrix
The Fire Matrix table denotes the different fire disciplines of all troop types and the modifications they render to the ability to maintain fire discipline of the inevitable drop of all order. The better the fire discipline the less likely this is to happen quickly.

Blue - Canister fire These charts are 4 pages (2 sheets) long and give you all the information you need in order to fire canister from any and all cannons and howitzers. These charts are very thorough complete with ranges and modifications for calibre etc.

Pink - Roundshot fire These charts are also 3 pages long (6 sides) and packed full of detail for every calibre gun tube for the firing of solid shot or roundshot. The matrix chart of the left shows the initial chance to score hits with a number of potential barrels cross-referenced with the random dice roll which is modified by situational factors. I am looking at developing this more in the near future.

Orange - Howitzer fire The Howitzer fire chart is only two pages long with the first side showing the ranges and modifiers for each direct hit. The side that can be seen is the matrix for finding the actual number of hits based on the total number of tubes compared to the random roll (modified) across the lest. Note the 3rd page of the Roundshot charts also shown here recording all of the situational factors and so on after the number of hits has been determined.

Green - Movement and formation There are a total of 6 charts for this section, a massive 12 pages full of information devoted to Manoeuvre, Movement and Formation changes. A very detailed record of movement allowances has been given for troop Class and formation type to indicate their total allowable movement rate per turn.

Yellow - Morale, Reaction and Control These charts are probably the most important charts of the entire system, they are that of the Morale tests. This section is the aim of all of the other charts combined, to cause the enemy to have to take a Morale check. The more tests the enemy must take the more likelihood that you may start a domino effect causing surrounding friendly units to test when others lose their bravery and begin to fall back or break. Obtaining a domino effect rout on the enemy can be very difficult but once it happens it is game over!!

White - Order Activation and CV's These charts, 8 pages long are devoted to that of Order Activation and the conveyance of those orders through a mechanic called the, CV (Command Value). This number is assigned to each and every unit of every nation but also to each Commander (General) from the Brigade upwards. These CV's are crucial in determining a unit's ability to follow orders and carry them out in a timely manor. If your CV's are being systematically lost to enemy action your ability to hold on or carry out orders diminishes very quickly.

Purple - Charging and Melee These charts, 6 pages long are devoted to all of the Charge Rules, Melees and close combats of the system. They are very detailed and thoroughly thought out. These rules, unlike many other systems do not allow the player to simply call a charge and carry it out. This system forces the player to roll a dice based on a Charge chart to determine the likelihood of the charge being ordered in the first place. Those charges that fail to hit home become dangerous for those caught in front of an enemy who they failed to make contact with. The Melee system is very thorough and when the rare occurrence of a melee actually happens the mechanics are very enjoyable for the participant players.


OttoMunoz said...

nice! can I have one? My Brother and I would for sure be down to try it out.


Shane Devries said...

G'day mate,

Glad you like them, I really appreciate the comment. I have heard a few people tell me they wish they lived close by so they could play in our games, pity the world is so large at times...


Author said...

Holy cow... that is a LOT of charts!:) I hope you know your system inside and out, because that is a ton of info:)

Shane Devries said...


Luckily I do, I place much emphasis on the fact that to play my system means a great deal of effort is required to learn it. Yes, this is not want gamers want to hear these days but I looked at it this way:

Generals in charge of formations and armies did not just pick up dice and a single chart to know what they were doing nor should we, as players we should be forced to learn every aspect of the period we play. Not only that but also the tactics, the doctrines, the abilities and limitations of the troops and just about everything else our real counterparts had to.

If you go into a battle using my rules and are new or not confident with understanding the system you are going to be trounced by a much more experienced player who know the system backwards. I am not saying the system is unplayable, actually it is pretty easy once you learn the fundamentals of the mechanics. It is only with experience though with the system and a good foundation with knowing the minor tactics of the era that you will excel in this system.

It is not for the beginner or the lazy war gamer that is for sure. If you want to design, set-up, play out and pack away a game using these rules in 3-4 hours you will be rudely shocked unless you decide to set up say a battle such as Maida or Saalfield. These two smaller battles are easily finished in that time period and the players will walk away feeling that they really learnt something about commanding Brigades, Regiments and Battalions and the relationships they have with each other in battle.

/stepping of soap box now.