Wednesday, 3 January 2018

A third Napoleonic game and some draft rules

A couple of days ago, before returning to work, I was able to play a third Napoleonic game. The game set up was based upon the battle of Haslach-Jungingen 1805. As with previous games I used the scenarios from Command and Colors website.

For the games I have been using house rules which are a mash up of ideas and mechanisms from One Hour Wargames (no surprise there) and 2x2 Napoleonic. The rules are after the photos of the game if you are interested. They are draft and probably have a few typos - my eyes are now glazing over from reading them once too often.

The game set up looking from the Austrian side with the river splitting the tabletop into two sets of actions.
The French right flank quickly moved up with the light infantry to occupy the town. This move limited the options available to the Austrian cavalry units opposing them in this side of the battle. 
The Austrian right flank quickly pushes up trying to use their numerical superiority
The French and Austrian cavalry clash with the light infantry taking pop shots at any Austrian cavalry coming too close. 
French artillery are positioned to support their outnumbered left flank. The support turned out initially to be somewhat lacking from a string of low dice throws.
The French right gains the upper hand. In the background Austrian Grenadiers are moved to the bridge to stop any future attacks from the rear.
On the other flank the battle rages on with neither side yet having an upper hand. 
The French are now looking under pressure as two Austrian artillery units are well positioned to support their attack.
The cavalry clash continues, but the Austrians are looking a bit done in now.
The French defence is quite tenacious and the attacking units are getting ground down. 
The Austrian's appear to have won the fight on their right flank, but are well and truely worn out.
French light infantry come out into the open to harass the Austrian cavalry who are on the very edge of elimination. (On 13 hits of more units are eliminated unless they are elite infantry (Guards/Grenadiers).
French cross at a river ford and Austrian forces begin to retire.
A French marginal victory on the tabletop. The rules combined with Command and Color scenarios have so far provide me with three enjoyable games.

Napoleonic Wargaming Rules (Draft)

The inspiration for these rules come from “One-Hour Wargames” by Neil Thomas and “2 by 2 Napoleonic’s” rules by Rod Humble.


The following unit types are used:

  • Infantry (Line Infantry)
  • Elite Infantry (Guard or Grenadiers)
  • Skirmishers (Light Infantry)
  • Cavalry
  • Artillery
  • Corps or Division Commanders
  • General (only one per army)

Units are singly based for which I use 4" x 3" bases.

Sequence of play

Roll the dice or flip a coin before each turn to determine who is Side A and B. Each Turn has the following phases and steps within each phase:

1. Movement

  • A moves
  • B moves

2. Shooting

  • A artillery shoot
  • B artillery shoot
  • A light Infantry shoot
  • B light Infantry shoot
  • A stationary infantry shoot
  • B stationary infantry shoot
  • A infantry (that moved) shoot
  • B infantry (that moved) shoot

3. Cavalry Charges

  • A cavalry charges
  • B cavalry charges

4. Rally

  • A rally
  • B rally


The standard unit movement allowances are:

  • Cavalry 6”
  • Skirmishers 6”
  • Infantry 6”
  • Artillery 6”
  • Commanders 9”

Add 3” when all movement is along a road.

Add 3” when starting movement within 6” of ta General.

A unit may move up to their movement allowance, but may never exceed it.

All movement must be in a straight-line unless starting and finishing movement on a road.

Units may pivot on their centre at the beginning and also at end of their movement.

Movement must cease once a unit comes to within 6” of an enemy unit. The exception is where a units is moving directly towards an enemy with the intent to engage them in combat.

Units which have been engaged in combat may not move unless they are rallied. However, they are allowed to pivot to face an enemy (this counts as movement for shooting purposes).


Skirmishers and artillery may move through other units.


Shooting is done in a series of steps determined by the type of unit and for infantry units whether they moved during the movement phase (see sequence of play for order).

Artillery that has been moved may not shoot. This includes a unit turning.

Skirmisher shooting does not differentiate which units have moved, unlike infantry units where stationary infantry units shoot first, before infantry units that have moved.

In each step side A first conducts shooting first and remove hits. Then its is the turn of side B. This may mean a side B unit is eliminated before it had an opportunity to shoot.

Use the following procedure for shooting (note cavalry do not shoot):

1) Determine the range of shooting.

  • All units have a 45 degree field of fire, unless they are in a town when they have a 360 degree field of fire.
  • Measure the range. Muskets have a range of 6” and artillery 24”.

2) Determine the number if hits.

  • Infantry and Guard units roll 1D6
  • Skirmishers (Light Infantry) roll 1D6-2
  • Artillery roll 1D6-2
  • Any unit with an attached Commander get to roll 2D6 and select the highest score.
  • Any target unit in cover has the number of hits halved (rounding up and fractions).
  • Any target cavalry unit can retire 6” and halve the number of hits (rounding up fractions). The cavalry unit may not charge in the turn.
  • As soon as a unit shoots place a marker (eg cotton wool) to show it has been engaged in combat. The unit may not move until it is rallied.

3) Remove any units which are eliminated due to the number of hits they have received.


Only cavalry can charge. Side A first gets to make its charges.

Move a cavalry unit 6” into contact with target unit. A charging cavalry unit may turn once at the start of its charge. The turn may not exceed 45 degrees.

Cavalry cannot charge units in cover (buildings and woods).

A target unit may not be charged more that once during a turn.

To determine the number of hits inflicted by the attacking cavalry units rolls 1D6+2. The number of hits are modified by the following:

  • If the target occupies a hill halve the number of hits (round up any fractions).
  • If the target is cavalry, then they halve the number of hits.
  • If the target unit is attacked on its flank or rear, then double the number of hits.
  • If the target is a skirmish unit double the number of hits.
Artillery units are eliminated if charged and not within 3” of any infantry or elite infantry unit. If within 3” then they cannot be charged.

If the target is not eliminated the attacking cavalry unit retires 6”, ending their move facing the unit just charged.

If the target is eliminated, then the cavalry unit must occupy the area previously occupied by the eliminated unit.

Eliminating Units

A hit represents a combination of casualties, exhaustion and disorder caused to a unit by combat. Units are eliminated when they exceed 12 hits.
Elite units, such as Guards and Grenadiers, are eliminated when they exceed 18 hits.


Terrain effects units in the following way:

  • Woods - only Skirmisher units can enter and are treated as being in cover.
  • Towns - only Infantry, guards and skirmishers may end their move in a town, only one unit may occupy a town. Units in a town get cover.
  • Marsh/Lakes - impassable to all units.
  • Rivers - impassable except at bridge/ford.
  • Roads - All units move an additional 3”.
  • Hills - Artillery line of sight is not blocked by units or rough terrain.
  • Entrenchments - only infantry, skirmishers, guards and artillery units may use entrenchments. Units get cover and when shooting roll 2D6 picking the highest score. However, once placed in an entrenchment they must remain static and entrenched for the game’s duration.

Corps/Division Commanders

Both armies can have up to 3 commanders. As a rule one commander is allowed for every 4 units on the table.

These commanders must be assigned to an infantry or elite infantry unit.

A unit with an assigned commander is able to roll 2D6 when shooting and select the highest score.

A commander can rally one unit during the rally step within 6" of their attached unit. This also applied to the unit they are assigned to.


All armies have an overall commander (General). They are not units and as such cannot be engaged in combat. If approach by enemy units they can be moved 6” away from the enemy unit.

Generals can rally one unit during the rally step. If the unit is within 6” of any enemy units, then they must be within 6 inches of the General to be rallied.

If a unit is not within 6” of an enemy unit, then the General can rally they unit at any distance.

During movement any unit within 6” of an General can move an additional 3”.


All units except for cavalry cannot move after shooting until they are rallied.

A unit can be rallied if there is no enemy unit within 6”

If a unit is within 6” of an enemy unit, then it may only be rallied by either a Commander or General within 6”.


  1. Peter enjoyed your AAR and table. One question re the rules, can a cavalry unit move in Phase One AND still charge in Phase Three?

    1. Cavalry can move in both movement and during the charge phase. This was one of the reasons for having cavalry moving just 6 inches, the same as infantry. This approach was aimed to stop cavalry galavanting all over the tabletop. I will add a note to make this clearer with the next version. Thanks.

  2. Great job, Peter!

    I have a question too. Is there no distinct Close Combat Phase? That is, hits are only from shooting or cavalry charge?

    1. I had not really considered this, partly because starting point for the rules was one hour war-game rules where only cavalry can charge. In the games I have played so far I have used the units with attached commanders to be the ones to be leading assaults because they pick the highest score of the 2D6 they roll.
      However, your question has got me thinking about assaults and how to include them. I would limit to infantry (incl. elite infantry) and would be performed after cavalry charges. The assaulting unit would roll a D6+2. If they failed to eliminate the target unit, and it was a frontal assault (not on the flank or rear) they would in turn suffer half the hits they inflicted. This encourages the softening up of target units before launching any assaults.
      I will now have to try this out.

    2. Your reference to OHW as a rules' basis made me curious about only cavalry charging into HtH combat. I checked and you are correct! I have only used the P&S rules in OHW where both infantry and cavalry may charge into HtH combat.

      This is an interesting dichotomy. I suppose Thomas believes all H&M infantry combat devolved into close range musketry duels with no attempt to actually shove the opposition from their position. All "firepower" and no "shock," I suppose.

    3. The 2x2 Napoleonic rules also have the view "the trait of Napoleonic infantry to refuse to budge once it had started firing at an enemy." My reading of Napoleonic tactics is limited, as I started my Napoleonic project somewhat back to front. Painted the figures, found the rules, and I am only now doing a bit more reading on the subject. It has been a couple of decades since I ready any books about the period.

  3. Hi Peter,

    Another great set of rules!

    Thanks for clarifying Norm's point about cavalry charges, that makes a lot of sense to me. Also, I tend to prefer to have some form of infantry close combat but, taking Waterloo as an example, how many actual close combat encounters every really took place?

    Some small queries:

    1. I like the rally rule for units that shoot but wonder whether there might be a similar rule for cavalry reflecting units becoming blown?

    2. If the only enemy units in 6" of a unit that requires rallying also require rallying, might that provide an exemption from the requirement to have a commander or general to rally?

    3. One last question, do you mean D6+2 for artillery shooting? Otherwise they count the same as skirmishers.

    Nice rules and very rock, paper, scissors!

    All the best


    1. Hi Jay,
      Thanks for your questions and interest in the rules - always helpful.
      1) I probably do need some mechanism for cavalry being blown. My initial thoughts are - rather than a rally, reduce their effectiveness after the first charge so they would reduce their attack from D6+2 to D6.
      2) Should commanders first rally their attached units before rallying others? I have taken an abstract view of commanders in that they represent the centre of gravity for a division. So I would not apply a restriction they cannot rallying others if their attached unit is engaged. The rules do need to clarity that assumption.
      3) The shooting is very much from One Hour Wargames, where artillery have D6-2 shooting. I almost included in the rules a set of ranges for artillery where at short range, 0-6 inches, artillery can shoot with D6, otherwise D6-2. I suspect I will be adding ranges now to artillery shooting rules.
      Cheers, Peter