1 Introduction

These rules give a simplified version of combat during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars, spanning 1792 to 1815. The game works at the level of operational units, such as infantry battalions, cavalry regiments or artillery batteries, each with their own characteristics. These three types of units form a balance of forces, which are opposed. Combat is resolved by calculating the quality and quantity of troops involved, modified by probability to yield the result, hence winning an individual action on the battlefield. The sum of these small encounters mounts up towards an overall victory. Thus, battles of the time can be simulated, with odds on victory weighted towards those with larger numbers of better quality troops and their tactical deployment. Using these rules, large actions at divisional level per side can be managed within a reasonable time and playing space. Full scale battle reenactments can be managed by ‘scaling down’ the troops deployed each side, to keep the proportions the same on the chosen playing surface.

Text below in italics and bold font link to tables which are used in the game. Click on the text, and it should take you directly to the relevant table, and click again to enlarge if necessary. Use your browsers back button to return to the rules.

2 Equipment

2.1 Playing surface

Hardboard of various sizes joined together can quickly make a suitable surface. A total area of 1.5 m by 1.2m (5’ by 4’) suffices for most games.

2.1.1 Game scale

1 mm on the board = 2 m on the battlefield. Thus a 1.5 m by 1.2 m board scales to 3 km by 2.4 km.

2.2 Tape measure

A retractable metric tape measure that spans the playing area is needed.

2.3 Random Number generator

The game uses a random number generator found on scientific calculators, online websites or by an excel spreadsheet to add the necessary element of chance in conflict.

2.4 Infantry, cavalry and artillery and command units

There are 4 types of units in the battle based of the three main arms; infantry, cavalry and artillery. In addition there are command units. The number of figures required depend upon the scale used. 15mm scale figures require 2 figures per base unit. 25 mm scale figures require 1 figure per base unit.

2.4.1 Infantry (battalion)

An infantry battalion is initially comprised of 5 base units. Each base unit is 20 mm by 15 mm, and has 2 figures mounted (if 15mm scale figures) or 1 figure mounted (if 25 mm scale figures). Thus in line formation, the frontage is 100 mm wide, equal to 200 m on the battlefield. Each base unit represents 100-125 men, so a battalion would have a field strength of 500-625 men.

Infantry battalions are grouped together into regiments, in turn grouped into brigades or divisions as required.

Infantry comes in various levels of quality. These typically include:-

Guards
Grenadiers
Line/Light
Landwehr / Opolchenie / Militia

The British army had specialist skirmishers, the 95th Rifles, which were unique to their army, acting as light infantry. These troops have a unique combat range, to reflect their main weapon (rifles), compared to the muskets of the other infantry. In addition, the British have Highlanders in lieu of Grenadier battalions.

The details of these troops for each of the main armies are given in the National Army tables.

2.4.2 Cavalry (regiment)

A cavalry squadron comprises of 1 base unit, 30 mm by 40 mm, and has 2 figures mounted (if 15mm scale figures) or 1 figure mounted (if 25mm scale figures). 3 or 4 squadrons of similar types of cavalry form a cavalry regiment. Thus in line formation with 4 base units, the frontage is 120 mm, equal to 240 m on the battlefield. Each base unit represents 100-125 men, so a cavalry regiment would have a field strength of 300-500 men.

Cavalry regiments are grouped either into the larger infantry divisions, or as separate cavalry divisions.
There are 3 main types of cavalry; heavy, medium and light.

Heavy cavalry includes Guard, Carabiniers and Cuirassiers. These have the greatest shock value, but move at the slowest rate.

Medium cavalry includes Dragoons. These have intermediate shock value, and move at a rate between heavy and light cavalry.

Light cavalry includes Uhlans, Lancers, Chasseurs, Hussars and Cossacks. Uhlans and Lancers have the same shock value as medium cavalry in the first move of contact, thereafter they have the same shock value as light cavalry. Light cavalry have the lowest shock value, but the fastest movement rate.

The details of these troops for each of the main armies are given in the National Army tables.

2.4.3 Artillery (battery)

One cannon occupies a front of 20mm, represents a single battery of 8-10 guns, with an attendant horse figurine, which is placed on the board showing the direction of travel if the piece is being moved.

Artillery is divided into foot batteries, with the greatest effect but the slowest movement, and horse batteries, with the least effect but the fastest movement.

2.4.4 Command units

Generals and attendant staff comprise 1 base units, 30 mm by 40 mm, and has 2 figures mounted (if 15mm scale figures) or 1 figure mounted (if 25mm scale figures).

Messengers sent by the General to communicate his wishes to the troops under his command comprise 1 base unit, 20 mm by 40 mm, with 1 figure mounted, regardless of the scale of the figures used.

Generals and messengers move at the fastest rate of all the types of troops above, but they have no fighting potential of their own, they act to modify the potential of troops around them.

2.5 Disorganised counters

As troops become disorganised, they are disrupted in formation. A small orange counter is placed by the unit for as long as it remains disrupted.

2.6 Time counter

Either mark the time in the battle off the victory table (see section 9.6), or use a specially created clock dial, which moves with each game turn. Each turn, comprising of a first and second player phase, represents 5 minutes on the battlefield.

3 Game setup

3.1 Battlefield scenery

3.1.1 Playing surface

Covering the area with PVA glue and using green railway scatter foam makes an attractive looking surface.

3.1.2 Hills

Polystyrene foam tiles can be cut to shape and added as required, with each layer representing 100m. Layers of the foam tiles can be placed on top of each other to create higher hills and mountains. Covering the surface with PVA glue and using green railway scatter foam makes it look attractive.

3.1.3 Rivers and lakes

Blue felt strips 20mm by 60mm can be added together to make rivers or lakes.

3.1.4 Villages and towns

N gauge railway houses can be added to represent villages (a single house) or towns (as many houses as required). Each house can shelter one infantry battalion or cavalry regiment.

3.1.5 Roads

Brown felt strips 20mm by 60mm can be added together to make roads.

3.1.6 Rough ground

Grey railway scatter foam denotes areas of rough ground.

3.1.7 Woodland

N gauge railway trees can be added to the battlefield, together with green railway scatter foam to create woodland areas. Glueing each tree to a solid base (2p coins) help keep the trees from toppling over.

3.2 Troop deployment

Troop deployment is relatively straightforward if recreating a historical battle. Simply follow the known pattern, keeping the troop density scaled to the size of the playing area. If creating an imaginary battle, keep in mind the numbers and type of deployments typical of the age.

If fighting an encounter battle, when not all the troops are on the battlefield at the start, deploy the troops at the designated time.

Before the battle starts, calculate the total number of troops on the battlefield and determine how many base units this comes to, then determine how many of base units are needed to reach 15% of the total and at 5% intervals thereafter, and mark these values off in the victory table. If additional reinforcements arrive during the battle, add these extra troops to the initial value and keep a further tally of the new total number of troops. Recalculate the number of base units needed to reach 15% of the total and at 5% intervals thereafter, and mark these values off in the victory table. This becomes important when determining any crisis of morale as the game progresses and casualty levels rise.

4 Playing sequence

The game proceeds in turn sequences, with the first army taking the attacking stage, and the second army in the defensive stage, regarding any combat.

The sequence is:-

(a) Disruption and rout removal phase – section 5

(b) Artillery fire phase – section 6

(c) Orders and movement phase – section 7

(d) Combat phase – section 8

(e) Crisis of morale phase – section 9

This completes the first part of the turn.

The game now proceeds to the next turn sequence (steps a-e), with the second army taking the attacking stage, and the first army in the defensive stage, regarding and combat. This completes the second part of the turn.

The game has now finished one turn, and the time counter progresses by 5 minutes in the victory table, before beginning the next turn.

Each stage in the turn is explained in more detail in sections 5-9.

5 Disruption and rout removal phase

Only the army in the active, attacking stage of each turn can rally troops.

5.1 Disrupted troops

Disrupted units may be rallied by generating a random number and comparing the result in the National Army tables for the unit’s morale. If the random number matches or exceeds the value in the table, the unit becomes organised again, otherwise the unit remains disorganised for the turn.

Disrupted units behave in terms of movement as normal units. Their combat potential is reduced, according to the National Army tables.

5.2 Routing troops

Routing units need a random number ≥ 0.800 to stop routing, becoming disrupted for the turn, and until being rallied by the process described above in 5.1. If they fail to rally, they continue to rout at charge speed in the most obvious direction for their safety. If they should pass through friendly units during their rout, they disorganise these units.

5.3 Generals and their effect on morale

If the troops are under fire from artillery or in combat, the General must see if he survives for each turn he wishes to modify the morale. Generate a random number and compare the result to the following table for Generals under fire. Apply the results immediately.

If the Generals survive the outcome above, their presence results in +0.100 being added (Napoleon adds +0.200) to any random number generated for disrupted or routing troops, thus improving their odds.

6 Artillery firing phase

The army taking the attacking stage fires as many of their artillery batteries in the organised state as they wish. Those in the disrupted state may not fire that turn.  Each artillery battery fires once per turn, on one unit at a time (such as an infantry battalion, cavalry regiment or another artillery battery).

The effectiveness of artillery changes with range. To see if the target is affected, measure the distance between the artillery unit and the target. Generate a random number and consult the artillery table to see what damage on the enemy unit they inflict. Note that foot batteries are more effective than horse batteries, which is reflected in the artillery tables.

Artillery can only fire on visible units by direct line of sight (i.e. they can’t fire on units hidden behind hills, villages, or hidden behind other units etc). Take account of the reduction of visibility that occurs with dusk if the battle is being fought one hour or less before nightfall.

Artillery batteries are captured if enemy units pass through cannons, becoming eventually their active units. It takes one full move for a captured battery to become active again. The capturing unit must remove one base unit from play, as these now become the new artillerymen manning the artillery battery.

Artillery batteries which fire may not limber up to move in the turn that they fire. To limber or unlimber a battery takes a full move, with the artillery unit capable of moving or firing in the next move respectively.

7 Orders and movement phase

7.1 Orders phase

Napoleonic armies were controlled by a hierarchy of command, which was strictly observed with the exception of the French, where a degree of initiative was encouraged. It is not the intention of the game to proceed as chess, where any piece can be moved at whim, so the rules try to reflect the decision making process and the vagaries that often happened on the battlefield. The Generals fighting the wargame use suspension of disbelief. If enemy troops are bearing down unseen upon another army because of restrictions in visibility, no reaction to this threat can occur until it becomes visibly obvious, as often happened during battles of the period.

7.1.1 Initial orders

At the beginning of the battle, each division or brigade would have initial orders from the commander in chief of the army. This would explain initial objectives (e.g. III Division should advance, seize the village before it, and await new orders). These orders should be performed at the beginning of the battle.

7.1.2 Change to orders

As the battle progresses, the initial orders can be superseded by new orders, conveyed either in person by the commander in chief, or by the nearest General, or from messengers from the above leaders.

If the orders are conveyed in person by the commander in chief or General, the orders are accepted without question or loss of clarity. If the orders are given by a messenger, generate a random number. If the result is ≥ 0.150, the order was understood. Once all units have received their orders, the staff officer must ride back to the General who issued the orders to report for further orders. If the result was ≤ 0.149, the order was not understood and the units will continue their existing state of action.

Messengers figures are added and removed from the board as required, and they have no combat effectiveness. They may be captured if an enemy unit passes through them, and the order should then be passed back to the nearest opposing army General.

7.2 Movement phase

The phasing player may move any or all units may be moved, up to their maximum allowance, with each unit. Consult the  National Army tables for details.

7.2.1 Changing formation

Units may change formation (e.g. line to column or vice versa etc), which takes time. Infantry under cavalry attack or threat of cavalry attack must form a defensive square, bearing in mind the time constraints in moves spent in changing formation. Consequently they cannot move but may fire whilst in this formation. They can subsequently be attacked by cavalry, as described in section 8.3.

Changing formation takes time and reduces the ability to move, but not the ability to fight.

7.2.2 Organised or disrupted units moving through each other

Units in the organised state or disorganised may move through each other, but disrupt each other during the process.

7.2.3 Withdrawing units

Units may withdraw at half speed by facing the enemy (and still engage in combat) or retreat at full speed with their backs turned to the enemy, but cannot engage in combat.  The enemy can engage them in combat however, and treat the troops as disrupted.

7.2.4 Routing units

Routing units continue to move directly to the rear of their army at charge speed, with their backs turned to the enemy.  They will pass through any units they encounter, disrupting them as they go. If they rout off the board, they are permanently removed from the battle.

7.2.5 Effects of terrain

Terrain affects movement. Difficult terrain (e.g. hills / woods / crossing streams etc) reduce speed, roads enhance speed. Consult the National Army tables for details.

7.2.6 Charging units

Charging enemy units adds speed.  Consult the National Army tables for details. Units can only charge once per six turns (i.e. once per ½ hr in real time).

7.2.7 Generals and messengers

These have a maximum speed of 200 mm per turn in any direction, regardless of terrain.

8 Combat phase

8.1 Mandatory Combat

Combat is mandatory between visible units in range, as defined below in sections 8.1.1 to 8.1.3, and 8.3.

8.1.1 Infantry vs infantry combat

Infantry must be within 0-50 mm of their enemy to attack (0 – 100 m). Count the total number of base units in a column when using this formation, even if the rear base units are greater than 50 mm away from their opponent. See 8.2 -8.4 for the odds and effect of combat.

8.1.2 Cavalry vs cavalry combat

Cavalry must be in physical contact with their opponent to attack. Count the total number of base units in a column when using this formation, even if the rear base units are not in combat with their opponent. See 8.2 -8.4 for the odds and effect of combat.

8.1.3 Cavalry or infantry vs artillery combat

Infantry must be within 0-50 mm of their enemy to attack (0 – 100 m), Cavalry must be in physical contact with their opponent to attack. Count the total number of base units in a column when using this formation, even if the rear base units are not in combat with their opponent. The artillery battery will have a combat strength of 1, regardless of whether the battery is organised or disorganised, or whether the battery has just fired on the opposing unit.

8.2 Calculating the odds of combat

To initiate a combat, first identify the combat potential of each of the opponents by counting the total number of base units and multiplying this by the  attack / defence strength points (consulting the appropriate National Army tables), taking into account whether the troops are in the ordered or disordered state. Calculate the combats at battalion vs opposing battalion (for example) if an entire frontage of troops became engaged. That way the effect of the battle proceeds by the small local combats.

Now compare the attacker’s strength to the defenders strength by using the odds table. These form the basic odds which can be modified by the following.

8.3 Modifiers to combat odds and the combat results table

The result of combat now proceeds by generating a random number for each of the combats to be considered.

The following modifications are made.

8.3.1 Terrain

The phasing player with advantageous terrain either adds 0.100 to the random number (if attacking) or subtracts 0.100 (if defending).

8.3.2 Generals and their effect on combat

If the troops are under fire from artillery or in combat, the General must see if he survives for each turn he wishes to modify the morale as per section 5.3. Generate a random number and compare the result to the following table for Generals under fire. Apply the results immediately.

If the Generals survive the outcome above, their presence results in +0.100 being added (Napoleon adds +0.200) to any random number generated for combat, thus improving their odds.

8.3.3 Charging

If the troops attacking are charging, add +0.100 to any random number generated for combat.

8.3.4 Infantry attacking infantry in square

Infantry attacking opposing infantry in square add 0.100 to the random number, to account for extra ranks being hit in the densely packed formation. Infantry in square use their disrupted factor to account for reduced firepower, regardless of their state of organisation.

8.4 Combat results table

After these modifications to the random number look up the result of combat in the combat results table at the odds level decided above with the following modifications.

If an attacker uses combined forces of two types on one unit, e.g. Infantry &
Cavalry, increase the odds by 1 column e.g. 1:1 becomes 2:1.

If an attacker uses all three combined forces on one unit, e.g. Infantry, Cavalry & Artillery, increase the odds by 2 columns e.g. 1:1 becomes 3:1.

If an attacker strikes from either flank, increase the odds by 1 column e.g. 1:1
becomes 2:1.

If an attacker strikes from the rear, increase the odds by 2 columns e.g. 1:1
becomes 3:1.

Consult the combat results table, cross index the random number with the appropriate odds column to yield the result and apply the effect of combat immediately to the combat troops affected, as described in the next section.

8.5 Effects of Combat

The effects of combat are immediately applied to the troops concerned. The movements indicated also are immediately applied, even if the troops have already moved that turn. Any base units removed from play represent troops that have been either killed, wounded or captured, and the steady accumulation of such losses affect the army and its willingness to fight on.

8.5.1 Attacker routed, Ar

Ar = Attacker routed. Remove one base unit from the combat group, and mark off one victory point in the victory table. The remainder will rout from the board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.5.2 Attacker retires, Aw

Aw = Attacker retires. Previously undisrupted units combat units are disrupted to value of opponents combat strength and withdraw facing enemy at full speed. Units must use disrupted value for all further combat and continue to retire until rallied. Attackers already disrupted remove one base unit from the game, and mark off one victory point in the victory table. The remainder will rout from the board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.5.3 Attacker disrupted, Ar

Ad = Attacker disrupted. Previously undisrupted combat units are disrupted to the strength of their opponent and withdraw at full speed facing their opponent. Attackers already disrupted remove one base unit from the game, and mark off one victory point in the victory table. The remainder will rout from the board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.5.4 Disruption exchanged, Dx

Dx = Disruption exchange. Previously undisrupted combat units are disrupted. Attackers already disrupted remove one base unit from the game. The remainder hold their ground for this move. Defenders already disrupted remove one base unit from the game and mark off one victory point in the victory table. The remainder will rout from the board at charge until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.5.5 Defender disrupted, Dd

Dd = Defender disrupted. Previously undisrupted combat units become disrupted. Defenders already disrupted remove one base unit from the game, and mark off one victory point in the victory table. The remainder will rout from the board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.5.6 Defender retires, Dw

Dw = Defender retires. Previously undisrupted units combat units are disrupted to value of opponents combat strength and withdraw facing enemy at full speed. Units must use disrupted value for all further combat and continue to retire until rallied. Attackers already disrupted remove one base unit from the game,  and mark off one victory point in the victory table. The remainder will rout from the board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.5.7 Defender routed, Dr

Dr = Defender routed. Remove one base unit from the combat group, and mark off one victory point in the  victory table. The remainder will rout from the board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

8.6 Cavalry vs infantry combat (square attack)

Infantry under threat of cavalry attack would automatically attempt to form into a square. The initial state of the infantry (i.e. normal or disrupted) is key to the effectiveness of the square as a defensive measure. It is assumed that cavalry will attempt to make physical contact with  the square, regardless of its state of effectiveness and infantry will attempt to repel this by firing if within 0-50 mm of their enemy. For cavalry attacking squares, follow the table to see what happens, using the descriptions in sections 8.4.1 & 8.4.3 (cavalry) and 8.4.5 & 8.4.7 (infantry) as guidance .

Should cavalry attacking a square suffer disruption after already being disrupted, remove one base unit from the game, and mark off one victory point in the  victory table. The remainder will rout from board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

Should the infantry square be broken by the cavalry, then treat as though they were routed, i.e. remove one base unit from the game, and mark off one victory point in the  victory table. The remainder will rout from board at charge speed until a random number ≥0.800 is thrown to rally them to the disrupted state.

Note routing infantry troops cannot reform into a square, and would be at the mercy of any pursuing cavalry, who remove a base unit from play for every move the cavalry comes into contact with the routing unit. As this happens, mark off one victory point in the victory table for every base unit removed from the game.

8.7 Control tests after routing opponent

Control tests are needed for troops in close combat that rout their opponent. Troops come under control generating a random number and comparing the result to the morale test values in the National Army tables. If the random number matches or exceeds the value in the table, the unit responds to command and may do as the player wishes; otherwise the unit will automatically pursue the fleeing troops, until rallied. Note that generals can affect the random number as described in section 5.3.

9 Crisis of morale test

9.1 Victory table

The victory table tracks both the time and the level of casualties incurred in the battle as the game progresses. For each base unit removed from the play, mark off one victory point in the victory table. Before the battle starts, calculate the total number of troops on the battlefield and determine how many base units this comes to, then determine how many of base units are needed to reach 15% of the total and at 5% intervals thereafter, and mark these values off in the victory table as per section 3.2

9.2 Crisis of morale

At the end of each move a test must be performed to see if the whole army suffers a collapse of morale (sauve qui peut). If the % level of casualties suffered exceeds for the first time the levels indicated by the crisis of morale table, a random number must be rolled for all troops in the army. The result indicates whether a crisis of morale has happened for that unit.

If the random number exceeds the level indicated for the level of casualties suffered, then the unit fights on until the next level is reached, when an assessment is made again. If the random number generated indicates a crisis of morale has occurred, then follow the guidance in the table and apply it immediately to the troops concerned. In the subsequent move, all affected units can be rallied in the normal way. Note for a % casualty level above 40%, an immediate crisis is likely to occur for a majority of troops.

Should reinforcements arrive each move onto the battlefield, then the % casualties should reflect the new combined level of troops. In this way, continuous reinforcements ‘lift’ morale, or in this game, reduce the likelihood of suffering a widespread collapse of morale.

10 Winning the battle

Possession of the battlefield normally defined the victor in this age of warfare, even if more % casualties were lost in winning the battle. The game is
constructed in such a way that this will occur eventually, with one side suffering a dramatic loss of combat effectiveness, as described in section 9 . Should the battle have to end before this point is reached (i.e. by dusk falling etc), the following is offered as guidance regarding the extent of victory.

Determine the % casualties for each army. If the difference in the % casualties between the two armies is

0 – 5%, the result is a draw.
5 -10%, the result is a marginal victory.
10-25%, the result is a major victory.
> 25%, the result is a decisive victory.

The rules are available as a pdf download.

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