Thursday, 16 April 2009

Wargame Rules

I have had quite a few requests for more information on the rules I use in the campaign.

The present rules are designed for use with the campaign. However they have been developed over many years of intensive wargaming with a group of friends. In the current state they consist of 20 pages, each of which deals with a phase of the game, for example movement. They are not designed for general use, and therefore do not include any explanation of how the game is played.

I have recently compiled an introduction to the rules, so that the actual rules would make more sense. However if I were to scan all 25 pages I feel that they would make very boring reading. So I have scanned only the introduction. If you click on each section they will be large enough to read.It is not the complete set of rules.

If you would like to see the full rules please have a look at the blog titled Wargames Rules. Included with the rules is a demo battle report with photographs and words which I hope helps to explain how the rules work.

If you would then like a full copy of the rules, just drop me a line with your email address and I will send you a copy.

Please remember that these rules are like the campaign itself. I do not claim that they will provide the ultimate in historical refights of Napoleonic battles. They are designed to give a fast game so that multi corps battles can be fought in a single evening. But most important they are designed to be FUN.

They should not be taken too seriously.

The rules were developed for my personal use.

They owe a lot to the many rules I have used over the years, but in particular to my favourite commercial set – LFS. For the past year I have been involved in play testing, and they also owe a lot to some of the game mechanics I play tests.

When used for my own use there was no need to explain the game flow and the sequence of play. I have recently received a lot of enquiries about the rules, and this section is designed to help others understand how they work.

The rules are designed to be used as part of my campaign, and as such rely on an order of battle for each army group, which contains a lot of detail referred to in the rules. It would therefore be difficult to understand one without the other. I will therefore include an example.

The first part of the summery will try to explain the rules. The second part will try to explain the Order of Battle.


This section will try to explain setting up a game and the flow of play, plus some comments on the rules themselves.

Preparation for game

Allocate grade to each commander

A commander may be Gifted, Average or Poor
The grade must be allocated before the game starts

Allocate cavalry or artillery to reserve commander
Each army has a spare commander who may be used as a reserve commander if desired. He is allocated cavalry brigades or artillery from the other corps, and he becomes the reserve cavalry or artillery commander. This must be done before the game starts.

CinC write orders
Orders must be written for each corps, and reserve, commander before the game starts. Only CinC can change orders (except for Halt). The only orders allowed are:

all must move towards objective
cavalry can opportunity charge, artillery can fire

no movement towards the enemy
may move to improve defenc
cavalry can opportunity charge
artillery can fire

may not advance nor retreat
cavalry can charge enemy within 8”.
infantry may skirmish within 4” or volley fire within 2”

must move towards objective.
cavalry and infantry as Hold

must move towards objective
artillery must move to canister range
Cavalry and infantry must attack any enemy within range

Prepare blinds for hidden movement
Each corps enters the table as a “blind”. You may use either a card or a skirmish base. It should be the 6” wide.

Prepare identity cards or chips for each commanderEach commander has a card or chip to indicate who he is. I use playing chips for each commander. They would be numbered 1 to 12 to cover both armies.

Prepare movement cards or chips for each commander
I use a second set of chips, also numbered 1 to 12. One chip is drawn each move, and that commander then takes his move. In addition you need the following chips:

Poor - the next poor commander to have his chip picked has to forego his move

French tactical – one French general, still on a blind, who has not yet moved may do so

Allied gifted – one gifted allied general who has not yet moved may do so

French gifted – one gifted French general who has not yet moved may do so

Sequence of Play

At the start of the turn all chips are placed in a hat or box.
Draw one chip each move until all chips have been drawn
Put chips back in hat or box and repeat sequence
I allow 12 moves per day, but this is optional

Draw chip for movement

Dice for command pips

If CinC chip write orders

Dice to spot enemy blind

Artillery fire

Artillery casualties test morale


Resolve combats

Test morale

The rules are designed for use with my campaign, although there is no reason why they should not be used outside the campaign. However the Order of Battle contains a lot of information needed to use the rules.

I have 10 Army Groups in my campaign, and each one has its own Order of Battle. But I will only explain one to explain how it works. I have chosen the Second French Army.

CinC Average +2

4 French Corps Gifted +3
13 Infantry Brigade CA FB SA
14 Infantry Brigade CB FB SA
15 Infantry Brigade CB FC SB
16 Infantry Brigade CC FC SB
11 Cavalry Brigade CA Light
Corps Artillery CB 12 pounder

5 French Corps Average +2
17 Infantry Brigade CA FB SA
18 Infantry Brigade CB FB SA
19 Infantry Brigade CB FC SB
20 Infantry Brigade CC FC SB
3 Cavalry Brigade CB Medium
Corps Artillery CB 9pounder

6 French Corps Average +2
21 Infantry Brigade CA FB SA
22 Infantry Brigade CB FB SA
23 Infantry Brigade CB FC SB
24 Infantry Brigade CC FC SB
5 Cavalry Brigade CC Heavy
Corps Artillery CB 9 pounder

13 Polish Corps Poor +1
1 Infantry Brigade CA FA SA
2 Infantry Brigade CB FB SB
3 Infantry Brigade CB FB SB
4 Infantry Brigade CC FC SC
13 Cavalry Brigade CB Light
Corps Artillery CC 9 pounder

Reserve Commander Average +2

CommandersI use two figures for CinC and 1 for each corps commander
You can use as many as you like, or any bases you wish
There are 6 commanders.
CinC, four corps commanders and a reserve commander.
Each has a grade; Gifted, Average or Poor.
To issue orders they roll an average dice and add their grade score.

CorpsThere are four corps in each army group
CinC issue orders to each corps, and only he can change them
Each corps has 4 infantry brigades, 1 cavalry brigade, and 1 corps artillery
However the fighting capacity of each corps is difference

Infantry Brigades1 use 8 figures for each brigade, so that I can show line, column of square
You can use as many figures as you like, on any bases you wish.
The fighting ability is decided by the class, firepower and skirmish grade
Class represents training and morale
Firepower represents training and volley effectiveness
Skirmish represents ability to fight in open order
Each is graded A (best), B (average) or C (worse)

Cavalry Brigades
1 use 4 figures for each brigade, so that I can show line or column
You can use as many figures as you like, on any bases you wish.
There are three types of cavalry: heavy, medium and light
Their type and class decide their fighting ability
Class and grading as for infantry

Corps ArtilleryI use one gun and 4 crew for corps artillery
You can use as many as you like, on any bases you wish.
There are three types of artillery: 12 pdr, 8/9 pdr and 6pdr
Their fighting ability is decided by their size and class
Class and grading as for infantry


  1. Wonderful explanation!

    I am just beginning my Napoleonic collecting, and I've only a few miniatures at the moment (just a few boxes of the recent Perry plastics).

    I would love to use your rules for my own games. They seem to combine a well-thought out approach with a resonable number of miniatures.

    Here is my email address:


    I discovered your blog at TMP, and I must say that it is a joy to read. It takes me back to the "old days" when Featherstone was the only "game in town", and things were much more simple.

    Plus, I envy your being retired in Spain! Must be lovely.

    Please keep up the great postings, and I look forward to your rules set.


  2. Hi Greg

    Thanks for your kind comments.

    I have just sent you both the summary and the full rules. If you have any difficulty understanding them please let me know.

    Please also let me know what you think of them when you have a chance to use them.

    You are right that things seemed much simpler and nicer in the "old days". But of course we were much younger then, and pretty well everything seemed better.

    There is a lot to be said for the hobby as present - for example those lovely Perry plastics you have just bought. How we would have appreciated THEM back in the day!

    It is very pleasant living in Spain. Jan and I both feel ourselves to be very lucky. There are some things we miss about being in the UK, but the long sunny days and warm evenings with a glass of chilled wine remind us that we made the right decision.

    Have a look at my other blog Paul and Jan in Spain and you will see what I mean.

    Do keep the comments coming in, they are very much appreciated.


  3. Paul,
    I'm enjoying reading your blog, and envy you the freedom of retirement to pursue your hobby at leisure - and even more your good fortune in having a wife who shares your enthusiasm for the hobby!

    I'd be very interested to see your rules, if you'd be so kind as to email them to:


  4. Hi Arthur

    I have sent you a copy of the summary and the rules. Hope you like them. If you have any queries please let me know.

    I would appreciate comments when you get a chance to use them.

    I must admit retirement is proving much more enjoyable than I had anticipated. Once you get used to doing what you want, when you want, it gets better.

    Mind living in Spain helps.

    Keeping busy seems to be the answer, and the blog is helping a lot. And I thoroughly enjoy it.



  5. Hi Paul

    I don't think my first post went through.

    Enjoying your campaign, looking forward to reading how it progresses. You mentioned rolling for command pips. I would like to hear more about this. Actually would be interested in reading your complete campaign rules. Getting ready to start my solo campaign so interested in other folks ideas.


  6. Hi Dave

    Pips are how the commanders issue orders. Its all covered in the full rules, and if you let me have your email addrsss I will send you a copy.

    Each turn the commander rolls one average dice. He then adds his command pips (the number shown aainst his name) and that is the total orders he can issue. Sounds complicated, but its quite easy really.

    These rules would work well for solo games, as you have to write orders for each command before the game starts, and only the CinC can change them.

    thanks for your comments


  7. Hi Paul

    Thanks for the offer.


  8. Hi Dave

    copy of summary and full rules sent by email.

    please let me know if you have any queries.

    any feedback welcome after you have had a chance to use them.


  9. Hi Dave

    copy of summary and full rules sent by email.

    please let me know if you have any queries.

    any feedback welcome after you have had a chance to use them.


  10. Paul,

    Excellent and informative blog. I really appreciate the hard work you put into it, it is clearly a labor of love. I am also envious of your current residency status. I am hunkered down here in Minnesota with my wife and five sons. I guess I'll just have to pretend over a glass of the tinto.
    I would love a copy of your rules, I have been searching for a set that gets troops on to the table quickly and efficiently. Here is my email:

    Thanks in advance,


  11. Hi Chris

    Thanks for your kind comments.

    Copy of the rules sent tonight. Please let me know if you have any questions, or there is anything you do not understand.

    Jan and I are very lucky to be able to retire to such a lovely country. It has been three years now, and it seems more like three weeks!

    Between hill walking, wargaming and the occasional glass of wine - what more could anyone ask?


  12. Paul,

    Been reading your blog, great work. May I have a copy of the rules you've developed? Please send them to bwhitakerAT@nettalonDOTcom.

    Stafford, Virginia USA

  13. Hi Brian

    I have just sent you a copy of the rules, the summary and the recent amendments.

    I thought that this comment had been put on the new blog Wargame Rules, where the rules are printed in full.

    I would suggest you have a look there, as you may find the demo game to be useful.

    I will send you another email just to make sure that you get the message.




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