Category Archives: Rule Mechanics

Revision to Artillery

Artillery had previous been using a firing dice for each weapon on the base and these were imply using a 6+ to hit at long range and a 5+ to hit at short range.

However after the blood bath of the first test game I’m having to revise this to make artillery less powerful.

Therefore I’m going to implement a ‘Steady’ roll which functions on exactly the same manner as the roll for hand weapons. This Steady roll will also require a 5+ before the weapons are able to fire.

This should decrease the artillery effectiveness and still allow it to fire each action.



The focus of this article will be terrain that will also provide added benefits/problems to those units who are inside or passing through them.

I will break this down into the different terrain types starting with rough.


Gentle Hill

  • A gentle hill will inhibit the movement of troops up or down it as shown by the usual terrain movement for rough terrain.
  • Hills of any kind allow a unit shooting from a hill to fire over the heads of any friendly units.
  • Units can fire over the heads of units at enemy units on a hill providing there is at least a distance of 2 cm from the unit they are firing over.
  • Artillery units on a hill can extend their range by 4 cm to represent the additional distance artillery would fire.


  • A unit that has its entire base within the footprint of a village/town is considered to be ‘Garrisoned’. Cavalry cannot be garrisoned.
  • Garrisoned units have a cover save to any damage received as the result of shooting attacks on a roll of 3+, this is taken once damage has been determined.
  • Garrisoned units receive a morale bonus of 2 in addition to their normal morale.
  • When a Garrisoned unit is defending in melee, the Garrisoned unit will have one additional combat die.



  • Units that has their base wholly within a wood or forest will receive a cover save of 5+ from shooting attacks.

These are the foundation rules and may be changed or tweaked in the future, but should allow players to play test with the current ruleset.


Movement Part II

This is a very quick post to explain how I would expect various aspects of unit movement and facings to work inside the game as well as a units Zone of Control (ZC) in more detail.


Red Unit Brigade 4, wishes to use its movement and rotate so that it faces due east.

The Brigade in the above unit is going to use a number of move actions in order for it to wheel towards the east.

Brigade 4, now facing to the east

To do so, the front left hand side of the unit is essentially pinned in place so that when the unit wheels that point on the unit always remains in the same place.

The units movements

The right hand edge of the unit has had to move 6 cm to make this wheel happen, therefore the unit would have used 3 actions to make this wheel.


Continuing with our example above the Brigade can now fire at any target within range inside its front 45 degree arc:

Firing Arc


All units in the game have a Zone of Control (ZC) which extends from the units front arc for a distance of 10 cm.

Enemy units within this ZC have to react to this unit or the closest enemy unit. i.e. they must either move directly towards or directly away from the unit that is facing them. This is to represent a unit being unwilling to show its flank to the enemy and therefore moving in such a way so as to reduce this risk.

The Zone of Control shown for Red Force B4

In the above example we can see that the Zone of Control of the Red unit extends outwards at a 45 degree angle from its front base edge and includes the Blue unit Brigade 1. Blue Brigade 1 will have to finish all movements facing towards the red unit and it can only move directly towards or directly away from the Red unit.

In this example, the red unit will also be in the blue units zone of control and so will also have to act in the same manner.


Capturing Enemy Colours

Regimental colours are the focus of pride in any regiment, they often carry the regiment’s battle honours, and in the days when the flag was carried into battle it acted as a rallying point and a statement of where the command post was, something which could be seen above the mess of battle. Losing a flag was a mark of dishonour to a regiment, capturing one was a point of pride and usually an indicator that the losing regiment had been soundly beaten.

Therefore if we’re going to replicate a true Napoleonic battle we need to have a simple mechanic that can replicate this action. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to have bragging rights over your opponent?


I believe the simplest solution to this would be to have a further additional roll once a melee has concluded. This would simply be a single dice roll for the victor where on a 6 the victor has claimed the enemies colours.

This particular rule will be entirely up to the players whether they use it or not, as its only purpose is to add to the flavour of the battle.


Scouting Phase

Yes, I’ve renamed the deployment phase as the scouting phase.

I’ve posted one last test of it on YouTube and I’m more than happy to say that the first part of deployment using markers is finished now.

Scouting Phase

Recruit, Trained & Elite Troops

Now that many of the core principles and mechanics are down for the game and the first play tests start getting carried out (thanks to those of you who have agreed!), I can start focusing on some more detailed information.

In particular how we can differentiate between our different troop types. There are a number of methods we can use:

  • Increase or decrease the morale/Battle Fatigue starting value of the unit (i.e. a Brigade of Old Guard may start with a base of 10 rather than 7, while a unit of conscripts may start with a value of 5).
  • Increase or decrease the units “Steady” stat. For example, the 95th Rifles may have a “Steady” roll of 4+ rather than 5+ to show how confident they are in firing their weapons.
  • Introduce Nation rules/unit rules on top of the above, such as British troops having plus one firing dice to their amount, or Spanish Guerilla’s being able to move through impassable terrain.
  • Perhaps a particular named General may react quicker to situations on the battlefield, so every ten turns they may get an additional 10 CdO points.

You get the idea.

First point of call though is we shall differentiate between Recruited, Trained and Experienced (rather than Elite) troops.

The simplest and easiest way to differentiate here is via either the Morale/Battle Fatigue roll or the “Steady” roll. I want to avoid altering the “Steady” roll as much as possible at the moment as I’d like to reserve that for troops such as the Rifles or Old Guard etc. So initially let’s go with a modifier to their Morale/Battle Fatigue.

We’ve seen through the play testing that morale 7 + number of battalions appears to be a good starting point for units, but let’s break the morale roll down a little so we understand the statistics behind it.

Dice RollChance of rolling exact number on 2D6Chance or number or less on 2D6
2D6 Die Roll Statistics

Our current morale is set to 7 +battalions (with an average of 3-4 battalions), which gives a total morale of 10 or 11, which when referred to the sheet about means a 91.67% or 97.22% success rate respectively.

This may be a little high for both Recruit and Trained troops, I think a trained Brigade should begin at Base 6 +Battalions, giving an average of 9 or 10 with 83.33% or 91.67% respectively.

Recruit should perhaps begin a spot lower than trained at 5 +Battalions, which when taking into account the 3 or 4 average size would bring us to a success rate of 72.22% or 83.33% respectively.

This feels a little more realistic at present and I’ll pencil these into the rules for now. Also remember that to boost the morale a little further the units can form into Column to give +1 morale/battle fatigue for each unit in Column Formation.


  • Brigades where the lowest battalion status is ‘Recruit’ begin at 5 Morale/Battle Fatigue plus the number of Battalions.
  • Brigades where the lowest battalion status is ‘Trained’ begin at 6 Morale/Battle Fatigue plus the number of Battalions.
  • Brigades where the lowest battalion status is ‘Experienced’ begin at 7 Morale/Battle Fatigue plus the number of Battalions.


One important element we haven’t covered is fatigue. I’ve initially been tying this to morale in my mind as after an attack has been carried out a unit may have suffered 3 or 4 morale damage and would be pretty useless on following up with another attack on a second position or a renewed attack on a previous position it failed to gain. I imagine in my mind the unit resting for a few turns regathering its strength ready to make another push on a second position or getting ready to defend their current one. This can be shown by a unit choosing to use 5 actions to restore one morale.

I therefore need to think about renaming the Morale as something that combine Morale and Fatigue, this may just mean naming it fatigue.

If like me you look up “fatigue in the napoleonic wars” the first hit you’ll get is to a question posted on Quora titled “How was battle fatigue treated in the Napoleonic Wars?

The answers then go on to talk about a lot of morale issues rather than an actual tiredness issue. So perhaps a better term for these rolls would be as a “Fatigue” roll rather than “Morale” roll?

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Do I need a mechanic inside the game separately for tiredness, or should i combine this with the current Morale roll and rename to Fatigue or “Battle Fatigue”?


Revisions to Coup d’Oeil and Game Principles


After being inundated with comments regarding my Coup d’Oeil post it has become obvious that the system may be flawed in its current format. Therefore I’m going to make a few changes to CdO.

Firstly, I’ll be changing the name from Coup D’Oeil to a more friendly sounding ‘Awareness Points’. This should make it easier for myself to pronounce.

Secondly it’s become apparent that the amount of command points generated from on field activities is far too heavy and could cause one player to run away with the game. Therefore I’m making a number of revisions to this.


Firstly awareness points generated from objectives will be changed so that a player may only receive awareness points from holding ‘Primary’ objectives and not secondary objectives. The amount garnered from these objectives will be lessened to 1 per turn instead of the previous 2.


I’m also going to remove Awareness Points being awarded for revealing units.


We currently have 50 turns which is in my opinion too many. They are based on 10 minute periods of historical battle time covering 8 hours of battle.

What I’m proposing to do here to make the game slightly smoother and not as long, is to reduce the number of turns to 30, so instead of 8 hour historical battle lengths we have 5.

That being said, if players want to re-fight historical battles then there is nothing stopping them deciding for themselves to increase the number of turns needed to replicate the battles length.


It’s becoming apparent that the strength indicators are far too large and require too much in the way of tracking.

This is where my true problems lie.

My original aim with strength was to have a record of the damage inflicted to a Brigade during the course of a battle to show at the end the number of casualties received so that they can be compared to the historical battle (if re-enacting one).

So they’re far too large to keep track of, but any smaller and they’ll have little relevance to the number of men inside a Brigade.

However if we keep the ratio of strength to fire dice as 2:1, as we decrease the strength so the fire dice will decrease. So where previously a unit with 600 men converted to Strength 6 and 3 dice using our ratio of 100 men for every strength point, if we use a ratio of 200 men for every strength point that would convert into 3 strength and 2 firing dice.

With using 200 men for a strength point this would mean that strength can be represented by one die on every units base.

So previously where a 5,000 man brigade was 50 strength it would now be only 25 strength represented by a 5 on each base. Some example bases that I’ve created which have Pendraken 5mm dice holders on are shown below:

A Brigade of British Infantry (6mm Baccus)


Any units not yet activated by orders, but approached and attacked by the enemy are still able to make reactions in response to enemy movements.


Commanders will now generate enough Awareness Points during the course of the game to be able to activate an average to large size force for that game level.

The easiest way would be to assume that a Commander will need to spend Awareness Points equivalent to the number of Battalions in the Brigade to ‘activate’ it.

Divisional Level Game (2-5 Brigades)

If a Brigade consisted of 5 Battalions, it would need 5 AP to activate. Therefore if there are a full 5 brigades in a game at this level, the General will need to raise 25 Awareness Points during the course of the game. He will therefore generate 1 AP per turn.

He will also need to start with enough to activate one Brigade, so a Divisional Commander will begin the game with 5 AP.

GeneralStarting AP*AP Generated per Turn
Divisional (Small Game)51
Commander *Awareness Points (AP) Values

Corp Level Game (up to 25 Brigades)

As a Corp could consist of up to 5 Divisions each with 5 Brigades, this could mean anything up to 25 units on the table. As there are possibly 25 units all with 5 Battalions this means a Corp Commander will need to raise 125 AP during the course of the game, this divided by 30 is 4.167. Lets round this to 5 points per turn. They also need to start with possibly two orders to issue at the start of the game meaning a starting AP of 10.

GeneralStarting APAP Generated per Turn
Divisional (Small Game)51
Corp (Medium Game)105
Commander AP Values

Army Level Game (up to 50 Brigades)

Our final level is the Army level Game of 2 or more Corps on either side, basing this on an army of 2 Corp would mean an AP twice that of the Corp level game would be required. Therefore a general will need to raise 250 AP during the game. Again, divided by 30 this is 8.33 per turn (but let’s make this easier and round it to 10 points).

They will also need to be able to activate units at the start, and we’ll start by giving this as twice that of the Corp level, resulting in a starting AP of 20.

GeneralStarting APAP Generated per Turn
Divisional (Small Game)51
Corp (Medium Game)105
Army (Large Game)2010
Commander AP Values

Even Larger Games

For even larger games with more then 2 Corps, for each Corp beyond 2 simply add an additional 10 starting AP as well as an additional 5 AP generated per turn.


Writing a Wargame – Unit Movement

FACTORS ALREADY DECIDED – From previous posts

Scale1:5300Writing a Wargame – Part II
Base RepresentationBattalionWriting a Wargame – Part I
Base Width40mmWriting a Wargame – Part II
Real Time Equivalent for Single Turn10 MinutesWriting a Wargame – Part III
Actions Per Unit5Writing a Wargame – Part III
Factors already decided

So I realise at the end of my last post I said that we’d be looking at formations and their affect on movement, however I’m actually going to bottom out the movement of different units.


We established that infantry would march at 5 cm every 5 minutes (apart from the Austrians who move a little further, but I believe we’ll handle this separately later on in our rules when we look at individual factions). This would mean over the course of a turn an infantry unit would march 10 cm in good conditions (i.e. along a road), but we didn’t look at different ground conditions or terrain.

Before we go into that, let’s look at the quick march for the different nations as well and how fast their rates were:

Taken from with thanks.

So if we scaled down the quick step rates of the nations we arrive at the following distances over 10 minutes:

NationQuick Step (Paces per Minute)10 Mins @ 1:5300 Scale Distance
British10815.53 cm
French10014.38 cm
Prussian10815.53 cm
Austrian 1805 Regs12017.25 cm
Austrian 1807 Regs10515.10 cm
Russian11015.82 cm
Quick Step March Rates by Nation

Most nations are similar at around 110 paces per minute, apart from the Austrian 1807 regs which were at an increased 120 paces per minute. If we then break this down into 5 actions we have the following distance per action (2 minutes):

Nation1 Turn DistancePer Action (Turn divided by 5)
British15.53 cm3.11 cm
French14.38 cm2.88 cm
Prussian15.53 cm3.11 cm
Austrian 1805 Regs17.25 cm3.45 cm
Austrian 1807 Regs15.10 cm3.02 cm
Russian15.82 cm3.16 cm
Turn distance divided by Actions in a turn

This results in a fairly uniform 3 cm per action. Now we’ve calculated the Infantry March and Quick Step paces we have the following movement distances for infantry per action (rounded):

UnitMarchQuick Step
Unit movements

We also have double time to consider if we go back to my favourite source of Rod’s Wargaming we’ll see that under the quickest step troops would move at around 120 paces per minute, however this was primarily used for wheeling and allowing companies to catch up to its unit after passing obstacles etc:

Chiefly to the purpose of wheeling. also in this time should division [companies] double, and move up, when passing obstacles in line, or when in a column of march the front of division is increased or diminshed“.

The Dundas regulations (The British Regulations during Napoleonic times) also state:

A company or division may occasionally run, a battalion may sometimes Quick Step, but the hurrying of a large column or of a body of moving in front [presumably the latter is a reference to line] will certainly produce confusion and disorder. It is never to be risked when an enemy is in presence though it may sometimes be necessary when a post or situation is to be seizes“.

This is an interesting point, battalions and division would run, but only under Quick Step, but also, the would NEVER run in proximity to the enemy. This is something we’ll have to take account of in our rules. This may mean that battalions are unable to Quick Step within a certain distance of the enemy.

In summary of foot troop movement, we have the most common Ordinary Step, used in the majority of circumstances. The Quick Step which was used, but never near enemy units and the Double Time, which was only used during formation changes and redressing of units.

Therefore for the purpose of our game we’ll have an Ordinary Step and a Quick Step, however, the Quick Step will not be able to be used within a certain proximity to the enemy. At present we’ll say this distance is roughly 20cm until we have some kind of firmer evidence to the contrary.


C P Escalle’s “Des marches dans les armees de Napoleon” is quoted on page 291 of Nafziger’s “Imperial Bayonets”.

French cavalry were able to move at 4,800 to 5,000 meters (3 to 3.125 miles) per hour and infantry at 3,000 to 3,500 metres (1.9 to 2.2 miles) per hour. However the Regulations provides for movements of up to 4,000 metres (2.5 miles) per hour. The real problem was artillery and other cartage which could seldom exceed 3,000 metres (1.9 miles) per hour because of bad roads. A mixed arms force would move about 3 kph (2 mph) on strategic movement.”

If we take the above information on French Cavalry movement we arrive at the following for 1:5300 scale over 10 minutes:

Distance Covered in 10 MinsAt 1:5300 Scale
Cavalry830 Metres15.72 cm
Cavalry Movement

This tells us that the Cavalry would move only slightly faster than the foot troops on the march, which makes sense when moving your forces around the countryside.

But let’s take this a bit further and look at the average speeds of horses while walking, trotting and galloping. Taking our information from Wikipedia we have the following information:

GaitDistance Covered in 10 MinsAt 1:5300 Scale
Walk1.17 kilometres22.01 cm
Trot2.17 Kilometres40.88 cm
Gallop7.33 Kilometres*138.37 cm*
*A horse cannot maintain a gallop for more than roughly 2 km

On the gallop Wikipedia tells us that a horse cannot gallop for more than 1.5 to 3 kilometres at a a time, in game terms at scale this is the equivalent of a distance if 37.73 cm across the table. Therefore we would have to limit any galloping to only 1 action choice per turn and no more (fatigue will also have to come into affect here).

If we split these movements over the five actions we have the following:

GaitFull MovementPer Action
Walk22.01 cm4.40 cm
Trot40.88 cm8.18 cm
Gallop138.37 cm27.67 cm (limited to one action)
Cavalry Movement Speeds

So if we return to our unit movement card and add the Cavalry movement per action:

UnitMarchQuick StepCharge
Unit Movements per Action
*1 Action per turn **Cannot be used within 20cm of enemy units


The following excerpt is taken from

A battery would ideally move at the same speed and covered the same distance as did the troops to which it was attached. This distance could be anywhere from a few miles to 20 or 30 miles a day. When a battery moved independently, it was not limited by the movement of the troops and was thus free to cover as much ground as it could. All in all, there was not a great deal of difference in the distance travelled. Such gains as there were resulted from the absence of thousands of marching infantrymen, supply trains and other units cluttering up the roads. The battery was then able to travel without long delays due to the inevitable traffic jams caused by jostling troops.

So all in all horse artillery would move at the same pace as cavalry and foot artillery the same as infantry, this makes our movement card much simpler.

UnitMarchQuick StepCharge
Infantry/Foot Artillery2cm3cm**
Cavalry/Horse Artillery***4cm8cm28cm*
Unit Movements per Action
*1 Action per turn **Cannot be used within 20 cm of enemy units ***Horse artillery are unable to charge


Commanders were generally (pun intended) mounted, so this makes our movement for such troops easier. Commanders will mostly be staying with the units, and at present I imagine commanders will give some kind of morale/combat benefit to nearby battalions.

Adjutants were used to carry messages between generals, these will be used for changing a divisions orders which we’ll get into at a later date.


UnitMarchQuick StepCharge
Infantry2 cm3 cm**
Foot Artillery2 cm3 cm**
Cavalry4 cm8 cm28 cm*
Horse Artillery4 cm8 cm
Generals4 cm8 cm
Adjutants4 cm8 cm
Unit movement card
*1 Action per turn **Cannot be used within 20 cm of enemy units

Looking at the above I believe that this will eventually be condensed to just two lines; Foot and Mounted, and then broken down across the different terrain types.


In terms of terrain, I think this can be broken down into a number of classifications:

Terrain types

These could then be broken down further into woods, villages, rivers etc each with their own rules. But for now lets look at the effects that terrain may have on the movement. We will also have impassable terrain features such as ridge lines etc, but for now we’ll stick to the three above which would affect troop movement speeds.


As it sounds, gentle rolling hills and open land with no real obstables. Here though we may also have Roads, moving along roads should give a bonus to movement or at least no detriment to the movement value of a unit. As a result, we can’t affect our units ability to move through these areas too much, so maybe we should look at movement along the road as a bonus.

Roads, are fairly narrow in comparison to a battalion or cavalry squadron so to get the benefit of moving along a road, the unit would have to be in column formation, otherwise their would be no benefit as those marching in formation off the road would essentially be moving in open ground and would have to still redress ranks after trees, boulders etc.

Therefore we should give a benefit to moving along a road as perhaps +1 cm of movement for a whole move along the road.

i.e. The 48th Regiment of Foot are in column formation and start the turn on a road. Their usual movement per action would be either 2 cm in their standard March or 3 cm in their quickstep. As they are on the road, their movement would now be 3 cm for a March and 4 cm for their quickstep, as long as they finished that actions movement still in contact with the road.

This would have more of a benefit to foot troops than mounted, however mounted troops I believe would travel at a similar pace as to when in open ground due to not having to redress their ranks as much. Therefore I’m willing at this stage to keep the benefit of +1 cm along a road section for mounted troops as well. Should anyone find information that means we should revisit this, please let me know and provide me any links that you can.


Let’s look at how other rules sets deal with rough terrain.

Marechal d’Empire (Polemos) – In Marechal D’Empire (MdE) rough terrain has the affect of limiting all troop movements to 2 base widths (BW), troop movement in MdE is based on the number of bases in a force rather than the type of unit. So a smaller force of 2 BW’s can move 3 BW, a force of 3 BW’s can move 2 BW anything larger than 3 base widths moves at 1 BW. I believe that MdE is looking at this from the approach that larger forces are harder to keep dressed hence the need to moe slower for larger forces. But unless a unit is a column of 2 base widths the rough terrain has little affect on a unit. Breaking down their rules you would move through the rough terrain in either a 2 BW column (while losing a BW of movement) or form into a 3 BW column. Anything wider would reduce your movement by 50%.

Blucher – This set of rules does not consider anything rough terrain, you either have open or difficult.

Le Grand Armee – In this set, using an action for passing through difficult terrain will add a disruption marker to the unit. This does have its appeal, suggesting that once a unit is outside of the terrain it would have to pause to remove the disruption (redress its ranks) before continuing.

So as you can see there are a number of ways we can treat rough terrain. Currently I’m considering rough terrain to have a % movement discount on units for moving through it (in order for them to keep their formations in shape). Whether this is correct, is up for debate.

Using one of my favourite sources RodWargaming we have the following paragraph:

The Dundas regulations therefore see no need for troops to slow down when crossing rough ground or advancing through woods and battalions do not have to stop to reform after negotiating such obstacles provided they were originally moving in Ordinary Time.

This would suggest that movement through rough terrain did not affect the troops if they were marching at Ordinary Time.

We also have the following to consider:

Close Order was prescribed for firing (so that the second rank muskets could protrude beyond the front ranks) and Open Order would seem to have been used for movement. This reflects the fact that the men in the rear ranks need some clear space in front of them. It also helps to prevent them tripping over casualties in the front rank. As soon as the battalion turns right or left this space is reduced to 22″ per man. It is clearly impractical for soldiers to march any great distance this close to the man in front,

So the formation for marching would also have to be open order, with closed order reserved for firing lines. This will be useful when we come to analyse formations a later date.

So my suggestion is that rough terrain would have no effect on troop movement provided those troops were in open order and marching at ordinary pace. Therefore we would assumer that the quick step would not be able to make its full movement in rough terrain and would be reduced to the same as the March. This gives us the following movement card:

Unit TypeTerrainMarchQuick StepCharge
FootOpen2 cm3 cm**
MountedOpen4 cm8 cm28 cm*
FootRough2 cm2 cm
MountedRough4 cm6 cm
Unit Movement Card
*1 Action per turn **Cannot be used within 20 cm of enemy units

I do think that mounted troops may have been able to travel a little faster but we’ll consider this further. Should we split the difference and say that mounted troops cannot charge in rough terrain and there movement is reduced by 2 cm on the quick step, bringing it to 6 cm instead? This sounds more reasonable to me, but I would love to know everyone’s thoughts.


Difficult terrain would be such things as steep slopes, dense woodland, gulches etc. In all cases the movement of units would be seriously hampered. My first thoughts are that Cavalry would be unable to move into difficult terrain at all, while foot troops would suffer a 50% modifier to their movement rate.

At this point I imagine skirmishers would be able to move through terrain without penalty, but we’ll cover skirmishing formations at a later date.

So let’s look at our completed movement card:

Unit TypeTerrainMarchQuick StepCharge
FootOpen2 cm3 cm*
MountedOpen4 cm8 cm28 cm**
FootRough2 cm
MountedRough4 cm6 cm
FootDifficult1 cm
Troop Movement Card
*Cannot be used within 20 cm of enemy units **1 Action per turn


  1. Mounted troops moving through rough terrain, should this be the same as their standard march move or should we set this at another value say half way between the march and the quick step rates, meaning a move of 6 cm per action in rough terrain instead of 8 cm?
  2. Fatigue, we still haven’t covered fatigue as yet, but we should consider fatigue on troops marching at the double.
  3. Skirmish troops, we’ve not yet looked at these but I would imagine that while skirmishing troops movements would not be inhibited in either rough or difficult terrain?
  4. Should difficult terrain be a 50% modifier?
  5. We’ll revisit our base sizes following John’s comments on Part II.