Tag Archives: Napoleonic Wargame

Test Units (WIP)

I’ve started painting up some test bases.

British Regiments

These are test British Regiments, the front two regiments are the 5th (front left) and 48th (front right) regiments of foot and mouth.

I’ve initially based them on 40mm X 30mm bases. There are also dice holders on the units, initially I’ve placed two on each base. One for the formation and one to denote the number of firing dice. I may change this to three holders though and have two for strength and one for formations.

I also may yet narrow the bases to 40mm X 20mm so that the brigade isn’t too bulky to the rear.

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Coup D’Oeil

Each general will require Coup d’Oeil (CdO) during the game. The number a general needs will depend upon their rank and the number of men they command.

Generals will be able to generate CdO each turn, with higher ranked generals able to generate more than lower ranks. Someone like Napoleon or Wellington for example would have more than Murat or Junot. They will also start with a number of CdO which they can use at the deployment point to have units on the tabletop at the beginning of the battle.

CdO can then be spent during the course of the game on certain events:

  • Sending an ADC to a unit to activate and task it with taking and holding an objective.
  • Bring reserves onto the battlefield with a purpose to take and hold an objective.

Generating CdO

There will be various ways to do so. A general will be able to generate so much CdO each turn, revealing units, holding objectives and routing enemy units from the table will also generate CdO. So let’s look at each of these in turn.

Revealing Units

Each time a friendly unit closes to within 20cm (roughly 1 kilometre at scale) of an enemy that unit will be revealed (perhaps 30cm if the unit is stationed on a hill with clear line of sight), this will generate CdO for the General. At present I will set this to 1 CdO per unit. With games of roughly 50,000 men on each side this should equate to around 50 CdO.

Holding Objectives

CdO awarded for holding objectives will depend upon the objective which are split into Primary or Secondary objectives. The figures for generation from these should also be relatively low, so let’s start out by saying that holding a Primary objective (being within 10cm) will generate 2 CdO, while a secondary objective will generate 1 CdO. Let’s assume a player holds half of the objectives during the course of the game (1.5 Primary and 1.5 Secondary), over 50 turns this would give him 225 CdO.

Routing Units

Each time a unit is reduced to 0 morale it is routed and flees the battlefield. This will obviously not be a regular occurrence and without having performed any in depth play testing as yet, it is hard to determine how many on average will flee. Therefore we will need a holding number in the meantime. Let’s assume at this stage that perhaps 20% of an enemy army will flee, using our assumption of 50,000 men per army that equates to 10,000 men (or 100 strength).

I don’t think it would be entirely fair to have the strength of the unit as the reward, I’d rather have a base number which can be adjusted later if needs be. At the moment let’s assume that each routed enemy generates 10 CdO.

So for CdO generation from other events we have:

EventCdO Gained
Revealed Unit1 CdO
Holding a Primary Objective2 CdO per turn
Holding a Secondary Objective1 CdO per turn
Routed Enemy Unit10 CdO per Unit
CdO Generation

Through these events a General commanding 50,000 men against an army of a similar size, should roughly gain 315 CdO. He has an army of roughly 50,000 men and therefore would need 500 CdO to activate his units. He therefore needs to be able to Generate an additional 185 CdO.

Game Sizes

However not every game will be at 50,000 men a side, some may be smaller and others slightly larger.

To calculate how many Coup d’Oeil points would be needed in a game our first point of call should be some historic information on army organisation during the time.

Some fantastic information can be found as always on Rodwargaming.

During the Napoleonic wars most nations had battalions whose established strength was between 700 to 1200 men, although the Austrians had some battalions which were slightly larger than this range.  In practice however strength fell in the field so that the average effective battlefield strength of most battalions was some 600 men, although there were some significant variations.  The battalion was the primary tactical unit in that although several battalions would co-operate in Brigades or Divisions, each battalion would normally manoeuvre and change formation separately. 

So if we use the basis that an average Battalion is 600-800 men at the moment

ARMY ORGANISATION

LevelMen
Army1+ Corps
Corp2+ Divisions
Division2+ Brigades
Brigade2+ Battalions
BattalionRoughly 600-800 men
Napoleonic Army Organisation

Brigade Strength (2-5 Battalions)

This is unlikely to be a game size, but this will help create the building blocks for larger games.

A Brigade would consist of between two to five battalions of 700 men, at the moment let’s assume this is an average at 3.5 battalions. In Clausewitz this would equate to an in-game strength of 24.5.

Division Level Game (2-5 Brigades) (Small Game)

This will likely by the smallest game size that Clausewitz would do. Using our building block from the previous section, we’ll assume that an average Brigade is roughly 24.5 Strength.

A Division will be made from 2-5 Brigades, so let’s use the average and plump at 3.5

If there are on average three Brigades to a Division each a strength 24.5, we would need to generate 85.75 points (24.5 x 3.5) for our Divisional Commander over the course of the game. So our basic maths once more is 85.75.5 / 50 = 1.715.

But we also have to factor in that other in our earlier calculations for holding objectives etc. We know that holding half the objectives for the entire game will generate 225 CdO. However for a divisional game we only need to generate 85 CdO. This suggests that perhaps for this size game there are too many objective, so let’s assume a Divisional Game will be 1 primary and 1 Secondary objective, this would equate to 75 CdO over the course of the game if an army held half.

We therefore need a further 10 CdO to be generated (85.75 – 75 = 10.75).

We also have the CdO generated from revealing enemy units, if they have a similar sized force we’re looking at 3.5 CdO (1 for each reveal), this brings us to 7.25 CdO to generate (10.75 – 3.5).

Perhaps a single of the enemies 3.5 units will be routed during the course of the game, giving us a further 10 CdO. That brings us to above our target by 2.75 CdO. But we’ll need some extra CdO so that our general can issue an order at the beginning of the game, therefore we’ll need to be able to add on our average Brigade strength of 24.5, this brings us to 21.75 CdO needed.

The simplest answer to this would be to allow a Divisional General to start the game with 25 CdO, however a Divisional General will be unable to generate CdO through the game, as they should be able to attain enough through good tactics to activate most of their other units.

Corp level Game (2-5 Divisions) (Medium Game)

This would more likely be a more common game size, with roughly 30,000 men a side a Corp Level General will need to raise around 300 CdO for their troops to be activated.

For the Corp Level Game, we may have two primary and two secondary objectives on the field, these would generate 150 CdO if a General held exactly half through the game.

With 3.5 Divisions each on average each with 3.5 Brigades, the revealed units would equate to a further 12 CdO.

This brings us to 162 CdO generated so far with a further 138 required as a minimum.

We also have the estimated 20% routed enemy at 10 CdO per unit. With an enemy army of roughly 12 units this would equate to perhaps 2 units, which would add a further 20 CdO. This brings our total to 182 CdO with an additional 118 required.

118 CdO over 50 turns would mean the player requires 2.36 per turn. So let’s say that a Corp level Commander can generate 3 CdO per turn as well as starting with 50 CdO so they may activate up to two units at the start. This gives us the following so far:

GeneralStarting CdOCdO Generated per Turn
Divisional (Small Game)25
Corp (Medium Game)503
Commander CdO Values

Army level Game (2+ Corps) (Large Game)

This brings us to our final category of game. We’re going to assume at this point that the largest game we can handle is 2 corps each of roughly 60,000 men. This breaks our game down into 600 that each General will need to create.

We already have 225 from half of the Primary and Secondary objectives (3 of each), and in terms of revealed units this would be roughly be twice that of the Corp Level Game at around 24 units a side for 24 CdO. This brings our total to 249 CdO out of 600 needed.

We also have routed 20% of the enemy units giving us an additional 50 CdO leaving us with 299 CdO.

Our General therefore needs to be able to generate 300 CdO over 50 turns meaning 6 CdO a turn. Plus the usual of being able to activate 4 units in this case means they should start with 100 CdO.

Our final general card is therefore:

GeneralStarting CdOCdO Generated per Turn
Divisional (Small Game)25
Corp (Medium Game)503
Army (Large Game)1006
Commander CdO Values

These are just preliminary thoughts and there are other points to consider:

  • Light Cavalry – Spotting range of 30 cm instead of 20 cm to encourage their use in this role and avoid situations where units are revealing each other once they close to within 20cm.
  • Units that fire revealing themselves, particularly in the case of Artillery.
  • Units that move revealing themselves (possibly).
  • Increasing the CdO generated per turn to avoid so much impact being placed on battlefield success to generate CdO, giving a player a chance who’s behind to catch up.
  • Reduce CdO from Objectives to 1 CdO per turn for primary only and none for secondary.
  • Named Generals being able to perform certain acts. Marshal Ney for example finding it cheaper to activate Cavalry Brigades. Napoleon and Wellington gaining more than average CdO each turn and so on.

Proposed Changes

MEASUREMENT CHANGES

To make things more universally acceptable I’m considering changing the units of measurement from centimetres to inches. This will allow those across the Pond to more easily use the rules.

MOVEMENT

First up movement, let’s recap out movement distances for units:

march-rates-table
Taken from https://rodwargaming.wordpress.com/miltary-historical-research/military-historical-research/napoleonic-infantry-march-rates/ with thanks.

These paces are per minute and in the number of paces per minute. So scaled to 1:5300 over a ten minute period we have:

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

What we need to do now is convert these into inches by dividing the values by 2.54, giving us:

NationPrevious Centimetre DistanceRevised Inches distance
British15.53 cm6.11 inches
French14.38 cm5.66 inches
Prussian15.53 cm6.11 inches
Austrian 1805 Regs17.25 cm6.79 inches
Austrian 1807 Regs15.10 cm5.94 inches
Russian15.82 cm6.23 inches
Quick Step March Rates by Nation

These give us a distance of roughly 6 inches (apart from those Austrians) of movement per turn. However, this brings up an issue with our actions, 6 is not easily divisible by 5, only by 1,2 or 3 so that limits the number of actions we can take each turn.

But before we go further lets look at cavalry movement at well. Below is our original calculations for 10 minutes of movement for Cavalry.

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

Let’s convert that full movement into inches like we did with the infantry:

GaitFull Movement (cm)Full Movement (inches)
Walk22.01 cm8.66 inches
Trot40.88 cm16.09 inches
GallopN/AN/A
Cavalry Movement Speeds

You’ll note that I’ve placed N/A next to the Cavalry movement ranges for Gallop. I’m considering removing this pace as it covers too much ground for the cavalry and doesn’t allow Infantry time in which to react. The two paces would be changed to Ordinary and Quick, much like the Infantry.

In the case above we have the same problem where the figures aren’t easily divisible by 5, they can be divided into 4,2 or 1. So at the moment we can divide the infantry and cavalry rates easily by 2 or 1. Perhaps we should up the turn time to 15 minutes, what effect would that have on the distances?

NationPrevious Centimetre DistanceRevised Inches distance
British23.30 cm9.17 inches
French21.57 cm8.49 inches
Prussian23.30 cm9.17 inches
Austrian 1805 Regs25.88 cm10.18 inches
Austrian 1807 Regs22.65 cm8.92 inches
Russian23.73 cm9.34 inches
Quick Step March Rates by Nation over 15 minutes

Resulting in movement of 9″, only divisible by 1 or 3. As for cavalry:

GaitFull Movement (cm)Full Movement (inches)
Walk33.02 cm13 inches
Trot61.32 cm24.14 inches
GallopN/AN/A
Cavalry Movement Speeds

These distances are once again too long and would not allow infantry to react in time. So we’ll have to come up with some sort of compromise.

My first thoughts are for infantry to move 6 inches at a slow pace and 9″ at quick pace, these would be divisible by 3 resulting in 3 actions/reactions per turn. This does have the added benefit of reducing the number of actions that players carry out for each unit and thus speeding up the process.

I’d also change cavalry so that their slow pace is 6″ and their quick pace is 12″, once again all divisible by 3.

Another option is to change infantry movement to 5″ and quick pace to 10″, while Cavalry gets changed to 10″ and 15″ with the possibility of a charge move for light cavalry at 20″.

Musketry ranges would be slightly increased to allow shooting on reactions still to 2″ at effective and 4″ for long range.

Either way., I’d love to know all your opinions (especially those from North America!). I’ve included a poll below:

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Reddit Community Open and New Videos

Rather than bombarding the r/wargaming and r/tabletopgamedesign communities on Reddit with constant updates, I’ll post links to all the new articles and videos on this community as well as my twitter feed.

Please do sign up and also follow me on twitter so that you know when I post new content.

The Reddit community is r/ClausewitzWargame

I’ve also carried out some further testing using Battle Chronicler and have posted these to YouTube:

Video Play Test 2 – Line Formation v Line Formation
Video Play Test 3 – Column Formation v Line Formation

Interestingly in the last video, I think that if Red had formed a line of 3 Battalions, they could have used all 13 dice and thus fair slightly better than they did! Which shows possibly that the brigade formations as well as battalion formations may yet work!

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Quick Reference Sheet Now Available

I’re recently changed the page “Clausewitz War Game” to now include the downloadable file for the current set of rules.

I will try and update these weekly as I go forward, so that they are the most recent version. However, if there is a delay please bear with me.

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Writing a Wargame – An Introduction

WRITING A WARGAME – AN INTRODUCTION

For many years I’ve always had a part of me thats wanted to dabble in historical wargaming.

Last month I purchased some brilliant Baccus 6mm Napoleonic Miniatures, and I’ve really enjoyed painting these up.

One issue I have found though, is that there are many rulesets out there for Napoleonics, but none of them have gotten me hooked. I’ve looked at Blucher, Black Powder, Grand Manouevre, Grande Armee and more but none of them appeal to what I’m looking for.

Many of these rule sets look at the battle from a top down perspective, with the smallest unit on the table being a brigade. But after painting up my mini’s I want my 5th Northumberland Regiment of Foot represented on its own and not mashed in with another three regiments on the same stand. Also if you’re being historically accurate, these brigades would change over time with regiments being moved to the control of another general etc, so I would have to model a different Brigade for each historical battle that I wanted to reenact.

I have also found that many of the rules offer compromises on certain aspects of the historical flavour which I wasn’t willing to take on board. Command and Control being a real bone of contention for myself. As gamers often roll a number of dice and they can make that many “orders” per turn. Whereas historically many of the standing orders were written before the battle, such as taking a ridgeline, defending a village/chateau and so on.

Another major issue I have is with the UgoIgo system of turns. I get why this has become popular in certain aspects of tabletop wargaming such as Warhammer where a game is played out over 5 or more turns and is designed as a fast play tournament style game. But there must be other ways to account for this, historically the Generals didn’t wait for the other side to move so far on the battlefield fire all their weapons and then wait for the opposition to do the same. This is a fundamental flaw in many wargames.

With Napoleonic wargaming, you also find that many rules writers state that formations do not matter in so much as the Commander-in-Chief did not go around ordering every single unit into different formations (I get this), however formations did matter in many ways. A French attack column marching at a thin British Firing line was a significant sight to behold and broke many defenders before the French losses mounted up. Conversely the British firing line was also well trained and only two ranks deep compared to three of other nations, meaning the British could bring more Firepower to bear on volley fire. A square formation is great at defending against cavalry but awful for movement and makes a nice juicy target for enemy artillery.

Rules ignore these, as much as they ignore Brigade formations. Brigade formations could have battalions in different formations as it advanced on the enemy, 6 battalions in line at the front of the formation, with 6 battalions on either flank in attack columns to dissuade Cavalry.

These are just some of the issues I have with Napoleonic Wargaming, so I thought well if I can’t find a rule set I like, why not add to the general confusion of the Napoleonic war gaming scene and write my own. After all if every other man and his dog had written a set of rules, why can’t I?

But I want to make this an inclusive process, I want to be able to post my thoughts on this blog and I’m looking for constructive feedback on the rules and processes I’m coming up with.

My first article will follow shortly after I post this one, and I’m going to be covering the very early steps of scale and base sizes etc.

I hope you enjoy, and I’m looking forward to fresh original ideas to make a Napoleonic war game that is fairly accurate, but not so much that it takes hours to complete a game. Also remember, Battalion is the smallest unit.

Happy gaming.

Peter (Woehammer)

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